Inflatable family tents?

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  • Inflatable family tents?
  • Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I like the idea of an inflatable tent from a weight point of view

    ??? You like heavy tents?

    Premier Icon jes
    Subscriber

    Went through the process last year,finally decided on a 4 man Vango Airbeam.

    Very pleased, withstood some pretty high winds and lashing rain on a weekend away in Cornwall.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    Had a bit of a look last time we replaced, but they seemed expensive and no smaller pack size than a traditional tent (which would have been a killer feature for me). Our current 8 man (Outwell, I think) takes about 20 minutes to get built now so not much saved there either, though I guess you maybe get to read the paper whilst it inflates!

    lardman
    Member

    I have a Vango 6 person family ‘Airbeam’ tent, and i’d say its a great tent.

    this

    It’s not light at all, so i’m not sure which part of the ‘weight’ interests you, but really does go up into a usable state in under 15 mins. This is great when i arrive somewhere late at night and need to sort the little people out into their beds as quick as possible. I can also put it up on my own, very easily (which couldn’t be said for my previous pole tent) so my wife can sort out the sleeping bits inside after about 10 mins of pumping up the poles. By the time i’ve pegged it down and put up the guy ropes, all the gear is inside the tent and the kids are asleep!

    It’s certainly not flimsy and has stood up to some pretty windy and rainy conditions so far.

    Ecky-Thump
    Member

    Just bought an Outdoor Revolution Airedale 4 model.
    Quick trial in back garden only so far but initial impression is that it’s very sturdy. More so than any alloy or fibreglass poled tent I’ve been in. Air-beams are lifetime warrantied too.
    About 25kg packed, inc pump.
    Really quick and easy to erect. All goes up together in about 5-10 mins.
    Probably take it along this weekend for Sam Houghton Challenge in Lakes.

    I like the idea of an inflatable tent from a weight point of view
    ??? You like heavy tents?

    Inflatable family tents are lighter than regular steel pole family tents?

    Ok ignore lighter… A bit quicker and easier maybe 😉

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    We got one of the Berghaus ones in the sale last year – with a porch which increases usable area if we’re somewhere for a long time.

    I’ve not used it in anger yet, but Mrs Dubs can put it up on her own if required.

    Pierre
    Member

    Watching this with interest, I’m looking at a Vango Capri 500. I’d also be interested to know if the more expensive, heavier-weight tents are actually worth paying the extra for. We’d probably use it about twice a year but I like buying well-made stuff – I’ve never had a problem with Vango.

    Surely the air beam tent overall weight is lighter – but a regular tent has the advantage of splitting the weight between the tent bag and the pole bag.

    I haven’t bought one yet, but one thing I noted was that the Outdoor Revolution tents have a pressure release valve on the air tubes. I guess if you inflate them to the recommended PSI on a cold night, they are way over the allowed pressure after sitting in the midday sun and quite a few people reported other brands going pop on them, which is pretty catastrophic I guess!

    dovebiker
    Member

    Not quite a tent, but took a Vango Airbeam camper van awning on a recent trip around the north of Scotland – whilst camped on Skye, we endured gusts of 80-90knts and squally showers. The wind was so fierce the awning was semi-collapsing at times but would ‘spring back’ and remained dry inside

    Talking to the campsite owner, he reckons that airbeam tents are more durable than most larger pole-tents – one night last year the only ‘large’ tents standing after a storm were the inflatable ones. It can be erected quickly, single-handedly too – simply peg it out, pump it up and secure the guys

    geetee1972
    Member

    I love ours. I asked the same question on here last September and plumped for a four man Outwell and I love it. I can se the whole thing up on my own within 15 minutes. That includes guide ropes. If you’re setting up on your own, which I am from time to time, then they are a revelation.

    stevextc
    Member

    Perhaps I’m missing something but my large family tents mostly go up in 5-10 mins… one of them really benefits from a 2nd person but unless its blowing a gale the most time consuming bit can be getting tent pegs in ??

    Putting them away usually takes longer if you are packing small….

    Worthwhile or rubbish? Looking at getting a new family tent for this summer so any ideas on what is worthwhile appreciated. I like the idea of an inflatable tent from a weight point of view and having seen one out last weekend they don’t look flimsy at all.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    presumably you can take your fire extinguisher airshot alternative and get it up (missus) in double quick time?

    Modern airbeam style tents are pretty fantastic now- but come at a price.

