Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dome Tent | The One with Dark Room

When you’re sleeping outdoors, you know that once the sun is up, it’s time to get up. And it’s either the bright glare or hot temperature that will wake and force you out of your tent. Well, most tents, that is. The Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dome Tent is changing all that with its all-exclusive dark room feature. This unique attribute keeps the sunlight out and lets you sleep in longer through the day. And while this makes every evening person and night owl happy, this Coleman tent is pack full of other unique features to impress hikers of every type.


The Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dome Tent is a semi-freestanding, 3-season shelter with a screen room. At 3.6kg packed weight, it weighs slightly less than similar 4-person tents. Inside its carry bag are the inner tent, rainfly, four folding tent poles, guy lines and pegs. It doesn’t come in other colours or design, but it sports a stylish black and green exterior with blue trim on the canopy.

If you’re thinking outdoors, Coleman easily comes to mind.  It’s a one-stop-shop for reliable camping gear, from lamps to stoves to tents, for more than 100 years. Moreover, it has continued to improve and innovate its product range to cater to hikers and backpackers’ changing needs. And the Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dome Tent is no exception. Aside from going through the manufacturer’s rigorous testing, this tent boasts standout features that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Best Features of the Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dome Tent

The Coleman Carlsbad tent comes with a 61cm x 15cm packed size, which is slightly larger than other 4-person tents. It may not fit in your backpack, but it includes a convenient duffel-like carry bag for easy transport. Setting the tent up takes some time as you would need to slide in three separate poles through the sleeves for the inner tent and screen room. Also, you need to stake the screen room down to make it fully functional. This hiking tent is spacious enough for three people, with the screen room and inner tent combined. Also, it has a significantly higher headroom (150cm peak height) than others. Here are the rest of its great features.

Unique dark room technology

Customers have been highly interested in this Coleman tent feature. It just goes to show that not having enough sleep is a common frustration among campers. With this innovative attribute, the tent can block 90% of sunlight, which means you can turn in early or sleep longer during the day. It also helps reduce the heat inside your shelter by up to 9.5%.

The dark room effect makes the Coleman Carlsbad tent perfect for warmer and dryer seasons. With this tent, you can comfortably nap at noon, check your gear, change clothes and more with a cooler tent minus the sun glare.

Multipurpose screen room

blankAside from the nifty darkroom feature, I like how this Coleman tent turned a regular vestibule into a multifunctional extension. Rather than a small space, its screened entry has more than enough room for your camping gear and shoes. The tent vestibule is perfect for cooking as well. Its mesh-like floor also prevents water from pooling or getting into your tent in case of rain.

It’s likened to a porch or patio as you can use it for lounging or enjoying the view while sitting on your folding chair, without the bugs, of course. You can even use it as a picnic area. On a hot day, some hikers may find the inner tent too warm for sleeping. In this case, your screen room can double as your sleeping area. With the mesh zipped up, you can sleep well here with ample ventilation plus enjoy the view of a clear night sky.

Water and wind-resistant

As a 3-season tent, Coleman Carlsbad has sturdy construction to withstand both rain and wind. Its fabric is 75D polyester taffeta with its water-resistant system called WeatherTec, though it does not state the exact waterproof rating. The durable bathtub floor has these protected seams and patented corner welds to keep the tent floor and you dry. This tent is also factory tested for wind and can withstand more than 35mph (approx. 56km/h).

Good ventilation and insect protection

This tent has a partial rainfly and a lot of mesh to ensure excellent ventilation. The inner tent has two mesh side panels, while the screen room is all mesh with zipper. The doorway has mesh as well plus a panel section for privacy. Unlike other dome tents with windows that you can prop up with a Velcro, this one has two awning windows that stay open at all times. It’s an excellent feature that allows air to circulate, lets rainwater drip down quickly and prevents condensation issues. The awnings add style, too.

