343 of 367 people found the following review helpful
Great Tent: Safe Shelter for My Family
, April 26, 2011
This review is from: Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent (Sports)
I bought this tent May 19, 2010. We bought it as a starter tent. I am a service dog trainer and handler with 2 kids and a husband that rarely joins us on our camping adventures. I often have 2-3 service dogs in training with me that also stay in the tent. We manage to fit 3 single air matresses and a full size matress with room for 3 bags and 2 large dogs (sleeping on the floor) in the tent; with a 4 inch walk way somewhere in there. I am a very experienced camper as I grew up camping since I was 2. I am now 31. I however grew up camping in pop-up campers, 5th wheels and rvs. I knew nothing of tents. After much research, I decided on this tent. We went camping about 16 times in this tent before it met it's untimely end. Over the 16 camping trips, at least 6-8 of those trips we spent in 20 mile per hour winds. The tent held up like a champ. The only issue in high winds is that the rain fly pole likes to pop off on one side. This sometimes pops off another pole if the rain fly pole hits the other poles just right. If it's not raining I have found that if you just let the rain fly pole hang on both sides the tent will hold itself up well. The issue with this is that the rain fly pole then blocks the door and you need to duck under the pole to climb in; it's far less annoying than resetting the rain fly pole every 5 minutes in high winds. The reason that you would even take this step is because the only way to prevent the wind from blowing the tent apart in high winds is to use the tag lines on the rain fly. There is no way to brace and support the tent in high winds without the rain fly.
This tent has weathered at least 10 different severe downpours (over a 3 day period) with high winds directly on the beach with no issues. The tent has weathered an additional 5-7 other bad thunder storms. The tent stayed dry every time. I love this tent!
I meantioned the tent met it's untimely end. I took the tent on a 4 day camping trip to Padre Island National Sea Shore over Easter weekend 2011. The entire trip there we had 15-30 mile per hour winds. At night the winds seemed to kick up to about 30 mph and stay that way until mid morning. The tent at times was almost halfway folded over. The ceiling, which I usually can't even begin to touch, kept hitting my head when I was exiting the tent door. The tent held firm and never threatened to give way. The tent protected my family in very high wind conditions. However, this wind storm proved to be too much for the big tent that could. One small, 1mm, tear appeared on the back side of the tent near the seams, where the tent took the most punishment. The tent also suffered moderate tears in the main mast pole sleeves and similar tears appeared on one of the side pole sleeves. The rainfly also suffered damage to the strapping that ties down that green section of the rain fly roof to the ground.
I rate this tent at 5 stars because it went through hell more than once. The tent spent it's final days nearly folded in half and still held and protected my family. A tent can only do so much. It is important to note that the brand new Bass Pro Shops tent I bought to house our beach gear and serve as a portable dog house for my service dog, also suffered catastrophic failures. The Bass Pro Shops tent has an 8 inch rip in the floor and the tent pole sleeves are destroyed. My canopy that has been used once before this trip was also destroyed and needs to be replaced. The Coleman Montana 8 suffered the least damage of all my equipment.
This tent was almost a year old when it met it's untimely death. That meant it was still under warrenty. I called the company and explained the damage that was done by the wind. They are replacing the body of the tent and the rainfly at no cost to me other than to ship it back. Coleman customer service rocks!
The Coleman Montana 8 tent takes 2 people to set up. However, a 4 year old could easily assist. The second person only needs to push the poles into the ground once set into their pins by an adult or older child and hang on while the older person walks around and sets the other side of the pole in it's pin on the opposing side. The other thing they need to do is to help hold the rain fly in high winds while you set the tag lines and the main velcro straps. Once the main velcro straps are set, you can show the kids how to attach to rest of the velcro while you set the lines. I had 3 children with me at Whitney Lake State park when we spotted a black wall of water coming towards us from accross the lake. The rain fly was not on. I quickly gathered the children and raced back to our camp site. I gave the children very specific directions of where to stand and what to hold. I told them stand here, hold this really tight, don't let go whatever you do. They all listened as the winds kicked up really bad and the sky opened up into a downpour. The kids followed my directions and saved the tent that day. Because of their actions, they slept in dry beds that night. The kids were ages 5, 6, & 7. None of them had ever put on a rain fly before. Once the main velcro was set and I had 2 tag lines set I gave them quick instructions on how to attach the velcro on the tent while I finished the tag lines. It's that easy to do!
Things I would change:
***This tent has a very high wind imprint as there is very little ventilation on the back wall. A larger vent on the back wall would have likely prevented my tent from folding over in half in the 30 MPH winds and likely would have saved the tent from getting damaged.
***The tent is very hot with the rain fly on and is very cool with it off. In high winds you must use the rain fly and deal with the added heat. I'd add some tag lines on the main body of the tent for stabilization in high winds to allow for better ventilation on hot nights. Tip: we have learned that the use of 2 oscalating fans drops the tent temperature by at least 10 degrees. Coleman makes a free standing battery operated fan (that we own) that we use when no power is availaible.
***Improve the rainfly pole or remove the roof in front of the door entirely. A different approach could be the option to use the rainfly with or without the roof in front of the door. This would eliminate the need for the rainfly pole in front of the door when the roof over the door is not in use.
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