    Pretty much twice the price compared to a poled equivalent
    Increase in pack size and weight

    If speed of getting the tent up is really important, or you ever need to put the tent up on your own, and you can afford it then they are great

    We have a smallish car and as my 7 year old daughter tells me “We’re not lazy daddy!” so have poled equivalent …

    TM

    If speed of getting the tent up is really important, or you ever need to put the tent up on your own, and you can afford it then they are great[b]then just get a pop up style tent from decathlon?[/b]

    stevextc
    Member

    presumably you can take your fire extinguisher airshot alternative and get it up (missus) in double quick time?

    Or connect up your valve to the tent and seat some tricky tyres 😀

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    watching with interest as I am away camping with my 2 teenage boys in a few weeks. Car camping, and we do a few weeekends per summer.

    Have an old Vango that is on it’s last legs and about to press button on this Decathlon one :

    here

    anything else I should be looking at ? It doesn’t come with optional footprint or carpet, but have a tarp that can do the former

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Iain, we went to the Oxford Decwthlon to have a look at that one. Tbh, I thought they felt a bit flimsier than the likes of Outwell/Vango etc. Good value but at a price perhaps. Anyway, we just took our Coleman Air Valdes (the 6L) camping at the bank holiday. It was a great tent. Even first time, it didn’t take long to erect. I imagine next time will be even shorter.

    To be fair, it’s all the guying out and tensioning stuff that takes more time (IME). Also, got a cheap tarp from eBay as a footprint. Coleman do a 4 man version as well (not cheap but the quality was good).

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    dd – thanks for that, really useful. I can’t really justify a load of spend as it sees maybe 3 weekends a year. The Vango it is replacing was £100 from GoOutdoors about 6 yrs ago…

    stumpy01
    Member

    stevextc – Member

    Perhaps I’m missing something but my large family tents mostly go up in 5-10 mins… one of them really benefits from a 2nd person but unless its blowing a gale the most time consuming bit can be getting tent pegs in ??

    Really…? 5-10 mins?! What tents would these be?
    I ask because we’ve got a Vango Orchy 600 & I reckon 30 mins would be a good time if you are doing it with another person & working well as a team.
    Just getting the footprint laid out, pegged in & the main tent rolled out into position on top is 5 mins+. Main poles another 10 mins, then the whole lot needs pegging in & guy lines laying out.

    I suspect it’s not the easiest tent to put up, but with the Wife & I putting it up (we don’t work very well as a team in this regard) I reckon 45 mins is good going….and that’s not including the canopy…
    I suspect our next tent purchase will be heavily biased towards ease of erm, erection…..

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    stumpy – I’m not saying you need to go on a skills course or anything but… 🙂

    a bit of time thinking about efficiency will be well worth it. Pegging the groundsheet – you only need 2 pegs either end to keep it in place. 1 min tops including getting the angle into the sun/slope right. tossing the roll onto the top will unroll it. One person the poles and gets them locked out (top tip – hold onto one end and fling the other end away from you) while the other pulls the tent into position on the footprint – again, 2 pegs each end – you can even use the same two and clip the two together.

    You’re into teamwork getting the poles in and the thing erected, but split up after that – you can go round pegging (not that sort) guying (not that sort), tensioning and clipping while she sorts the bedding out. 15 minutes to fully done would be comfortable, then you can get the chairs out and have a beer.

    Or start with a beer and take your time over it! You’re camping.

    Premier Icon danradyr1
    Subscriber

    We bought the Coleman 6XL with blackout rooms. It has 4 air frames. I can put it up by myself in 5 mins with 10 mins to peg out, whilst the wife keeps the kids busy. Used it 3 times and so far it’s a huge success. The only issue I can see in the future will be taking to hot countries as the air expands in the frame and can rip apart, but it comes with a puncture repair kit! Some tents have a air regulator, I will have to use common sense and let air out as and when

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Really…? 5-10 mins?! What tents would these be?

    Same with our 8 man Outwell. It’s a big 2 person job to put up and take down (3 if you count someone to keep our small kids entertained!)

