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66648REPOST - Owner Review - Coleman Rock Springs 8-Person Tent (revised again)

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  • dalejenhedrick
    May 31, 2005
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      So I took my tent camping again this past weekend for a long weekend
      trip to Wildcat Mountain in western WI and had my wife read the
      review I had written and also discussed with a friend of mine who
      recently purchased the same tent - there were some changes that I
      decided needed to be made - here they are...


      Owner Review - Coleman Rock Springs 8-Person Tent

      Reviewer Information
      Name: Dale Hedrick
      Age: 25 years old
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6 feet 2 inches (1.8 meters)
      Weight: 275 pounds (125 kilograms)
      Email Address: dhedrick AT wi DOT rr DOT com
      City, State, Country: Kenosha, WI USA
      Date: May 11, 2005

      Backpacking Background
      I have been camping my entire life - only sporadically as a child,
      but over the past 4 years I have been camping more and more. I am
      married and have 2 young children who often accompany me on my
      trips, so we generally car camp and I take dayhikes from there,
      although I am starting to take more weekend backpacking trips too.
      We car camp at least once a month, and I try to make it backpacking
      at least once a month as well. I also hike on local trails from 5-
      10 miles (8-16 kilometers) 1-2 times per week - about half of the
      time with a 30 pound (13.6 kilogram) pack. I consider myself to be
      a lightweight backpacker, but will never be ultralight because I
      refuse to give up many of the amenities that I enjoy. Most of
      my current camping/backpacking is done in the Wisconsin State Parks
      on relatively flat land. Temperatures generally range from 32
      degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35
      Celsius). Most of my backpacking is done between April and October,
      with an average temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21

      Product Information
      Manufacturer: Coleman
      Year of Manufacture: 2004
      Manufacturer's Website: www.coleman.com
      Listed Weight: 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms)
      Actual Weight: 31.2 pounds (14.2 kilograms)

      Product Description
      Occupancy 8 person tent
      Rooms 3 rooms, & a screened porch (total 4 rooms)
      3 doors to the outside
      Material 185T polyester, 1000D polyethylene sheeting
      Poles Fiberglass
      Listed Dimensions (open) 72 inches (183 centimeters)H
      x 204 inches (518centimeters)W
      x 168 inches (427centimeters)D
      Actual Dimensions (packed) 11 inches (28 centimeters)H
      x23 inches (58 centimeters)W
      x 13 inches (33 centimeters)D

      Field Information
      I have used this tent as my family's sole tent for the past 10
      months. During this time we have camped in southeastern Wisconsin on
      numerous occasions and throughout the rest of the state a few times.
      The terrain has been very similar every time - level, slightly rocky
      terrain. It has been used in beautiful 70 degree Fahrenheit (21
      Celsius) weather, in downpours when it was only 40 degrees
      Fahrenheit (4 Celsius), and pretty much anything in between.

      My biggest concern when first considering this tent was the weight -
      at over 30 pounds (14 kilograms), it truly is a beast. I would never
      consider using this tent for anything but camping when a vehicle was
      within 2 miles (3 1/4 kilometers) of the campground - any further
      and it would be too much of a burden to make it worthwhile. While
      this tent packs down small for its size, it is still a monster and
      will take up a large part of any pack. Due to the sheer space that
      this tent takes up, it often requires a separate trip to the car.
      The only time that I would even consider taking this tent further
      than a few miles would be if I was using it at a base camp for an
      extended (a month or longer) trip, but even then I would favor just
      using lightweight tents or hammocks. I've been able to park within ΒΌ
      mile (1/2 kilometer) of our campsite each time I've used it, so the
      weight was not much of an issue so far. The biggest selling point
      for us on this tent was the size - while there are only 4 of us who
      use this tent regularly, it is nice to have some extra space in case
      the kids have friends that tag along. It is also very nice for me to
      have a tent that is tall enough that I can stand up inside with no
      effort. While the tent doesn't stay at full height for the entire
      inside of the tent, the taper to shorter heights is very gradual,
      ending at approximately 60 inches (1.5 meters) high where the walls
      drop down - this is high enough to be comfortable while moving
      around just about anywhere inside. This tent met all of my criteria
      for choosing a family car camping tent, and then some.

      The second concern was how difficult setup would be. I
      am "technically challenged" to begin with, and I have had a very
      hard time setting up large family-style tents in the past. Imagine
      my terror when we realized that the instructions had not been
      included with our tent! Quite honestly, I was amazed with the setup
      of this tent. It definitely requires two people to set it up, but
      for the two of us, it was a breeze - from opening the tent to
      having it fully set up took us less than 5 minutes. A true testament
      to the ease of set up is that even with 6 poles and a huge tent, we
      had no trouble even without any directions. The biggest confusion
      that I had, which I only recently had cleared up by a discussion
      with a friend who has since purchased the same tent and an e-mail to
      Coleman, was the number of rooms that the tent is intended to have.
      It seems that my tent came packaged with an extra partition that it
      was not meant to have. While I found a way that seemed to make some
      sense to set it up (creating a "foyer" in the tent), in fact, this
      wall was not supposed to be there at all - which makes much more
      sense - I always felt that the foyer was an unnecessary feature, and
      never used it, and it turns out now that it doesn't really exist
      after all. That is the danger of not having any directions.

