The Coleman Weathermaster Air tent offers comfortable, hassle-free camping for large groups – and caters to the needs of families in particular. It's available in extra-large 4, 6 and 8 person versions, all of which come with a spacious living area (with porch) and blackout sleeping compartments. It also sports the latest big thing in camping tech: air poles.
We tried out the 4XL version to see how this tent stands up with the demands of a group camping trip, with rain, shine, and wind. How does this new offering compare to the best tents around (and the best family tents)? Read on for our full Coleman Weathermaster Air review.
Coleman Weathermaster Air tent review: Putting up and down
Let's start with the pack and putting up process. The Coleman Weathermaster Air comes in a bag with a hard base, wheels and a pull handle. This enables one person to move it around on their own nice and easily (even the 4-person version is heavy), but does also mean you have to find somewhere to store the case during your tip – it won't screw up into a corner of the boot like a completely soft bag would.
- Need something smaller? Browse the best backpacking tents
- Camp in style with some of the best camping chairs and the best camping table
- Make mealtimes simple with our guides to the best camping stove
- ... and the best camping cookware
Coleman claims this tent will go up in 'minutes' (vague) and can be done by one person on their own. We're pleased to report the setup process is impressively simple and speedy for a tent this size, and – as with any tent – gets even quicker when you know what you're doing. The groundsheet, outer and inside sleeping compartments are all connected, which means literally all you need to do is blow up the air poles, peg it out and sort the guylines and you're done.
Could you do it on your own? Just about... although it'd be easier with a couple of people. This is thanks in part to the inclusion of the hot tent trend of the moment: air poles. These are very quick and simple to inflate, even if you're a camping novice. And while we also had a occasional trouble fastening the valve after inflation, once up, they work perfectly well. There was no loss of air over a 5-night trip, and they were plenty sturdy enough to keep the tent standing tall in all kinds of weather, and to hang your camping lantern off.
Are the air poles strictly necessary? Probably not. Although there's a time saving compared to metal poles, we're only talking maybe 30 seconds rather than 2 minutes for each pole, so it's not going to change your life. The weight saving is neither here nor there – it's not like you'll be backpacking with a beast like this. They are a fun and effective addition though.
Coleman Weathermaster Air tent review: Design and features
There are plenty of features designed to make life easy and comfortable here – even if you're wrangling with energetic toddlers or less-than-ideal weather. The whole tent is very generously proportioned. If the weather turns, there's a spacious living area for hanging out in and the porch area is big enough to sit out (and cook), under cover.
The pale grey roof fabric, large doors and windows mean the inside living space feels nice and light, and there are lots of vents on all sides (including in the sleeping areas) which pop out on velcro stands to keep the air moving inside. Both the front and side doors have a mesh layer that you can zip down to allow for a breeze and outdoor views without bugs in the evenings.
Specs (4XL model)
Pack size: 78 x 58 x 48 cm
Weight: 30.4 kg
Water column: 4500mm
Total: 20 m2 (Sleeping 6 m2, Living 8.4 m2, Porch 4.6 m2)
A small niggle here is that the two layers can't be zipped together, which leads to a fiddly double-unzipping situation (annoying if you're trying to get out to the toilet block in the middle of the night). We'd also have liked to see glow-in-the-dark guylines here – although the guyline pegs are lime green, which should help lessen the trip hazard for kids running around during the day, at least.
Small zipped openings mean you can feed cables into the main tent and the sleeping compartments if you've gone for an electric hookup pitch, and velcro tabs along the poles are designed to grip cables so they're not hanging in your face – a handy touch.
Finally, there's those all-important blackout bedrooms. These are super-effective, and a must-have if you're travelling with kids. Not only do they block out evening and early morning light, they also help regulate temperate, so the compartment won't turn into an oven in hot weather.
Should I buy the Coleman Weathermaster Air tent?
We were hugely impressed with the Coleman Weathermaster Air tent. If you're looking for a roomy tent for a group camping trip, you'd struggle to do better than this. It goes without saying that this is robust, good quality and completely weatherproof. But it's also pleasant to spend time in – even if it's chucking it down outside – with lots of clever and thoughtful touches to make your trip as comfortable and hassle-free as possible. It's quick and easy to put up, even if you're new to camping. Full marks.