The Coleman Elite Sundome 6-Person Lighted Tent is a three-season tent that sleeps up to six people. The tent features two doors and an integrated light.
The Coleman 4-person Sundome camping tent is a large 3-season tent with a price tag that’s hard to beat. Coleman claims the tent is spacious, waterproof, and easy to use – but is it all it’s made out to be?
In this review of this widely used tent, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
Comfort and Space
One of the most important aspects of picking a tent for car camping is your family’s comfort. You won’t be packing up your tent and moving it around much – so it’s important to have a tent that’s the right size, doesn’t overheat or leak, and is comfortable once set up.
Here’s how this model of the Sundome shapes up:
The 4-person Sundome is a dome tent with a rectangular floor layout, measuring 9’ x 7’ (274cm x 213cm) across, for a total of 63 sq. ft.(5.8 sqm) of floor space. For reference, this is slightly larger than a queen mattress, with a little room to spare on each side. You can squeeze in a standard sleeping pad next to a queen, but it’ll be tight. Two twin air mattresses can easily fit with room to spare.
The peak height of this tent is 4’ 11” (150cm) with sloped walls – it’s tall enough to be comfortable for most to sit upright in, but not tall enough to stand up in. For tall campers, you might feel a little cramped in this tent.
While this Coleman Sundome is marketed as a 4-person tent, the truth is it would be cramped to sleep four, unless you’re camping with small children. In practice, the tent would be spacious for two and sleep three comfortably.
This tent does not feature any additional rooms, screen porches, or vestibules. It has small gear pockets throughout the tent – but these are little more than mesh bags for small items like a phone or flashlight. They aren’t suitable spaces for storing gear, muddy boots, or other supplies.
The tent has one door on the front and a window on the back side of the tent and features an awning that covers both for additional weather protection.
Breathability and Ventilation
The Coleman 4-person Sundome has all the essentials when it comes to breathability and ventilation. It features two windows (one on the front door and one on the rear wall), a floor vent, and an open mesh ceiling to keep temperatures down in the summer.
These breathability features provide excellent ventilation and airflow, and help keep the tent from becoming overly muggy on humid days.
This tent boasts surprisingly solid weather resistance for its price and size. The low profile of the tent helps it hold up in windy weather, which can cause taller tents to be blown around with ease.
It comes with a rainfly and guylines that are used to secure the tent from harsher weather. According to Coleman, the Sundome 4 has been tested to withstand winds up to 35mph (56 km/h), which should be enough for all but the windiest days.
That being said, the materials used in the construction of this tent may lead to challenges in harsher weather. It uses a polyethylene tarp floor, plastic clips, and fiberglass poles that are more prone to damage or failure after long-term use. Some users have reported damage and occasional leaks after only a few uses.
As the 4-person Sundome is a low-cost price leader, you can expect lower-quality materials. This tent uses polyethylene flooring, a waterproof rainfly and walls, and mesh in the canopy, gear pockets, and windows. Most of these materials are fairly durable, but you’ll want to use caution when pitching your tent to avoid tears. The mesh is the weakest point and is prone to tearing, especially if you’re used to something more rugged.
Like most budget tents the poles are fiberglass, which are both heavier and less durable than aluminum poles. Fiberglass poles are fine for most casual campers, but for serious campers who plan on using the tent in harsher conditions, you may want to upgrade to aluminum poles.
Ease of Use
One of the biggest redeeming qualities of this tent is its ease of use. It comes in a compact carrying bag that’s easy to get the tent into and out of, and a simple setup that is very straightforward, even for beginners.
Most users find that the tent can be set up in just 10 to 15 minutes with one or two people, and experienced campers will find it goes up even faster. The continuous pole sleeves make it easy to slide each of the two long poles in place without snags or much guidance. After getting the poles in place you’ll want to attach each of the clips to give it the classic dome shape and attach the rainfly using the smaller of the three poles.
If this is your first time using your tent, we recommend pulling it out and setting it up in the backyard before your trip. This will let you make sure all of the materials are there and get you familiar with the setup process in case it needs to be set up quickly.
Packed Size and Weight
As a large budget tent meant primarily for car camping, the Sundome 4-person tent comes in at a whopping 9.8lbs (4.4kg). It’s safe to say this model isn’t meant for backpacking, being nearly double the weight of similarly sized backpacking models such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4 HV.
That being said, this tent can be packed into a surprisingly small space for storage or to fit amongst other gear. Its packed size is approximately 23.8” x 6.5” (60.5 x 16.5cm) when packed up into its carrying bag. This is just an inch or so larger than the 3-person Sundome, and makes it a great choice if you’re looking for a bigger tent that doesn’t take up too much room between trips.
The carrying bag comes with sturdy handles for ease of carrying, so while you won’t want to pack it into a backpack or hiking bag, it’s easy to move around to your campsite.
Pros and Cons
- Great budget or starter tent
- Spacious interior that can sleep 3 comfortably, fits a queen mattress
- Easy to use, set up, and break down quickly
- Compact when packed for easy storage between trips
- Well ventilated and breathable for warm days
- Good choice for occasional trips in moderate weather
- Budget materials and construction – don’t expect it to last a lifetime
- Too heavy and bulky for long hikes
- Limited storage space with no additional rooms or vestibules
- Fiberglass poles, less sturdy and heavier than aluminum
- Some users report issues with leaks
|Comfort and Space||8|
|Ease of Setup||9|
|Size and Weight||6|