Best Inflatable Tents: Keep Calm and Camp on

 

best inflatable tents

Looking for the best inflatable tents? Here is a quick guide on what you need to know, along with a few recommendations of the best available products currently on the market.

The idea of camping sounds tempting every once in a while. But our imagination is quickly dampened when we remember the ritual we have to go through when we arrive at the campsite.

The routine of pitching up tent is not one many of us look forward to. This is especially so when that routine involves family quibbles or ends up making us look like a complete tool in front of everybody.

But what if there was a way to have everything up and ready in a matter of minutes while avoiding the bickering or looking like a clown?

Turns out, there is. It’s called an inflatable tent.

Benefits and Shortcomings of Inflatable Tents

Next time you are out camping, look around and you will quickly realise how popular inflatable tents have become.

So, what’s the ado all about?

Also known as air pitch tents or air beam tents inflatable tents are a simple unit whose setup involves as much work as simply getting your tent out of the vehicle, hooking it up onto an air pump and voila, you are all set.

Although an inflatable tent needs to be fixed down like a traditional tent with pegs and guy ropes, it is a faster and more straightforward process, with no poles to contend with.

If you are wondering whether inflatable tents can hold up against strong winds, that need not be a concern. Inflatable tents are solid structures that can withstand heavy winds. In fact, they have one up over the traditional pole tents in this regard since the latter tend to be rigid and can snap in the face of strong wind.

As for punctures, the advancements in tent technology means the tents are becoming more robust and durable. But should you experience one, it is extremely easy to repair. So, if your tent comes with an accompanying repair kit, that’s a plus.

What’s more, it only requires one person to set up an inflatable tent.

These tents are available in an array of designs suitable for everyone, including hikers, campers, couples, families etc.

When it comes to the shortcomings, one notable disadvantage of inflatable tents is they are not available in large size ranges as their pole counterparts. Which is another way of saying they can sleep less people.

Additionally, the biggest benefit of inflatable tents also comes with an accompanying downside. These modern tents are not as easy to carry as pole tents because their single unit design does not allow for splitting up and distributing the weight in multiple bags.

Well, the weight difference isn’t discernible in a single- or two-person tent. It becomes more apparent in the case of larger tents that can sleep more people.

The Best Inflatable Tents on the Market

As far as the best inflatable tents go, it really depends on what you are on the market for.

Is it a one-person tent or a tent that can comfortably fit a couple?

Is it a large family tent or a lighter model more suited for backpacking?

Ventilation and the ability to stand up inside are other considerations you might need to think about.

With that out of the way, time to reveal which products make our top inflatable tents selection.

Heimplanet Fistral Inflatable Tent

The Heimplanet Fistral is one of the smallest inflatable tents on our list. That is because it is meant to be used by no more than two people – at least according to the manufacturer.

In actual sense, this is a tent more suited for a solo camper or anyone who does not like the idea of sharing their tent space.

You will not find a tent that takes lesser time to set up than this inflatable tent. With this model, you can kiss goodbye to the days of pulling your hair as you figure out which is the right way to pitch. All you need to do is connect your pump to the tent valve and hey presto, job done!

When it’s time to dismantle everything, simply open the valves to dispel the air, squeeze out the remaining air, then fold, roll, and tuck away.

The Fistral’s simplicity has to do with the fact that you are required to do an initial setup before using it for the first time. From then on, setup becomes a breeze and will usually take you no more than two minutes max.

Despite its compact size, the Heimplanet Fistral inflatable tent provides plenty of space for you and your valuables. There are two vestibules to fit your essentials (including cooking equipment), with a hook at the top to hold your light.

The inflatable tent is constructed from high-tenacity polyester fabric quality which guarantees both stability and longevity. Its multi-chamber design ensures the tent won’t come crushing down while inside. And its waterproof properties make this inflatable tent a perfect choice for when the weather is wet.

If by bad luck you happen to puncture the fabric, the Heimplanet Fistral inflatable tent comes with a quick repair kit with everything you need to patch up the hole.

