Inflatable Tent & Air Tent Buying Guide

Camping is wonderful. Having the opportunity to experience nature first-hand, breathing in that clean country air – everything about it is a joy. Except maybe putting up the tent.

Camping is wonderful. Having the opportunity to experience nature first-hand, breathing in that clean country air – everything about it is a joy. Except maybe putting up the tent.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just skip the construction part and get straight to exploring nature or relaxing with family?

Pitching a tent can be hard work, especially if the weather is a little on the rainy or windy side. But that’s where inflatable tents can help. In this blog, we’ll explore everything you need to know about inflatable tents, along with highlighting a couple of our favourites – and what makes them so spectacular.

Read on to discover more about inflatable tents, as well as which are the best air tents available for this year’s adventure…

What are inflatable tents?

Inflatable tents (or air tents) are just like any other tent, except for one significant difference. Instead of having traditional poles made from metal, plastic or fibreglass, air tents use inflatable beams which are pumped up to provide a sturdy structure.

Fun fact: Vango was the first company to really bring inflatable tents to the mainstream camping market, with their iconic AirBeam series. To this day, these remain a serious contender for the best inflatable tents on the market. Of course, other companies have joined the scene now, with fantastic air tents coming from leading bands like Zempire, Outdoor Revolution, Coleman, Kampa, and more! This variety means you’re somewhat spoilt for choice, as all the air tents available are top notch.

Thankfully for all of us, air tents are incredibly easy to put up, as the built-in channels can simply be inflated with a pump. This means no more worrying about poles that you can’t quite get to bend properly, or get lost inside their little sleeve when you’re putting the tent up. Gosh, we’re exhausted just thinking about it.

Generally speaking, inflatable tents are also much faster to erect than traditional tents.

Some can take as little as a few minutes, which is a stark difference from other types of tent available on the market. In fact, many brands are adopting ‘single point inflation’ to make assembly even more convenient. With this, the whole tent and awning can be inflated from one opening.

Note: of course, it’s worth mentioning that some larger inflatable tents may take longer than others, but, on the whole the process is much smoother and more streamlined.

Why choose an inflatable tent?

The most obvious reason why people choose an inflatable air tent is because of the time it takes to put up and take down. Of course, you’ll need the right air tent pump to make the most of this feature. Most air tents require a specific type of pump – so make sure you have the right one before you set off!

Then, once you arrive at your pitching spot, you won’t have to spend nearly as much time erecting it – meaning you’ll have more time to spend doing the things you love on an outdoor holiday, such as relaxing and exploring what nature has to offer.  

Just imagine the looks on the faces of your fellow campers as you rock up to the campsite and finish putting your tent up in no time!

And we’re not just talking about the small inflatable tents. Even the largest of air tents can be erected in minutes. In fact, you could even have a large, high-quality, eight-berth family tent ready to go in around 15 minutes. Perfect!

As a final bonus, you don’t need to worry about broken or bent poles mid-trip, and the absolute faff of trying to mend them using duct tape, or whatever else you may have lying around the campsite.

Are inflatable tents reliable?

Now, when you think about an inflatable tent, you might imagine some small, wobbly structure that looks like a soft breeze could take it out. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our air tents are created to an incredibly high standard and are no less reliable than their poled alternatives.

Regular tents can withstand a fair bit of battering but they will get damaged if not cared for, and the same goes for inflatable tents.

Of course, you may be wondering about potential punctures. However, you can rest assured that they are incredibly rare. As with all tents, just be mindful of any particular sharp objects and ensure you pitch your air tent on a level surface, clearing away rocks and any other nasties.

Some air tents have one continuous airflow through the whole structure, whilst others use separate inflatable poles. However, even if inflatable tents with a continuous airflow get a puncture, they won’t collapse on top of you in the middle of the night, as you can close off each section inside the tent. So you don’t need to worry about waking up with your air tent as a blanket rather than a shelter.

At the end of the day, if you look after your air tent, you shouldn’t have any issues. Plus, most inflatable tents come with a puncture repair kit in the unlikely case you do happen to get a puncture, and you can even purchase replacement inflatable poles for some models (the Vango AirBeam series, for instance). These replacements are very easy to fit with minimal fuss.

Best inflatable tents

As with anything, the title of the best inflatable tent is somewhat subjective because it really depends exactly what you’re looking for. Do you want something small and cosy? Or are you looking for an inflatable tent with room for the whole family?

Whatever type of air tent you’re looking for, here are just a few of our favourites…

Vango Joro 600XL Air Tent Sentinel Eco Dura Package

Kicking off our list is the Vango Joro 600XL, which is a fantastic family inflatable air tent for long weekends and more! Part of the evergreen Vango inflatable tent range, the Joro 600XL air tent is versatile and well-designed, with room to sleep up to six people.

