A Real-Life Review of Three Tents: Guide Gear Teepee, Kelty Parthenon, and Coleman Red Canyon
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 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.
My Evaluation: 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.
This is the tent I purchased on a whim for my kids. They were getting to the age that they wanted their own tent when we went camping as a family. The deal sealer for this tent, was the vestibule. The tent it'self was way roomy for four active kids and their stuff, but the vestibule was a place to hang wet swimsuits to dry as well as muddy boots and shoes to keep them out of the tent. You know Mom's? They don't like dirt and mud tracked inside.
Evaluation: This is a really great tent, not just for kids (as I have also taken it Elk Hunting) in the snow. It's easy to set up and can take any weather, including snow. The extra four feet of floor space and the vestibule? Priceless.
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 3 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 3 season tent that can sleep 4 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.
A really great choice for the 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.
I've talked before in my blogs about this tent and I love it just for it's roominess. Two guys and a lot of gear. That's not to say it doesn't sleep four people, four people and their gear fit. it's a good foul weather tent as well.
Evaluation It makes a great family weekend or week long, car camping tent due to the great interior room and 6' center height. Imagine, ALL of that Kelty quality and FREE Shipping too!
3. The Coleman Red Canyon: A Roomy Three-Season Family Tent
The Coleman Red Canyon 10' x 17' tent is listed as an 8-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 grand kids 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 it's 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 Air ports. 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:
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.
Evaluation: 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.
Coleman's Red Canyon 10' x 17' camping tent is a really nice budget tent. It's waterproof, has divider partitions, and really roomy inside. It's sold as an 8 person tent, but I have only used it with four people and all of their gear. I can tell you, we still had room left over.
Evaluation: For a tent priced right at 100 bucks and free shipping included? You would have to go a long way to get all of the features of this tent at that price. Buy it now, because camping season is right 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
There are a lot of waterproofer's on the market, but I like this best. The key? This stuff works. That's right, it works and I use it on all of my tents and ground covers before using them.. Like anything, though it can be mis-used or improperly applied. When applying waterproofing for the first time? Set the tent up in your yard--spray the waterproofer on--then let it dry thoroughly before packing the tent up. The reason? It's a waterproofer and therefore it 'seals.' Thus the wet surfaces will stick together if you don't allow them to dry properly.
Evaluation: To use--work into all seams and areas around the grommets and tent pole slides--zipper seams especially as well as awnings. Let dry, that's all there is to it. You'll be glad you did. It's the best stuff ever.
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 use..
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--CampingmanNW
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.