Don’t get me wrong… I still believe that real camping means getting out into no-man’s land, making fire with primitive tools, and really getting away from it all – rather than trying to rent a spot that isn’t too far away from the showers and bathrooms.
Now that I am pushing 40, however, a night or two of sleeping on the rocky ground racks my back for a few weeks, and I don’t particularly enjoy being rained on while I’m sleeping. Call it getting old if you want, but if I can get a firm, even surface to sleep on, a well-constructed tent over my head, a cooler that keeps my cold items cold, and something to with which to charbroil some red meat, then that’s about all I need. As usual, Coleman was able to fill all of these needs with equal amounts of function and form.
A few months ago, my feature editor, a friend, and I headed to the Badlands Off Road Park in Indiana for a few days of wheeling. With an unimproved camp grounds right on site, this was the perfect place for us to test Coleman’s camping gear.
Home Sweet Home
Tent: 17′ x 9′ Weathermaster® Screened Tent (Model No. 9232F379)
The 17 X 9 Weathermaster Tent by Coleman is a two room tent that also sports a large screened room that can be used for sleeping (during dry conditions of course), dining or any other type of gathering. The screened room is a 6’ X 9’ rectangular section that offers plenty of room for chairs, tables and the likes.
There are two more rooms to this family tent. The first room is 5’ (approx) by 9’ section, and the second is a 6 foot by 9 foot section – both are plenty large for multiple sleepers in each section. Coleman suggests that this tent configuration is capable of sleeping 6 people, but you had better be good friends, and beans, beer and/or boiled cabbage can NOT be had for dinner. This tent is however, large enough for two adults to easily fit into the center section while two or three youngsters can fit into the other room, without listening to “He touched me!” all night long.
The Weathermaster tent was a snap to put together, but did require taking a quick glance at the instructions to see in which order steps were to be taken. The instructions are conveniently and permanently sewn into the carry bag – a great feature. After a short perusal, our feature editor and my buddy had the tent up in no time flat. Setting up the Weathermaster is not a one man job, however. You are going to need some help holding things up while you snap them together.
Once assembled, this is a VERY sturdy tent and at 76” tall in the center it offers plenty of headroom – perfect for this 76” tall editor. If I had any hair at all, let alone a Marge Simpson doo, I might have had to stoop a bit.
Since there were three people with us, and I’m the boss, I chose the large screened-in section to sleep in, during the first night. The temperature dropped to a balmy 65 degrees F, and I remained warm on my cot and in my sleeping bag. Sleeping in this screened-in section was just as good as sleeping under the stars with my head on my pretend saddle-pillow, but without spiders, mosquitoes, ticks and other annoying pests.
We had poor weather on the second night, with 20+ m.p.h. winds and some heavy, driving rain. Coleman’s WeatherTec™ system kept us perfectly dry and without a hint of condensation on the inside of the tent the next morning – nice.
Overall, the WeatherMaster tent series by Coleman should be at the very top of your shopping list when you choose your next family tent. It is a perfectly constructed tent that is easy to assemble and will last hundreds of uses.
Weathermaster® Screened Tent (Model No. 9232F379) Quick Specs:
• Exclusive WeatherTec™ System – Keeps you dry — Guaranteed
• 17 x 9 feet, 3 rooms
• Sleeps six to eight
• Center height: 76 inches
• Shock-corded poles for easy and quick setup
• Heavy-duty welcome mat
• Easy-to-follow instructions sewn into carry bag
• Separate storage bags for tents, poles and stakes
• Hanging dividers to separate rooms
• Two doors
Burning Meat & Beans
Stove: Coleman 2 Burner Electronic Ignition Propane Grill Stove (Model No. 9922-750)
Yup, you can take a frying pan, throw it over a bed of hot coals, and probably accomplish the same task. But when I wake up in the morning, I want to get my biscuits and bacon cooking, now. Plus, I want… scratch that, I NEED my coffee, and the last thing I want to do is mess around with getting a fire restarted, spreading out the coals, and hanging a percolating coffee pot above the fire. I just want some hot, mega-caffeine-injected coffee, fast.
This Coleman 2-burner propane stove sports Coleman’s “InstaStart” electronic ignition, which works flawlessly, even in damp, windy conditions. The adjustable burners offers up to 10,000 BTUs. One burner supports a standard-sized cooking grate, while the other is a large grill-style unit which is perfect for big, honkin’ pieces of cow muscle or your fresh Rattlesnake kill.
This stove also includes two built in “WindBlocks” that can be folded down to the side and serve as shelves to hold lightweight items such as spices.
Overall, this stove worked well. It lit perfectly each time, was conservative with the propane it used and cooked pretty evenly. The WindBlock wings could stand to be twice as tall, as it was difficult to cook food when there was a stiff breeze, even when the stove was turned in various directions. Cleaning this unit after some steak juice or beans have spilled in it however, can be a real bear. When compared to older generation propane stoves I’ve owned, this Coleman 2-burner stove we tested is a vast improvement.
