This large, light and airy summer tent by Coleman looks fantastic and a lot more interesting than other tents. But with a reasonably large pack size and hefty 20kg weight could I handle it on my own? As the UK was in the midst of a heatwave I realised our usual little 6kg blackout dome tent may be too hot for this weather. My 8-year old son, who had recently declared he didn't like camping, was really excited about this tent and I had to agree it looked cool, so ordered online from Ibex Camping using a 10% discount code for £189.00.
Arriving promptly and well packaged, my first problem was getting it upstairs. It felt heavier than I had expected but I was pleased to see the tent bag had sturdy handles and wheels so its easy to manoeuvre. Although I could lift it on my own it was hard work! So, as you haven't met me, I should set the scene by telling you I am an averagely fit 5ft8" 40-something woman (ahem). We live in a first floor apartment and keep our camping kit on the second floor. Another of the many reasons I have for being a minimalist camper!
Amazingly, as the rest of my camping gear is so compact now, the tent fitted beautifully into the boot of my small car along with everything else for a simple weekend camping trip with my two children. I was sure to put the tent in last so I could get it out easily when I arrived at the campsite. On my own at the site on a hot afternoon, I had an hour to set up before my children would join me after school and was looking forward to the shade the Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 would provide.
I set up a little rest station so I could sit down with a drink in the shade if the tent pitching took too long.
How to pitch the Coleman Cortes Octagon 8
Having watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to pitch it, the process was fairly straightforward. The inner, consisting of a sewn-in groundsheet with fabric/mesh side and roof panels, is pitched first. I rolled it out flat on top of s simple groundsheet I had brought with me for protection from muddy ground, and rotated the base until I could see the two doors were in the right position. The main front door has solid poles inserted into it to create a real swing-opening door, and so this door has an extra zip and black plastic slots top and bottom for the door poles. The back door is directly opposite and doesn't have these features.
All the poles are clearly colour coded, and with the 'knuckles' in the centre and edges of the roof already attached to the tent it was simple to slot in the 8 poles for the roof and connect the side supports. The tent is like a real room, with full head height, so once I had slotted the bottom of the supporting poles into the metal pins on the groundsheet, the tent was basically up! Adding the thin poles to the front door creates the fabulous hinged door which opens silently, perfect for night time toilet trips when people are sleeping. The next step is to add the flysheet but I left it off for a while as its soo fantastic on a hot day without it on. Half the sides and most of the roof are mesh so if you're not in a rush I recommend laying down inside and watching the clouds for a while...
The Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 without the flysheet added yet. Perfect for a hot day.
That part of pitching took me 22 minutes my first time, I imagine it will be slightly quicker next time. I left it like this until my kids arrived, they thought it was wonderful and soon enough they were merrily playing inside it. In fact, this tent was used as their play area for most of the weekend as its so spacious!
It was useful to have another adult with me when I added the flysheet later in the day as it needs to be connected at the base on one side then pulled right over the top of the tent. The flysheet is attached by 2 velcro straps on each upright pole, plus it hooks onto pegs at the bottom. It probably took another 10 minutes to sort it out. Each side of the octagon zips in half to create a pair of curtains which you to tie back if its sunny, or keep zipped up it its wet and wild.
I have to admit it looked great and was good to have so much space inside. Due to its shape with sloping sides the tent is perfect for storing tubs and bags around the outside and while still having plenty of room to walk around in.
As for the size, although its sold as an 8-man, the tent couldn't really sleep 8 people comfortably. Its perfect for a double airbed plus two kids beds. That will fill the width and leave a little room for changing/stuff in the other corners of the ocatagon. Although a room divider is supplied to screen the tent in half, really the remaining spaces are not quite big enough so we didn't use the partition.
UPDATE... one month later
On this tent's second outing we had torrential rain and strong winds for 24 hours. Although the tent felt sturdy and resistant to the wind, and survived a storm in the night, by morning it had started to leak a little around the seams and we felt a few drips from overhead too. I had to pack up in torrential rain, and managed to get the tent down in 15 minutes, throwing it sopping wet into the car, knowing I'd need to pitch it again to dry out later at home.
Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Pros
• A fun family summer tent
• Spacious with full standing room
• Silent hinged door
• Cool design
• Suitable for 4-5 people
• Handy door mats
• Mesh walls let the breeze in
Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Cons
• Temperature - We used this on a really hot weekend in July and it was ideal, however on a cold and windy night I would be concerned about how cold the tent may feel inside at night There is a lot of mesh on the inner which won't keep out the wind which blows under the flysheet. I wouldn't use the tent in colder months of the year for that reason but as a summer tent its great.
• We loved the hinged door, even my two-year-old niece could open it, but the weight causes it to drop a little, closing below the velcro patch would should hold it shut. It wasn't much of a problem as the angle of the walls means it closes naturally by gravity and the door can also be fully zipped shut at night, but I wonder how long it will last.
• Space - the tent is one large room without a separate sleeping area, so be careful to keep the doors closed to prevent bugs coming inside as you will be sharing a space with them. Although a simple partition is provided to half the space, its not sealed at the edges so doesn't do much to keep bugs out.
- Leaks - with a 2000mm hydrostatic head this is not the most waterproof of tents. While ours was fine in light showers we found it sprang a few small leaks after hours of torrential rain.
An affordable, fun, family tent ideal just for summer. Not particularly light or compact for packing but worth the effort when pitched. You will get attention from other campers as its so eyecatching! Yes, a woman can pitch it alone. Just take your time and make sure the door is facing the right direction and that the door canopy poles (which have an extra junction in them) are in the right place. Could even be used as a gazebo as its so spacious. Not the best choice for wet or colder weather.
Camping Magazine Editor's Choice awards this tent 2015 WINNER, Tent of the Year!
Living/Sleeping area: 15.7m²
Inner first pitch
PE Integrated Groundsheet
Polyester Flysheet, PU coated, 2000mm
Includes a Wheeled carry bag
Pack Size: 85 x 30 x 30cm
Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent
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