Coleman Chalet 9 XL CV Review

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 18, 2012 at 17:55
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So thought I'd post a detailed review on the Chalet 9 XL CV after a few uses.

Overall we are fairly happy with this tent. Usually just myself and gf who use the tent typically for 3-4 night stays minimum (yes I know big tent for only 2 people but we both love lots of space).

The tent is not the most difficult to put up, with most difficulty arising from the fly, it can be a bit tricky to reach the top parts of the tent to velcro the fly on. However, the front annexe/extension part can be a real PIA to get right. It forms part of the fly however it is extremely frustrating trying to get it positioned right so that the doors line up nicely and so that you don't get large gaps beneath the door and the floor. I would say it probably takes us about 30-40 mins to put the tent up with more then half of this time spent on the fly.

Internally the three rooms provide plenty of room. The bedrooms however are a little bit small. With two adults sleeping on a queen size inflatable mattress there is very little room left which can make night time trips to the bathroom a little inconvenient. The sloping walls seem to compound this problem by creating less useable space inside. The middle room would really be ideal for sleeping in size wise were it not situated in the middle of the tent! The other bedroom we use as a sort of walk in wardrobe and storage area. We really tend to under utilise the middle room, part of me thinks this is wasted space and the downside of three room tents. The middle room (which is usually the biggest due to the sloping walls of either bedroom) effectively becomes a hallway which seems kinda wasteful.

The front annexe/extension room is extremely handy. We place our esky and kitchen and chairs in here and tend to spend most of our time in this room. It is virtually 100% waterproof as you can tuck the doors under the built in floor of the annexe to almost completely seal the room in. There is also plenty of space. We chose this tent almost purely because of this annexe. Other tents like the oztrail elite villa have fully screened rooms at the front. Whilst these are more effective at keeping bugs out, they do not allow the side doors to be open and also tend to be significantly narrower making them far less usable.

It's very convenient being able to leave the esky and kitchen in the annexe at night and not having to worry about people stealing it. during the day we open up the annexe awnings and use this area to cook in etc. This effectively gives us all the benefits of an awning and all the benefits of a gazebo in one. For two people there is no reason you would need an additional screen tent/gazebo. Also when it is raining you can comfortably sit in the annexe area, whilst with a typical awning you would have to lower it.

The tent is completely waterproof and really well ventilated with lots of large openings for air to circulate.

HOWEVER,

We are constantly weighing up whether the benefits of the annexe make up for the small rooms and difficult set up. Have been looking at the Coleman Montana 12 lately as this has far larger bedrooms with more upright walls. We would however be foregoing the annexe area for a simple awning which would require raising and lowering each day in case it rains overnight.

Another annoyance with the annexe is that it is far from mosquito proof. Despite having fly screens on each side door to the annexe these do not go all the way to the ground and leave a significant gap (probably at least 10cm)! Also because the annexe is part of the fly mosquitos can enter from any other side of the tent by simply going under the fly. When the weather is warm this can lead to lots of bugs in your annexe area. Fortunately none of these get into the actual tent area but it is still frustrating.

I would still have no problem recommending this tent and it appears very well made. We will likely change tents at the end of the year to try something different. Am currently interested in the coleman montana 12, the outdoor connection galaxy plus and maybe even the diamantina escape trio (although I'm not too sold on that brand yet). The only reason for changing tents would be for larger bedrooms and to eliminate the PIA set up process for the annexe.

Happy to answer any questions you may have.

Simon
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