Add-on features

blankProfessional tents have almost the same benefits and features. That’s why I’m always on the lookout on unique attributes that makes one tent more functional than others. And the Coleman Carlsbad has plenty of exclusive features that add to its value. For instance, it has an electric cable port, which comes in handy for people who camp with their gadgets and small electronics. The port even has a portal for your power cord, so it stays protected even if it rains.

Hikers usually drag the thought of folding down the tent and figuring out how to put it back inside its drawstring pack. Coleman made this task easier with its carry bag. It comes with a rip strip, so you can expand the bag and have more room to fit the hiking tent and its accessories with ease. On top of its spacious vestibule, this tent also has two inner side pockets for your valuables. The Illumiline guy ropes are reflective as well to prevent tripping accidents at night.

Things to Note

The Coleman Carlsbad tent is not without its own set of drawbacks. Here are a few issues that you might want to take into consideration.

Not fully freestanding

The inner tent is self-supporting after sliding in the poles. The screen room, however, is not. To make this extension area functional, you need to peg it down to the ground. Otherwise, this part will not be stable against the wind. Make sure to choose your campsite well and orientate it first before setting it up, so you won’t have to move the tent around.

Too small for four

Professional tents usually accommodate less than its actual capacity. It’s a common issue, and the Coleman Carlsbad is no different. And while you can use the screen room as a sleeping area, remember that this part has no panels to protect you from the rain. So, for better movement and a comfortable night’s sleep, limit this tent up to a maximum of three people.

Average hardware material

Most professional tents use aluminium for their tent poles for optimum durability. The Coleman Carlsbad, on the other hand, has fibreglass poles that are relatively lighter but not as durable. This material can break or shatter after some time and may not last longer than aluminium alloy. Although tent parts and replacements are available, you may want to compare it with tents with aluminium poles if you’re after longevity and fewer add-on expenses.

blankTakes time to set up

A 4-person tent is large and usually needs more time to set up. However, compared with other similar tents, Coleman Carlsbad has considerably more poles and uses the sleeve system rather than clips to attach them to the inner tent. The patented ping-and-ring mechanism also makes the poles a little tricky to connect and remove.

Pegging the screen room down to the ground might take time as well. Also, the instructions and diagrams to put it up are quite complex to follow. All in all, it takes about 15 minutes to assemble, which is longer than what tents require. Users may not be so keen on the skill and time needed to put it up every time.

Not for extreme weather

The tent has all the right features for warm summer, spring or autumn weather. But it may not be as reliable on wet conditions. This tent does not have a full rainfly, which means the screen room will be unusable on heavy rains. This problem might limit the space you need for sleeping and storage.

Pros and Cons

  • Durable and water-resistant 75D polyester taffeta with protected seams and patented corner welds for the bathtub floor
  • Unique dark room for sun glare protection and temperature control
  • Has a multipurpose screen room for storing gear, lounging, cooking and sleeping
  • Factory tested to withstand more than 35mph (approx. 56km/h) wind
  • Has two window awnings to let air circulate and prevent condensation
  • With spacious headroom
  • With ample mesh lining (door, walls and screen room) for good ventilation and insect protection
  • Includes electronic cable port, two inner side pockets, reflective guy lines and expandable carry bag
  • Replacement parts or accessories available
  • Excellent waterproofing and wind resistance
  • Stylish with unique features
  • Semi-freestanding
  • Too cramped for four full-grown adults
  • With light yet less durable fibreglass tent poles
  • Complex and time-consuming assembly
  • Screen room cannot be used during heavy rainstorms

Final Thoughts

blankDespite the downsides of the Coleman Carlsbad tent, it still has one-of-a-kind features that make it multifunctional. The darkroom technology is a bonus for hikers who spend the night chatting, listening to music or enjoying the view before finally turning in early in the morning. This hiking tent is also perfect when the kids need to sleep early. Its screen room that works as a sleeping, lounge, storage or cooking area makes your outdoor experience easier and more convenient. Overall, this versatile tent is best for families, couples and friends who enjoy camping in good weather.

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