If you’re looking for a family tent that is both qualitative and affordable, then the Montana 8-person might be the one you’re looking for.
It’s the most reviewed 8-person tent on Amazon and has one of the highest ratings. People love this tent for its sturdiness, hinged door, large surface and big awning.
Pros and cons overview
let’s start by giving you an overview of the most important pros and cons
- Waterproof in moderate rain
- Big awning that protects the door against rain
- Windows are protected by rainfly and can be left open during rain
- Good airflow
- Stands firm in windy conditions
- Hinged door that can be closed with Velcro tape
- E-port to pull an extension cord through
- Hook on ceiling to hang a lantern or lamp
- Weak stakes
- Only 1 door
- Small storage bag
- Only 2 side pockets
- Rainfly needs to be staked down to be fully functional
Rainfly & inner tent
The rainfly and inner tent are made of 75-denier polyester with a polyurethane coating of 450mm. What does this mean? Well, ‘denier’ represents the thickness of the individual threads of a fabric. The higher the denier rating, the thicker the threads and thus the fabric. Coleman uses 75-denier polyester for almost every tent they sell.
Then there’s also the polyurethane (PU) coating of 450mm. Polyester has a water regain of 0.4 to 1%, which means that it absorbs a small amount of water. That’s why a PU coating is applied – to make it waterproof. A PU coating of 450mm means that it can withstand a 1-inch diameter, 450mm high column of water for more than one minute before it could leak.
This PU-coating is average and keeps you dry in moderate rain. However, if you plan on camping in extreme rainy weather, then I suggest you take a look at the NTK Cherokee GT 8/9-person. That tent has a PU-rating of 2500mm, which is very high for its price.
The fly doesn’t cover the entire tent, but it does protect the windows so you can keep them open while it’s raining. This tent also features an awning that protects the entrance. This means you can open the door without getting your feet wet.
Coleman uses 1000-denier polyethylene for the floor of the Montana. This is a highly waterproof material so you can leave your groundsheet at home. However, you can still use it to protect the tent from sharp surfaces and dirt.
This tent also has a welded floor, which means that the floor comes up a few inches before it’s sewn to the sides. Because of this, the floor looks like a tub, which is why it’s called a tub floor. They do this to make sure that no water comes in through the sides.
The Montana has quality inverted seams. This means that the needle holes are hidden inside the tent so that no water can get into the tent. They’re also taped, which means that they are heat-sealed, so rain really doesn’t stand a chance here.
The Montana is a dome tent, which means that it has angled walls. These sorts of tents are much more wind resistant than, for example, a cabin tent, which has straight walls. Coleman claims that their tents can withstand winds for up to 35 mph (56 kph).
These are the cords that hang on your rainfly. They can be used to help keep your tent down when it’s windy. They also straighten your rainfly so that it either doesn’t touch your tent or makes some kind of awning. The Montana comes with 8 guy-lines, which is just enough for such a big tent.
You get the Montana delivered with some free stakes, however, they are very basic and weak. If you plan on camping in windy conditions, I suggest you get ones that are stronger. Check out this article that explains the difference between the types of stakes.
There’s nothing worse than summer camping in a tent that lacks ventilation. Luckily, the Montana has 2 negatively angled windows and 1 door window, which occupies the upper half of the door. The good thing about negatively angled windows is that you can leave them open while it’s raining. Then there’s also a great portion of the ceiling made of mesh, which comes with even more ventilation as long as the rainfly’s not attached.
The Montana makes use of 7 fiberglass tent poles with a diameter of 9.5 and 11mm. Fiberglass is the most commonly used material for tent poles. Not just because it’s cheap, but also because it’s light and flexible. However, they can still break after some windy nights. In some cases, they are repairable, in others they are not. So it may be smart to bring an extra pole along.
Ease of setup
Although the poles are not color-coded, setting this tent up is not difficult. There are 7 poles in total: 4 to set up the actual tent, 2 for the hinged door and 1 to create an awning in the rainfly. Setting up this tent for the first time may take 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, this tent is not entirely free-standing: the rainfly needs to be staked down in order to be fully functional.
This video shows you how to set up the Montana
The Montana is presented as an 8-person tent, however, while you could fit 8 people in this tent, it won’t be comfortable. The Montana its dimensions are 16 ft X 12 ft and provides 112 ft² (10.4 m²) of workspace, which is enough for 5 people – at most. There’s enough room for 2 queen-sized air mattresses and your gear. Its center height is 6.2 ft (188 cm), so most people can stand straight in this tent. That makes it much easier to swap clothes and just move around in general.
Have you ever tried to fit a tent back in its bag? If you did, then you know how frustrating it can be. Most manufacturers make their tent bags so small that you have to fold the tent perfectly in order to get it in. Why they do this? Well, they lower their expenses by making small bags. And it’s no different with this tent – it’s bag is too small. You can use a bigger bag, or let these 2 videos teach you how to fold the Montana. The first video shows you how to roll the inner tent and the second one the rainfly.
There are 2 side pockets, one at each side of the tent. However, they are rather small and useless, especially because you’ll probably sleep with more than 2 people in this tent.
The Montana has 1 hook attached to the ceiling that you can use to hang a lantern or lamp on. Having to mess around with flashlights for 2 weeks is not fun, believe me.
A feature that is appreciated by many people – the hinged door. It’s a door that has poles along their perimeters and it functions like your door at home. They work more efficiently than the classic zipper door and can save you a lot of frustration. They make it a lot easier to go for a night pee, which is appreciated. This door is also equipped with Velcro tape, so you don’t even have to zip the door to close it.
This tent also features a close-able slit that you can use to pull an extension cord through. This may seem unnecessary to you, but if you pull it through the door, insects and moisture are still able to enter your tent.
If you’re looking for a tent that won’t ever leak, then I suggest you go for the Cherokee. Its PU rating is 2500mm and its rainfly covers the entire tent. This tent also has 2 doors, something that the Montana doesn’t have.
If you’re looking for a tent with a screen porch, then you may want to take a look at the Evanston. It has a huge porch that you can use as a sleeping area or as a storage room.
This cabin tent with straight walls has a workspace of 150 sq ft² and is perfect for families who want some more privacy. There’s a room divider that you can use to split the tent into two rooms. Each room has their own windows, 3 side pockets, door and lantern hanger. It’s therefore no surprise that this tent is more expensive.
For me, the Montana seems to be a great tent for starters, if not the best. It’s affordable and has enough space for your family of 5.
The hinged door is a great bonus feature that makes your camping trip more comfortable.
Although the Montana keeps you dry during moderate rain, the NTK Cherokee GT may be a better choice if you plan on camping in very rainy conditions.
If you found this article useful and wish to support my work, then you could simply buy the Montana (if you plan on buying it of course) using any of the Amazon links that I provided within this article. I’m an Amazon associate which means that I get a commission whenever you buy something through my links.
I certainly hope that you found this article interesting and that it helped you make a choice!
Stay safe and keep exploring!