Coleman Instant Cabin Review

Coleman got their start making lanterns in the year 1900, and has been around ever since. They have established a name for themselves as one of the world’s top outdoor and camping brands. The company makes a full line of tents and related accessories for camping, ranging from two-person tents to nine-person capacity, with a wide variety of features and price points.

The 4-person Instant Cabin Tent is a mid-level tent with premium features. It sets up in under a minute, fits a queen-sized airbed, and keeps you dry with Weathertec technology including welded floors and inverted seams.

The Instant Cabin offers the following features:

  • “Instant setup” takes about 60 seconds
  • Expandable carry bag plus rip strip for easy packing
  • Extend and secure the pre-attached poles for a quicker, more straightforward setup
  • Integrated vented rainfly means extra airflow without requiring additional assembly
  • Two storage pockets to keep your gear organized
  • Polyguard 2X double-thick fabric
  • 8 x 7 feet
  • 4 feet 11 inches center height
  • One-year limited warranty

What we like

The most significant selling point of the Instant Cabin is that it sets up in under a minute. Even just one person can easily set the tent up by themselves. The secret is in the pre-attached poles. Just extend the poles and secure them and the tent’s completely set up and ready. Other companies have similar designs, but we aren’t aware of any that boast a setup time of under one minute!

Breaking the tent down is equally straightforward, but it takes a little bit longer – just a few minutes. The carry bag features a “rip strip,” which is a small Velcro strap that allows you to expand the bag before you pack the tent for easier placement.

Once you collapse the tent, you secure the rip strip, and the bag fits the closed tent snugly. It’s a small touch, but a nice one for preventing frustration.

Keeping with the theme of easy setup and simplicity, we love the integrated vented rainfly. Unlike removable rainflies, it has a vent, so it doesn’t compromise interior airflow when you don’t need it. Perfect!

On the inside the Coleman Instant Cabin has four screened windows that keep dust and insects out while ventilating the interior. It also has two integrated storage pockets that are perfect for storing flashlights or other essential gear you may want to access quickly.

There’s enough floor space to allow a queen-sized air mattress, or even a full-sized air mattress and a twin air mattress. If you inflate a queen air mattress inside the Instant Cabin, there will be a margin between the entry door and mattress of two and a half to three feet. Coleman designed the tent to use all the available space efficiently. We prefer the layout to square tents, such as a 7.5’ x 7.5’ design.

The Instant Cabin has high-tech materials inside and out. The primary material is Polyguard 68D 2X thick polyester mesh. The inside of the tent consists of 68D polyester taffeta and 68D polyester mesh, with a 1000D polyethylene floor.

The 1000D polyethylene is a very tough floor material, which is what we prefer. All the seams are made of 150D Polyester and are inverted and taped for weatherproofing. The WeatherTec system also keeps moisture out with welded floors.

Along with the excellent construction, design, and materials, Coleman backs up their Instant Cabin with a one-year limited warranty. That’s pretty good because if you camp a lot, a lot can go wrong in a year.

Like many of Coleman’s tents, the Instant Cabin is available with optional Dark Room Technology. This feature blocks 90% of sunlight and reduces heat inside the tent. It’s great for camping in hot and sunny areas, for putting the kids to bed early, and for sleeping in past dawn. Congratulations to Coleman for coming up with something new and useful.

What we wish was different

Coleman calls the Instant Cabin a four-person tent, which is partially correct, but a little bit misleading. At 8’ x 7’, the Instant Cabin has 56 square feet of floor space. One adult and three kids are no problem. Two adults and two kids will still fit in without too much trouble.

The tent might even fit three adults. But four full-grown adults are just not going to fit comfortably in this tent. We feel Coleman is setting anyone up for disappointment who buys the tent to accommodate four adults.

Judging by user reports, Coleman seems to be having some issues with quality control. Usually, users report excellent results in bad weather, but a few people have reported leaks and similar flaws in their tent. Although these issues don’t plague all Instant Cabin tents, you should test your Instant Cabin at home and thoroughly inspect it for defects before you take it in the field.

The final issue we noticed was the weight of the Instant Cabin. It weighs in at ten pounds, which is too much for backpacking. The tent is excellent for campgrounds, car camping, and playing in the woods, but dedicated backpackers need to look elsewhere.

What other customers say

Mina R. has pitched her Instant Cabin solo twenty-six times, in weather ranging from freezing to over 100 degrees. It’s never failed her in any way. 

J.V. says car camping with Coleman couldn’t be better!

Bobanis says it is the easiest tent she’s ever pitched. It goes up quickly and easily, and she loves it for camping.

Wrapping up

The Instant Cabin is the easiest tent to pitch we’ve ever reviewed. It lives up to its name; as long as you don’t try to fit four adults, it’s very roomy and has a great layout. Our favorite features are the easy setup and breakdown, integrated vented rainfly, and high-tech materials inside and out.

The tent can withstand rain and heavy winds better than most. Even though it’s too heavy for serious backpacking, we think it will meet most people’s needs. Coleman is offering an excellent product at a reasonable price point. 

The Coleman Instant Cabin is #2 in our list of top picks for camping tents.

Purchasing the Coleman Instant Cabin

Amazon usually has the best price on the Coleman Instant Cabin. The table below automatically updates every day and gets the most recent pricing.

Coleman 4-Person Cabin Tent with Instant Setup | Cabin Tent for Camping Sets Up in 60 Seconds
  • Instant tent sets up in just 1 minute. Fits 1 queen-size air bed.5 Tent Windows with 1 door
  • WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
  • Rugged Polyguard 2X double-thick fabric for reliable, long-lasting use
  • Integrated vented rainfly improves airflow without any extra assembly needed
  • Measures 8 x 7 feet with 4-foot 11-inch center height

About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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