Inflatable Tent & Air Tent Buying Guide

Inflatable & Air Tent Buying Guide

Camping is a wonderful thing. Getting back to nature, kicking back with a cold one, 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 that 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 inclement side, but that’s where inflatable tents can help. This guide has been updated to include 2020 product ranges, so you know you're getting the very latest and best inflatable tents.

If you just want a quick look at the best air tents, see below:

What are inflatable tents?

Inflatable tents (or air tents as they’re otherwise known) are just like any other tents, except for one significant difference. Instead of having traditional poles made from metal, plastic or fibreglass, the tent uses inflatable beams, pumped up to provide the structure.

Vango was the first company to really bring inflatable tents to the mainstream camping market with their AirBeam series. It remains, arguably, the most popular tent range around. Other companies have joined the scene now, however, with tents from Zempire, Outwell, Kampa, and more, all of very high quality.

They’re inflated just using a pump, meaning you don’t have to worry 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.

Generally speaking, they’re also a lot faster to erect than traditional tents, and some can go up in a few minutes. Some may take longer than others, but, on the whole, the process is smoother and more streamlined.

How do inflatable tents work? Check out this video below to see just how easy it is…

Why use an inflatable tent?

Well, the most obvious reason is the time it takes to put up and take down. When you get to your pitch, you don’t have to spend nearly as much time erecting it, meaning you’ll have more time for exploring or relaxing.

Just imagine the looks on the faces of your fellow campers as you turn up to the campsite after them and finish putting your tent up before them.

We're not just talking about the small tents. Even the largest air tents can be erected in literally minutes. You can have a large, high-quality, eight-berth family tent in just 15 minutes. Think of how much time you'll save.

Read more: The 10 Best Family Camping Tents 2020

Being lighter, air tents are easier to lug around with you, which is particularly handy if you have to walk a distance to your pitch.

You also don’t need to worry about broken or bent poles and trying to mend them using duct tape or whatever else you have lying around.

How stable are inflatable tents?

It’s not going to float off in the wind if that’s what you’re worried about. Due to the lack of poles, inflatable tents are lighter than regular tents, but that doesn’t mean they’re unstable.

They still require pegging down and securing with guy ropes, just like any tent, and are actually incredibly strong during rough weather, often more so than poled tents.

Are inflatable tents reliable?

We’re not talking about some cheap novelty tent here. 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 will get damaged if not cared for, and the same goes for inflatable tents.

Vango even sent a tent into space and it survived the journey! Check it out…

As for punctures, they are incredibly rare. As with all tents, just be mindful of any particular sharp objects and ensure you pitch the tent on a level surface, clearing away rocks and any other nasties.

Simply, look after it and you won’t have any issues. Most tents come with a puncture repair kit in the unlikely case you do happen to get a puncture, while you can purchase replacement inflatable poles for some models (the Vango AirBeam series, for instance). These replacements are very easy to fit with minimal fuss.

Some air tents have one continuous airflow through the whole structure, whilst others use separate inflatable poles. However, even if tents with a continuous airflow get a puncture, it won't collapse on top of you in the middle of the night, as you can close off each section inside the tent.

Best inflatable tents 2020

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

Here are just a few of our favourites…

Vango Lomond 450 Air Tent

Providing a great balance between indoor and outdoor living space, the Lomond 450 Air is packed with features. This is a quick-pitching small family air tent that offers outstanding value for money. Boasting a full stand-up height, the Lomond 450 Air is a comfortable tent and pitches in a matter of minutes.

Winning features include:

  • A new nightfall inner helps reduce early morning light in your bedroom while still being breathable to ensure a good night’s sleep.
  • A new covered entrance provides a sheltered entrance to your tent, preventing rain from entering the living area.
  • New full webbing straps for increased stability.
  • New side pod with a curtain divider provides versatile storage away from your main living area.
  • New bracer beam to roof area in living space.

Find out more about the Vango Lomond 450 Air Tent


Outdoor Revolution Edale 4 TC Air Tent

The Edale 4 tent is a spacious four-man air tent that is perfect for couples and small families looking for a quick-pitching luxury weekend tent. The Edale 4 boasts a fantastic list of features with high-quality polycotton fabric for optimal breathability, water resistance and fade resistance. Overall, the Edale 4 TC is an excellent choice.

Winning features include:

  • Gothic arch roof to provide increased headroom.
  • Side-attached eyebrow canopy over the right-hand door for flexible wet weather entry.
  • Mesh panels on the front porch wall and front/side doors for bug-free ventilation.
  • Internal divider door with mesh windows and zip-up blinds offering flexible configuration.
  • Low and rear ventilation to reduce condensation.

