Designed with the budget-conscious camper in mind, the Coleman Skydome 4-Person Dark Room tent is a cozy shelter for 3-season camping in roadside locales. It boasts a quick setup system for added convenience when you arrive at camp, as well as cutting-edge Dark Room technology to help ensure that you sleep well under the stars, every time.
Comfort and Space
When it comes to selecting a tent for car camping, comfort and livability are key, and the Coleman Skydome 4 is no exception.
With the Skydome, Coleman constructed a tent that boasts an 8’ x 7’ (2.4 x 2.1 m) floor plan. As a result, this tent is decently sized for up to 4 adults. However, campers that prefer to have lots of wiggle room might find that the shelter’s 56 sq. ft (5.2 sq. m) area is a bit small.
The Skydome has a center height of 4’8” (142 cm). While this is certainly high enough for the majority of adults to comfortably sit upright in, it’s not tall enough for most people to stand up in.
Even though the aptly named Skydome is a sturdy dome-style shelter, Coleman built this tent with a set of near-vertical walls. This means that you’ll have plenty of headroom while lounging at night, even if you’re sleeping near the edge of the tent.
The Skydome has only one room, so privacy is limited with this tent. This tent also doesn’t have any vestibules or screen porches, so you’ll either need to store your gear inside your sleeping area or on the outside of your tent.
Therefore, the Skydome is best for 1 to 3 adult campers or 2 adults and 2 children. You can fit 4 adults in the tent, but you might feel a bit squeezed for space if you also want to keep your equipment inside.
Breathability and Ventilation
The last two livability-focused aspects of this shelter to consider are its ventilation ability and its Dark Room technology.
As far as ventilation goes, the Skydome does a decent job. While the tent doesn’t have any true windows, it does have a full mesh canopy. This mesh canopy allows for plenty of ventilation on hot muggy days. There’s also a zippered mesh panel on the door of this tent that you can open up for extra ventilation when you need it most.
Finally, the Coleman Skydome features the company’s proprietary Dark Rest technology for added comfort while snoozing on a sunny summer morning. Dark Rest technology works by blocking up to 90% of the sunlight that enters your tent. By doing so, this technology can create a darker, cooler living space for both sleeping and relaxing in hot environments.
Since camping tents are designed to protect you from the elements, the weather resistance of your shelter is critical.
To this end, Coleman engineered the Skydome out of rugged 190T polyester taffeta fabric for the body of the tent. They also built this shelter with a bathtub-style 1000 denier polyethylene floor, which is both waterproof and highly durable.
The Skydome also uses Coleman’s WeatherTec waterproofing system, which integrates welded corners and inverted seams throughout the tent to keep you as dry as possible. The dome shape of this shelter further ensures that water beads off the top of the tent instead of pooling up on the roof in a downpour.
But we can’t overlook the fact that the Skydome doesn’t have a full-coverage rainfly. While Coleman did use durable and waterproof fabrics while creating this tent, the lack of a full-coverage rainfly means that it won’t be completely waterproof in heinous weather.
Therefore, the Skydome is a suitable shelter for keeping you dry in mild to moderate conditions in a car camping environment—not for foul weather in remote terrain.
When buying a tent like the Coleman Skydome, you need to feel confident that your gear isn’t going to break after your first adventure.
With regards to durability, the Skydome features thick and rugged fabrics, such as a 190T polyester-taffeta body and a 1000 denier polyethylene floor. Both of these fabrics are strong enough to withstand the rigors of regular car camping adventures. But we would be wary of taking this tent into harsh conditions as polyester isn’t as durable as ripstop nylon.
As far as the poles go, the Skydome is made with a set of relatively lightweight pre-attached fiberglass poles. The company claims that the poles of this tent can withstand winds of up to 35 mph (15.6 m/s). However, we would recommend caution when using this tent in those conditions as fiberglass poles are notoriously fragile in high winds.
Ease of Use
For added convenience and ease of use, Coleman crafted the Skydome with a set of pre-attached fiberglass poles. This pre-attached, internal frame pole system allows you to pitch the tent in just about 5 minutes.
To set up the tent, you’ll lay the tent body down on flat ground and stake out the shelter with the included stakes. Then, you’ll extend the two pre-attached poles and then use the integrated clips to fix them into place. Once that’s done, you simply need to cover the tent with the rainfly and use the built-in hooks to anchor the rainfly to the ground.
All in all, the Skydome is fairly easy to set up, though the pitching process isn’t quite as fast or streamlined as that of a true pop-up tent.
Packed Size and Weight
With a total weight of 12.2 lbs (5.5 kg), the Coleman Skydome is a fairly hefty camping tent.
The Skydome is nearly identical in weight to The North Face Wawona 4, which is another popular 4 person car camping tent. But the Wawona 4 also includes a massive vestibule and it’s tall enough to stand upright in. So, for a compact 4 person tent without a vestibule, the Skydome is quite heavy.
The packed size of this tent is 24.7 x 9.4 x 5.4 in (63 x 24 x 14 cm), which is average for a tent of this style. But we should note that the carry case that this tent comes in is a somewhat basic duffle bag-style and some campers struggle to repack the tent after each adventure.
Pros and Cons
- Dark Rest technology reduces sunlight and heat for comfort
- Well ventilated mesh canopy provides breathability
- Affordable price point
- WeatherTec system for increased weather-resistance
- Quick and easy set up system with pre-attached poles
- Relatively durable fabric construction
- Rainfly doesn’t provide full waterproofing protection
- Not very comfortable for 4 adult campers
- Center height isn’t tall enough to stand up in
- Fairly heavy and bulky when packed
- Some durability concerns with fiberglass poles
|Comfort and Space||7|
|Ease of Set Up||8|
|Size and Weight||6|