Whether it’s for outdoor events, festivals, glamping, or weekend trips, the Coleman Octagon tent is one of the most prevalent tents on the market in the family camping sector.
With a unique octagon shape, it’s such a modern take on traditional cabin designs, making it stand out amongst other large-capacity tents in the outdoor marketplace.
Otherwise known as the Coleman Octagon 98 or the Coleman Cortes Octagonal tent, it also comes in an Octagon BlackOut version, which we’ll also be looking at today in our review. Each model brings something different to the table, so we’re interested in getting down to the specifics and analyzing every little feature about these popular tents.
Considered one of the best Coleman tents around, we want to help you decide whether it would suit your next trip, so keep reading for all the details on these models. From our favorite features to popular FAQs answered, we’re covering it all.
Our First Thoughts
The first thing that immediately jumps out at us about this tent is the fact that it’s pretty much a tent-gazebo hybrid. Octagon shapes are often used for gazebos to maximize space and comfort whilst being sheltered outdoors, so it’s no wonder that they’ve used this design to make a large-capacity 8 person tent.
We feel that the Octagon is an ideal option for those who camp in mild weather. Due to the large and somewhat bulky size, it’s definitely not suited to strong winds, but then again, it’s not made for that.
This is a tent that prioritizes comfort and spaciousness over anything, so it’s definitely not something we’d think to take into the extreme wilderness. At under $400, it’s actually not a bad price when you compare it to some other 8-person tents on the market.
We believe it falls somewhere in the mid-range, as it’s not necessarily budget-friendly, but it’s not as expensive as some huge canvas glamping tents we’ve seen.
For breezy warm-weather camping or shelter for outdoor events, this is looking like a top choice for casual family camping.
- 2000mm Waterproof Rating
- 1ft Peak Height
- Fully Covered Panel on Hinged Door Adds Privacy
Coleman Octagon BlackOut
- Large PVC Front Window with Adjustable Shutter
- High Waterproof Rating of 4500mm
- BlackOut Technology Fabric & Longer Flysheet
Important Specs at a Glance
Octagon Shaped Tent
13ft L x 13ftW x 6.1ft H
|Set Up Time
Conventional Ring-and-Pin with Central Pole Hub
1000D Polyethylene Floor, Polyester Fly, Mesh
33.5” x 11.8” x 11.8”
Steel & Fiberglass Poles
|Number of Vestibules
What We Love – Our Top 3 Features
GOLD QUALITY – Huge Entrances
For such immense tents, we’re extremely pleased to see that there are two entrances. This is a top gold feature for us because it means that multiple people can enter and exit without bumping into each other or causing a traffic jam.
Also, since you can separate the interior space into two rooms, having two entrances means you won’t disturb anyone when entering or exiting – extra handy for those midnight toilet breaks.
Another big standout in terms of the entrances is the front-hinged door. We’re huge fans of rigid doors as they’re so effortless to use, especially for kids who might struggle with constantly zipping and unzipping an entrance.
This hinged door in particular also closes automatically once opened thanks to Velcro strips. This is a unique feature in our opinion because it’s not only comfortable to use but also keeps bugs and winds out.
SILVER FEATURE – Full-Length Coverage
For such giant tents, having full-length coverage and significant weatherproofing is definitely a top feature for us. In our experience, it can be challenging to find large-capacity tents with decent coverage to be able to use in anything more than mild weather.
While the fly doesn’t fully shield the doors, it almost reaches the ground all around the sides, covering each mesh window. This enhances wind protection as well as protection against leaks.
We’re also liking the quick-zip curtains that are integrated into the fly. They’re a unique aspect because you can customize the amount of sunlight that comes through or privacy levels with one quick zip.
BRONZE HIGHLIGHT – Generous Interior Space
The vast amount of space is definitely one of our favorite things about these tents. Even though they’re not cabin designs, they feature full head-height throughout the entire interior space. This makes them extremely livable and comfortable – ideal for when you’re stuck inside on a rainy or extra windy day.
Another advantage to the large interior space is that you can comfortably fit at least two queen size airbeds with some additional storage room leftover.
Tent Overview – Breaking Down Every Detail
Interestingly enough, it seems that the poles on the regular model and dark room model are different. It appears that the regular version is made of all steel poles, while the dark room model is made of both fiberglass and steel.
