I’ve been thinking about this review for a while, but I wanted to wait until we’d tried out our new Coleman FastPitch Air Valdes 4 a few times and given it a proper test. After 4 nights of wind and rain in the Lake District, as well as a couple of shorter camping trips, I feel like I am now qualified to comment!
Any regular readers will know that up until this year we had been camping in our Montana 6AC. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a brilliant tent, but it has several drawbacks, mainly relating to its sheer size. So this year we decided to downsize and simplify our set up. We started by buying a new tent. We opted for the Coleman FastPitch Air Valdes 4 for a few reasons, firstly we like air tents (they are easy to set up when you’re also wrangling young children), we liked the large porch (something we felt was really lacking on our old tent, and thirdly and probably most importantly, we wanted blackout bedrooms.
We love the layout of the Coleman Valdes 4. It’s not a big tent, it has two bedroom pods, each sleeping two people, a small living area and a porch.
The living area and bedroom pods
It also has a large window on one side and a door on the other. The door has a fly sheet so you can have it open, but keep out all the bugs. I love the storage pockets and there’s also a hanging point for a light in the living area.
For us though, the main draw was the spacious porch, as let’s face it, if you’re camping in the UK, you’re going to need a dry area to cook in when it rains. It really rankled that our old tent didn’t have this. After shelling out the best part of £1000 on it, we then had to buy a shelter so that we had a cooking area. There’s no such issue with the Coleman Valdes 4.
The porch really came into its own during a wet trip to the Lakes last week
Last week we camped in the Lake District and were treated to torrential rain throughout the trip. It was great to be able to sit under cover and watch the world go by. We could cook and stay dry and it really felt like we were still able to enjoy the outdoors. Many other campers had to retreat indoors, but we loved sitting in the porch.
The blackout bedrooms are a-maz-ing!
So what about the blackout bedrooms? Do they really make a difference?
I don’t know why all tents don’t have them as standard, but they make a MASSIVE difference. Anyone who camps with babies and young children, knows the trauma of getting them to sleep when it’s still light and trying to keep them in bed once the sun is up. Ollie really isn’t a great sleeper and so I was sceptical that the blackout pods would help. They really did! I cannot stress enough that they are completely dark-even in broad daylight. We even managed to get him napping in there during the day-unheard of in any other tent we’ve owned! They also help to regulate the temperature-keeping it a tad warmer at night and cooler during the day. I can safely say that we will never buy a tent without blackout bedrooms, there’s no going back.
I know I’m biased, but it really is a good looking tent!
There was always doing to be compromises downsizing our set up with two children, and we are looking at getting a shelter next year to give extra space. Having said that, we really like this tent and have very few complaints.
It’s a bit awkward blowing it up as two of the points are inside the tent, plus you need to remember to have the buttons out when inflating. We’re getting better though, and can actually pitch it quite quickly-particularly when we remember to bring the right attachment for the pump.
My only other niggle with the Coleman Valdes 4 is the front door. What is it about front doors on tents? I didn’t like the one on the Montana either. I just want a simple up and down door, preferably with a flysheet so we can let the air in and keep our feral children contained. The door on this tent has a hinged design so it opens like a conventional door. In theory it sounds great, but in reality it’s really fiddly, which isn’t ideal when you’re struggling to get out at 6am to get a bottle for a screaming baby. Also, as it has a lip, me and Luke trip over it on average 10 times a day, each. It gets annoying. It also eats into the porch space when you pin it back, which isn’t ideal.
None of these niggles are a deal breaker and are very minor in the grand scheme of things. Overall, we’re very happy with the design and the quality and plan to use this tent for many more family trips.
Have you found your ideal tent yet? What are your must-have features?
Want to buy this tent?