Coleman Octagon 98
Ventilation is extremely important for those who enjoy camping during warm summer months, especially in humid environments. I cannot tell you how many times I have woken up in a poorly ventilated tent to find myself sticking to the inside of my sleeping bag and breathing air so stale it barely seemed to tickle my lungs.
Good ventilation means that warm, stale air leaves your tent and cool, fresh air replaces it on an ongoing basis. It helps to keep your tent cool and keep the air you are breathing clean and fresh at all times.
If you read the little blurb about this tent on the main eight to ten person tents page, you may have realized that I wasn’t really certain about this particular tent at first. When I first saw it, the picture I saw was one of this tent with its rainfly on and fully closed. I thought that it had no roof ventilation and wasn’t sure that it had windows at all, let alone how many it had.
Once I realized that each of the eight sides featured a large mesh window, my views on this tent abruptly changed. It has eight walls facing eight directions and each of those walls has a large window. No matter which direction the breeze happens to be blowing, it will make its way into this tent. The fact that every window has one opposite itself means that as the breeze blows fresh air in, it also blows stale air out. There is nowhere for warm stale air to trap itself inside this tent. Even the slightest breeze will push it away.
The roof is actually made mostly of mesh, which allows trapped heat to rise up and out of the tent. This is possible even when the rainfly is attached, since the fly sits a couple of inches above the mesh roof.
Of course, there must be other impressive features to this tent. I cannot justify giving it such an important position on the Top Five Choices list for eight to ten person tents without it having multiple positive qualities. The full rainfly which comes with this tent is one of those things.
You can choose to remove the rainfly completely, exposing the many mesh windows and the almost entirely meshed roof. If rain is falling lightly or you simply do not want to go to the hassle of removing the fly just to replace it later, you can choose to open it around the windows. This is one of very few tents I have found which actually features a zipper on each of its windows, allowing you to pull it back like a curtain.
Lots of Space
A proper measurement of this tent is difficult to calculate, given its odd shape, but one can estimate that it is roughly 13 feet by 13 feet, or about 170 square feet. Its straight walls optimize that living space by allowing you to pile belongings or snuggle up right against them. At its maximum height in the center of the tent, the roof is an astounding 6 feet 10 inches above the floor. This means that, although a circus party may not be possible in this big top-style tent, you should be able to move around and perform regular day to day tasks with ease.
Two Rooms Are Better Than One
It also comes with a privacy screen which can be hung straight through the middle, creating two rooms. Two doors, each on opposite sides of each other, maximize your ability to come and go as you please without disturbing others. The privacy screen hangs between those two doors so that you can even come and go while someone changes his or her clothes on the other side of the tent.
Many Other Features
Despite my best efforts, I cannot do this tent justice in a short article. It simply has too many impressive characteristics for me to even try to cover them all here. For example, it features strong steel poles which maintain a sturdy structure even under the pressure of strong winds.