COLEMAN’S “MONTANA” – A TENT AS SPACIOUS AS THE STATE IT’S NAMED FOR


Coleman Montana 8 Tent

Whether for a parent who places a premium on providing plenty of space, or even just a pack of pals, this pavilion is downright palatial. Wordplay aside, if you’re looking for space and comfort for a sizable group on your next excursion, the Montana is tough to beat. Well over 100 square feet of floor space mean that up to eight can sleep comfortably all in the same structure, though be warned—with no dividers separating the area into distinct rooms, you might want to be sure you’re very comfortable with all of the occupants.

NOT JUST BIG…

Of course, this tent isn’t just about space. Anybody could manufacture one that’s big, but it takes true engineering to scale up the quality and durability of a top-of-the-line model to a larger surface area. After all, bigger means that more can go wrong; longer seams to spring leaks, more surface area to catch the wind, and so on. A genuinely solid cabin-style shelter doesn’t just fit eight people, it keeps them warm, dry and comfortable, and you’d better believe this one stands up.Coleman’s WeatherTec system doesn’t just mean quality materials like high-density polyester taffeta, it also assures the camper that no expense or effort has been spared in ensuring their comfort. Design choices like fully-taped and inverted seams, zipper cuffs, and an exterior that’s shaped to shear off wind all contribute to the heavy-duty weatherproofing.

CONVENIENT TOO…

Nobody wants to go out into the wilderness and have to spend time fighting their gear. This is especially true when setting up a shelter, which can become much more difficult depending on the design of the thing itself, as well as the local conditions. High winds and a complex set-up could combine to frustrate a camper before they’ve even had a chance to settle in!Clearly Coleman had that problem in mind when they designed the Montana, which for all its size is a breeze to set up with even just two people, and can even be done by one person alone.

Another popular feature is the innovative hinged door,  which avoids the danger of a broken zipper—the downfall of many solidly-built abodess—by causing the door to snap shut into waiting Velcro connection-points. Of course, there is a zipper as well, when you want to provide that little extra bit of sealing to keep out bugs, but less need to use the zipper means less chance of it breaking, and that’s definitely a good thing.Many users are also very fond of the way the rain fly is designed to extend outward over the door. That doesn’t just mean more protection, it also provides a nice, shady spot to relax in, and is even big enough for a pair of folding chairs. When your camping gear comes with its own patio, you know you’re enjoying real luxury. In addition, there are similar overhangs extending out to the sides, rather than outright covering the expanses of highly-breathable mesh. As such, you’ll enjoy more airflow even with the fly deployed.And, for car-campers and others who want a little extra technology in their excursion, you’ll also find electrical access ports for easy connection to an outside power source.

ALTHOUGH…

It’s probably inevitable that a model with as many great features as this one would have some shortcomings too. With all its breathability, some find that it can be too hot with the fly on, and too cool with it off. Of course, you can’t please everybody, but a shelter that’s designed to fit up to eight should factor in how stifling sharing close quarters with a large number of people can be.Moreover, the lack of rear ventilation not only contributes to some peoples’ complaints about insufficient airflow, it can also create a structural weakness by exposing a large amount of surface area to strong winds. Additionally, in such conditions, the fly is all but necessary to help provide structural support to the body, which means a warm, windy day could get uncomfortable quickly.Finally, some complain that Coleman seems to have skimped on stakes—a risky thing, with a shelter that faces as much exposure to wind as this one does. For camping in windier seasons, stronger stakes may be advisable.

SO…

In our opinion, the Coleman Montana is capable of meeting most needs, and if you’re camping with a group, or plan to be outdoors for an extended period it’s hard to argue with all the space it has to offer. You can expect it to keep you warm and dry, and clever engineering has definitely mitigated common flaws like broken zippers and leaky seams. However, confronting the very toughest conditions may not be quite ideal, and any tent designed to fit eight people is going to face some real logistical and design issues. Still, if you’re looking for a pavilion-style offering, the Coleman has a lot to offer.