CampngmanNW grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where he learned to hunt, fish, camp, rock climb, and kayak.
Tents by Guide Gear, Kelty, and Coleman
This is my real life use and reviews of three tents I own and use.
Many companies make tents, but for me? There are only three that I recommend and trust. Three that make quality products with plants right here in the U. S. of A.
- Guide Gear (Sportsman's Guide) is located in Minnesota.
- Kelty Tents is in Boulder, Colorado.
- Coleman's main plant is in Wichita, Kansas.
1. Guide Gear's TeePee Tent: Roomy, With a Vestibule
I bought Guide Gear's 14' x 14' TeePee tent on a whim. My kids were of the age where they were wanting a tent of their own when we went camping as a family. You know the stage where in kids decide Mom and Dad aren't so cool anymore? Anyway, I thought, "Why Not?" Kids like a novelty and this tent harkens back to tents of another era.
In that picture above right, how's that look for floor space? Plenty of room right? There are several sizes and styles to choose from. Current sizes available are 10' x 10', 14' x 14' and 18' x 18'
When Our Tent Arrived
We immediately opened it up. First of all, to inspect it to make sure everything was there and secondly (I don't know who wanted to see it set up more, myself or the kids). but be that as it may, we took the entire package out to the back yard to set it up. After all, I do live in the country. I began to remove the tent and the poles (steel by the way, very sturdy).
Setting It Up
Laying the tent out was fairly straightforward, and we staked it down in four spots. While the kids held the opening up for me, I grabbed and assembled the pole, and as simple as pie, the tent was up. We then set the vestibule in place. The vestibule came with a removable floor which I suppose is for ease of cleaning. With the vestibule set up (a full zippered enclosure, separate from the tent's zippered enclosure) we wondered what use it was going to be. Finishing with staking out the base, I glanced at my watch. Entire time to set up? Maybe 15 minutes total, from opening the package to putting the cots and sleeping bags inside.
Camping for the First Time
With the tent set up, the kids were ready to go camping. But first the kids slept outside in our back yard and loved it. On our actual first camping trip, wouldn't you know? It rained and we found out an excellent use for that vestibule. It was a perfect mud room for muddy boots and wet clothes. (I don't know about you, but my wife always takes a collapsible wooden clothing rack.) Yep, you guessed it, she put it inside for wet clothes. Now I can say for sure—the vestibule floor is removable so it can be easily cleaned. Which I did the next morning.
I'm telling you, this is a really great tent. No, not just for the kids, but a really nice and roomy family tent. The steel center pole, the roomy interior, the great ventilation, being easy to set up and then to have a tent that can stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws at it? That makes this an all-around first choice. Plus, as a tent choice, it carries a CampingmanNW recommendation.
2. The Kelty Parthenon 4-Person Tent
Or . . . maybe three people with a ton of stuff . . . or . . . the possibilities are endless when talking about Kelty Tents. But for right now, let's start with the Kelty Parthenon 4-Person Tent.
The Good Stuff
This particular tent is very roomy—I'm talking 61 square feet of floor space! It's also quite a simple tent to set up. When setting it up you can choose to stake it down, or use it as freestanding. I almost always stake down a tent of this size, as you never know what the weather is going to do. On a summer camp out or hike though, you may feel different.
With the Parthenon being rated as a three season tent, it's perfect for Spring, Summer and Fall camping. It is not designed for heavy snow though. To camp in heavy snow you will need a canvas tent or an additional cover for this tent that can be supported and guyed out for protection. I will talk more about that later. It's a great three season tent that can sleep four people comfortably. Set up on this tent like I said, is simple and the double track door, unzips to form an awning when sitting outside.
None really, except to say that this Kelty tent is a bit heavy to carry, weighing in at 20 lbs. It's small and light enough to pack in the RV or car for those weekend getaways but I wouldn't recommend it for backpacking.
Despite this, this tent is a really great choice for a family.
A Great Reason For Owning a Kelty Tent: The Awning
On a recent camping trip to a little known campground in the mountains near the tiny North Central Oregon town of Spray, our campsite faced the afternoon sun. I had placed our tent near the back of the campsite, to be near the trees for shade and to allow for a roomier campsite.
On this particular day however, our campsite (one of the few with a minimal number of trees) was smack dab in the sun. Normally, that's a good thing,but my wife was reading and the lack of shade made that difficult. I solved the lack-of-shade problem, by just unzipping the double track door and lifting it to form an awning for my wife who had been relaxing with her favorite book until the sun came over the trees.
