Coleman Cobra 2 2011

Coleman is perhaps best-known for its range of camping stoves and fuel, along with its family range of tents and sleeping bags. But the brand also makes a few great little backpacking tents – the Cobra 2 being the smallest and lightest. The price is instantly attractive, but so is the design, thanks to the provision of porches on both sides of the tent.

Design

The Coleman Cobra 2 is a tunnel with a side entry. It pitches flysheet-first, so the inner can be kept dry for rainy pitching. There are two poles, and these slide through colour-coded sleeves on the outside of the flysheet. A series of pegging points and some guy lines are then used to complete the pitch. The tent is accessed from just one side, but the inner has doors on both sides, so there is a porch under the flysheet on each side to stash gear. This is a good idea as each camper has their own gear space, or all the gear can be stashed on one side while the porch that opens fully is used for entry and cooking. There are mesh vents on the outer beneath each pole, you can open the outer door from the top, and there is mesh panel on the inner door to allow reasonable venting of the tent, but some tents have a little more venting than this for even better condensation control.

On the hill

The pitch is a bit messier than the similar Vango Banshee tent we tested as there are no ladder-lock adjustments and the inner has to be pegged separately from the outer at the ends to get a good tension. But with a little playing around it does provide good stability. I’d like slightly more venting perhaps to make this more comfy on warmer still nights, but it is okay. The double porches are excellent and quite large, but this tent would be even better for two people if it had two doors, one for each camper. Of course a lot of people will use this as a solo tent, and in that situation the design is superb in terms of gear storage and access. Headroom is pretty low, however, even at the highest point, so again it’s fine for one, but two people may fight over who has access to the headspace. I like this tent, though, particularly at this price and this weight.

Design two-pole, side-entry tunnel

Poles shock-corded alloy

Materials outer: PU-coated polyester, 3000mm hydrostatic head; groundsheet: PU-coated polyester, 5000mm hydrostatic head; inner: polyester

Internal dimensions length 257cm; width 125cm; height 87cm

Packed size 49x15cm

Weight 2.05kg

Made in China

Stockist details – tel. (01275) 849255; www.coleman.eu

Stores in the UK 200

The Coleman Cobra 2 is a superb price; very good weight; good porches on both sides; easy to pitch; reasonable stability; reasonable ventilation. But one side entry is not ideal for two campers; headroom is pretty low due to tapered shape; pitching could be easier. It’s a remarkably well-priced tent that is ideal for one and tolerable for two thanks to double porch providing ample gear storage. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award in our test.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine August 2011

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