Earlier this summer, my wife and I decided to go on a lavish camping trip in Vermont. We enjoy backpacking and roughing it, but this trip was to be a little different. I didn’t want to sacrifice anything in terms of comfort, and as a naturally extravagant person, I bought the biggest damn tent I could afford: The Coleman Skylodge 12-Person Camping Tent. I reviewed the tent last week, but there were a few personal notes about the tent I wanted to share today.
We spent 10 nights in that tent, with temperatures hovering between 33 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s how it went.
Space to Spare
Space. It’s the reason we settled on a big tent, and it really paid off. This tent is over 7 feet tall, and the main living space measures 15 feet by 10 feet; add in the mud room, and it’s 19 feet by 15 feet. That’s quite literally bigger than our living room at home.
We set up a full-on studio apartment in there (bathroom excluded). A full-size air mattress, a loveseat, a giant cooler, and full camping kitchen were all inside the tent, with plenty of floor space to spare.
The end result was a tent that felt like a whole lot more than a tent. In fact, if we’d have had space in the car, we could’ve fit a TV, a twin air mattress, and at least two more chairs without losing all of our floor space.
The vibes don’t stop at bedtime
In the past, this has been my biggest gripe with camping. Most tents are less than 5 feet tall and are designed to do nothing more than keep your head covered while you sleep. As a result there’s pretty much 0 reason to be inside the tent unless you are going to sleep. I’m a night owl, and I always hated that I couldn’t lounge around inside a normal camping tent at night.
The Coleman Skylodge solved that problem. Instead of being forced to lay down the very second you zip up the tent door, you’ve got 150 square feet of space to lounge in. I could work on my laptop, make some tea – I could even do yoga if I felt like it (I never felt like it, but that’s another thing).
It seems obvious now, but this really was one of the things I liked the most about having a big tent. The standard two and four-person tents I was used do really limit campers to just going to bed, but when you’ve got enough room, you can truly unwind before bed.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: easier than ever
One of the best ways we made use of all that square footage? We set up a kitchen that is about as good as it gets for camping (RVs and travel trailers) excluded. A two-burner Eureka stove, on top of a collapsible kitchen set, with all the utensils and dishes we needed. It was a big step up from hotel microwaves, backpacking stoves, and eating junk food simply because you don’t have to cook it.
Up next, check out my review of my new favorite camping purchase: the REI Camp Dreamer unisex slippers.