One of the latest additions to our camping gear collection immediately proved its worth: the Coleman Point Loma All Day Dome Shelter. It provides plenty of room for a family to shelter from the sun and the rain.
The downside to camping is rain, even when you have a trailer. I don’t mind a few hours of rain—that’s a great excuse to hunker down with a good book—but rain that goes all day is less fun, especially when kids are involved.
We recently decided to buy a rain shelter to take with us. Something big enough to provide coverage for a picnic table and some chairs, with decent headroom and with open sides. We didn’t want it to be screened in, since in my experience that inevitably leads to being trapped inside with a growing swarm of bugs. Full walls also tend to turn into a muddy mess come pack-up time. Also high on the checklist was easy assembly and the ability to bring the thing to the beach if the mood strikes.
After a month of searching, we opted for the Coleman Point Loma All Day Dome Shelter.
The version we ordered is 12 feet x 12 feet and roughly seven feet in the center. It collapses into a 40-pound package with a wheeled carry case. Setup was advertised as taking 15 minutes, but our first attempt was closer to an hour. However, a second attempt in the back yard cut that to just over 20 minutes, so definitely reasonable. It’s pretty much a two person job, though. There are very long/awkward metal pole sections and a high tension strap that’s attached at the bottom to pull everything together—that strap (which you can see in the photo above) can be removed after the shelter has been securely staked into place.
On our last camping trip of the season, the UV-protected shelter provided shade in the little sun we experienced. I could see bringing it to the beach to replace our smaller, more enclosed shelter—if we got there early enough to set it up without poking people in the eye, and if it was seriously staked down to protect from the wind.
There is plenty of room for a picnic table and the arches are big enough to move it in and out as needed.
However, the shelter really proved its value during a day of torrential rain. We had a severe storm warning with heavy rainfall during the only full day we were there, and there were other families camping with us. There was sufficient room under the Point Loma for eight people to sit comfortably for hours, with a few small tables for drinks and snacks. Despite the relentless downpour, no rain got through. I did have to push up on the top of the dome on occasion, though. It’s just flat enough that heavy rain can accumulate and eventually drip through the vent. If you get heavy blowing with horizontal rain, it’s also going to come in around the edges… The trade-off to having no walls (besides easier setup) is near obstacle-free coming and going (another good point with kids), no trapped bugs, and plenty of ventilation.
We did notice that by the next morning, the fabric was pretty saturated. However, the Point Loma did exactly what we hoped and kept the rain off so we could hang out outdoors instead of everyone being stuck in trailers and tents.
Taking down the dome was much quicker than putting it up (and the pieces all fit in the carrying duffle without having to squeeze them in), but a few of the shock-corded metal pole sections were difficult to separate. It looks as though mud got into the joints during assembly, so that’s something to watch for. I also replaced the included pegs with much sturdier versions—the ones Coleman gives you are metal but pretty flimsy.
The Coleman Point Loma All Day Dome Shelter is available in 12 x 12 and 15 x 15 sizes, starting at $220 (or $157 on Amazon).