All it took, was two pieces of cotton line and I was in business, tying the awning up and to a couple of nearby trees made for a shady spot for my wife to continue reading.
It worked perfectly—and I was the hero.
3. The Coleman Red Canyon: A Roomy Three-Season Family Tent
And finally, the Coleman Red Canyon!
The Coleman Red Canyon 10' x 17' tent is listed as an eight-person dome tent. I've only used it for four people and all of our gear and there was room left over. It also has removable walls that we used to create separate rooms so that our grandkids had their own section to themselves. It's made from tough, top quality materials, and is a comfortable tent in wet even snowy conditions. The heavy duty, waterproof exterior repels water like a duck and it's well ventilated. Set up is simple for one or two people in about 10–15 minutes.
The Good Stuff
The Coleman Weathertec system serves to provide protection elements. I've used it in both rain and snow as well as some high wind. The polyester coated weatherproof material, along with its leak-free seams and bathtub design waterproof floors, kept everyone warm and dry Part of what made the interior warm and dry was the Variflow System and Cool Airports. These gave us great ventilation and consistent air flow (which is adjustable) through the tent.
I found none, really, just a few recommendations from me is all. As I said above, I test tents in adverse conditions and these are my evaluations and recommendations if you take this tent into inclement weather. My recommendations:
- First: If you're going camping and the forecast calls for rain? Rig a separate cover for the rain fly. to divert the water away from the tent base. Maybe even dig a small trench away from the tent to divert the water.
- Second: In case of high winds, I recommend that the tent be guyed out (paracord tied) either to nearby trees or ground stakes.
- Third: This tent is NOT designed for camping in the snow, but . . . if the tent is being used in snowy weather, rig a separately supported cover above the tent, to divert the snow from building up on the tent and placing undue weight on the poles.
- Finally: Buy and use a good waterproofer to seal all seams, zippers, and tent sleeves that are sewn to the exterior of ANY tent. Better to be safe than sorry.
The Coleman Red Canyon is a roomy three season tent. It's not marketed or sold as a four season tent but as I stated above, with planning, it can be. It has great ventilation, is spacious and easy to set up, and is made from waterproof materials. Plus it's inexpensive for a great three season tent. Buy it, camping season is just around the corner.
A CampingmanNW Recommendation:
Regardless of who manufactured your brand new tent (and this reflects on no tent manufacturer out there), here's a piece of common sense advice. Waterproof all seams, grommet attach points, and tent pole sleeves before using the tent for the first time. Also the zipper seams and awnings too.
Better safe than sorry I always say.
The Best Waterproofer I Have Found
Why Choose A Guide Gear, Kelty or Coleman Tent?
I hope you were able to glean some information from my real life use and reviews of Guide Gear TeePee Tents, Kelty Tents, and Coleman Tents.
Information that will be useful for you to decide about a tent. Something to remember...I never recommend anything I don't own or use. For all of the talk about which tent is the best tent and why it's up to you to decide. All of the tents listed here are great tents and I have no qualms recommending any of them. Each has it's own strong points and uses.
I would point out though, it doesn't matter if you are looking for a single person tent or all of the way up through a family size tents, read through the product lines I've discussed. Check them out via the Amazon link. You owe it to yourself to get the best information available. Once you do, I think you will agree with me....any of these Tents are good to go.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Do you have an experiences with Kelty, Guide Gear or Coleman Tents? - Please share...
CampingmanNW (author) on June 09, 2014:
@bugtrap: The Coleman Red Canyon is an excellent tent and the three rooms make for plenty of room to store everything inside. Thanks for your visit.
bugtrap on June 09, 2014:
The Coleman tent looks awesome, 8 people might be a little too much for us, but some extra space is always welcome...we're considering it now, thanks for the advise!
CampingmanNW (author) on July 17, 2013:
@Bercton1: Kelty is a great fit for me and my camping needs, whether it be just for me or for my entire family. Thanks for stopping by today. Cheers.
Bercton1 on July 17, 2013:
The tent is ideal. Thanks for sharing!
CampingmanNW (author) on January 21, 2013:
@annharrison85: Thanks, I love camping and anything to do with the outdoors
annharrison85 on January 21, 2013:
Great great great!
CampingmanNW (author) on August 25, 2012:
@JakeAnderson: Thanks! I have enjoyed the outdoors my entire life, and thank my father for that.
JakeAnderson on August 25, 2012: