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Coleman sundome 3 person tent review: astonishing value or fool’s gold?

Updated
Coleman Sundome Dome Tent (2/3/4/6 Person)

Our Verdict

This Sundome tent is a bargain from Coleman, but don't expect to take it mountaineering! If you’re a casual camper looking for jackpot value for money and an easy setup, this Sundome tent ticks the right boxes.


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  • Excellent value for money
  • Hassle-free and easy to setup
  • Good airflow makes this ideal for summer
  • The ultimate starter tent
  • Won’t fare well in serious storms
  • A bit on the short side for any tall campers
  • Too heavy for backpacking

Last Updated: August 1, 2021

Welcome outdoorsy explorers to our Coleman Sundome 3 Person Tent review!

We’ve looked at EVERY SINGLE Coleman Sundome tent to give you the most comprehensive review of the model.

The Sundome is a simple tent with an intuitive, easy design and a low price tag, which should mean it’s great for new campers.

But is it?

We’re going to cover how easy the tent is to set up, what sort of protection it offers from the weather and whether this size would be right for your needs.

So read on to find out if the 3-Person tent from Coleman is the one for you.

Is the coleman sundome 3 person tent a good buy?

Don’t have time to read the full review and just want the TL;DR?

This is a good beginner tent for two campers, giving you and a partner more space than the 2-person model can offer.

However, the 4-person upgrade has even more space and is still low-cost, so we would recommend this tent over the 3-person.

Is the Sundome 3-Person Tent an economical choice?

Whilst the Coleman sundome 3-person tent might not be a top of the range model, it’s reliable for occasional campers.

It carries a good reputation as a casual three-person dome design tent which is priced affordably. The sundome may be low cost, but it certainly isn’t low quality.

Easy up easy down, even made it through a severe rainstorm without indecent.

Are there better tents? Yes.

Are there better tents for the price? Not even close.

Product review

For the difference in cost between the Coleman sundome 3-person tent and the most expensive alternative we considered at the time of review, you could buy a well-made sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a flashlight for your trip. 

Space and storage in the Coleman sundome

Although the given capacity is three people, this might be a bit exaggerated for typical uses. This tent isn’t big enough to fit three adults with their equipment. 

If you care about comfort or need space for your camping gear inside the tent, we would recommend a maximum of two people, with room for maybe a small- or medium-sized dog. 

If the third person in the tent is your kid, this should also be a comfortable enough fit, with plenty of floor space for your gear as well.

For those who prefer camping alone but want extra space to keep their equipment and gear, this tent should provide plenty of room.

The Coleman sundome 3-person tent id a good sized tent for:

  • 2 adults and a medium-sized dog.
  • 2 adults with their equipment.
  • An adult and 2 children.
  • A solo camper with lots of gear.

Is it suitable for three people?

The interior of the Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent can be suitable for three people, but there will be no room for anything else. This is particularly important if you’re planning to bring sleeping pads or an air bed.

If you’re planning on camping with three people you’re likely to have a more comfortable night’s sleep if you invested in a bigger tent, such as the Coleman sundome 4-Person tent or the even larger 6-Person version.

The tent floor size is 7 ft by 7 ft, with a ceiling height of 4’4”. This means the total floor space isn’t very large and the ceiling of the tent is fairly low, with little headroom (beware, tall people!). 

Is it good for festivals?

You can even pack this tent for music festivals and other outdoor events. I recommend this tent for festivals because the construction offers adequate ventilation, so you can spend longer periods inside the tent without feeling any discomfort. 

The ventilation is particularly great for those delicate mornings after a long night dancing!

Because this tent is straightforward to setup, it’s great for a weekend adventure. However, we wouldn’t recommend it for longer trips. If you’re going to be camping all week at the festival, it’s worth upgrading to something a little more comfortable.

Backpacking and hiking

This tent is aimed more at a casual car camper rather than hikers or backpackers.

Four adventurers at the peak of a hill, looking out over the view

Typically, I wouldn’t recommend a tent that weighs more than five pounds if you’re planning to hit the trails. At over eight pounds, this is a heavy tent. I certainly wouldn’t classify it as a lightweight hiking tent.

If you’re completely set on using it as a backpacking tent, you can always reduce the burden by splitting up the tent poles and metal stakes between you and a fellow camper.

Is it useful as a family camping tent?

While there’s little chance you’re going to fit the whole family in here, it’s an ideal beginner’s tent.

Young adults and teens will love this tent because it’s HASSLE-FREE and EASY to set up. You won’t spend a long time trying to figure out how to put it together because it’s so straightforward to assemble. 

Because this tent doesn’t require long assembly time, it will leave time for hanging out and having fun. After all, that’s the goal of your camping trip. 

This tent is also great for teaching kids and teens about personal responsibility when camping. It’s so easy to set up that kids with a little bit of prior camping experience will be able to set it up with no bother! 

