Coleman Valdes 4 Inflatable Tent
Take one Canadian who lives up above the Arctic Circle and hasn’t seen a sunset for several months so is going a little bit stir crazy. Bring them to England, fill them with the finest real ales known to man, and throw them into one of this Coleman tent’s blackout bedrooms, and what do you get?
Well, you don’t get to see that Canadian until the next afternoon because their brain has literally shut down from the magnificent darkness of this womb like tent.
Coleman is one of those brands which have come up with a bunch of good ideas and throw them all at one tent so there’s a lot to talk about and a lot which, if this was your only tent, you could start taking for granted. So let’s start with those blackout bedrooms. They are dark. Really dark. You will need a torch to go for a wee even if it’s the middle of day dark. They are seriously impressive for those of you who like to pitch your tent underneath the only streetlight in the campsite or next to someone who likes to keep the light on. Seriously they’re incredible if you are like me and when you camp you wake up at the crack of dawn and lay there listening to the sniffly hedge grogs and morning ablutions of your fellow campers as your partner snoozes soundly next to you.
And on this particular tent Coleman have teamed up that darkness technology with extra large bedrooms that offer enough space for a huge inflatable bed or if you have a normal inflatable bed then plenty of room around it for accumulating stuff or losing your socks. This tent has two of them side-by-side and it easily big enough to sleep four or two of you after an argument with enough space to flounce about and huff and puff in peace.
And we all know that the number one cause of arguments when camping is the pitching of the tent. Well hopefully they’ve addressed that too because this tent features the Coleman fast pitch air system which means that you simply have to connect to pump and blow up three large hoops to get the tent up quickly. Even an idiot can do it.
Eventually… Because I am an idiot and it took me a little while to realise that the valves that you pump the air into have a locking mechanism so they deflate super quickly to. I hadn’t read the instructions and I hadn’t turned off this super deflated feature, so every time I disconnected my pump the thing went down. But like I said I’m an idiot. Now you read this you won’t make that same mistake. I think I’ve taken one for the team, so no need to thank me.
Once you’ve successfully inflated the three beams and pegged out the tent so it’s all nice and taut it simply a matter of opening up the amazing front door which has a proper hinge in it and opens like a proper door!!! And then it’s just like being home. It’s actually quite amazing what a psychological difference having a proper door on a tent makes to the whole experience. Difficult to explain until you actually try it, but for those who are wedded to the idea of unzipping a soggy floppy door then there is always an option at the side for you traditionalists.
The Valdes is waterproof rated to 3000 mm, which in real world terms is plenty enough to keep off the worst of the British weather and you won’t see any drips inside unless you’ve either created a massive amount of condensation or something is pushing the water through from the outside.
Living with the Valdes is a pleasant experience because it gives a nice degree of usable space without hogging the footprint of the campsite. The aforementioned massive bedrooms are the main feature of the tent but you get a large porch area which is big enough to sit to in spacious comfort and for if your little more comfortable with close proximity. And and that space can be visually extended by opening the hinged door where the canopy will do a good job of keeping the brightest sunshine and any light drizzle out of the main tent.
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The living space feels really roomy partly because the Valdes is a very tall tent. The head height in the middle of the porch is 200 cm / 6ft 6in which should be plenty tall enough for most people not to feel cramped. And for you giants the sleeping quarters are 6’10” long so you shouldn’t feel too cramped in there either.
As with most of the common tents we have tested over the years the little features like power lead access zippers, childproofing zipper protectors, a nice big sewn-in groundsheet, and a choice of mesh or full screen doors make this tent particularly adaptable for family or couple camping. However you will need a car because the Valdes weighs 18 ½ kg, which is about as much as a sheepdog and not the kind of thing you want carrying too far across a campsite without wheels.
The price of the Valdes will put off those of you who are used to buying your tents at Argos or Halfords, but you need to think of a Coleman tent as an investment. The quality and features that brands like Coleman build into their tents will make them last longer and make the camping experience better than a budget tent, which will make your holiday better. The Valdes is a good example of a large four person tent, but you are paying a premium for the fast pitch air system. Whether you value that premium enough to justify a bit of a price hike, well only you can answer that.