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Coleman Elite Montana 8 person tent review

Updated
Coleman Elite Montana 8-Person Tent

Our Verdict

The Coleman Montana Elite 8 is a lighted tent with a maximum capacity of 8 people. We recommend it for campers looking for a large tent for car camping with a family or a small group of friends.
 

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  • Spacious for campers under 6' tall
  • Amazing ventilation keeps it cool
  • LED light for an illuminated trip
  • USB port for charging devices
  • Accessible hinged door means no fighting with zips
  • Waterproofing in bad weather could be better
  • Only one room with no divider

Last Updated: August 1, 2021

Hello and welcome to our Coleman Elite Montana 8 Person Tent review!

After looking at HUNDREDS of tents, including all versions of this Montana, we know what you need from your home-away-from-home.

If you don’t like the sound of roughing it, or you just want to bring a little bit of luxury and convenience with you camping, this tent is a great upgrade from the regular model.

Read on to find out what takes this tent above and beyond the standard Montana.

Is the Coleman Elite Montana a good buy?

If you don’t have time to stick around for all the in’s and out’s and just need a quick decision, we’ve got you covered as well.

The Elite Montana is a recommended buy for families looking to upgrade their tent to something a little more comfortable.

Key features like the LED lighting system and USB port for charging devices help make family camping a dream.

The simple design means that you won’t be left scratching your head during set up either.

Is this tent good value?

If saving a few bucks is what’s most important to you, then we would recommend opting for the standard model. This popular tent comes with superb features to raise its value, but the cost efficiency of the standard model is better.

However, if you can afford to splurge, we’d recommend parting with a little extra dough to get a tent that offers more.

We loved the Vango Odyssey 800 8 person tent, although if you’re keen to stick to a budget then the regular Montana 8 person tent is also a great buy.

Check out the price of the elite Montana to see if you can afford the upgrade.

What Difference Does It Make? Elite vs Regular Models

The Elite version comes with a battery-powered LED lighting system which is great for bedtime with the family or socializing with friends.

It also comes with a USB port that can be used for charging devices. Handy for those long car journeys home!

The auto roll windows are another benefit that comes with upgrading to the Elite Montana. As you unzip the windows to open them up, they automatically roll up neatly meaning you don’t need to mess around with toggles or tags.

This model also has an e-port in the corner so you can bring your electrical power into the camping tent.

Lighting System

The Coleman Elite Montana 8 person tent comes with a built-in LED lighting system. It has an LED light in the center that provides up to 100 lumens of illumination, which is enough to see what you’re doing in any situation. 

And there’s a wall switch at the door, which makes stumbling inside in the night much easier.

If you’re traveling with small children who go to sleep earlier, 100 lumens would keep everyone awake all night. But the light also has low settings for 42 and 5 lumens. Perfect for bedtime!

Does the Coleman montana have enough space for your needs?

This is an 8 person tent, which means you can theoretically fit eight people inside the tent. However, the tent size always refers to the maximum capacity of the camping tent, which is not all that comfortable.

There’s enough room to fit in three queen size mattresses, two at each end and one in the middle. We do recommend keeping the middle space unoccupied if possible. This will give you some more room to keep your gear inside the tent, eat or hang out inside when it’s raining. 

It’s also better for moving around the tent—if you squeeze in three mattresses, your floor space will be non-existent.

The center height is 6 feet 2 inches at the tallest spot. It’s tall enough for most adults to stand up in the middle without crouching, which is ideal on a longer trip. At the ends, though, you’ll have to stoop a little. 

The interior is huge, and it’s 6’2″ at the tallest point, so most people can stand up straight inside. It’s pretty easy to set up too. It has a nice rainfly so you don’t have to stand out in the rain to take off your shoes and stuff.

Tent review

Features like the LED light system and auto roll windows are handy extras that make this tent more comfortable and liveable. However, they can also potentially get damaged by an over-excited youngster not paying attention.

The Elite Montana is also not ideal if you need privacy. There are no room separations, so you’ll do better with it on a trip with close friends or family than with newer acquaintances.

The Elite Montana 8 is ideal for:

  • A small family of two adults and two to three kids.
  • Two couples with a dog.
  • One or two couples with several small children.
  • A group of friends of up to six people, four being the best number. 

Is This a Good Tent for Eight People?

We wouldn’t recommend this tent for eight adults unless you’re in an emergency. It’s technically possible to cram eight people inside the tent, but you’ll be much more comfortable with five or six.

Yeah, the Montana 8 is a great family tent, and very reasonably priced for the quality. I just sold mine (literally 3 days ago) to some friends of mine for use with their two young kids and dog. I really think it’ll be the ideal tent for them until their kids are well into their teens, and even later if it lasts that long.

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Is this a good tent for backpacking and hiking?

This tent isn’t good for backpacking due to its size and weight. At almost 25 pounds, this tent is too heavy to carry when hiking.

a woman hiking on a path

The packed size is also 13″ x 33″ x 8″ which would be large for a backpack but is great for car camping.

