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Coleman Instant Dome 4P Review

This model is no longer available; however we carry the current version “Coleman Instant Dome 5 Integrated Fly”


Set up
5 / 5
5 / 5
Rain Fly4 / 5
Ventilation4 / 5
Packing3 / 5


  • Easy-up design
  • Plenty of vents for airflow
  • Integrated rain fly
  • Durable floor

In short: The Coleman Instant Dome 4P takes the guesswork out of setting up shelter, and it gets you off on the right foot when starting out your camping trip. Pitching the tent required exactly zero minutes looking at the instructions or for missing parts. The beauty of the Instant Dome is that the tent is already put together for you. All you need to worry about is who sleeps next to whom.

Part of the joy that we had when camping with our folks was figuring out the old Coleman canvas tent puzzle. Before there were elastic ropes binding the correct pieces together, we sorted out the 1 inch aluminum poles by size and bend, and then methodically thread the poles through the channels and, as a group, lifted the sides in unison to have good tension on all walls.

Thinking back to those family camping trips still brings me joy, but so does the advancements that have been made in tent technology.

When you’ve pulled into the campsite late the last thing you want to worry about is struggling with unmarked or loose poles. That’s where the Coleman Instant Dome series comes in to play. Right out of the bag, the only loose parts you’ll see are the stakes. The rain fly and poles are all already attached to the tent. All you need to do is unfold the hinges along roof and extend the corner poles. There are instructions, but the Coleman Instant Dome series is so intuitive that you’ll know how to set up the tent without them.

As with all tents, we recommend going up a size, and there’s a reason for this. Tents are sized by the max number of people who can fit in the tent while sleeping. It doesn’t account for any gear like extra clothes, your portables, lanterns, etc. And it assumes that you really, really like these people. Adding an extra ‘person’ to your tent count will help give a little extra elbow room, which you’ll appreciate halfway through your first night. As an example, the Coleman Instant Dome 4P fits a queen sized air mattress plus some tight walking room. To us, that’s two to three people tops.

Key stress points (zippers, tent ties, and stake loops) were reinforced with extra material and stitching as were window and mesh areas. The flooring is a waterproof plastic that continues up the sides about 6 inches to provide additional protection from running water. Tip: Dig channels around your tent to direct any rain water away from your gear.

The integrated rain fly is a nice touch; however, we felt that it didn’t provide the same amount of rain / heavy dew protection as unattached rain flies. Rain or heavy dew can wick through tent walls if there’s something on the inside leaning against the tent. To protect against rain, rain flies should cover the tent without actually touching the tent walls. Because the rain fly for the Coleman Instant Dome series is already attached to the tent, it necessarily touches the tent ceiling and walls, which can bring some water into the tent.

Unless you’re into rain or snow camping, this probably won’t be an issue for your. From our experience, nothing is going to be 100% dry when the conditions are wet.

Overall, we are happy with the Coleman Instant Dome series, and we expect the Coleman name to be part of our gear for years to come.