Brand new for 2021, the Coleman Meadowood 4 BlackOut is a tunnel tent designed for family camping trips. With space for four and an RRP of £429.99, it's the most compact and cheapest of the Meadowood range. For more space, you can opt for the Meadowood 4L BlackOut (which also sleeps four but offers some extra wiggle-room, with 18.8m2 of space rather than 14.1m2) or the six-berth 6L BlackOut, for larger families. And if you're not a fan of poles, there's also the Meadowood 4 Air, although you'll need to be willing to pay for it: this one has an RRP £749.99.
We maintain that Coleman makes some of today's best tents – especially in the family tent arena – so it's no surprise that we're big fans of the Meadowood. Read on for our full Coleman Meadowood 4 BlackOut review.
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Coleman Meadowood 4 tent review: design and usability
Coleman Meadowood 4 BlackOut tent: specs
Pack size: 72 x 32 x 32cm
HH rating: 4,000mm
Total area: 14.1m2
With a fairly standard tunnel tent design, the Meadowood 4 is simple to put up, even for newbie campers. Different sized poles are colour-coded with their holes, and the extra popout awning section slots into place easily. These fibreglass poles are also slightly angled to give you more usable internal space. And of course, if you don't want to mess around with the poles, there's also an Air version available.
For protection against the elements, you have a fully taped polyester flysheet and sewn-in PE groundsheet. The larger 4L and 6L Meadowoods include storm straps for extra support, but you won't find them on the 4. Mesh pole casings provide less wind resistance and allow the structure to flex as needed in the wind.
There are wide front and side doors, both with a mesh layer for balmy evenings when you want some airflow through the tent without welcoming in all the local wildlife, and the front door has a flap that can be folded down for step-free access, for wheelchairs, buggies and the like (there is a step up into the sleeping compartments, though).
The walls of the living space that aren't doors mostly feature large clear plastic 'windows' (all with zippable 'curtains' for privacy), which combined with the pale fabric colour means this social area feels very light and airy. There are also added mesh vents for extra airflow.
Move into the bedroom and the opposite is (intentionally) true. Coleman's BlackOut fabric blocks light remarkably well, and is a welcome addition for anyone who's sensitive to light in the mornings, or who has children that set their play hours by the sun. The sleeping compartment can be separated into two via a removable fabric divider. For extra airflow into the bedrooms, there's a mesh section at the top that can be opened to let more air in, and a two-way zip if you want to leave the top half open completely.
There are a number of thoughtful additions that help this offering stand out from the competition. Multiple cable entry points, with red zips so you can see them clearly. A selection of pockets on the column between the bedrooms, for storage. Hooks to hang a camping lanterns from in both the living area and the bedroom. Colourful zipper stoppers you you can always find the zip pull. And although it's not the most important thing, we're suckers for the curvy shapes and cool aquamarine and lime green colour scheme.
The only area that might cause you pause, really, is the lack of porchway. There's a little covered area that pops out the front, but it doesn't offer much in the way of outdoor living space. If you opt for the bigger 4L or 6L, you do have the option to add a vestibule (sold separately).
Coleman Meadowood 4 tent review: alternatives
If you're a fan of the Coleman style of family tent, there's are a few new and updated ranges worth exploring: the Castle Pines 4 BlackOut is very similar (RRP £429.99, same as the Meadowood), the Aspen 4 and Vail 4 are both slightly more basic (no BlackOut, for starters) and cheaper at RRP £349.99. All are based on the same kind of layout and you'll find similar features are variations on a theme in terms of features and layouts.
We've also been testing out the Vango Joro 450, which is a new 4-man option from Vango that's made from recycled single-use plastics. As well as being eco-friendly, it boasts a large large porch area, although you do sacrifice a few bells and whistles elsewhere, including the BlackOut bedrooms.
Coleman Meadowood 4 tent review: verdict
We're big fans of Coleman's family tents, and the Meadowood 4 BlackOut is no exception. It's well designed and easy to put up and down, the living space is light and airy, and the BlackOut bedrooms are dark and cosy. Thoughtful additions, such as the extra pockets and the vents on the bedrooms, make the Meadowood extra usable. We love the design, too. While it sleeps four, it's definitely on the compact side for that many people, especially given you can't add an extra porch to this one. Unless you're confident you'll be able to live mainly outdoors on your trip, we'd recommend looking at the 4L.