Camping really 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 a drink?
Read more: 12 UK Campsites You Must Visit
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.
Note: This post has been updated to include 2018 product ranges, so you know you’re getting the very latest and best inflatable tents.
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 were the first company to really bring inflatable tents to the mainstream camping market with their AirBeam series, which is still probably the most popular around. Other companies have joined the scene now, however, with tents from Zempire, Outwell, Kampa, and others, all of a 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 literally a few minutes. Some 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/drinking wine. 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. Priceless.
And 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, 8 berth family family tent in just 15 minutes. Think of how much time you’ll save.
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 brethren. 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 comes with a puncture repair kit in the unlikely case you do happen to get a puncture, whilst you can purchase replacement inflatable poles for some models (the Vango AirBeam series, for instance). These replacements are very easy to fit, and can be done with the minimum of 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.
What is the best inflatable tent?
Well, that’s 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 AirBeam Keswick 600DLX Air Tent
The Vango AirBeam Keswick 600DLX air tent is one of the best selling family tents around, so it’s no surprise to see it back for 2018!
Exclusive to Winfields Outdoors, The Keswick 600DLX air tent is quite simply one of the best value inflatable tents on the market, and few others can compare with the features and specifications it boasts. It’s a 6-person tent, and thanks to the covered extension at the front, provides the perfect balance between outdoor and indoor living space. Ideal for family camping.
Want to have a sneaky peak inside the tent? Check out this awesome interactive video below that lets you walk through the tent and see all angles of it!
Read more about the Vango AirBeam Keswick 600DLX air tent.
Vango AirBeam Lomond 500 Air Tent
The Vango AirBeam Lomond 500 air tent is another Winfields exclusive and has been updated for 2018. It’s a 5-person tent, and also has a surprisingly roomy living area as well, so is ideal for families or groups of friends away for the weekend camping or something a little longer. It’s now available in the attractive grey colourway and can be pitched in just ten minutes, so you can spend more time enjoying your camping holiday.
This is without a doubt one of the best value tents on the market right now, especially for an inflatable tent, so you really can’t go wrong with this one. Again, if you want to see the inside of the tent and check it out in all its glory, cast your eyes over this awesome 360 degree video…
Read more about the Vango AirBeam Lomond 500 air tent
Kampa Croyde 6 Air Tent Pro
The Croyde 6 Air Tent Pro is a real Kampa classic and sure to make you the envy of any campsite. This 6-person tent is configured with a 2+2+2 sleeping arrangement, although this can be changed as required thanks to the zipped dividers.
This inflatable tent features a large living space, ideal for relaxing, dining or for extra storage – it’s up to you! It features Kampa’s AirFrame technology, ensuring strong and sturdy inflatable poles that can be inflated and deflated in minutes. Learn more about the Croyde 6 with the video below…
Read more about the Kampa Croyde 6 Air Tent Pro
Vango AirBeam Keswick 800XXL Air Tent
The Vango Keswick 800XXL air tent is another tent that’s exclusive to Winfields in 2018, so you won’t find it anywhere else!
This tent is perfect for those who need a little extra room, sleeping eight and boasting one of largest living areas in the Vango range. Highly waterproof and featuring Vango’s inimitable strong and sturdy AirBeam technology, this tent will stand up to whatever the British weather can throw at you!
Have a play with the 360 video below to see inside the tent…
Read more about the Vango Keswick 800XXL Air Tent
Zempire Aero TL Lite Air Tent
This eye-catching inflatable tent is absolutely perfect for families who want something reliable and easy to transport. The Zempire Aero TL Lite air tent sleeps five people so is great for families or even for couples who just like a little extra room when camping.
The tent features a larger door at the front, as well as doors on either side for versatility. There is also plenty of room inside for relaxing or sheltering away from the weather if it takes a turn for the worse.
Read more about the Zempire Aero TL Lite Air Tent
Last modified: April 11, 2018