    Got a Berghaus Air 4 on the cheap at the end of last year and it’s superb (for the price I paid.) Pack size is big and it is heavy but can have it up in a few minutes. Superb if it’s just me and the kids.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Inserting the poles doesn’t take much time, and an airbeam is no quicker for all the other stuff such as pegging out. Plus I assume it takes longer to take down than erect as the beams have to be deflated. I have to say I’m not quite seeing why you’d spend all that money for such a small time saving.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    I’m with stumpy, our family tent takes around 30-45 minutes to pitch, depending on how windy it is, how rocky the ground is and how much “help” we get from the kids.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    Good point, how long/easy to take the air of the beams?

    I haven’t got a family worthy tent, I can’t really face the faff of all the stuff required, plus the size of storing it and carrying it in the car (roof box usually full of stuff, 2 dogs in the boot!)

    I like basic camping without all the shenanigans (like bivying and tarping), not sure how I’m going to deal with family crap needed to make them all comfortable. It’ll be like moving house each end and take the fun out of it. It’s why we’ve stuck to AirBnBs and self catering places so far. I’ve said to the kids I’ll take them camping this year, but probably just me and the kids, might leave the dogs with the wife

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Faff? No idea what you mean benp1:

    😆

    (Maybe the time required to unpack our car impacts a little on our pitch time?)

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Not sure about other tents, but the Coleman jobbies have sprung one-way valves (I’m sure there’s a better description). To deflate, just push them in, attach hose to the deflate side of the pump and a few cycles gets most of the air out. Then roll up tent towards the valve to squeeze any last bit out.

    Folding it is a bit of a bastard. 😆

    The bag is **** huge!

    The blackout bedrooms are excellent.

    stevextc
    Member

    Really…? 5-10 mins?! What tents would these be?

    I honestly couldn’t tell you without going and looking

    Probably a fore-runner of
    https://www.decathlon.co.uk/arpenaz-family-41-id_8378237.html?utm_source=Criteo&utm_medium=Display&utm_campaign=Retargeting

    Just getting the footprint laid out, pegged in & the main tent rolled out into position on top is 5 mins+. Main poles another 10 mins, then the whole lot needs pegging in & guy lines laying out.

    No need to do that …. just thread the poles through (5 of them) the outer then the inner hangs inside… the majority of the 5-10 mins is putting the poles through then it will unless its blowing a gale peg at the corners

    I’d not buy a tent the inner has to be put up first … your stuffed when its raining.. but they also take much longer…

    If I was to do it right now it would take longer but I usually stick it up in the garden before anyway (just to make sure I have everything) but its just stick the poles through and the tent is fundamentally erect (ahem) .. then its just a matter of pegs and guys… (more ahem)

    To be fair, it’s all the guying out and tensioning stuff that takes more time (IME).

    That my experience as well…. usually depending on the ground.
    The poles just take a few minutes… (is that more ahem or a racial slur) … and if you have a put the outer up first tent with the bendy poles thats more or less it excepting pegs….

    Which is why I question the inflatable…. its just replacing threading a few poles (I can’t keep the innuendo up) … but you still need to peg it and then you have to deflate it? Granted the poles also seem to take longer to get out …

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Our set up goes something like:

    – get footprint out, unfolded, oriented correctly and pegged out.
    – get tent out, unfolded, oriented and main pegs in to stop it blowing away.
    – assemble and thread the poles through (3 big ones in a “semi-geodesic”)
    – missus gets in the tent and lifts the arches from the inside while I try to get the ends into the keys.
    – peg out all the guys lines
    – adjust tensions
    – peg out the skirt
    – put up the inner (bedrooms)
    – put in carpet and hook up the leccy

    Each of those jobs takes us at least 5 minutes. More on hard or windy pitches, or with bored children pestering.

    Putting poles through, lifting the arches and getting the ends into the keys are definitely the most time consuming jobs of that. So I can see the appeal of inflatable.

    (And we’d still need to put up the canopy, inflate beds, and unpack all the other guff from the car after all that)

    Premier Icon austen
    Subscriber

    We have a Vango Airbeam, it’s quick to put up sure, but the main thing that sold it to us was how bloody rigid it was. I hate flappy tents and so wasn’t looking forward to joining the family camping revolution – but it’s ace.

    The lining is already pre-hung, so as soon as the the tubes are up you can get on with unloading sleeping gear whilst someone goes around pegging out the guys.

    Taking down is easy, there is a valve that you push to get the majority of the air out (like a big schraeder) and then 10s with the pump set to ‘suck’ makes it easier to fold.

