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. This post has been updated to include 2019 product ranges, so you know you’re getting the very latest and best inflatable tents. If you just want a quick looks at the best air tents, see below:
- Sprayway Valley XL Air Tent
- Kampa Kielder 5 Air Tent
- Vango Keswick 600DLX Air Tent
- Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6 Air Tent
- Vango Santo 400 Air Tent
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 more, 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 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.
Best inflatable tents 2019
Well, the title of 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…
We’re tipping the Sprayway Valley XL Air Tent to be one of the best selling family tents around and, what’s more, the Sprayway Tent range is only available at Winfields. The Valley XL incorporates the latest air technology for a faultless camping experience, and implements what customers are really looking for in a tent. Stand out features include a built in front awning huge space throughout the living area, an innovative storage solution in the middle of the bedrooms and a side annex which can be used for extra storage or as a private washroom.
Sprayway have gone that step further and integrated a high quality 150D material with 5000mm Hydrostatic Head, so you can count on the tent lasting for many camping trips to come. A great choice for the 2019 season…
Read more about the Sprayway Valley XL Air Tent.
New for 2019 and an addition to the exclusive Winfields tent range. Including Kampa’s PRO material (150D and 5000mm HH rated fabric), an attached open canopy and great living space – the Kielder 5 Air offers incredible value for money. Ideal for weekends away or for a long family camping trip, this tent can cover all outdoor occasions and enhance your camping experience with the inflatable air structure which means pitching is dealt with in minutes. Also available is the 4 person model, the Kampa Kielder 4 Air Tent.
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.
Read more about the Kampa Kielder 5 Air Tent
The Vango Keswick 600DLX Air Tent has been exclusive to Winfields for 3 years and has proven to be one of our most popular tents every single time!
This tent is perfect for those who need a little extra room, sleeping six and boasting a high-quality 150D material in the stand out from the crowd grey colourway. 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 – at an unbelievable price!
Read more about the Vango Keswick 600DLX Air Tent
A firm favourite with family campers in the previous year, it’s back for 2019 and with little change. The Airedale 6 Air Tent by Outdoor Revolution offers everything you need in an inflatable family tent, whether it’s for a summer holiday or a few nights away – thanks to the incredibly quick to inflate Air Structure.
Sleeping for up to 6 people, in a family-friendly layout, good living space and the integrated front porch as what customers (and us) love about this tent. It’s a real show stopper on the campsite too.
Read more about the Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6 Air Tent
The Vango Santo 400 Air is a tent we are huge fans of here at Winfields. A simply awesome tent for couples or small families, the Santo takes just minutes to pitch and offers ample space for a whole host of outdoor occasions.
Including Vango’s Sentinel Dura flysheet which offers 4000mm HH whilst a strong and sturdy structure not only performs well in any rough weather but creates fantastic height for a tent of its size.
Read more about the Vango Santo 400 Air Tent
Last modified: February 27, 2019