Three season tents are wonderful finds, particularly when you can find one reported to have been used as a four season tent without any severe problems, ie collapsing under snow load. Both of these tents share that reputation.
Now that I live in a warmer humid climate that is mosquito infested a good portion of the year, having a mesh, ventilated tent body is very nice indeed. The Cobra Peak 1 is very well ventilated and more instantly convertible than the Passage2. As the Passage 2 contains more nylon on the tent body, it does offer the vented roof feature for candle emissions, etc. and allows condensation to escape when buttoned up under heavy rains.
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I have been wanting to get a good tent review "blog about" posted for some time now. Mostly because I have a couple of very nice tents and wanting to share information about them for bike touring.
Comparing two-two person tents for the reason of showing how much tents can differ in description, cost, pack size and weight, etc. When on the road a tent can become a routine shelter, a home away from home feeling when used often enough. You can get to the point where setting up and taking down your tent becomes so "old hat" you can do it in your sleep.
Two tents compared here, one is free standing while the other requires stakes. The free standing Passage 2 from REI requires the use of two poles while the Coleman Peak1 Cobra uses one single aircraft quality aluminum pole. Both are two person tents with pack size, weight differences and differing ventilation features.
I have been itching to review my old Coleman tent as it has been such a well reviewed and rock solid tent over the past 12 years or so that I just love the idea of singing its praises. Folks who love bicycle touring understand how nice it is to have a tent that has held up to enough wind beating torrential rain storms for me to be able to review this tent based on personal experience. Even with the absence of a "bathtub" floor or a "foot print" I was kept dry through and through. Even on an occasion of two days of solid 30 to 40mph winds and continuous soaking down pours, I stayed dry. The Coleman Peak 1 Cobra is as good a three season that has ever been made as some mountaineering folks have used it in snow and alpine expeditions and were singing its praises. With tents which cost five times the price collapsing around them under the heavy snow loads.
That having been said, a fellow bike tourer was proclaiming how "spoiled" he felt after using a free standing tent. The ability to set the tent up virtually anywhere is pretty nice and the model REI offers in the Passage2 is exceptional value for the price.
Where some basic consideration comes in to play is the pack size and weight. Neither of these tents are of the glorious 2 to 3 pound models. And how hard is that to find to serve two people in a three to four season tent?
Hard, real hard, particularly when you consider price. Passage 2 MSRP is 159.99 and I got my Coleman for under $80.
Picture at left shows the astounding pack size difference of these two tents. Reason Passage 2 is so much longer is due to the pole design and a "footprint" is packed which contributes to the weight difference. Passage 2 weighs in at 5lbs. 18oz. and the Coleman right about 4 lbs.
I replaced the inexpensive aluminum hook shaped stakes with some MSR Groundhog stakes for the Coleman and it helped reduce pack weight as well as ease of use in hard soil and holds up to heavy winds even better than before.
Both tents offer excellent vestibule space as well as dual entry, which I really like. Gear lofts and side pockets for goodys are featured in both tents. My ole lady seemed to enjoy herself just fine while we car camped in a rest area with the Coleman, later she declared "that's a one person tent". No, it's not but I listened and we have the Passage 2 which she enjoys much more.
Hope this information helps in your next tent purchase for your bike touring needs. Whether you're single or keeping the Misses happy. Either way, it's all good.