Find out more about the Outdoor Revolution Edale 4 TC Air Tent


Outwell Parkdale 6PA Air Tent

With its large interior, the Hartsdale 6PA is great for family camping. It features a tunnel design with an added wing lounge area. This offers various configuration options and fantastic versatility, allowing for extra living or sleeping space. Innovative touches include a quick and quiet inner door which utilises a magnetic closure system.

Winning features include:

  • Vertical front wall with canopy for enhanced interior and exterior living space.
  • Reliable, easy-to-operate inflate/deflate valves conveniently placed outside the flysheet.
  • Double zips allow full front opening, backed by full mesh panel for insect-free ventilation options.
  • Adjustable pegging points for pitching flexibility.
  • HookTrack System for versatile positioning of lights and items up to 1.5kg.

Find out more about the Outwell Parkdale 6PA Air Tent


Vango Keswick II 600DLX Air Tent

New and updated for 2020, Vango’s Keswick Air TC 600DLX tops the Keswick range of tents exclusive to Winfields. Based on the Keswick Air 600DLX, the TC model features Vango’s incredible AirBeam technology and Sentinel Exclusive flysheet fabric to create a luxury top-of-the-range tent, which lasts longer than polyester tents.

Winning features include:

  • A new side pod addition with a divider curtain for versatile storage away from the main living area.
  • New Skytrack II System, for attaching optional lighting and accessories.
  • A new zip feature on the front beam for attaching optional canopy.
  • New Nightfall bedroom fabric helps reduce early morning light in your bedroom while being breathable for a great night’s sleep.
  • New and updated front and rear webbing straps.

Find out more about the Vango Keswick II 600DLX Air Tent


Kampa Dometic Brean 3 Air Tent

If you’re looking for an air tent which epitomises value-for-money, the Kampa Dometic Brean 3 Air is one of the best on the market. It features quick-pitching AirFrame technology and boasts a feature-packed specification, perfect for short breaks or longer stays. The Weathershield™ flysheet balances protection with extreme lightness and durability.

Winning features include:

  • Integrated front canopy providing a sheltered entrance.
  • Dropdown groundsheet that drops to floor level for ease of access.
  • SleepTite darkened bedrooms.
  • Wider bedrooms offering a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Large windows with toggled blinds for privacy.

Find out more about the Kampa Dometic Brean 3 Air Tent


Buy inflatable air tents at Winfields Outdoors

Take a look at our full range of tents or entire tent equipment and collection including:

Tents by Size | Tent Type | Tent Brands | Tent Accessories

Read more from the Winfields Blog to set you up for 2020...

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Don’t forget to take a look at our camping blog for more posts like these…

The Best UK Campsites To Stay At in 2020 | The 10 Best Family Camping Tents 2020 | How to Wash & Care for a Sleeping Bag

21 Comments

  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
    Reply
    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.
      Reply
  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.
    Reply
    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.
      Reply
  3. Shona
    Hi, can you tell me the dimensions of the Kampa Brean 3? The description only gives the pack size. Thanks.
    Reply
    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!
      Reply
  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?
    Reply
    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!
      Reply
  5. Bev
    Hi
    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?
    Thanks
    Reply
    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!
      Reply
  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
    Reply
    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.
      Reply
  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.
    Reply
    1. Winfields
      Hi Joyce,

      the pitch size for the Edoras 500Xl is 370 x 650cm (W x L). Hope that helps!
      Reply
  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!!
    Reply
  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.
    Reply
    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.
      http://www.campingspares.co.uk/content/9-repairs

      I hope this helps!
      Reply
  10. Kieran Vivian-Byrne
    Kieran Vivian-Byrne
    Hi
    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?
    K
    Reply
    1. Winfields
      Hi Kieran,

      we have various replacement AirBeam poles available here: https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/camping/tent-accessories/poles-guy-lines/

      If there isn't what you're looking for then it's worth getting in touch with Vango.
      Reply
  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.
    Reply
    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: https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/outdoor-revolution-airedale-6-air-tent/


      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: https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/vango-free-standing-bedroom-inner/. 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:


      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/vango-airbeam-rivendale-500xl-tent/

      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/vango-azura-air-600xl-tent/


      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/sprayway-valley-m-air-tent/


      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/vango-airbeam-keswick-600dlx-air-tent/


      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/zempire-aero-txl-lite-series-tent/


      https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/zempire-aero-tl-lite-series-tent/




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