We put Coleman’s Rocky Mountain Five tent and its patented BlackOut Bedroom technology to the test at Bwch-Yn-Uchaf campsite in North Wales.
The sing-song chirping of the dawn chorus, the light
streaming in shards through the unzipped tent; nothing beats waking up on a
campsite. But, at this time of year, as we near the summer solstice, it’s far
more common to find yourself blinking awake at 5am than lazing late-morning in
your sleeping bag. That’s certainly the idea that inspired tent manufacturers
Coleman, anyway, who this year patented the first BlackOut Bedroom technology
in order to keep campers snoozing beyond the brightness of early dawn. We got
our hands on the brand new Coleman Rocky Mountain tent and headed to riverside
campsite, Bwch-Yn-Uchaf in North Wales to test the technology out.
After exploring the cute, redbrick railway station next
door to the campsite, we ventured across the meadows of Bwch-Yn-Uchaf and found
a grass pitch beside the river where we could roll out that large, five-person
tent. A traditional tunnel tent by design, the Rocky Mountain Five has three
fibreglass poles holding up the exterior shell, while an inner BlackOut Bedroom is hung
within. The poles and hooks are all colour coded, making it easy to set-up (even without closely following the instructions), and clips and toggles inside were simple
and sturdy. In all, the tent took around ten minutes to set-up on our first
Inside, there is a fantastic sense of space. The front of
the tent, with both a main, roll-up door and a smaller side door, provides
ample room for a fold out table and chairs (particularly useful in wet
weather), while the interior sleeping area has a number of webbed pockets on
the outside, for storing your torch, clothes and other essentials. In fact, in
truly terrible weather, you could even take down the sleeping room and use the
entire space of the tent shell as a big group shelter – the whole thing has one
continuous ground sheet. It’s a useful touch if you’re camping in a large group.
The real test, of course, was of the BlackOut Bedroom itself.
On this, the Rocky Mountain Five did not disappoint. Even when first erecting the
tent, it was clear the interior of the bedroom was significantly darker than regular family
models we’ve used before. In the morning we really did find ourselves snoozing
until the unnatural camping hour of nine o’clock, while the real evidence of its success was that, even in the gentle evening light of dusk, we required a torch to read our books.
So, where there any drawbacks? Well, at 17¼ kilograms, the
Rocky Mountain Five certainly isn’t going to win any hiking awards for its
feather-light weight. But as a family tent that you’ll be loading in your car, that
isn’t particularly important. The extra load is an inevitable consequence of
enjoying a better, darker lining and a good night’s sleep, so, on balance, it’s worth its weight. We also noted that some of the external doors and windows were
partially secured with Velcro, rather than zips alone, which, though it was fine
during our test, seems an unusual choice when you consider velcro’s lack of real longevity.
In all, the Rocky Mountain Five was a quick-to-pitch,
spacious family tent that marks itself above the rest with its BlackOut
Bedroom interior. The patented BlackOut fabric ensures the tent is dark and cool as you
sleep, and the bedroom chamber, which can be divided in two with the use of an extra sheet, is ideal for
parents who want to put children to bed at an earlier time. There’s ample room
to stand up without stooping and plenty of wet-weather space for a table and
chairs. And, at the end of the day, we even managed to pack the tent away and
fit it back in the bag it came from without having to shove and push and
squeeze it in with all our might. Now there’s a first.
The Rocky Mountain Five is an ideal family tent for those camping with a vehicle and particularly for parents who value keeping the kids quiet early on bright summer mornings. There’s ample space for wet-weather shelter as well as for sleeping at night and it’s easy to pitch and pack away.
For more information about the Rocky Mountain Five tent, click here. Cool Camping were provided with a Coleman Rocky Mountain Five tent free of charge to provide this review; opinions are our own.
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