Key features include:

  • The strong, waterproof Sentinel Eco Dura fabric is part of Vango’s Earth collection, and is made from recycled, single-use plastics – 261 plastic bottles to be exact!
  • The pre-angled AirBeam® SI Pro is a single point inflation system, to reduce setup time and give you more space inside.
  • The fully sewn in groundsheet helps to keep bugs and draughts out for a more secure nights sleep.
  • A large living area offers you and your family plenty of space to relax and enjoy your camping holiday, whilst the tinted Diamond Pro windows and curtains offer you more privacy on site.
  • The Midnight bedrooms are designed to keep the morning light out, so you can choose your wakeup time.

Kampa Kielder 5 Air Deluxe Tent

Found exclusively at Winfields, the Kampa Kielder 5 is an exceptional air tent that’s ideal for families or groups of friends looking to spend the weekend away. The Kampa AirFrame technology makes assembly simple, so you have even longer to spend on exploring the local area.

Key features include:

  • A 250cm deep living area to give you plenty of space to relax and enjoy quality time together.
  • Mesh-backed inner and side doors for bug-free ventilation.
  • A fully sewn-in, waterproof groundsheet to keep you (and your belongings) protected from the cold and damp.
  • Darkened sleeping quarters at the back of the air tent help you get an excellent night’s rest after a long day of exploring.

Zempire Evo TXL V2 Air Tent

Able to sleep six comfortably, the Zempire Evo TXL air tent is perfect for friends or families looking to get away for the week – or longer. With five external windows to let in plenty of natural light, and 15 ventilation points to let cool breezes in during the summer months, this Zempire inflatable tent is the ultimate home away from home.

Key features include:

  • The SeroLink airframe technology attaches the frame to the fly, reducing the overall weight and bulk of the tent, whilst still giving plenty of structural flexibility and protection.
  • An extended awning offers you more space outside of the sleeping areas to gather together.
  • The zip out dividers allow you to customise the bedroom area, and split into separate sleeping units for more privacy.
  • Reflective webbing helps you spot your air tent and navigate back on a dark campsite.
  • Gusseted rear ventilation allows air to flow through the tent, whilst blocking unwanted creepy crawlies from sneaking their way inside.

Outdoor Revolution 7.0SE Airedale

If you’re looking for an incredibly spacious inflatable tent, then the Outdoor Revolution Airedale series is a fantastic place to start. This particular model is able to sleep seven comfortably – or 11 with the addition of optional inners – and still have loads of room for everyone to relax in the main living area during the evenings.

Key features include:

  • The oxygen airframe has a dynamic speed valve for quick, reliable inflation, whilst the intelligent relief valve protects your tent from overinflation by releasing any extra air above 6psi.
  • The ultra lightweight fabric, fully taped seams and a sewn in groundsheet ensure maximum waterproofing and weather protection.
  • The side annexe can be converted into additional sleeping quarters, or used as extra storage space on longer trips away – and the intelligent design means you don’t take up that much more pitch space.
  • Tinted windows offer more privacy on busy campsites, and help block out the light in the darkened Twilight rear sleeping area.

Coleman Weathermaster 4XL Air BlackOut Tent

Sleeping up to four people, this is one of the smaller air tents on our list. But, the Coleman Weathermaster 4XL still packs plenty of fantastic features into a compact footprint. The practical layout affords you spacious living and sleeping areas, and is perfect for a last-minute couples weekend getaway to the great outdoors.

Key features include:

  • FastPitch™ air technology allows for an easy inflation, even by one person, whilst the Manometer keeps track of the air pressure.
  • The BlackOut Bedroom™ technology blocks up to 99% of light, keeping the bedroom area cool during the day and warmer at night to offer you a comfortable, and restful, sleeping experience.
  • Colman’s WeatherTec™ is highly waterproofed, and the taped seams help you keep you safe and dry during wet weather.
  • A wheeled carry bag makes for easy transfers around the campsite, from the car to your pitch.

Prepare for your next adventure with Winfields Outdoors

Hopefully you’ve got a better understanding of inflatable tents with this guide, and how much of an asset they can be to your next camping trip. Explore the full range of inflatable air tents online today – and don’t forget to pick up some camping furniture and cosy sleeping bags to make your home away from home even better.

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  1. Phil Robinson
    Hi looking at the keswick air due in on the 22 May. Would this be deffinate as I want to use the weekend after. Thanks Phil
    1. Winfields
      Hi Phil,

      thanks for your message. Yes, if you pre-order the Keswick then you should be fine for the following weekend. If you want to be sure, then we'd recommend choosing next day delivery. If you have any other questions, please let us know.
  2. Dan
    Hi, Seriously thinking about the Vango Keswick air due in 22/5. Like the other interested email i too am going away the weekend after it is due to arrive in stock. A couple of questions though. 1. Does the covered extension come with a groundsheet or is the footprint used for this. 2. Is this model somehow inferior due to its price or would i be better off spending more. I have 2 children and we camp twice per year on average for a week or more each time. Thanks.
    1. Hi Dan,

      thanks for your questions. First of all, all should be fine for going away the weekend after if your pre-order. To answer your questions - 1) The covered extension does not have a groundsheet, but if you order the footprint, this goes under the main tent and a further extension groundsheet is supplied to go in the covered extension. 2) The Keswick Air is by no means inferior and in many cases is just as good if not better than similar Vango models. It has a higher spec 150 denier material, 5000mm hydrostatic head and zip up curtains. It sounds like an ideal tent for you and your family!