      If there were to be a dictionary definition of torture testing a
      family tent, having two young & rambunctious children spend an
      entire weekend in it while it is cold and raining would probably be
      at the top of the list. This is exactly what happened to us on one
      trip. The floor is a bathtub style floor where it extends up the
      sides of the tent for a short distance so that the seams are not
      directly on the ground where they might end up sitting in puddles of
      water, and this worked out wonderfully for us - there was no leaking
      of any sort through the whole ordeal, and there was no shortage of
      toys (and children) bouncing off the walls, and fingers leaving
      smudges on the fabric - it stayed comfortable and put up with as
      much abuse as we could give it. Another blessing was the screened
      porch, which is basically a jumbo fly screen made of no-see-um
      netting that drops to the ground, but is designed to be staked in
      the corners which creates two walls and a door with a zipper up the
      center. The porch does not have a floor, but simply relies on
      flashing at the bottom of the walls to make contact with the ground
      and help keep out water and ground bugs. This is pretty effective
      for bugs, and while it didn't keep 100% of the water off the ground,
      it stopped the ground from becoming a large mud puddle like the rest
      of our campsite, which meant that the inside of our tent stayed
      pretty dry with minimal mud being tracked in. There is a fully
      zippered door to access the tent from the porch, which can be tied
      back for easy entry, but does not have a no-see-um netting layer to
      allow for ventilation while still having the tent closed off from
      the porch. Not only have the material and seams (which come factory
      taped and sealed) held up wonderfully to water, but the fabric has
      demonstrated its durability by withstanding the abuses of children
      playing inside the tent, and also playing with sticks swinging
      towards it on the outside. Another added bonus is that there are a
      plethora of mesh pockets inside, so there is no lack of storage for
      anything that I want to have at my fingertips. This tent allows for
      fantastic ventilation, as there are three doors. The main door
      provides ventilation only when unzipped to access the porch, but
      the other two doors have a half-zip option that allows for the top
      to be opened which lets plenty of air through the no-see-um netting.
      Since there are doors on three different sides, if they are all
      opened there is wonderful cross ventilation. The majority of the
      roof of the tent (80%+) is also constructed of the same netting
      which aids in ventilation too. It doesn't appear to do much for
      ventilation when the rain fly is on, but it does give you some
      additional features. This netting allows you to sleep under the
      stars while still being protected from bug (provided the weather is
      clear) - and probably the best feature of all is that it allows you
      to very effectively air out your tent prior to packing up by simply
      removing the rain fly and allowing the tent to sit for a while. All
      of the tabs for the windows & doors have worked flawlessly. They are
      long enough to easily work them, and I have had no problems with
      them loosening themselves or allowing the tied back portion to
      droop. Unlike many tents with multiple rooms, this tent has
      removable walls, which allows us to divide the tent into as many (or
      as few) rooms as we would like. The walls are attached using tabs
      similar to the ones used to hold the doors open, and secure in place
      quite well. While there is the possibility to divide the tent up
      into 3 rooms, we usually only set it up with 1 or 2 rooms - it is
      very nice to have this added flexibility to make rooms different
      sizes depending on the circumstances.

      Overall, this tent is fantastic - there are only a few small
      downsides. First, and most obviously is the weight, but that's the
      price I pay to have a huge tent to sleep in, and for me it is worth
      it when car camping with my entire family. Second, there is no
      screen to zip around the primary entrance, as the screen porch
      serves that purpose - I would much prefer to have a second screen so
      that the screen porch could be tied open, or so that I could sleep
      with only the screen zipped shut, but not let in the few bugs that
      might crawl under the porch. Another problem, which is only an issue
      when camping in cold weather, is that because of the sheer size of
      this tent, it can be quite chilly. This has not been much of an
      issue for me, as I am more than happy to put on more clothes if I am
      cold at night, but is definitely something to be aware of. Finally,
      the stakes that are provided with the tent do not hold up well. They
      are nail type stakes (6 inch (.15 meters) steel if I remember
      correctly), and they are very prone to bending in the rocky soil
      that covers most of Wisconsin, but since I have had this problem
      with ALL of my previous tents, I was prepared and brought my
      preferred heavy duty plastic stakes (Reliance Power Peg - 9 inch
      (.23 meters)) along just in case they bent. My only other complaint
      is that the tent is advertised as an 8 person tent, but it is really
      sized that it should be a 6 person tent. It could accommodate 8
      people, but would not be comfortable at that size except for
      sleeping, and with a tent this large I need everyone to be able to
      be active inside in the event of bad weather. Based on the way tents
      are sized, the listed capacity seems accurate - for 8 people to be
      able to be active inside a tent, I know that I would need to
      purchase a 10-12 person tent. This is the exact reason that I chose
      this 8 person tent when we never have more than 6 people (and
      usually only 4).

      While this tent will never be my only tent (it's too heavy to even
      be considered for a weekend backpacking trip), it will remain my
      only car camping tent for as long as it lasts. It has proven to be
      the perfect match for my family, and has been extremely durable. At
      a glance, this tent looks like it has only been used once or twice
      even after 10 months of steady use because it has held up so well -
      in reality it's seen a great deal of use, but is still in near
      perfect condition. I have had no problems with zippers or with the
      material/seams fraying/tearing, and I have no reason to expect any.
      I am very pleased with the quality and durability that this tent has
      demonstrated to this point.
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