One thing to note is that the tent folds into a square that’s quite sizable. It’s definitely not the type of light tent to keep with you when hiking longer distances. This is a tent for comfortable camping, not ultra-high performance.

Is this a good tent for family camping?

The tent would be very useful to families, especially those with a lot of young children. The setup is simple enough that even the smallest kids won’t get bored, and it’s simple enough that sometimes the older children can assist. Besides that, there are various designs that contribute to this tent’s suitability as a family tent.

Storage: How Convenient Is It?

In a tent for family or group camping, extra space is important. When you’re in close proximity and not everybody can stand tall, it’s easy to step on someone’s smartphone or, worse, a favorite teddy bear.

The tent has low-to-the-ground expandable net storage pockets that are accessible from your bed.

While the tent lacks a vestibule, it does have a front extended awning that covers the entrance. This can be a great place for the family store smelly hiking boots after a long day instead of dragging them inside the shelter. You’ll need to make sure your boots don’t get soaked once it starts raining.

This family tent could come with more internal storage for keeping camping gear safe and dry.

How does it perform in bad weather?

This tent might keep you dry in light rain or moderate rain, but how does it cope with downpour showers? Will it stand up to strong winds and are there adequate ventilation features to keep this tent cool?

Is the Coleman Elite Montana Tent Waterproof? 

The Coleman Elite Montana is not completely waterproof. The WeatherTec system with welded floors makes the tent water-resistant, and it holds up well in normal conditions. 

There are reports of leakage in hard rain, so if you’re expecting rough conditions, you may want to invest in a fully waterproof tent or invest in waterproofing spray, an extra tarp and seam seal.

rain on fern leaves

Is condensation a problem in the rain or cold?

Unless you’re camping in Southern California, a little rain is likely to surprise you at some point during your trip. To keep the humidity out, the Coleman Montana 8 Elite tent includes a WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams. 

When you put on the rain cover, you’ll stay protected from the elements. The angled windows at both ends give you some air while letting rain fall off.

This model includes a mesh roof that not only allows for plenty of airflow but also lets you see the stars on your camping trip. If you’re not using the rain fly, you’ll get more air, but you’ll let in more sunshine in the morning. Of course, if you put on the rain fly, you’ll lose some of this ventilation but keep yourself more shaded and protected if it rains.

The tent also has a floor vent to let in some cool air throughout the night. This helps regulate the temperature inside and keeps you comfortable when sharing the space with other people. And when you’re cool, you’ll sleep much better.

Protection from the Wind

All Coleman tents are designed to withstand up to 35 mph winds. Some users of this model commented on having some bending in their poles after heavy winds, but it generally holds up well. 

How does the tent handle the summer heat?

Some users did comment that the tent gets hot with the first rays of sunshine. Other users loved the ventilation and said it remains cool, so we believe it’s a matter of weather. In relatively mild climates, the tent appears to work well.

Withstanding the winter cold

We do not recommend taking this tent out in winter. It is not very protective as a three-season tent, struggling in the harsher weather of spring and fall. It would not be enjoyable or safe to take this tent camping in winter.

How durable is the Coleman montana and will it last?

This tent won’t last for too long if you plan to make camping a regular activity. It wasn’t designed to last a lifetime like some other tents are.

Campers were mixed in reviewing the Montana’s durability with some questions being raised over its reliability. A common complaint about performance is reports of leaking after a few uses. You can improve your tents waterproofing by sealing the seams or getting a tarp to improve the protection offered by the rainfly.

How easy is it to set up and take down?

This is a typical dome tent, only large enough for a family. If you’ve ever gone camping before, you’ll probably know your way around these types of tents already.

The color-coded and snag-free, continuous pole sleeves make your job a lot easier. You’ll know exactly which pole goes where, and they won’t get stuck on the fabric when you’re passing them through. The pin-and-ring design is easy to figure out, even if you’re not used to camping.

The poles and stakes come with individual bags that help you keep everything nicely organized.

If a quick setup is important for you, consider looking into instant tents.

Can you do set the tent up on your own?

Between two people, putting it up shouldn’t take much longer than 15 minutes. You’ll be able to hold both ends of the pole to make sure they don’t slip out. If it’s just one person setting up camp, it might take a little longer, but overall it’s a straightforward process. 

How To Setup the Coleman Elite Montana 

Even though the Coleman Elite Montana is large, it’s quite easy to set up, and not different from any other large tent. Here’s how you do it. 

  1. Spread the tent on the ground. Make sure you’ve got a level spot without big rocks or roots that could make the floor uncomfortable.
  2. Secure the tent to the ground with the stakes.
  3. Separate the longer tent poles for the center dome of the tent. Unfold them and pass them through the sleeves. 
  4. Unfold the shorter poles for each end of the tent and pass them through the color-coded poles sleeves.
  5. Use the patented pin-and-ring system to attach the poles to the tent body. 
  6. Twist one of the big center poles to lift the tent and attach each end of the pole to the tent. Repeat on the other side and with the short poles.
  7. If you want to attach the rainfly, pass the rainfly pole through the sleeve and drape the polyester material over the tent.
  8. Attach the rainfly pole’s ends into the pins on both sides of the door, forming the vestibule arch. 
  9. Secure the lines on all sides, keeping them taut.

