I go camping four or five times each year, and for the past few years my regular camping buddy has been my now six-year-old son, Ben. Since that first trip when he was barely four, he has grown more and more helpful around the campsite, gathering wood for the fire, helping me cook and clean, and even helping me pitch our tent. Or… so I let him think, anyway.
With apologies to the little guy, my Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch Darkroom Tent is so easy to set up that he would actually just slow me down if I let him take any real role in the process. From the time I unzip the tent’s bag to the time we can start moving in the air mats and sleeping pads, setting up this tent takes me less than 10 minutes.
And this is a big tent, mind you. Rated for six people, it can easily accommodate four sleepers in comfort (always consider a three-person tent ideal for two, a six for four, and so on, FYI). Ease of set up (and break down) are a major plus when it comes to tents, but that’s hardly the only reason this is my go-to.
The Carlsbad Fast Pitch has a large screened-in vestibule perfect for keeping muddy shoes and damp clothing out of the tent proper, yet still protected from rain, bugs, and other unpleasantries. (I’ve woken up to rainstorms several times in this tent and have never had the slightest issue with inundation.) Within the capacious interior is a pair of handy mesh pockets perfect for phones, lighting, a book, or a snack, while large screened windows can let in fresh air and light or can be zipped shut for a warmer interior or to keep things darker while you sleep.
And speaking of keeping things darker, the “Darkroom” portion of the tent’s name comes from the black fabric used in much of the tent proper and on the bottom of the rainfly. This dark material blocks a good deal of sunlight, helping keep the interior dimmer even after sunrise or if you’re trying to nap during the day.
At some point, as happens with all gear, this tent will wear out. Something will rip, a pole will bend or snap, or the zippers will fail. When that comes to pass, I’ll replace it with the latest model of the exact same tent.
Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch Darkroom Tent
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