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An entry-level contender to the costly bell tent, the Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent aims to tempt family tent seekers on a budget - does it succeed?

coleman octo
20.7 kg
Excellent value for money, Airy design, Versatile in mixed conditions
Car-camping only weight, No blackout for families, Cramped for eight

Coleman’s Cortes Octagon 8 tent comes in various colours, including the grey on test, a blue, orange, green, and a blackout version. Apart from the blackout version of this tent (which we looked at last year- Coleman Octagon BlackOut 8 Tent Review – RRP £549.99), these are all essentially the same tent, styled to your liking. 

Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent Review: Design and Build

Designed as a glamping tent, the Octagon tent line features a spacious interior with full standing height and a light airy feel - perfect as a family tent too. The octagonal shape lends itself well to the standard glamping setup, with plenty of room for a double bed and a few choice pieces of camping furniture. We have used the Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 tent for a group of four blokes, and despite there being plenty of space around us we wouldn’t have fancied any more bodies inside. For a couple though, the Cortes Octagon 8 is an excellent design and offers a cheaper alternative to polycotton bell tents.

Pitching is relatively simple, despite the abundance of steel and fibreglass poles. The tent pitches inner first, with the base being pegged out into the octagonal shape before erecting the poles. Being an Octagon shape there are loads of poles but everything is colour-coded and realistically the Cortes Octagon 8 takes no longer than a conventional steel-poled tent to pitch. A helper for the pole stage is useful so that you can lift and assemble the poles evenly. Once the inner is clipped to the poles, the waterproof outer gets chucked over and connected via a series of clips and velcro straps. Again, this is an easy and intuitive process. 

The front door is a genius design, utilising a flexible pole to give the door structure and a simple bit of velcro to hold the door shut. This door hinges open from the left side making for an easy, quiet entrance and exit to the tent. It can be zipped closed at night or for leaving the tent for long periods of time. The fact that the bedrooms aren’t blackout-lined will not be a problem for some, but for families and party animals the early wakeup (and rising temperatures in the hotter months) might be a showstopper. 

Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent Review: Comfort and Ease of Use

Inside, the tent is one large open space, with plenty of head height under the pitched roof. We recommend the optional carpet which adds a level of comfort and warmth that’s well worth the investment. There isn’t a great deal of storage space, aside from a few mesh pockets, but the Octagon 8 is designed to be used with additional camping furniture to complete the look. 

The party piece of the Octagon is the ability to open the flysheet at each external face of the tent, giving you a 360-degree view of your surroundings. You have to be careful in this setup as it leaves the inner vulnerable to rain, but it’s a wonderful option on a balmy summer’s day. 

Protection from the elements is fine for this level of tent. The WeatherTec fabric offers a 2000mm HH rating and taped seams. Although the HH rating is fairly low, it will still keep the rain out. With a fully sewn-in groundsheet, you’re also protected from wind blowing through and water rising up.

The steel pole construction of the Octagon 8 contributes to the significant overall weight of 20.7 kg, but the excellent quality wheeled carry bag helps with lugging the tent from car to pitch.

Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent Review: Verdict

Overall, this is a great alternative to a poly cotton bell tent, and at an RRP of only £350, it is an absolute bargain. However, there are compromises here, especially if you’re looking for sleeping space for four-plus. It’s also not a tent that’ll carry far, and the lack of blackout material will limit its helpfulness for family use. However, as an entry-level glamping tent it’s a strong player, and Coleman’s reputation for build quality should see you right in the longer term. 

Read next: The Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets

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