Is the tent Easy To Carry? 

The Coleman Elite Montana tent isn’t a tent you’ll want to carry on your back for long stretches. It’s not a backpacking tent, because the 25-pound weight will be heavy for just one person.

The expandable carry bag makes it easy to pack away the tent again. The rip strip can be pulled to make the packed size even smaller. 

If you’re going to carry a tent when hiking, we recommend going for a couple of smaller tents and dividing them between the carriers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fit a queen-sized air mattress inside this camping tent?

With two mattresses at either end of the tent and one in the middle, you can fit three queen-sized air mattresses inside the Elite Montana.

Is the hinged door good?

The Coleman Elite Montana features a half-moon-shaped door in the middle for easy access. The zipper on the hinged door opens fully, and the extended door awning is large, but it can be small at the bottom for people with mobility issues.

The best part about the door is that it’s rigid and closes automatically, with three velcro straps to secure it.

For anyone who has not tried them — those hinged doors are INCREDIBLE.

We have a serious tent for interior camping and a massive Coleman for car camping. Having a hinged door which closes itself and doesn’t always need to be zipped is so helpful. We camp with a 2 year old and a 6 week old so the no-hands exit/entrance on the door is a massive boon.

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Alternative 8 person tents

The TETON Sierra tent lit up at night
The TETON Mesa tent is a good alternative we’ve included in our Coleman elite montana 8 person tent review

Coleman 8-Person Instant Cabin Tent

This cabin tent for 8 people from Coleman is a little more expensive than the Elite Montana and lacks some of the special features. Where it does beat the Montana is in the super short setup time and the possibility to open all the walls for full ventilation.

Putting up the tent shouldn’t take more than a minute or two; just spread the tent, clip the poles and you’re done! You can fit two queen airbeds inside, so we would recommend this tent for no more than five people. 

As opposed to the Elite Montana, this tent has:

  • Faster setup.
  • Higher center height.
  • Less space for sleeping.
  • More ventilation. 

Wenzel Klondike 8-Person Tent 

If you’re on a budget, this tent for 8 people is a viable option. It may not be the most durable tent, but it’s a good choice to keep at hand if you’re camping with friends or family. It can handle light rain, but it’s not the right pick for extra humid conditions.

The tent setup, with two separate rooms, is ideal for two couples or a group of friends. It’s also comfortable for keeping one side for sleeping and the other for storing gear, eating or just spending time. The mesh windows and roof keep your tent ventilated and comfortable.

This outdoor tent has the following benefits as opposed to the Coleman tent:

  • A screen room.
  • Mesh windows and ceiling.
  • Taller ceiling.
  • T-style door.

TETON Sports Mesa Canvas 8-Person Tent

If you’re willing to spend some extra, this canvas tent from Teton is an amazing investment. It’s extra tough and sturdy, and likely to keep water out even in hard rain. The setup is easy, and the door is extra wide to allow for simple hauling of your gear inside and outside the tent.

If you’re looking for a large outdoor tent to last you for years or for camping out for long stretches of time, this might be the one for you. 

It differs from the Coleman Montana tent for the following reasons:

  • Sturdier.
  • More waterproof.
  • Plenty of storage.
  • Long-lasting canvas.
Two men and two women sitting in front of a tent, smiling

Conclusion

So, you’ve made it through our Coleman elite montana 8 person tent review, but you’re still unsure? Let’s go through the important points.

While this is technically an 8 person tent if filled to capacity, we don’t recommend it. This model is ideal for camping trips for a family, a small group of friends or two couples.

The Weathertec system with inverted seams makes the tent water-resistant even in rough conditions, and the poles can handle hard winds. The color-coded sleeves make it easy to put it together.

The tent comes with some smart accessories, like auto-roll windows, an LED light with a light switch and a door that closes automatically. Overall, it’s a smart buy that won’t break the bank.

You can check its latest price here.

For more reviews, check out our reviews of all the best Coleman tent.

8 Person

  • Weight: 27.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 16 ft x 7 ft
  • Center height: 6 ft 2 in
  • LED lighting system: LED lights included
  • Lumens: 100 (high), 42 (medium), 5 (low)
  • Rain solution: WeatherTec system
  • Awning: Awning over door
  • Door: Hinged door
  • E-port: 1 e port included
  • Storage pockets: Included
  • Rainfly: Rain fly included
  • Carry bag: Included
  • Set up time: 15 minutes
  • Materials: Polyester taffeta flysheet
  • Tent poles: 4 tent poles
  • Space: Room for 3 queen sized air beds
  • Type: Modified dome tent
  • Price: $$

Other montana and 8 person tent reviews

If you’re still unsure which product or size is best for you, check out the rest of our reviews here:

Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website

James has been escaping to the outdoors for as long as he can remember. This first started in family camping trips but soon turned into adventure camps and hiking through the Scottish Hebrides. Now he has turned towards trying to make camping more comfortable and accessible.