Coleman Octagon 98 – An In Depth Review


Packed Weight Packed Size Erected Size Rooms
48lbs (21.7kg) L3.5ft x W 1.5ft x H 1.5ft
L1.1m x W 0.45 x H 0.45ft
L 13ft x W 13ft x H 7ft
L 4.0m x W 4.0m x H 2.1m
2

The Coleman Octagon 98 Tent is Coleman’s mid range 2 room tent. It’s unlikely that any self respecting outdoors enthusiast hasn’t heard of Coleman. As far as outdoor brands go, they’re one of the biggest. Coleman products, however, have a reputation for being bit hit or miss. This is all set to change. Back in 2016 Emily Donahue, Coleman’s product line manager admitted the company was aware that it was slipping into mediocrity and that the company were developing a new strategy aimed at surprising people. While the Coleman Octagon 98 is admittedly an older tent, it’s conceivably what Coleman have based their newer designs on.


Inside The Coleman Octagon 98

Being an 8 man tent The Coleman Octagon 98 we reviewed was large, even while packed up. It arrived in a carry bag approximately 100cm (3.5ft) x 45cm (1.5ft) x 45cm (1.5ft). That is to be expected for tents of this calibre, however, and you’ll struggle to get a large 8 man tent that folds away any smaller.

Inside the Coleman Octagon 98
image courtesy of Coleman

The Coleman Octoagon 98 is slightly on the heavy side with a packed weight of 48lb (21kg). While this means you’re not going to want to trek into the mountains with this on your back, that’s not what it’s designed for. This tent is a large, solid portable tent, ideal for a large group of a family. The weight and size is offset by a neat little carry bag which has wheels along the bottom, meaning transport is easy and it doesn’t feel as heave to carry as it actually is.

While it’s sold as an 8 man tent, reviewing it we found 8 people was quite a ‘cosy’ fit. At maximum occupancy there’s not much of a living space. The Coleman Octagon 98 however, comes into it’s own as a 4 man tent, with the divider up to create a large two room space with a bedroom and a separate living space. Our recommended set up was either for 4 adults, or 2 adults and 4 children. This kind or arrangement gives loads of spare usable space with enough room to store several cases.

Coleman Octagon 98 with divider up
Coleman Octagon 98 with divider up – image courtesy of Coleman

Space inside the tent is ample. The height of 6ft 10 inches at its highest point, means that even the taller individual will feel the Coleman Octagon 98 is spacious and airy. Its steep sides mean that the tent’s footprint is well utilised, and give a large usable interior.


Features:

Wheelie bag for Coleman Octagon 98
Wheelie Carry bag for Coleman Octagon 98

The Coleman Octagon 98 has more than enough features to make it a worthy outdoor contender. It features 2 doors at opposite end of the tent which make exiting the tent without waking your sleeping companions easy. Both doors have removable door mats allowing you to remove muddy boots easily without getting the interior of the tent dirty. One of the doors is a full frame, rigid, hinged door, designed to be used as a main entrance, whereas the other a simple zippered doorway. With both doors open the air circulation in the tent is great keeping you cool on sunny days. A mesh ceiling further helps airflow.

Entrance to Coleman Octagon 98
Removable Door Mats by Both Entrances

The tent is also features 6 large bright airy windows, the other two panels featuring the doors. The only omission we think would benefit the Coleman Octagon 98 would have been independent zip up curtains. You’ll need the rainfly on to provide privacy and keep out early morning sunlight.

Tubing on the Coleman Octagon 98
Waterproof tubing on the Coleman Octagon 98

The Coleman Octagon 98 also has a tubbed floor. This means the groundsheet that forms the floor also rises about 12cm (5 Inches) around the side in a solid sheet. This provides the protection against wet grass and condensation and is an integral part to keeping this tent dry.

The Coleman Octagon 98 can be converted from a large open space to a 2 room dwelling with the included room divider. This is ideal if camping as a family, giving you some privacy.

centre hook for a light hangingBy both doors are several storage pockets, ideal for keeping torches etc in, meaning they’re within easy reach when returning to your tent in the dark. There’s also a hook in the very centre of the tent which enables you to hang up a lantern

One of our favourite features though, is the reflective guy lines of the Coleman Octagon 98. This means that they’re easy to see at night, allowing you to avoid tripping!


How up to the job is the tent

While tents with steep sides are notorious for their susceptibility to wind, the Coleman Octagon 98 performed admirably. It has a guy rope on each of its eight corners which provide a high level of stability. Another advantage of steep sides is that should you be camping in the snow, it won’t settle on them. This is also true of rain!

With the rainfly on, the Coleman Octagon 98 is more than capable in even the harshest downpours. If you don’t believe is take a look at the numerous amazon reviews that claim the same! The tubbed flooring with it’s 15cm clearance from the ground further ensures no rain comes in through the bottom of the tent, even if it’s sat in a hefty puddle.


Putting it up

Erecting a tent can make or break a camping experience, especially if you’re trying to put up a family tent with children in toe. Coleman, however, have given a good deal of thought to the putting up of the Octagon 98. Poles are colour coded which makes working out what goes where a doddle. They snap together easily with a quick twist which locks them in place. Poles are reinforced with metal braces which give them a sturdy feel.

Putting the Coleman Octagon 98up

Set up was straight forward enough. As with most tents of this size you’ll need to lay the tent out, build the roof, attached it to the inner tent, and then build the walls, finally putting the fly over the top.  It took two of us around 20 minutes to set up on the first attempt, however after a subsequent erection we got it down to 11 minutes. We also tried putting up with tent with just one man, and while it took a bit longer, it was more than doable.

The rainfly was the only slightly complicated thing to add to the Coleman Octagon 98. It was much easier to throw this over with two people.


Negatives

While there are a a great many good points to the Coleman Octagon 98 there are a few things we didn’t like.

One niggle was that we found the air vents on the top of the tent were hard to open or close if you’re on the shorter side. This could be a problem if there’s a sudden downpour and you can’t reach the vents to close them.

In this day and age many campsites provide a power hook up and quite a few tents provide a little port to run a power cable in. The Coleman Octagon 98 doesn’t, which while not being a deal breaker is a rather annoying oversight by Coleman. You can still run a power cable through the corners of one of the doors, but it’s a bit messier and could be a trip hazard.

The colour coding on the tent poles didn’t look very sturdy either, and it’s likely after considerable use the colours will wear off, but hopefully by then you’ll be a master at putting th Coleman Octagon 98 up.

It would also have been nice to have some options to use the tent’s generous height. A detachable shelf hanging from the rook would have been great, as unless you’re 6 foot tall then it’s wasted space.


Positives

 

The positives outwe

igh the negitives on the Coleman Octagon 98. While we have covered everything we liked above, below is a list of our favourite things about this tent.

storage pockets by both doors
Storage Pockets by the Entrance to the Tent
  • Ventilation. This tent is easy to open up to the outside world, meaning it’s rare this tent gets too hot.
  • Light and Spacious. The 6 big windows mean this tent feels much bigger than it is
  • Good use of Space. The steep sides mean that this tent maximises it’s footprint.
  • Weatherproofing. The full rainfly and tubbed flooring means this tent is a strong defender from the elements.

Final Thoughts

We thoroughly enjoyed the Coleman Octagon 98 and it’s versatility. It’s well priced and made by a reputable company. It’s one of the best uses of space on any tent we’ve come across, and any negatives we came across are negligible. All in all you could do much worse for your money than the Coleman Octagon 98.

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