Are you considering an inflatable tent? I don’t blame you. We’ve all been there at campsites… struggling in the wind to put up your family tent. Then you see the person next to you calmly attach a pump to a pile of material, and it transforms before your eyes into a spacious home without any of the effort (or swearing).
Yes, inflatable tents are here to stay. But, are they worth it? Here are the pros and cons of inflatable tents!
What are the benefits of using an inflatable tent?
- Speedy erection – One of the main benefits of buying an inflatable tent is that it is quick to put up. Attach to a 12v pump that can be powered from a vehicle, and you have a shelter in a matter of minutes, depending on the size of tent you choose.
- Hassle free – No inserting endless poles through fabric loops. No snagging. No disassembling or tidying up of poles when you are taking the tent down. Instead, air is trapped inside tubes that act as poles. This make using an inflatable tent quicker and less fuss.
- Stable – in storms and high winds, inflatable tents are stronger. This is because air in a tube is much more flexible than a pole. It might bend, but air tents don’t collapse like a pole tent might!
- Fun – Watching a heap of fabric magically transform into a home, using the power of air, never gets boring!
Are there any negatives to using inflatable tents?
- One of the biggest downsides to inflatable tents is if they get a puncture. However, if you buy a quality inflatable tent, the material is robust and does not puncture easily. Provided you look after your inflatable tent, such as making sure it is dry when put away, the material shouldn’t degrade and it will last you for many years.
- Need to carry a pump – If you are driving to a campsite, carrying a 12V pump to inflate your tent is not a problem. If you are backpacking, you’ll need to carry a hand pump. This is not always convenient as a handpump adds extra weight to your pack.
- As there are no poles, if you are planning on hiking and camping, you can’t split the weight of the tent between the group to make carrying it easier.
- Inflatable tents tend to be more expensive than pole tents, but if you buy a good quality tent and look after it, it should last for many years.
Here’s some of the best inflatable tents 2022.
2-3 Man Inflatable Tents
HEIMPLANET Original FISTRAL 1-2 Person Inflatable Tent
Like something a bit different? Heimplanet air tents have a distinctive geometric structure with the air tubes creating an external frame.
- Ready to move? Deflate the airframe and roll tent up to store it in the bag.
- Super sturdy in strong winds thanks to the geometric design.
- The one pump system makes it easy to inflate. The air chambers of the frame are connected, so the whole tent can be pitched using one valve.
- Lightweight and small, so ideal for backpacking and cycling.
- Waterproof rating of 5000mm.
- Weighs 2.5kg.
Verdict: A distinctive style, lightweight air tent that is best for hiking, backpacking and cycling. See latest price.
HEIMPLANET Original The CAVE 2-3 Person Inflatable Dome Tent
Another great looking air tent by Heimplanet, The Cave is sure to get plenty of comments on any campsite!
- Connect the airframe, inner tent, and outer tent. Then, you’re good to go! Every time you want to use it, roll out the tent like a sleeping bag, pump it up, and secure it with pegs.
- One pump system – The air-chambers of the frame are connected so the whole tent can be pitched using only one valve. The double layer air struts are robust.
- Multi chamber safety system, so the tent stays stable should one air-chamber become damaged.
- Tested and shown to be stable in winds of up to 110mph!
- Storage compartments for belongings.
- The shape of the roof creates five points for rain to run off.
- 2 colour options, classic and camo.
- Waterproof rating of 5000mm.
- Weighs 4.8kg.
Verdict: Another creative design by Heimplanet. It not only looks good but performs well. Some reviews mention poor customer service, or the wrong colour being sent, so this is something to consider. It is a bit pricier than other air tents, but if you are a regular camper then it will soon pay for itself. See the latest price.
Family Inflatable Tents – sleeps 4 people or more
Eurohike Air 600 inflatable tent
With the Eurohike Air 600 tent, you can setup camp in minutes. Great for larger families, this tent sleeps up to six people.
- High performance air tubes. Pumps up quickly and deflates in seconds by releasing the spring-loaded valves.
- A big, well-ventilated bedroom that can be partitioned into two sections for larger groups.
- Waterproof and breathable
- Roll-away doors, adjustable pegging points, and inside pockets.
- Pump included.
- Waterproof rating 4000mm for flysheet and 3000mm for groundsheet.
- Waterproof cable entry for electric hook-up.
- Bedrooms have a black-out feature, helpful if you don’t want to wake at dawn.
- Two entrances offer flexibility.
- Weighs 20.5kg
Verdict: Eurohike is a well-known brand, so you can be sure of the quality of this air tent. Some people mention it may be a little snug for six adults, but for adults and children it is brilliant. Eurohike also do a four-man version, which is smaller. See latest price.
Coleman Meadowood Air Tent
The Coleman Meadowood air tent is a quality 4 person inflatable tent suited to family camping trips. There are two versions of this tent, one is an air pitch while the other uses poles.
- FastPitch Air technology means the tent can be pitched in a few minutes by just 1 person.
- 2 separate sleeping areas. The bedrooms are extra wide at 1.40 m each and can be converted into a large area by removing the partition wall.
- Blackout bedroom technology prevents up to 99% of daylight from entering the sleeping area. This is ideal for helping you sleep for longer. It also keeps air inside the tent cooler.
- Sewn in groundsheet ensures a clean and dry camping experience.
- Air poles provide excellent stability.
- Pump included.
- Waterproof rating of 4000mm.
- Weighs 19.5kg.
Verdict: A spacious, waterproof inflatable tent for family camping. Make sure you choose the air version so you don’t get the pole version instead! See latest price.
Berghaus Air 4 Inflatable Family Tent
If you are on the taller side, you will appreciate the head room in the Berghaus Air 4 inflatable tent! Berghaus are a brand well known for their quality outdoor gear, and this tent in no exception.
- Quick to set up thanks to the 3 strong TPU air beams
- Tunnel design features preattached bedroom and roomy living space
- The 70 denier flysheet with 6000mm hydrostatic head and fully taped seamed, plus the rainhood, keeps you and your things dry.
- Inner tent is breathable, preventing condensation.
- Sewn in groundsheet.
- Superior head room.
- Quick release air valve makes this tenet quick to take down.
Verdict: A brilliant air tent for all the family, especially for those who are taller than average. The quality you expect from Berghaus will keep you dry in rainy weather, and make your camping experience a pleasant one! Plus, it will last for years with usual care. See the latest price.
Do you have any favourite brands of tent, or go to camping equipment? Do you prefer air tents or poles? Please share your tips in the comments.