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Coleman Sundome 7x7 And Montana Tents

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on July 1, 2006
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Contributors: Matt Conrad

Many of us use our 4x4s for "getting there," to explore forests on backcountry logging trails, to climb mountain trails as high as they go, for a week at a secluded shore, or to become part of a remote desert with its caves and ruins. And once we've gotten there, some of us like to camp-to experience the whisper of wind through the trees, the running water and endless surf, or the morning song of birds. And many of us prefer the shelter of a tent rather than the hard shell of a camper.

This month we're spotlighting two tents, Coleman's three-person Sundome 7x7 and six-person Montana. Both are quick and easy to erect, keep you dry in heavy rain, withstand high winds, are snug in cool weather, and well ventilated when it's warm. Both allow easy entry and have large windows for views and breezes. Each has a rainfly you can add if there's a chance of rain. Fabric on both tents is 1,000 threads to the inch (denier) nylon taffeta with 450mm waterproof polyurethane coating. The rainfly is the same fabric and coating. Fine stitching, factory-taped seams, and 5-inch "bathtub" floor keep out water. The floor on each is 1,000-denier "rhino hide" tough polyurethane.

Our recently acquired 22-pound, six-person Montana blew our minds. OK, we've got to admit it, my lady partner and I have never used our Montana for six people. I don't think we'd ever use anything smaller than a three-bedroom house for six. Yet for two weeks or so, the 14x7-foot Montana with a 5-foot, 4-inch center-height, Montana can be your cabin in the woods, your house at the beach, or your hideout in the mountains with a 100-mile view. With double sleeping bags at one end, you've got room for giant ice chests, fullsize beach chairs you can drag in for reading if it rains, two bicycles, or probably, a couple of Harleys, if you're willing to tote your tent in a motorcycle trailer. The four tent pole, two rainfly-pole Big Sky is a 20-minute setup after you've practiced a time or two. It's hardly a backpack tent, but with a bit of planned folding it can be tightly rolled to fit into its supplied 30x12-inch duffle.

Whether you're 'wheeling for a weekend, a week, or longer, instead of giving up the "outdoors" by sleeping in a hard-shell camper or SUV, use your tent to let the scents and sounds of the backcountry keep you company through the night.

Model: Coleman Montana
MSRP: $103
Capacity, persons: 6
Material: 1,000 thread-count denier nylon, 450mm urethane coating
Dimensions, length x width (ft): 14x7
Height (in): 64
Weight (lb): 22

We'll tell you the same thing running-shoe mail-order houses say about some brands of shoes: go up one size. Most two-person tents are several inches wider than a double bed, but by the time you stow jackets, other clothes, daypacks, water containers, shoes, and additional stuff along the sides, sleeping space gets a bit narrow. Coleman's three-person tent is 7 feet wide, providing plenty of space for everything. Three fiberglass poles, two for the tent and one for the rainfly-each with interlocking shock-corded segments-provide all the structural strength we've needed. (We've seen three-person tents with as many as four poles that made us feel like we were taking an intelligence test when trying to set them up.) Almost as though we'd ordered it for testing, the first time we used our Sundome, a night thunderstorm came up and the tent, with us in it, flexed a bit but held its shape.

Forget about packing your Sundome in the bag in which it came-about like packing a sleeping bag in a shoebox. An ordinary 24x12-inch duffle bag makes for easy packing with plenty of room for poles and tent pegs in their own bags, plus we recommended a compact seam sealer and repair kit.

Model: Coleman Sundome 7x7
MSRP: $46
Capacity, persons: 3
Material: 1,000 thread-count denier nylon, 450mm urethane coating
Dimensions, length x width (ft): 7x7
Height (in): 52
Weight (lb): 9.4


The Coleman Company Inc.

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