We own a Coleman Cobra 300 which is a great little lightweight backpacking 2 man tent with aluminium poles, but sadly they no longer make this tent. However, they now have a new small 3-man tent, with added bonus of a blackout bedroom. I was in Light Peak (Peak District) during the last weekend of February 2018, yes it was -6°c it was just before the snow hit. It was chilly but sunny and dry, so not all that bad when you have the right gear. I was in their new Coleman Kobuk and this was its first outing with me. I was camping solo as we had car issues and it was a little too chilly for the girls. Later than planned, I ventured off and arrived at Low End Farm, Sheen, Buxton at around 18:30 Thursday evening. It wasdark and cold and I was desperate for a tinkle. I found the entrance to the site which is in a lovely location on a working farm along a country lane which is wide enough for two vehicle’s. The site entrance is a little concealed in the dark and I drove past it at first, however there was a site entrance to a commercial plant further along the lane so I turned around and pulled into the site. I opened the large wooden gate, drove through it then closed and secured it. I drove around the site slowly with my sidelights on so not to disturb the two other occupants on the site, chose my pitch and walked to the loo’s. I couldn’t get the metal doors to open so I had to cop a squat around the rear of the porta-cabin which is encased in a steel outer for protection I imagine, (I was desperate and it was one of those never ending piddles and I was just hoping that no one was around, thankfully it was dark).
Setting up in the dark.
Armed with my LED head torch and a magnetic LED rechargeable camping light that I stuck to the lower side of my car door, I got out the ground sheet and laid it down and then set about putting up the Coleman Kobuk tent. The tent itself is a three pole system, firstly peg out the four corners of the inner and tie the centre, place the two poles across each other and under the centre that you have tied on the tent inner, there are metal inserts, ring and pin, attached at all four corners of the inner. I inserted a pin into the pole end, then went to the other end of the pole which is at the opposite corner, lifted and bent the pole until I could insert the pin. I repeated this step with the other pole. This tent is really easy to pitch because it’s got clips, so you don’t have to thread the poles through the inner pod, just attach the clips to the poles. Easy! Now the outer has got some Velcro straps that you attached to the inner poles to secure it, so I threaded the last poles through the colour coded flap, attached the outer to the inner using the Velcro straps to secure it in place then put one side of the pole in the pin and bent the pole at the opposite end to fit into the pin. I finished by pegging down the outer, most of the peg points align with the inner so this was easy and then I pegged out the guy ropes.
A quick and relatively easy task even for this old disabled woman, and in the dark too!! I’d say that it took me around 15 to 20 minutes, which was good as I had never erected this tent before. The first time always takes the longest, next time I’m confident that it will only take me around 10 to 15 minutes, someone who is more mobile could have this up in 10 minutes or under. This may sound a little sad or a bit anorak like, but I deal with a lot of tents and I must admit I really liked the shape of the pegs provided, they’re less rounded than standard pegs and they hold the elasticated peg points well and you don’t get any slipping off.
This is a weekend tent and it’s a 3 man. Now I have a back problem and I use comfy/supportive Exped mats because of this. I was using a large MEGAMAT 10 LXW which is 197cm long and 77cm wide. The mat only just fitted length wise and if Mr TentLife had been with me using his mat, we’d only have had 26cm to play with, so the dogs would have had to sleep on the beds with us. That said, our mats are wide, wider than average, but even with the average mat at 55cm wide, it’s going to be very cosy for 3 people (which is good in the cold weather). I would say that in reality, the Coleman Kobuk is a comfortable 2 man tent, 2 men with room. That said, I really like the Blackout Bedroom. I don’t enjoy being woken extra early by the light that comes through the tent at the crack of dawn, and if you’re like me and like an early night after a long day hiking then you have somewhere relaxing and dark to lay down and rest. The centre of the ceiling has a hook for hanging a small lamp or torch, and there are pockets at the sides to store my phone and specs, so as not to roll on them during the night. I’d like to take the tent out in warmer weather because the BlackOut Bedroom® is said to help you manage the bedroom temperatures. It is said to store energy from the sun in the surface of the fabric, keeping your bedroom up to 5°C cooler during the day and up to 1°C warmer during the night.
The porch area has a tub type groundsheet that stops any water ingress and gives you somewhere to store your muddy boots. More importantly it gives you somewhere to take off your boots without getting wet feet or socks. You can store your gear in here, I have a tiny fold and roll table and a small hiking chair that pack into small bags, so I left them in there along with my stove. The porch does have windows with curtains, which is good for security as you can keep your things out of sight. I slept comfortably, despite the freezing weather and the wind. The Kobuk Valley is the perfect tent for couples or parent and child weekend camping. It offers somewhere comfortable to sleep, the pack size is small, it’s light and it’s easy and quick to pitch. The ventilation works, I didn’t wake up dripping wet, granted it was cold, very cold. It was windy, and I was on an open field but it didn’t budge, nor did it feel like it would. It could easily be used backpacking if you split the pack between two people it’s 5.5kg and the pack size is: 58 x 16 x 16 cm, you can pick this one up new from £100 and Go Outdoors have the larger 4-man version for £120 which is a very reasonable price for a product of such quality. I like it, its small and you can throw in your car boot along with your bag, boots and cooking stuff and head off for a weekend away enjoying the outdoors at low cost and with relative ease. Lets just say that Mr TentLife and I will be reaching for this tent when we want to dash off somewhere for a night or two.