Coleman Cobra 3 review: a solid shelter for duo adventures

Coleman’s tunnel tent is sturdy, weather-resistant, and ideal for two adventurers on the go

Coleman Cobra 3 review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

While it could be lighter or more spacious, the Cobra 3 provides a reliable and robust shelter for two-person hikes and wild camping trips, making it a solid choice for those who don't mind carrying a slightly heavier load.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Wind stable construction

  • +

    Affordable price point

  • +

    Dark interior is great for sleeping in the summer

  • +

    Waterproof flysheet and groundsheet

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Pitching might not be totally obvious for beginners

  • -

    Not roomy enough for three

  • -

    Too bulky for backpacking

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

With camping season in full swing (at least, in theory), I thought it was high time to test the Coleman Cobra 3. This three-person, three-season tent boasts wind-resistant and waterproof credentials, making it the optimal shelter for the ever-changing British weather.

Coleman advertises the Cobra 3 as a backpacking tent, and although I’m sure there are big enough hiking backpacks to fit the thing, it’s not the most slender and lightweight shelter I’ve tested. It would also be a push to fit three people in there, especially if they are as tall as I am.

Despite its size, the Coleman Cobra 3 offers a compelling package. Its wedge shape provides excellent wind stability, and both the flysheet and integrated groundsheet are waterproof, a crucial feature for the unpredictable UK weather.

The tent's affordability and these unique features might just be the convincing factors for campers. So, is the Coleman Cobra 3 the right choice for you? Let’s delve deeper to find out!

Coleman Cobra 3 review

Price and availability

The Coleman Cobra 3 is available to buy for the recommended price of £180 (approx. $). Coleman has an American website, but the Cobra 3 doesn’t seem to be listed. In the UK, the tent is available to buy via third-party retailers and is often on offer. For the best prices, check out the price widgets at the top and bottom of this review.


  • Sleeps: 3 people
  • Packed weight: 4.3 kg
  • Pack size (H x W x D): 52 x 16 x 16 cm
  • Seasons: 3-season
  • Water column: 3,000 mm (flysheet), 5,000 mm (groundsheet)
  • Poles: Aluminium

Design and features

Coleman Cobra 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Coleman Cobra 3 is a packable tent that comes in its own carry case with handles. The assembly instructions are sawn into the case. The shelter isn’t terribly big when packed (52 x 16 x 16 cm), but you’ll definitely feel its weight (4.3 kg) and volume in your backpack.

The tent comes with two aluminium poles. These are colour-coded and easy to clip together. The flysheet also has five integrated reflective guylines: four at the wider end of the Cobra 3 and one at the back.

According to Coleman, the total pitch size is 5.8 m², of which the sleeping area is 3.9 m². You’ll find two vestibules on each side for gear and shoes/boots – they can be accessed via the large roll-up doors.

The flysheet and groundsheet are waterproof (3,000 mm and 5,000 mm, respectively), and the wedge-shaped exterior is also wind resistant. The flysheet is fire retardant and will self-extinguish if exposed to flame, according to the brand.

The inner is made from breathable polyester and also has roll-up doors. The No-see-Um mesh is said to keep small insects out without sacrificing breathability. Coleman says it also helps reduce the risk of condensation.


Coleman Cobra 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Coleman says you should be able to pitch in under 10 minutes. It might just have been me being slightly rusty at the beginning of the camping season in early March, but I probably spent 20+ minutes trying to erect the shelter, as I just couldn’t figure out how to make the inner taut. It just kept looking all wonky, no matter how I adjusted.

Another issue I had was the flysheet's tautness. You clip this into the longer pole, and when I did, it was pulled so much that it made it hard to undo the zip on the doors. It was so stretched that I thought it might ruin the zip.

I got so frustrated that I ended up using the The North Face Homestead Domey 3-Person Tent instead on that occasion.

Upon returning home, I was determined to find out what went wrong. After some research, I realised I had forgotten to peg the tent’s inner lining loops and didn’t adjust the strap that runs between the two ends in which you stick the aluminium poles.

Once I internalised the process, it took me and my son around 10 minutes to put up the tent the second time around.

The two colour-coded, pre-shaped aluminium poles are easy to identify and insert into their respective mesh sleeves. Once you adjust the straps at the bottom (which I forgot the first time), you lightly peg the flysheet down using the square aluminium pegs.

(Don’t forget the inner’s loops.)

Once done, you adjust the shape of the Cobra 3 to your liking. One thing to keep in mind is wind direction; you want to position it in line with the wind so it stays more stable. You want to wedge shape to slice the air, not block it by facing sideways.

Performance and comfort

Coleman Cobra 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Coleman Cobra 3 is supposed to be a 3-person tent, but once I popped two sleeping bags and two small bags inside, I realised there was no way three people would be able to sleep in it.

That’s fine by me, as I don’t often share outdoor shelters with two other campers, but I wouldn’t recommend the Cobra 3 for three people. It’s just about spacious enough for two, with the two sleeping bags laid out touching almost all corners of the tent.

The large doors are excellent for keeping the air moving, and I love it when there is a vestibule to store your wet gear away from harm’s way. There are two of those here, meaning you and your camping partner can both access your gear without bothering the other.

The dark tent inner helps you fall asleep, although it isn’t a blackout tent as such. The flysheet has ventilation holes at the back and front, which can be opened using the guy lines—a nice touch.

The 107 cm headroom isn’t massive, but it's good enough for a tunnel tent such as the Cobra 3. Of course, due to the shelter's wedge shape, two people would find it hard to sit comfortably in it.


Coleman Cobra 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

As a considerably tall person (6”0’), I’m a sucker for headspace and, therefore, prefer dome tents over tunnel tents. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend the Cobra 3; it’s a decent, affordable, waterproof and wind-resistant shelter for two campers who like to be out and about when the weather isn’t perfect for camping.

It would be amazing if the Cobra 3 would be lighter or more spacious. In its current form, it’s too pokey for a 3-person tent and too heavy and bulky for a 2-person backpacking shelter. That said, if you like to hike with another person, wild camp, and don’t mind carrying a heavier tent, the Cobra 3 might be a good option for you.

Also consider

If you're looking for a lightweight tent for two, the North Face Trail Lite 2-Person Tent is a fantastic option. It features a waterproof fly and floor, easy-to-assemble aluminium poles, and large, ventilated doors. With spacious vestibules for gear storage and internal ceiling pockets for convenience, it offers comfort and protection in various weather conditions. Its ergonomic design ensures easy setup and comfortable use, making it a reliable investment for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a high-quality, long-lasting shelter.

Need something even lighter? The Sea to Summit Alto TR2 weighs a mere 1.3 kg while offering ample space to sit up and move around. Its cross-pole design enhances headroom and ventilation. Easy to pitch and dismantle, the Alto TR2 features oversized doors, mesh pockets, and excellent weatherproofing, making it ideal for one camper with extra room or a snug fit for two.

For even more options, have a look around in T3's best tent guide.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.