Hey folks. This week on the blog, I figured I’d take a break from reviewing camping gear found on Ali Express. Instead, I’m going to look at the Coleman Cobra 2 man tent. Coleman is a US company that has been providing good value, lightweight camping gear since 1905. Having owned one of their ‘Cobra’ tents for many years, I thought I’d give my thoughts on using it for lightweight camping and hiking. Let’s dive in and take a look!
Design & Materials
The Coleman Cobra comes in a 2 man and a 3 man version. Both versions are double skinned, with the only real difference being the width of the tent. There’s a bathtub floor, mosquito netting, and two vestibules – but only a single entrance. This means that you can only access the second vestibule from inside the tent.
The fly is made from PU coated polyester and has a hydrostatic head rating of 3ooomm. The waterproofing on the groundsheet is 5000mm. The two poles used to erect the tent are aluminium.
Size & Weight
The pack size of the Coleman Cobra 2 is 48 x 8 x 15 cm. In terms of internal space, you’ve 257 cm of length and 125 cm of width at the widest point. Bear in mind that the head and foot of the inner tent taper down to about 90 cm and 53 cm respectively. Still, at around 8 feet of internal length, you’re not going to struggle for space here. In fact, you may even have room to stash some gear at the head or foot end.
When sitting up, the head height of the tent is 87 cm. I haven’t ever found this to be an issue (I’m bang-on 6 feet tall) – in fact I think you’d have to be pretty damn tall to be headbutting the canvas in this thing.
The stated weight on the Cobra is 2.05 kg, but when I weighed mine it came in at closer to 2.2 kg. Definitely within the margin of error that I’ve come to expect with tent weights.
The Coleman Cobra is a fly-first pitch. This is useful as it helps prevent the inner tent from being exposed if you’re in bad weather. The inner tent will come pre-attached to the outer fly. Assuming you never detach it yourself, this means you can always ‘unroll and pitch’ it, with the inside of the tent never being exposed to the elements.
Once you’ve unrolled the tent from the stuff sack, there are two poles that need to be attached. The large pole runs across the full width of the tent and needs to be fed through a loop up top. Then the same goes for the smaller pole, which runs across the width of the foot end. Once the poles are inserted fully, clips attached to the fly can be clasped onto the poles in order to stretch out and tension the sides a bit more.
One thing to note about the aluminium poles on the Cobra: they need to bend a bit more than feels comfortable. A few times, I swore I was going to bust the poles trying to make them fit. But they do just keep on bending! I haven’t managed to break them yet.
Space & Storage
There’s plenty of space in the Coleman Cobra for 1 person. Room for 2 may be a stretch, but it’s certainly doable if you both pack light and make good use of the vestibules. What’s likely to be more annoying if you’re sharing with a buddy is the single entrance. Have fun with someone climbing over you to get out of the tent in the morning!
Wallet & Weight Impact
The Coleman Cobra is one of the cheapest lightweight tents on the market. Cheaper even than many of the good value tents to be found on Ali Express – although, in fairness, those tents tend to come in at a much lower weight. Which brings us nicely on to that…
When I first bought the Coleman Cobra, I was only just starting my journey into the world of ultralight camping. I was doing a lot of window shopping, experimenting with different virtual setups and weights – trying to shave every gram, but also not having any real money to spend. Back in those days, sub-2kg tents were harder to find. Cheap ones especially so.
I think it’s this first-timer market that the Cobra still serves best. Seasoned ultralight campers will no doubt squirm at the thought of a 2kg tent. But the fact is that the Cobra is a totally solid and reliable performer for the budget-conscious camper.
And if going ‘ultralight’ isn’t even your aim, then I’d even say that the Coleman Cobra is one of the best value tents on the market still. There’s a reason this tent has been around for so long and that the design has barely changed: it just works.
Coleman Cobra: The Verdict
The Coleman Cobra represents excellent value if you don’t mind compromising a little bit on weight. It’s durable, reliable, easy to pitch, and has a decent waterproofing level. In short, it will handle anything you throw at it for typical 3 season camping. And all for a very, very modest price. Not bad at all.
Well folks, that’s it for now – I hope you enjoyed this Coleman Cobra 2 tent review. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks and gear reviews from the trail. Until next time!