      We hope this helps, but if you have any other questions, please let us know on here or you can give us a call on 0845 688 3667.
  3. Shona
    Hi, can you tell me the dimensions of the Kampa Brean 3? The description only gives the pack size. Thanks.
    1. Winfields
      Hi Shona,

      thanks for your question. The overall dimensions of the Kampa Brean 3 are 2.3m x 4.4m. The sleeping area measures 2m x 2.1m. We hope this helps!
  4. Irene Aylett
    Does the Kapma Brean 3 come with a pump and how easy would it be for a single female to put up?
    1. Winfields
      Hi Irene,

      thanks for your message. The Kampa Brean 3 does indeed come with a pump, and should be no problem for a single person to put up. Hope that helps!
  5. Bev
    We had made our mind up with the kampa hayling air 6, but looking at the van go Keswick air on your website- this one comes with a larger porch area and is closed off without having to buy the kampa vestibule. Really looking for a recommendation? Are there any extras about the kampa that make it the better choice?
    1. Winfields
      Hi Bev,

      Comparing both models, side-by-side, it’s safe to say the Keswick 600DLX Air is much better value for money and, as you’ve mentioned, comes with everything you need in one box – whereas with the Hayling 6 Air, you would need the vestibule to enclose the front of the tent. The Keswick 600DLX Air is our tent of the year and is certainly a model we would say that you go for in this instance. Hope this helps!
  6. Emma
    Hi when will you be getting the Keswick 600 DLX back in stock? We are going away the 21st August and would really like to purchase one in time.
    Thanks Emma
    1. Winfields
      Hi Emma,

      This has actually been one of our most popular tents this year and unfortunately we have sold out for the season. If you wanted any recommendations for alternatives then the Taiga 600XL, Maritsa 600XL and Rivendale 800XL are all excellent.
  7. Joyce Harrison
    Hi there would like to ask , i have recently purchased the vango Edoras 500XL from you guys, any idea on the pitch size, as in high season most sites request it. many thanks.
    1. Winfields
      Hi Joyce,

      the pitch size for the Edoras 500Xl is 370 x 650cm (W x L). Hope that helps!
  8. Martin
    Just wanted to say thanks for the great read.

    We've been using a Vango Infinity 400 airbeam since 2012, it really was the best tent investment we've ever made. Its so easy to put and take down that my wife (who was not experienced at putting tents up) loves putting it up even on her own. That argument that used to happen when fighting with tent poles together is no more when using the airbeam.
    We've used in lots of different conditions, and it actually performs better than any tent with poles in strong storms.
    If anyone is considering buying then I'd say do it, and buy the best you can, and remember to get all of the accessories such as footprint, carpet, and any extension awning, as it will last you and be a long term member of your family that you will love!!
  9. Edward Smith
    Edward Smith
    Hi Looking for some help, we have a Vango hexaway awning unfortunately the groundsheet has been damaged and we need to replace it. I have spoken to Vango direct and they do not list the groundsheet as a spare for the hexaway. Can you recommend a groundsheet that would fit? It is very disappointing that Vango do not list such a vital item as a spare especially due to it unique shape.
    1. Craig Winfields
      Craig Winfields
      Hey Edward,

      I'm sorry to hear Vango don't list this as a spare, however, Vango do offer a repair service which may resolve this for you? You can find the link below.

      I hope this helps!
  10. Kieran Vivian-Byrne
    Kieran Vivian-Byrne
    We have discovered this summer that both of the 'crossbeams' in our Vango Airbeam are leaking - we are looking to see whether they do spares - do you know?
    1. Winfields
      Hi Kieran,

      we have various replacement AirBeam poles available here:

      If there isn't what you're looking for then it's worth getting in touch with Vango.
  11. Sarah Cox
    I’m a mum on her own with two children under 13. We need 3 bedrooms and I want a closed awning at the from to store cooking stuff in and keep the main area for relaxing and eating in. I need something that is lightweight enough for me to pitch on my own and that we can use for weekends and main holidays. I’d look to get a footprint and carpet aswell as I like my comforts!! Until recently we had a caravan but I’ve always loved camping - the children are yet to be convinced!! I’ve had a look at lots of YouTube reviews and have seen several I like but I really do need advice now especially concerning the initial practicality of weight and pitching. Many thanks.
    1. Winfields
      Hi Sarah,

      most tents with 3 bedrooms tend to be a huge family size, which isn't be ideal for pitching on your own but still more than possible to do so. You also need to bear in mind that they will potentially weigh over 40kg. If that still sounds doable, then this tent would be a good option:

      Another option, would be to go for a 2 bedroom tent and use divider to separate up the room. Vango have created this for 2019 which would do the job: That would let you have a lighter tent that's easier to pitch. If that's a more suitable option then any of the below tents would be a good choice:

      Hopefully that helps - if you have any more questions, just ask!
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