I’ll hold my hands up. I’m not the best camper in the world. I tend to get cranky if I’m away from my home comforts for too long and I like things as simple as possible. So when Coleman asked if we wanted to get a look at their new Kobuk Valley tent it seemed ideal. Quick to put up? Check. Weather and wind proof? Check. Decent size porch for storage? Check.
So far so good and probably a decent tent already but I’ve not gotten to the selling point yet – blackout bedrooms. The inner tent and the flysheet are made of material that stops light and as a bonus keeps you a little warmer at night and cooler in the day. If you’re taking children camping this means you can get them into bed a little earlier and they’re less likely to wake you with the dawn. That sounds ideal.
So how do the claims line up?
First time I put the Kobuk up by myself I timed it. It took just over 12 minuites and a good proportion of that was trying to get the pegs and guy ropes into the very stony ground. The dome tent that resulted was solid and more spacious than I’d expected. I was able to leave it up for a week and it weathered one May storm with no leakage into the main sleeping area and only a small amount into the porch. Second time I put the Kobuk up it took just under 10 minuites. To be fair the third time took almost 20 but I think this was more to do with getting help!
Inside with everything zipped up the blackout nature of the tent is very evident. Both the fly sheet It’s not anywhere near 100 percent as there have to be vents to prevent condensation but it’s by far the dimmest tent I’ve ever been in. There are clear lines where the light gets in and we found that if we were careful about the orientation of the tent and didn’t point these vents at the rising sun that things were much dimmer first thing in the morning.
When we got in and got ready to The Kobuk has less vents than I’m used to and with the blackout you’re more inclined to zip everything up tight so in our first night in the tent I found my glasses steaming up after half an hour. Open a few strategic vents and while its a little less dark the airflow keeps the condensation down well.
The Ergohacks Verdict
In short if you’re looking for a decent small family overnight tent then the Kobuk Valley 4 Plus is a decent choice. You may struggle to fit in four adults or find it small on longer trips but it’s an ideal weekend tent. The main tent area is everything you want and the extra porch is large enough to be useful. I’d thought that the blackout might be a gimmick and it’s not perfect but it does make the inside of the tent feel more cosy and private and with a six year old we did get more sleep than I would have expected. Recommended.
Price: ± £135
Bag with cloth instructions stitched in, Tent, fly sheet, tent pegs, poles and patch kit.
William Coffin Coleman was a lamp seller by trade, based in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He bought the patent for a lamp in 1903, redesigned it and in 1914 produced the first Coleman Lantern. The company has since grown and diversified to become one of the most well-known brands of quality outdoor and camping gear.
Coleman is currently owned by Newell Brands. Coleman is a subsidiary of Jarden, which was acquired in 2016 by Newell Rubbermaid, which renamed itself Newell Brands. Newell Brands owns a large number of brands, including Coleman, Aerobed, Sharpie, PaperMate, Parker, Graco, Yankee Candle, Spontex, Quickie and more*.
Newell Brands have published their corporate social responsibility policy on their website which lists the steps they are taking to minimize their environmental footprint and increase sustainability of their operating practices and brand products. They also work with local charities and they have a “annual Global Day of Service” where employees spend the day volunteering within their local community where they live and work.
The Kobuk is a classic dome shape with an integrated porch and sealed groundsheet in the sleeping pod. It goes up with the inner tent first followed by the groundsheet over the top. It’s a classic and simple design that gives decent headroom and a large and usefully sized porch.
- Fire retardant fabric
- Cloth instructions sewed into the bag. This is a Coleman trick that I approve of as it makes loosing the instructions impossible!
- The blackout also has a slight ability to manage temperature and Coleman quote 5 degrees cooler in the day and 1 degree warmer night. I didn’t notice much at night but the tent was a little cooler than I would have expected in the day time.
- 50 SPF UV protection
Capacity: 4 Adults
Tent dimensions (pitched): 3.4m x 2.8m, 26 m2
Groundsheets: Integrated but not sealed in porch, integrated and sealed in main room
Outer fly material: Polyester PU coated
Inner material: Breathable Polyester and Polyester PU Coated
Bag: Included 58 x 20 x 19cm
Total weight (including bag): 6.6kg
Colour: Green with grey accents and fluorescent orange guy ropes
Water column: 4500mm
Sun Protection factor: 50+
Warranty: Two years from manufacturer defect
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on 3 weeks of tinkering, testing and using the Kobuk Valley 4 Plus Camping Tent kindly provided by Coleman during May and June 2017. This article was first published on 13 June 2017.