Surely every parent who has ever been camping with their young children has prayed, at 4.00am, for a darker tent. After years of our children refusing to sleep until dark then waking excitedly in the early hours as the sun comes up, I am THRILLED that somebody has finally invented a blackout tent. It’s about time.
So, Coleman has marvellously launched a range of blackout tents this year from small 2-man to spacious 6-man. In line with my new minimalist camping philosophy, I chose the smallest tent I could for 4 people with the smallest pack size, which is the Coleman Kobuk Valley 4 Plus. We are using it for short weekend camping trips.
Size: As a 4-man the sleeping area will just fit the four of us in, my 6ft husband, 5ft 7″ me and two small children. It's not roomy, but its possible. The tent has a small porch which was plenty big enough for our minimal bags and boots. We also purchased the Coleman Universal Tarp to give us some extra space for the children to play in on rainy days. Read review here.
The pack size is great (58 x 20 x 19 cm) and at least half the size of our old Vango Orchy. Its not super-lightweight (6kg) so I wouldn’t want to trek with it, but the weight reflects the quality of the product inside. It has a Hydrostatic Head of 4500mm which means it is very waterproof.
Blackout: Before I continue I absolutely HAVE to tell you about the blackout. It is INCREDIBLE. Pitch black even in daytime, when you have zipped the door shut it is 95% dark, with just a little light filtering in through the front edges of the mesh panels.
It was so dark inside it was hard to see anything at all. Usually when sleeping in a tent I wake a few times in the night to wrestle the kids back into their sleeping bags but you can’t even see them! I happened to have a glow stick in with us which was great as a night light.
Both kids (age 5 and 7 years) fell asleep very quickly in this tent and slept through until 7.45am (2 hours later than usual when camping). Perfect!
Pros: Amazing blackout sleeping area helps you all get a better nights sleep. Babies/toddlers needing daytime naps when camping would benefit from this too. Small pack size, great quality materials and very easy to pitch. If you want the blackout but aren’t sure about the size, try one of the larger styles in the range such as the Coleman Cabral, Rosedale or Spruce Mountain.
Cons: The extreme blackness takes a bit of getting used to and makes the main area of this small tent off-limits during the day. (This tent is all about sleep!) Sleeping area is prone to overnight condensation
Price: approx. £120
4 person family dome tent with 1 bedroom and 7.8m2 living/sleeping space
Blackout Bedrooms – eliminate 99% of sunlight from the bedroom
Highly flexible and lightweight fibreglass poles keep strong in wind and storms
4500mm water column waterproofing from the elements
Offers SPF 50 protection from the sun’s rays