In case something goes wrong, replacing this tent won’t be an issue because it’s quite affordable. That means you don’t have to bite your nails watching your kids figure out how to set up a tent by themselves for the first time. Sit back and enjoy the experience! 

Managing your gear – storage in the tent

You should also note that there isn’t much extra storage space in this tent. There’s a single pocket for your essentials, and although it can be expanded, you shouldn’t expect it to fit lots of stuff. 

There’s a storage pocket on the wall, lifted away from the floor where you can keep your essential items. 

How does it perform in the cold, heat, rain and wind?

There are several camping tents that work for all-year camping, but unfortunately, the Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent isn’t built for heading out season after season. But hey, you can’t have everything in life!

Waterproofing and holding up in the rain

Some features do help the tent’s interior stay dry when it starts raining. For example, this affordable tent comes with a single zippered doorway with a small awning and rainfly.

These should help keep moderate rain out of the tent’s interior, although I wouldn’t be comfortable using this tent if I was expecting very heavy rainfall or harsh weather. In particular, the awning is too small to shield you while cooking on a stove from any sideways rain.

The inverted seams and WeatherTec System will keep the water out in standard rainfall. But in extreme weather, they’ll start to leak.

Rain droplets on ferns in a woodland

If the forecast is showing a chance of rain then I would recommend investing in a waterproof spray. You may also want to consider putting an extra seal on the seams. 

You’ll likely be fine without these, but spending a night outdoors with a leak in the tent is NOT an experience many campers want to repeat. 

Whilst some other reviewers list a variety of values for the Hydrostatic Head Rating of Coleman tents, it appears that these figures are not accurate.

We reached out to Coleman asking for more information about the weatherproofing and they explained that, whilst their camping tents are tested in conditions to simulate rain and strong winds, they do not give their tents an official Hydrostatic Head Rating

Dealing with condensation

There’s nothing worse than touching the sides of your tent in the middle of the night and getting soaked as all the condensation runs down into your sleeping bag.

This tent is absolutely jam-packed with features that provide ventilation through the tent. The doors and windows are made of mesh and a floor vent helps the air circulate at a lower level.

The Coleman sundome 3-person tent is much better suited to fighting condensation than many of the other budget offerings out there and the walls should remain moisture-free all night.

Protection from the wind

Dome tents provide much more protection from the wind than other designs – particularly cabin tents.

It should stand up to reasonable winds. Coleman claims that it can withstand 35+ mph winds. That’s plenty for casual camping trips.

However, this is not the tent you want to use in stronger winds. Tents designed for truly abysmal weather are better secured to the ground and have sturdier tent poles and metal stakes.

Handling summer heat 

The sundome is a great tent for occasional fair-weather camping in the summer

If the forecast suggests the weather should be relatively dry and warm, it’ll be great in the milder months on either side of the summer season. 

This tent is an excellent choice for camping in warm weather because the overall design improves the airflow and keeps the interior well-ventilated.

However, other tents like the Coleman Instant Cabin Tent come with Dark Room Technology which helps to keep the interior cool and provide a sheltered area for respite from the sun. If you need something that will protect you in extreme heat, the Sundome is not going to provide sanctuary.

Camping in winter and the cold

For the same reason, spending time in this tent can be a little bit challenging when the temperature drops.

You will likely feel too cold if the temperature drops significantly because the material of the tent doesn’t insulate heat well. This tent therefore shouldn’t be used in the winter season. It is a three-season tent but we would still be cautious about taking it out in the harsher months of Fall and Spring.

Sunrise over a snowy landscape

Durability – how long will it last?

The Coleman sundome 3-person tent is fairly durable for its price, but won’t compete with many of the more expensive tents. 

As far as materials go, it’s made of high-quality 75D polyester taffeta. And it features well-made zippers that glide well. The fabric offers great UV protection inside the tent.

The tent poles are fiberglass and hold the frame of the tent together.

Something to note is that fiberglass poles are less durable than aluminum and they have clearly been included as a decision to keep costs low. 

Fiberglass can sometimes shatter, leading to tears in the tent fabric and damaging the pole sleeves – let alone a night of misery if you’re camping. However, replacement poles are available for purchase (see the spares kit) so you can repair rather than having to replace the whole tent.

If you’re worried about the durability of the polyethylene floor, you can use a tarp or footprint to protect the tent and help it last a little bit longer. However, it might not be necessary unless the ground is rocky or uneven.

The tent stakes might struggle in harder terrain, but for the most part, they should be fine. They work perfectly if you’re setting up the tent in your backyard or a campground. 

However, if the weather is a little bit windy, or you want to further secure the tent, it will be a good idea to replace these metal stakes with longer and sturdier ones. 

If taken proper care of, there’s no reason this tent can’t give you years of service as the standard of the build quality is relatively high. But if there is an issue, Coleman does offer a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

How easy is it to set up and take down?