There is no difference in the weight between each version, so we can’t see this having any type of effect when it comes to stability. Perhaps they’ve included some fiberglass in the dark room version because the special black out technology within the materials is heavier than plain polyester.
There are quite a few poles needed to make up the framework that can enhance structural integrity. Considering these are such substantial tents, it’s important to have a robust frame to withstand strong winds.
A central pole hub is another element that increases stability, as all the poles connect in the same spot which strengthens the overall frame.
Windproof, Waterproof & Sunproof
Thanks to the WeatherTec System, both versions in this line are well protected against rainfall and strong winds. Apart from PU-coated fabric, all seams have been inverted to prevent leaks through the needle holes, the zippers are covered by cuffs, the frame is wind-strong with special engineering, and the bathtub flooring has welded corners that also eliminates stitching holes.
As well as the above protection, the dark room model comes with a UV guard for SPF50+ protection, which is needed considering the material on this model stores energy from the sun.
With a streamlined setup, you can spend as little time as possible assembling these models. It takes around 15 minutes with two people which is admirable when you consider the size.
The process is simple. All the poles are color-coded with the central hub which saves tons of time as you’re not fumbling around with searching for the right alignments. We also like that the door poles are color coded so that you don’t mix them up.
Hook-and-loop flysheet attachments are quick and effortless, plus Velcro tabs that wrap around the poles improve the stability even further. Adjustable ropes are provided to help you guys out and stabilize the tent. A quick note: Make sure to peg the stakes at 45° for maximum wind resistance.
With so many panels of mesh, you’re getting an extreme amount of airflow coming through these models, which is crucial for two reasons: They are big-capacity which means more body heat, and they are intended for warm-weather camping. 7 massive screen windows line the outer walls, plus the roof is completely meshed.
We like to see that even with the fly on you’re able to get a decent amount of ventilation coming through. This is due to the gaps between the fly and the inner tent, which allow cool ground air to travel upwards and through the mesh, reducing humidity and condensation.
Using ultra-fine bug-proof mesh, the interior space remains protected, so you can leave the fly off on dry nights to watch the stars whilst allowing loads of air to flow through.
Since the design is so versatile, you could also use these models as spacious bug-proof mesh screen rooms by pitching them without the fly – perfect for backyard events or even simply to be able to eat outside in peace.
Both models have a full-length flysheet, although the fly on the dark room edition actually rests on the ground, rather than hovering just above it. In addition to providing extra wind and rain protection, this lengthened fly is purposefully designed to block out as much sun as possible.
Each model comes with a built-in privacy curtain to separate the main area into two rooms. Using toggles and loops, you can fold back the curtain in seconds, making the space more open-plan. This curtain is extra handy for separating sleeping areas if you’re camping with friends, plus it can help to keep dirty gear storage out of the way.
Also, the black out version uses special darkened material, compared to the original one that uses regular polyester for the partition.
Most Asked Questions – We’ve Got You Covered
Can the doors be locked?
No, neither the hinged door nor the back zippered door can be locked. The hinged door works using multiple Velcro straps as well as a zipper that runs the length of the door.
You could leave it unzipped during the day when you may be entering and exiting more frequently, then zip it all up before going to bed to ensure full protection from the elements.
How portable are they?
Each model comes with a wheeled bag that also has handles. This is super convenient seeing as they are both quite heavy and bulky tents, so you won’t strain your back trying to transport the bag from the car to the campsite.
What is storage like inside?
You’ll find multiple mesh storage pockets inside both versions to make organization a breeze. We actually think there could be a few more pockets around since it is meant for 6 to 8 campers, but the pockets do come separated into smaller pouches, so each camper could keep their small items separate from everyone else.
Our Final Thoughts
Spacious, bright, and comfortable, the Coleman Octagon tent and Octagon BlackOut have definitely earned their spot as top family camping tents in our books. We’re super pleased with the vast amount of space, straightforward pitch, and modernized design that make these models stand out from other large-capacity family tents on the market.
With other highlight features like a massive hinged door, partial coverage rainfly with curtains, and integrated WeatherTec protection, we think this is a perfectly safe choice for casual trips and open-air events.
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