    I’m sure poled tents have come on loads since I was a kid, but the airbeams feel like a big improvement. It convinced my other half that camping with a child could be fun, so we’ll use it more. Winner.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    I’d second the stability thing. Well, I dunno if it’s more stable but it was a lot quieter in the wind.

    I’m a little worried about the reports of the beams bursting though. 😕 If it’s a hot day, I’d let a few psi out before leaving it for the day. Only takes a few seconds to top the beams up again.

    But yeah, having tried it once, I’m a convert. (I’m sure the amount it cost is convincing me to be a convert too. 😀 )

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    The Airbeam tents have a blow-off valve so you can’t put too much pressure into the tubes. The first generation didn’t have that & too many people pumped them too hard ‘just for luck’.
    Nowadays they are pretty foolproof.
    One other good thing is that they are very resistant to wind damage, if there is a huge gust it will flatten the tent then spring back up again, a poled tent will suffer damage.
    Having said that, we have a poled Vango Amazon 400. It’s huge & was only £300, whereas an equivalent sized Airbeam was £1000..

    BenjiM
    Member

    Watching this with interest, I’m looking at a Vango Capri 500. I’d also be interested to know if the more expensive, heavier-weight tents are actually worth paying the extra for. We’d probably use it about twice a year but I like buying well-made stuff – I’ve never had a problem with Vango.

    We have a Vango Airbeam Capri 500 Xl. It goes up in about 10 minutes when doing it on my own, taking it down is an absolute joy, no faffing trying to get poles out (except the one in the porch) Very sturdy, loads of space in them, There’s also a side porch option as well. Replacement beams are available from Vango.

    It’s used way more than our Atakama 5 from Go Outdoors simply because there’s less faff involved in putting it up and taking it down. It even goes back in the bag easily!

    stumpy01
    Member

    nedrapier – Member
    stumpy – I’m not saying you need to go on a skills course or anything but…

    Ha ha. I’d love to see you putting our tent up properly in 15 mins. I’m not talking about slinging it up as fast as possible. I’m talking about putting it up properly keeping track of where the bags and ties are, putting stuff away as you go along etc.

    The footprint has 8 pegs for a start and laying it out/orienting it takes longer than a minute, if you want to avoid creases and get it taut.
    The tent is to big to unroll by flinging it out. It is folded before being rolled. Once you’ve unrolled and unfolded it you need to make sure it’s the correct way round and rotate if necessary.
    The main portion of the tent is a dome, the poles are very long and are definitely quicker to feed through with 2 people.
    You also need two people to get the poles into the stops. The first one isn’t too bad, but the 2nd one fights the curve created by the first one and it’s difficult to lift because of the weight and size of the material hanging off it.

    Once they are in, you peg the tent out (8 or 10 main anchor points) and then there is a pole at the back, plus two brow poles.

    Once it’s at this stage there is generally a bit of tweaking to get the inside flat, or you end up with areas where the groundsheet lifts.

    Once this is sorted we normally split into hanging the inside and finishing the outside. My wife does the inside and the bedding while I finish the outer.

    Like I say, it’s not a particularly easy tent to put up, but no way 15 mins is realistic for a proper job…

    Beers are normally opened shortly after finishing up!

    chris36860
    Member

    We have the Vango Eclipse 600 air beam and it’s amazing. Up in 10mins. It’s also massive, which is what we wanted. When it rains, the kids have plenty of room in the living area to do what they want.
    Weight wise, it’s a little heavy, but I can still lift the bag (just ) above my head to place on the racking in the garage, but remember, the bag contains the tent inc groundsheet, pump, peg and a hammer.

    In France last year we had some really strong winds hit us and it was as stable as anything. They have a storm system inside that you clip across to stop it from folding in if the wind gets too high. Ours came with footprint and carpet for £850 which was nearly half price, but I’ve seen the 2016 for £719 last week which is a bargain. (That’s £300 less than a set of Fox 36!!)

    It’s transformed the way we camp as normally the kids go mad while waiting for us to get set up. Now, I put the tent up and my wife sorts the kids out. They can be inside within 10mins of getting to the campsite.

    I feels really robust and so far, it hasn’t got any battle scars even with the kids falling out of the doors constantly. The zips are really well made too. They also do a sun canopy which we have and a extension for the front, but that makes it nearly 10m long!!

    pondo
    Member

    Decathlon popup FTW, literally five minutes for our four man, biggest part of that is pegging.

    BenjiM
    Member

    If you can hold out get one in winter when the prices drop!

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