You are looking at getting a new tent and you need one with a good degree of waterproofing for the type of weather you will be camping in. You’ve looked at Coleman, a huge supplier of camping equipment and in particular, their tents.
We looked for the answer on Coleman’s websites and ended up writing directly to Coleman about their hydrostatic ratings and the waterproofness of their tents.
A good level of waterproofing is what you are after but it’s hard to figure out how waterproof Coleman tents really are. Read on to find out what Coleman told us directly.
Related: Are you looking for a Coleman tent? Find out what the best Coleman tent is.
Are Coleman Tents Waterproof?
Colemans advertises their tents as being protected by their WeatherTec protection system but apart from generalizations they do not provide any other information about how waterproof their tents are individually, what they do to any given tent to waterproof it nor do they publish hydrostatic ratings on their official website.
Does Coleman provide hydrostatic head ratings?
We reached out and asked their support team direct, and this is the response we got:
“We understand that you are looking for the hydrostatic head ratings of our tents. We would like to inform you that Coleman’s MINIMUM hydrostatic head rating for the fabrics of our tent is 450 mm.”
After speaking to Coleman we established that two of their most popular tents, the Sundome and Weathermaster, do indeed have a hydrostatic head rating of 450mm.
Will Coleman tents hold up in very heavy rain?
If you buy a 4 season tent with taped, inverted seams, plenty of guy lines, a bathtub floor and put up the full-length fly, then you should be as waterproof as you can be in any tent. This is because a tent’s waterproofing comes from the hydrostatic head rating of the materials, the tautness of the materials due to surface tension (guy lines help!), and great build quality to avoid leaking seams.
Coleman provides some of these features but doesn’t make tents with high hydrostatic head ratings and lots of guylines. Their build quality targets the more budget friendly end of the market. So no, a Coleman tent won’t hold up as well in heavy rain as it’s not designed to.
The cheaper the tent, the more likelihood there is of it having a lower waterproof rating and you getting wet. Generally, higher-end more expensive tents tend to have higher waterproof ratings, as part of the cost goes into using higher-rated waterproofing materials and coatings to make a superior tent.
What makes a tent waterproof?
Waterproof, Waterhead, HH, or hydrostatic head ratings tell you what the waterproofing of a tent material is. It’s a measure of the fabric’s ability to resist water penetration or the pressure at which the water starts seeping through the fabric in lab conditions, not the real world!
These numbers alone are not an indicator of the quality of the tent and doesn’t mean the tent will be leak-free!
Remember, the higher the waterproofing the stiffer, heavier, less breathable, and less flexible the tent material is likely to be as well.
|Hydrostatic Head Rating||Waterproofing||Tent Season|
|0-1000mm||Water resistant||☔☔ 2 season tents|
|1000-1500mm||Waterproof||☔☔☔ 3 season tents / Fly|
|1500-5000mm||Very waterproof||☔☔☔☔ 4 season tent walls / Fly|
|5000+||Highly waterproof||☔☔☔☔☔ Floor / Mountaineering tents|
|PVC or Polythene||Completely waterproof||☔☔☔☔☔ Floor / Tarp|
Coleman’s website says that they use their patented WeatherTec System that includes features like a tub-like floor, patented welded corners, zipper cuffs, and inverted seams that all help keep water out of the tent.
Their support team told us Coleman’s minimum waterproof rating was 450mm putting them into the water resistant category. Interestingly, they didn’t give us a maximum or average waterproof rating.
The rainfly sold with the tent should be of a higher hydrostatic head rating than the tent and should be used if you are expecting wet weather. A full-length rainfly will keep you dryer than a half fly when it rains.
Can you improve the weatherproofing of a Coleman tent?
If the tent comes with a rainfly, it makes sense to use it if the weather looks like rain. The purpose of a fly is to keep the rain off the tent in the first place. Rainflys usually have high waterproof ratings and are your first line of defense in the rain. A full-length fly will protect the tent walls in driving rain.
If you want to be sure in wet weather, think about getting Coleman’s seam sealer to spray on the seams of the tent as that’s the most common place tents start leaking from.
If you go camping when it rains on a regular basis, using a waterproofing spray every couple of years on the tent fabric will help retain its waterproofness.
If you want to improve your chances of staying dry, either because you’re not sure of the weather or the waterproof rating of your tent, play it safe and put up a polythene tarp over your tent and rainfly.
When selecting a tent you need to take into consideration the climate and weather you intend to camp in. If you are a two-season car camper (spring and summer) then most Coleman tents will probably do the trick for you. They are pitched directly at that part of the camping market and lots of fairweather campers love their Coleman tent.
If you know it always rains or are unsure of what the weather will do, it always pays to buy a tent that you know will perform to your expectations. Plenty of companies publish quite openly their tents statistics, waterproofing levels, country of origin, and tent durability and make it easy to know exactly what you are getting.
Naturally, you will pay for this. But seriously, will you wish you had paid the extra $50 when you find yourself soaking wet in a leaky tent in the middle of an unexpected rainstorm hundreds of miles from home? I bet you do!
Happy Camping! 😊
Next up: Check out the full test – Are Coleman tents good?