By R. Maxine Lundquist
Instant tents are designed to set up in a matter of minutes, and I do mean minutes–one person can set it up in two to five minutes without a problem. Handy if it’s raining, getting dark soon, or there is just one person to deal with it. They have a pole system that comes pre-attached to the tent, so there is no confusion as to what pole fits where. You just unfold the tent, spread it out, and extend the poles. Below is a comparison review of three popular 8-person instant tents:
The Coleman 8-person Instant Tent:
A simple, quick set-up in less than a minute with two people, this particular Coleman stands 14′ x 10′ with an interior center height of 6’5″. It is weatherproof, not weather resistant, and important distinction when you are stuck inside with the kids and it’s pouring rain. It doesn’t need the rainfly to be waterproof but it has one, and the seams on the rainfly are fully taped.
The tent’s exterior is twice as thick as Coleman’s standard tent fabric, making it durable, and it has a drop-down room divider, two doors and seven windows, increasing ventilation for hot nights and days. It also has an interior gear pocket. This tent is my bang-for-your-buck choice, running around 200 dollars and worth every penny.
The Ozark Trail 8-person Instant Cabin Tent:
The Ozark Trail is also around 200 dollars for the 10′ X 13′ tent, which is about the size you want
for two adults and two kids. Any smaller and it gets cramped. The floor is heavy canvas so it’s long-lasting and the windows zipper up, a major plus if the weather is rough. Drawback? It doesn’t have a rainfly. It is water-resistant, not water-proof, so it needs to be well tarped if rain should threaten. There is also some concern about the reliability of the pins that hold the poles together. An extended warranty is recommended. Holds up nicely in high winds, however.
The Campvalley™ Instant Tent Deluxe Addition:
Also around 200 dollars, the Campvalley entry measures 10′ x 14′ and has steel telescoping
poles that click and lock into place, same as the the other two mentioned above. It is water resistant, not water proof, and though it comes with a rainfly, the rainfly doesn’t extend too far out, so it is not as effective in keeping water out as it might be. Tarping is necessary in rain to stay fully dry. Its rainfly is fully removeable, though, and that’s nice for star-watching on hot summer nights. Comes with room divider, tent stakes, guy lines and an oversized tent carry bag.