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Coleman Weathermaster 10-person Tent review (sorry, no pics)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Jailer, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Jailer

    Jailer Loaded Pockets

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    I'm not a real reviewer but i'd like to attempt to give my impressions on this piece of gear. I just returned from a rainy one-week camping trip with 3 pre-teens and have some good and bad things to say. The Weathermaster 10 is in their "Cabin" line, meaning it's intended for longer stays and is supposed to be built sturdier for said extended use. This tent's claim to fame is in the name. It is designed for the elements. Most larger tents in this price range are glorified sun shades and changing rooms. One stiff wind and you're trying to crawl your way out of a 10-man ground tarp.

    I'll start with set-up. Building this 17'X9' behemoth is definitely a team sport (OK, maybe "pairs" event would be more appropriate). This is due to the 3 beefy STEEL support arches that hold this tent upright. The base of the arches plug into the base of the tent via a spring insert. After erection of the main structure, you simply run one fiberglass section anglled outward through each end to form the inverted (awning style may be more appropriate) end windows and install 2 more short fiberglass poles to form the hinged front door (more on that later). Setting up the rain fly is also a bit tricky unless you have help. This tent stands nearly 7' tall, and is 17' long, so simply chucking the fly over the top isn't going to work unless you're doing this in a barn or with dead calm air. Even if you're a professional net fisherman you'll find that the little tie down hooks want to catch on everything and prevent a smooth installation. Once you have it in place, this thing isn't going anywhere. It is held in place with velcro loops to the steel poles in 10 places, and with shock-corded hooks in 6 places. The last step of construction is hammering in the 6 tensioning lines which attach at 5 points on each end of the tent (10 attachment points total). I had no fear of this thing shifting out of position. As a sidenote, unless you're camping in a desert, the rainfly should really be put on right away. It's too time consuming to put on once the rain starts, and the entire roof is constructed of two big netting panels so there is no escape from the downpour if you're too late with the fly.

    Now to the cool details.
    --The inverted end windows are a half-moon design and actually angle inward, allowing them to be left open during rainstorms as long as the wind isn't a real factor.
    --This tent boasts a Variflo Adjustable Ventilation system on all of it's online descriptions and in several places in the litrature that came with the tent. Sadly, they forgot to build this floor-level contraption into my tent. With all the hype they gave this fabulous device, its odd that they didn't either include it with my tent, or remove it from the product description. Regardless, the gap between the roof and the rainfly gave us adequate ventilation when the end windows were left unzipped even a couple inches.
    --The hinged door is the single greatest improvement in tent design since they switched from canvas to nylon. A fiberglass pole is installed vertical along the hinge side of the "D"-shaped zippered front door. Another is run through a channel along the curved door edge. Once these channels are secured by zippers you have a self-closing (unless it's windy) door. Once it swings closed against the tent face, several small pieces of velcro sewn into the door and frame hold it closed. The last noteable feature of this door is the rain flap that starts at the top hinge and ends halfway down the arch. There is another that begins again at the bottom turn of the "D" and protects the bottom of the door from leaks. Now on a calm day, the velcro is all thats needed to keep the door closed. In a stiff breeze one only has to tuck the rain flap outside the door for the extra retention you need to maintain privacy. And of course for bad weather you can always use the zipper.
    --This tent also comes with a back door as standard equipment. Initially I thought this was a pretty silly idea, until I installed the center divider (privacy panel) down the center of the tent. It was then that I realized that this gave each side of the tent it's own access without having to unbuckle the privacy screen. Sadly, only the one side is hinged.

    The downside.
    --The end panels were poorly designed, and instead of flaring outward at the base, they simply sagged due to lack of tension, and took up valuable interior space. Due to this flaw, the camper on each end of the tent had better be a ground-sleeper because an air mattress or cot would have to be placed at least 2-3 feet from the end wall.
    --This Weathermaster should be renamed the Waterwiggle. Once the Gods started crying, so were my pre-teen campers because their stuff was all wet. The bottom seem on one end (where polyester meets polyurethane material) was a joke. As I mentioned, the end panels angled outward from just underneath the windows, so any rain that hit anywhere along that end panel was going to flow along its entire length, and right across that faulty seem. Without any seam tape on this trip, we were forced to lay down beach towels to collect the water, and periodically wring them out.
    --While not a deal breaker, there were many flaws in the sewing and the angles they took. While this didn't affect the function of the tent, having one side meet the ground, while the other was sewn "crooked, is irritating. Likewise, there were two unexplainable "ripples" in the floor of the tent, caused by the sewing angle interacting with the tension the steel poles provided. Again, not a big deal, but noticeable nonetheless.

    Overall.
    Once I reseal the seams this tent will serve my family well for many years. While I was hoping for a little better quality control, this really is a well built product. I bought this tent because it is sturdier than others on the market, and that claim holds true. Anything short of a falling limb or gail-force winds will fail to interfere with our camping trip. Just know when you purchase it that you will have some taping to do before your first outing.
     
    Fabregas485 likes this.
  2. Gnarly
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gnarly Loaded Pockets

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    Enjoyed the review...and your sense of humor.

    After you tape it (do not rely on seam tape to fix it!) then please invest in some waterproofing spray-on.
    Reapply every year, before use.

    Not the overpriced stuff sold @ camp stores; use the cheaper stuff in the orange-top cans, sold @ Hellmart in the camping section. God, I hate Hellmart.

    You'll still need $50 worth, for a tent that size! ...but since you've already paid for the big ticket item (the tent itself), yer gonna think $50 a year is a cheap price to pay for staying dry,IMO!
     
    Fabregas485 likes this.
  3. Fabregas485
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Fabregas485 Loaded Pockets

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    Great review, its a shame about the seams. With the taping mod, do you think it will hold off, or need replacing every so often?
     
  4. keith1234
    • In Omnia Paratus

    keith1234 Loaded Pockets

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    Great review and very informative.