Coleman 2 Burner Electronic Ignition Propane Grill Stove (Model No. 9922-750) Quick Specs:
2 Burner Electronic Ignition Propane Grill Stove – Model No. 9922-750
• InstaStart™ electronic ignition for easy, matchless lighting
• Fully adjustable cooking power up to 10,000 BTUs per burner
• Large control knobs positioned in front for easy access
• PerfectFlow™ ensures consistent fuel output, regardless of weather, altitude or fuel level
• Durable enamel-painted steel case and aluminized cooking surface for easy cleaning
• Heavy-duty removable chrome cooking grate and non-stick cast-aluminum grill grate
• Folding WindBlock™ system doubles as convenient side shelves
• Burn time: 1.1 hours on on high using one 16.4-ounce propane cylinders (sold separately)
• Coleman lifetime limited warranty
Cot: Overnighter™ 80″ SpaceSaver Air Bed (Model No. 2158A880)
Getting off of the ground when camping is really the way to fly. You’ll stay warmer and more comfortable. The Coleman Overnighter that we ordered is an 80” folding cot made of nylon and aluminum, and is compact, lightweight and is assembled in just a few seconds. It also comes with an inflatable air mattress that securely fastens to the cot.
At 6’ 4” tall, this cot was plenty long for me, but it could stand to be a few inches wider. Rolling over while sleeping on this relatively narrow cot was a bit harrowing as I almost fell off a few times. The air mattress does come with a handy storage pocket where I stored some TP, a flashlight and other nighttime essentials that I didn’t want on the ground. The cot was very comfortable and as with any air mattress, you can make it as soft or firm as you like.
Cot/Mattress: Overnighter™ 80″ SpaceSaver Air Bed (Model No. 2158A880) Quick Specs:
• Coleman® Airtight® System guarantees a leak-free inflatable air matress.
• Comfortably sleeps a person up to 6’ 8” tall
• Keep small items close at hand with handy storage pocket organizer
• ComfortSmart™ coil system contours to your body for better support
• Double Lock™ Valve – Two sealing points guarantees a leak-free valve
• Detachable air mattress and cot can be used separately or together
• Bed cover can be washed in cool water and line dried
• Lightweight aluminum frame
• Cot – Limited 3 year warranty
• Airbed – Limited 1 year warranty, cot – Limited 3 year warranty
• Patents pending
• Weight capacity 225 lbs.
• Carry weight – 12.5 lbs
Coffeemaker: Camping Coffeemaker (Model No. 5008C700)
As mentioned before, I’m firmly addicted to several hot cups of Joe in the early, cold, dark hours of the morning. Coleman’s camping Coffeemaker is an amazing invention. It looks, acts, and brews just like the drip-brew coffee maker that you probably have at home, except it requires no electricity. It is designed to be used right on top of a cooking stove.
This coffeemaker was just what the doctor ordered for us camping coffee drinkers. It’s a bit more snobbish than your campfire-hanging, porcelain, percolator coffee pot, but you know what… I am not the morning person I used to be. I really don’t want to play eagle scout that early, I just want a stiff cup of‘ Joe, and this coffee maker made some of the best coffee I’ve had camping in years. While I would prefer an unbreakable metal decanter rather than the glass one Coleman included, you can order a sturdy, plastic carrying case.
Coffeemaker: Camping Coffeemaker (Model No. 5008C700) Quick Specs
• Drip-brews coffee, just like your coffeemaker at home
• Use it to make hot cocoa, hot cider or instant soup too
• Removable swing-out filter basket
• Solid steel base
• Easy pour decanter
• Brewing pause-n-serve feature
• Works with 2- and 3-burner camp stoves
Airing Up The Mattress, and Other Things
Air pump: DC 12 Volt Inflate-All® QuickPump™ System (Model No. 5999C900)
Using the ol’ lung-powered air mattress inflator is so, 1950’s. Even if you’re just inflating a small mattress, let alone a huge queen-size one, get ready for some light-headed adventures. If you’ve been puffing into an air mattress for twenty minutes, how can you effectively fight off that Grizzly bear?
The Coleman Quickpump system incorporates both a high-pressure and a high-volume air pump system which will allow you to air up everything from several air beds to inflatable companions or even your truck tires. You can air up a queen-size air mattress to a very firm pressure, in 1 minute and 43 seconds – we timed it. And, you won’t get even the least bit light-headed.
Air pump: DC 12 Volt Inflate-All® QuickPump™ System (Model No. 5999C900) Quick Specs
• Inflates virtually everything – from airbeds to car tires
• High pressure and high volume pump in one housing
• Inflates a Coleman queen airbed in less than 2 minutes
• Inflates a standard R15 car tire in less than 4 minutes
• High volume side inflates and deflates
• Built in flashlight
• Flashing hazard light
• Presta Valve for use on high-end bicycles
In conclusion, I’d have to say I’m a Coleman guy from now on. Considering that the biggest portion of my job is that of product testing, I tend to be a bit more critical than your average person. Over the years I’ve camped with products from various manufacturers, but I know that I can always rely on the durable, well-designed products that have the Coleman name on it.
The tent was large, easy to erect, comfortable and stood up to some fairly nasty weather. The cot and air mattress were comfortable and kept me warm, but could stand to be a bit wider. The QuickPump air pump made inflating all of our air mattresses quick and easy. The camping stove and coffee pot also made making our sustenance easy and tasty.
Whatever your camping needs are, we strongly suggest that you shop Coleman. Their products may be a bit more pricey than lesser-known competitors, but your extra few dollars will get you extremely well engineered products with solid warranties that will last you years and years.
|The Coleman Company Inc.|
|3600 North Hydraulic
Wichita, KS 67219
Phone: (800) 835-3278