An ‘igloo’ fit for family camping
September 12, 2006
My family calls it “The Igloo.” And with good reason. Our new car-camping tent does, indeed, resemble an igloo.
That’s fine with us. Our last tent looked like and – unfortunately – functioned like a parachute. No breath of wind was too light to make its rain fly puff up and make an annoying flapping sound. It mercifully met its demise in a horrific Utah windstorm last March.We stuck with Coleman when we needed a replacement. The old standby company makes inexpensive, functional stuff. It’s not North Face or Mountain Hardwear but, hey, who can dish out big bucks for a big tent (especially when your arsenal must also include a lightweight two-person tent and even lighter backpacking tent)?This time I shopped for a better design, however, something lower to the ground. The Coleman Cimarron 4 has an interior platform of 10-by-7 feet, but the important dimension was the 4.5-foot ceiling. Plus the rain fly covers the entire tent. Our old Coleman’s fly came only three-fourths of the way down the tent, so it was sort of like a fat person wearing too small of clothes.The rain fly also has a cool vestibule that sticks out from the tent’s doorway, giving it an igloolike entrance. The tent is well-ventilated and has great pockets for storage.
It’s not without its flaws, however. The fly has heavy, clear material that serves as windows. My experience is that stuff eventually rips in the winds we face. The new tent also has a goofy little miniature door opposite from the main entrance. We haven’t quite figured out what it is for. It’s way too small for a person to slip through. The rain fly doesn’t cover the exterior space, so it’s not a place to put your shoes.On one outing we teased our 70-pound shepherd mix by unzipping the mini-door while she was outside. She tried to squeeze in even though just her snout and head could fit, stepping on my daughter’s head in the process.
But this tent isn’t a squeeze for a family of four, and it won’t squeeze your budget at around $100.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org