One of the most important components of a family camping trip is the tent. The tent is more than just somewhere for the family to sleep. It offers shelter from the elements and a place to store personal items while communing with nature. There are several tents available on the market, but Columbia tents have managed to stand out from competitors in the camping business.

The tents are manufactured by The Columbia Sportswear Company, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company initially sold hats, but has branched out to include various types of camping equipment, including tents. Columbia tents range from dome-designed spaces to cabin styles that are perfect for families and groups. Before deciding on a tent for your next camping adventure, use this guide to learn more about what Columbia has to offer.

What Types of Tents Are Available?

The Columbia Sportswear Company has several models available for campers, including the Pinewood six-person dome tent. Although there are some similarities between the models, there are some features that are unique to each. The tents also accommodate groups of various sizes up 10 people.

The Pinewood dome tent includes four large windows, double doors and a loft for storing gear. It also includes an electrical port and additional ventilation that helps to keep it cool in even the warmest conditions. The Pinewood tent offers further storage space in the form of two pockets that are large enough to accommodate clothing and other camping necessities. This particular model is available for parties of four, six, eight and 10.

The Fall River dome tent is one of the company’s most popular models. The style is available in sizes that comfortably fit up to 10 people. The Fall River is one of the heavier tents to carry, which makes it more suitable for setting up near parking. However, it is easy to set up. Unlike the Pinewood dome tent, the Fall River tent has a divider in the center. For families, this could mean a separate space for parents and children. Some groups choose to use one area for lounging and the other for sleeping.

And that’s not all

The Cougar Flats tent can accommodate parties of up to eight members. The tent also features a divider through the center. This model is fitted with a special polyester material that is designed to offer additional protection from the rain. As with the Fall River tents, the Cougar Flats tents are easy to set up. The tents do have additional ventilation built in, but they are zippered and must be opened and closed manually to allow air into the space.

The High Trail tents can comfortably fit up to eight people. The tents also feature a divider as well as a bathtub floor that can easily be wrapped up for weather protection. This model does not have the same polyester protection from the rain as the Cougar Flats tents and can sometimes allow moisture in. There are dual doors to the tent, which allows campers to leave the tent without the need to disturb others.

The Bugaboo tent is ideal for groups of up to five people. Due to its size, there is no divider available. However, there is additional space for storage and it includes a rain canopy fly. The fly provides additional ventilation. This tent is not as tall as the other models, so taller people might have to stoop to enter and exit.

Which Tent Is Right for Your Needs?

Each model of the tent has its own pros and cons, which can make narrowing down your choices challenging. There are several factors to consider when deciding on the right Columbia tent. For instance, the size of your group should be one of the most important factors. Remember, each person needs space for sleeping, but also room for their belongings.

Height and sleeping patterns are crucial considerations, too. Taller campers will need more headroom, while people who have poor sleeping patterns might need more space. One camper who tosses and turns in his or her sleep could mean a larger tent is needed.

You also have to factor in the length of your average camping trip. If your group is camping for more than a few days a year, you likely need a tent that offers more room and sturdier construction. It also needs to include protection against flying away or giving way to heavy winds and rain. Tents such as the Cougar Flats and Fall River models are better options than a Bugaboo tent.

More considerations

How much experience you and your group have with camping should factor into your decision. If this is your first time camping, you might be hesitant to invest too much into the tent. However, if you have some camping experience, spending more on your gear makes sense. This is especially true if you plan to spend considerable time camping in the future.

Where you plan to set up camp is also important. The larger tents offer more space, but they are also heavier. If you are not planning to camp near your parking area, you have to consider the distance you and your group must carry the tent. The heavier tents might be too difficult to manage. However, the extra weight could be worth it when it comes to the comfort of the group.

Another important factor is the assembly. Some of the tents are more challenging to set up and can take more than one person to assemble. Depending on the amount of time you have for camping, you might not have the time to set up the more complicated tents.

Weather and features

The weather should also be taken into account in determining which Columbia tent is right for your group. If you are camping in a back-country area, you need to look for a tent that has more mesh fabric and is more solidly constructed. Tents such as the Pinewood and Fall River models are considered to be four-season tents. They are able to withstand various weather conditions, including rain. A more lightweight tent, such as the Bugaboo, might experience some leaking in heavy rain conditions.

Final considerations are the features your tent needs. Tents can have multiple doors, storage spaces, gear lofts, and additional headroom. You can even find electrical ports for powering necessities. More features can mean more money spent, but they can add to the overall experience for you and your group.

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What Do Users Say?

The general consensus about the Columbia Sportswear tents is that they are worth the investment. The higher-quality tents, such as the Fall River, received the best reviews. Most of the models were praised for keeping water out and being sturdy in most weather conditions.

The higher-quality tents were also praised for being three-season useful. Some reviewers felt the need to use a tarp beneath the tents as a safety precaution, but the floors remained dry for most campers who did not use a tarp. The Fall River and Pinewood tents are thought to be four-season tents. During cold weather, those tents performed the best when it came to keeping the cool air out.

Some reviewers experienced complications when attempting to set up the tents. For instance, the Bugaboo would not always remain flat on the ground after it was set up. However, the tent is still considered a good value.

In addition to being a good value, reviewers believe the Columbia Sportswear tents to be rugged, durable, tall, and spacious. There were some concerns about storage capacity for some of the models, but the additional storage options for the higher-quality tents were lauded.

How It Compares

Although there are several manufacturers of tents, the Coleman brand appears to be the direct competition for the Columbia Sportswear tents. Like Columbia, Coleman has several models available for campers and has its own stores around the country that specialize in camping equipment.

Columbia’s higher-quality tents are comparable to those offered by Coleman. Many of the features, such as waterproof fabric and additional storage, are also available through Coleman.

Neither Columbia Sportswear nor Coleman manufactures the largest camping tent available. The largest dome tent is manufactured by Elite. However, the Elite brand does not have the same positive reviews that Columbia and Coleman do. Both manufacturers are also more popular than Elite.

Columbia Tents: Final Verdict

Ultimately, whether Columbia is the right tent for your camping adventures depends on how often you plan to use it and where you plan to camp. Columbia has tents available for any environment, but if you want to save money, another brand might offer the savings you want. However, the quality likely will not equal the standards of the Columbia Sportswear tents.

Columbia is considered one of the top brands, and with good reason. The tents are a smart long-term investment and offer the comfort amateur campers and seasoned pros need. The tents can fit groups of varying sizes and have been through several design updates over the years to incorporate new features. Even if you are on a budget, Columbia’s least expensive model offers features that are not found in other brands.

The reported durability of Columbia tents means they can be used for several years before needing to be replaced. For people who want to camp more than just once, buying a Columbia tent is a worthwhile purchase.

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