Top critical review
285 people found this helpful
So cool, but, leaks. A lot.
on June 21, 2012
We were very excited about this canopy. We set it up over our picnic table while car camping at Salt Creek. I had bought it because the wife hates camping in the rain and the forecast called for such on Saturday.
The frame is ultra slick. My six year old son and I got it up in about 10 minutes. The whole thing unfolds without too much effort, and then up it goes. The lights are attached to the frame and with the exception of the battery pack (which is very cool) it's all one piece. It comes with very large straight stakes that fit nicely into holes in the foot tabs at the bottom of each post.
The canopy material itself is nice and thick, and once the thing is up it is pretty attractive for what it is. The Velcro straps that attach it to the frame are well placed and surprisingly snug. It has four guy lines and the included stakes for it, while not the impressive vampire killers for the frame itself, are adequate.
Taking the thing down is easier than it going up. The canopy doesn't snag on anything as you slide it off. Once all the locks are popped and you're ready to pack it up the thing collapses right back to its original shape without a hitch. Further, the carrying case has a recessed plate at the bottom which securely holds the unit upright. There's no cursing trying to get the thing back in. It just fits.
This is a remarkably well engineered product.
So given all that, why two stars? This is a sun shade and nothing more. On Saturday under mostly intermittent, occasionally persistent, but mostly LIGHT, rain it readily leaked at the seams. By the end of the day the LED cups had filled with water. How disappointing!
Please note that nowhere on this item, or in its documentation, does it say NOT to use it in the rain. It says not to use in high wind, not to use under a tree (right, as if...), not to use where lightning is present, etc... It never says not to use it in the rain. To be fair, also note that no where does it say it IS waterproof either! However, come on, the thing is made by Coleman for God's sake, people are going to use it camping, and when people camp, their stuff is potentially, perhaps likely, going to get hit with some rain.
On taking it down I examined the canopy. The material is sound. The problem is, there was absolutely no attention given to the seams whatsoever. The are just stitched together. Stitching = thousands of holes. There has been no attempt to seal them at all, and therefore, there's been no attempt to make this canopy sound for use in even moderate rain. The water drips right through every seam and then runs along the inside of the shelter, dropping where it collects. After a while it is raining inside your canopy. Since the LED cups are along those seams as well, they fill with water.
I know that one of the reviews here claims this item is waterproof. This means to me that perhaps he hasn't used the item under rainy conditions, or maybe (unlikely) I got the one in a million that Coleman forgot to seal. There is no way, with these seams, that this product can repel rain for more than 15 minutes or so.
Forewarned: If all you need this thing for is a sun shade, get it. It's damned slick and performs well. However, if you ever plan to use it for any length of time when, or where, it might rain at all, buy it knowing going in that you will have a lot of work ahead of you to seal all the seams, or, plan for things under the canopy getting wet. Oh, and those nifty LED lights for which you paid extra are going for a swim.