While the latest and greatest technological advancements have led to some truly impressive products in the market for super-lightweight tents for backpacking, ever-rising prices risk freezing out the budget-minded buyer. This is one reason that Coleman has started offering backpacking tents in a price range between £130 and £200. This undercuts the top of the line superlights by 50 per cent or more. How much quality can one expect from a half-price tent, though?

Light weight and compact stowage are the top priorities for Coleman’s new backpacking tents, but the manufacturer is also trying to emphasise quality materials and design features. So far, the line includes:

* Aravis 2 – 2.4 kg – £130
* Monviso 2 – 3.05 kg – £160
* Caucasus 2 – 3.15 kg – £170 (featured below)
* Tatra 2 – 3.4 kg – £180

These are all two-person tents; each model is also offered in a larger three-person edition.

Coleman Caucasus 2 Two Person Backpacking Tent

Easy to pitch in one, peaked-tunnel structure with plenty of storage space
Ripstop polyester flysheet outer 4000 mm for durability
Comes with two entrances, one either side 5000 mm groundsheet

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The weights are fairly impressive for budget tents. The Hilleberg Nallo 2 GT tent, for instance, is a top-of-the-line equivalent to the Caucasus 2. Tipping the scales at 2.8 kg, packing it would save you 350 grammes. Thanks to the Nallo 2’s £765 price tag, you’d end up paying nearly two pounds per saved gramme! While it’s true that every gramme counts – a packload where every item weighs a few hundred grammes more than it absolutely needs to can be punishing – you’d definitely pay a steep premium (literally) to get the lighter tent. When it comes to packed size, the differences between the two tents are even less significant; they both fit into virtually the same amount of space.

In terms of usability, the Caucasus 2 lines up just fine with more expensive speciality superlight tenets. Pitching is easy, and each of the alloy poles is colour-coded to speed up the erection process. The inner tent hanging within the structure once it’s pitched can be left in place to further speed up future pitches.

The Caucasus 2 has a familiar and useful shape. Both sides feature generous zippered openings; the tent also has a spacious extended porch. This is a perfect ‘base camp’ tent that will allow you to keep loads of gear dry while also shielding yourself from inclement weather.

The Coleman range’s smaller alternative is the Aravis 2. It offers a side entry and side porch based on a single transverse pole design.

The Caucasus 2 has some quality design features that add to its value. Using durable alloy poles rather than fragile fibreglass is much appreciated. There is a limit to the premium materials offered in the Caucasus 2, though. It relies on ripstop polyester fabric rather than ripstop nylon, and the lesser durability might become a problem if your tent is subjected to damage. There is a zip-out midge net panel for the inner door. The outer door, though, features a single-zip pull. This makes it impossible to partially open it the way you could with double-zip pulls. The pole webbing lacks ladder-lock adjusters, an omission that might make pitching the tent in adverse conditions harder than you want it to be.

You’ll ultimately have to ask yourself if little refinements like these justify the much higher price of a premium tent.

Determining whether or not the Coleman Caucasus 2 meets your needs is mainly a matter of deciding whether the lighter weight and advanced design features of a top-of-the-line backpacking tent are truly indispensable. Where and when (and how often) you camp and how far you carry this tent in your rucksack will matter.

My opinion is that the combination of decent features, excellent price, and reliable performance will make the Caucasus 2 an attractive and satisfying choice for a lot of casual campers.

Final Verdict

Budget backpacking tents still can’t compete with premium alternatives if you’re looking for the lightest possible weight, but today they can deliver a comfortable night’s sleep and a fair degree of usability at excellent prices. The Coleman Caucasus 2 is a great tent choice for any camper looking to get the most out of his or her budget.