OK, just thought I'd let you know which way I ended up going. I spent nearly an hour today with the sales guy and in the end I went for the Coleman Instant Up 4 man tent. The sales guy went through all the pros and cons of the tent and for what I want it seems perfect. It came down to two tents. The Coleman Overlander or the Instant Up. The Instant Up got the job because most likely I will have to put the tent up myself.
From what I discussed with the sales guy and what I've picked up myself, here's what I've foundPros
- Easy setup and pull down. 1 person can set the entire tent up, including the fly in under 5 mins. The best I did this aftenoon was 3 mins 15 secs, from out of the bag to totally set up.
- heaps of height. Can stand up in it no worries.
- big windows on all walls
- all the zips are covered by flaps
- can have the windows open even if it's rainingCons
- you have to make sure the tent is laid out correctly before standing it up. The sales guy said prvoided you do that every time, you'll never have any problems. If you don't lay it out correctly and try to force the tent up, you can damage the two way joints in the supports.
- the sales guy recommended a tarp or ground sheet for under the tent because the Instant Up tents don't have as strong a floor as the standard Coleman Gold Series tents.
- you can't see any view out of the three of the windows because of the way the fly is designed. This feature does allow you to keep the windows open if it rains though. You can see out the big front door/window though.
- bit of a nuisance "rolling" the tent up to put it back in the bag. Because the tent is attached to the supports you can't flatten the tent out to roll it up. You also have to remember that the tent must go back in the bag a particular way. The bag is a padded at one end to to protect the support apex where all the struts join. If you damage the apex you're in all sorts of trouble apparently.
The sales guy did say that if I had the money the Oztrail Blitz canvas tents were good value for money, or any quick erect canvas tent, but it depended on budget, frequency of use etc. He said canvas was always the best way to go if you had the money - which we don't
All up, I think I've found a good tent for me and the little bloke to go for "man trip" overnite camping adventures. He "helped" me put it up this afternoon and even with his assistance I still managed to get it done in about 5 minutes. A determined 2 year old trying to help put a fly on a 2 metre tall tent is good for a laugh.