The sundome tent is not an instant tent or a pop-up tent, but it’s very easy to set up the tent and just as easy to take down.

It’s just a matter of staking down the tent with the pegs, slipping the poles into their sleeves using the insta-clip pole attachments, and attaching the rainfly.

How to set up the coleman sundome

  1. Pick level ground to set up the tent. Make sure that it’s free of rocks (consider laying down a tarp to protect the polyethylene floor of the tent if you have one). 
  2. Secure the corners using the stakes. You should be able to push these into the ground with your hands, although a small mallet (or wielding a boot) can also help.
  3. Slip the snag-free poles into the pole sleeves to construct the frame of the tent. 
  4. The rain fly should then be connected to the smaller pole. The guy ropes are pre-attached to the flysheet for your ease.

Can you set up the tent by yourself?

Definitely! The 3-person dome tent can be set up in 10 minutes by a first-timer. If you’re more experienced with tents, you’ll be able to set it up in less time.

The snag-free poles slide effortlessly into their designated slots, cutting down the assembly time to a few minutes. 

Weight and packed size – is it easy to carry around?

It is easy to carry for car camping thanks to its handy storage bag. 

However, this tent weighs over eight pounds, so it’s not suitable as a backpacking tent. And consumer reviews back this up.

I’ve found that they are good tents and good prices. They might not be the lightest or feature packed but, depending on your needs, they can be a solid choice.

Review

The poles and stakes do come in two separate carry bags, so you can split the weight with another camper if required. 

Nevertheless, carry bag or not, people who are backpacking should go for a tent that weighs a maximum of five pounds. 

FAQ

Can you fit a queen-sized airbed inside?

Yes, you can. However, it will take the entire floor space, and there will hardly be any room to move around.

If you wish to use a queen size air mattress, you need to set up your Sundome and inflate it inside the dome tent as it, unfortunately, won’t fit through the door. Adjustments to who can fit in the tent should also be made if you’re including a normal-sized airbed.

Can you charge devices in the tent?

As long as your campsite has power points, you can also use the electronics port (E-port) to bring a power cable into the tent and charge your smartphone or any other electronic device.

It’s great for getting the tablets and gadgets ready for the car journey home!

Is the coleman sundome tent waterproof? 

The fabric is water-resistant, and the inverted seams keep the water away from the interior of the tent. But it is not going to keep you dry in a storm.

If you’re usually camping in extremely wet conditions, you can use a seam sealer to make sure that the seams will keep all the leaks away from your gear and equipment. 

Is this a good tent for three people?

The tent can fit 3 people, as long as you manage to keep the gear and equipment in a separate tent or a vehicle. If there are three adults inside the tent, there will be no room for anything else. 

With a center height of 4’4”, the roof isn’t very high for taller campers which might be an issue.

Comparison with competitor tents

If the Coleman Sundome doesn’t feel like the right product for you, I’ve rounded up some alternative two to four person tents that are also great picks.

Naturehike cloud-up 3

This versatile 3-person dome tent can be used in multiple camping situations and is quite easy to set up. It weighs only 5 pounds, so it’s more suitable for hiking and backpacking than the sundome tent, even if it doesn’t compare with an ultralight backpacking tent.

However, this 3 person tent is more expensive than our Coleman 3-person tent. With a center height of less than 4ft, it is also shorter than the Sundome. 

QOMOTOP instant 4-person pop-up

You don’t have to worry about assembling this tent because setup time is a matter of seconds. It’s more spacious than the Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent, so it can work for 3 adult campers. It can even fit a queen-sized air mattress.

This tent is perfect for hot weather because it offers excellent ventilation, but it’s not rainproof.

Vango talas tunnel tent

Being on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great tent. This tent is in the same price range as the Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent.

In rainy weather, this tunnel tent won’t let you down because it has a Hydrostatic Head rating of 3000 mm. The PE groundsheets are robust and water proof, so this tent will be suitable for camping in cold weather. However, this tent can be a little uncomfortable in hot weather.

Although this is a 2 person tent, the vestibule at the front adds storage space that makes spending time inside this tent way more comfortable – even with two people. Unfortunately, though, it isn’t big enough for three campers.

Wrapping it all up

If you’re looking for a reliable yet budget-friendly tent for camping, you should consider the Coleman sundome 3 person tent.

This well-made tent is an excellent choice for experienced and new campers because it has an easy and quick setup.  And consumers consistently give it high ratings when compared to other products.

Thanks to its durable construction, this tent can work in dry and windy weather. However, a few adjustments are needed if you wish to set it up in the rain or when the weather is a bit challenging.

At this price point, it’s hard to beat.

Want more reviews? Check out our roundup review of the best Coleman tents for camping.

Click on the button below to check its latest price.

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.