On the downside, the Heimplanet Fistral does not come with an air pump, so you have to purchase this separately if you do not own one already.

The tent also does not come with a groundsheet. You can purchase one from Heimplanet or use a generic tarp which, although not perfect, still fits well due to the tent’s good footprint.

If you are looking for variety with regard to air pitch tents best suited for an individual or two, we believe you will find the Nemo Morpho 2-Person Tent a great alternative.

What we Like

  • Ease of pitching
  • Multi-chamber air beams
  • Waterproof capability
  • Included repair kit

What we Don’t

  • No air pump provided
  • Lack of groundsheet

Heimplanet The Cave – Inflatable Tent

Designed to fit three, Heimplanet’s The Cave is another small tent worth your consideration if you are not out to get a big tent.

And we’ll let you in on why we think it’s one of the top inflatable tents available today.

This tent especially shines on the hiking and backpacking front. If you are wondering what inflatable tent would be ideal to take with you on the trail, not many can hold a candle against this tough little guy.

An interesting fact about this tent is that it was Heimplanet’s first attempt in the inflatable space. Which interpreted another way means the Hamburg-based startup put quite an amount of effort and consideration into the design of this model.

Despite its small size, The Cave has an amazing stability which can be traced to its geodesic structure that gives it the ability to withstand strong winds.

Its shape (which resembles a spider) is makes it an obvious go-to choice for those looking for an inflatable tent for expeditions.

It is roomy more than it probably appears, a hallmark we have come to associate with offerings coming out of the Hamburg stable.

inflatable tentInflating this tent takes less than a minute, not so much because of the size but due to the fact that the frame, inner and outer tent expand all at once. As well, its multi-chamber feature allows the tent to stay inflated even when one section deflates.

A pump is not part of the standard package and has to be purchased separately. The one upside worth noting in this regard is that the tent can be inflated using any standard pump, which should be good news for bike owners.

What’s more, most parts of the tent can be easily replaced.

What we Like

  • Unique and sturdy design
  • Weatherproof (four-season tent)
  • Fast setup
  • Puncture cannot collapse the tent

What we Don’t

  • Might be a bit warm for hotter climates

Moose Outdoors Inflatable Family Tent (4-Person and 6-Person)

If you are looking for an inflatable shelter that can accommodate a family of four to six, the Moose Outdoors family tent series is a worthy consideration. This range of tents comes in sizes sizeable enough to sleep four to six.

Each of these tents is constructed using Qwik Frame technology which makes them extremely easy to inflate and pitch. The four-person version features three separate pumping points, each for the three separate air beams it comes with.

While it is possible to get the tent up and ready in a matter of minutes, some will bemoan the lack of a single valve which would undoubtedly offer more convenience.

The Mouse Outdoors inflatable tent for 4 has two doors: a full mesh door on the front and a side door with a canopy extending out for coverage.

It is constructed from 100% polyester with sealed seams that ensure you are shielded from the elements.

Overall, the high ratings in the waterproof, UV protection, and fire resistance departments makes this tent the go-to choice for those occasions when you may find yourself in extreme conditions or climates.

The interior of the tent features storage compartments where you can keep your everyday carry essentials like your wallet, sunglasses, cell phone etc.

What else you will appreciate about this tent is that it is roomy all round, including a full stand-up height that should accommodate tall individuals comfortably.

The Moose Outdoors 6-Person model is no different, save for the obvious fact that it can sleep more people. This makes it an excellent choice for families or groups of friends who want to share a tent.

Privacy shouldn’t be a big concern as the sleeping areas are separated with inner walls and zippers.

The 6-Person tent does not have a lot of mesh which makes it more suited for cooler and wetter surrounds.

The floor in the living area is not sewn in, meaning it is removable. However, this is not the case with the two sleeping compartments whose floors are completely sealed.

What we Like

  • Easy, single-person set up
  • Roomy, including good height
  • UV protection and flame resistance
  • Air beams instead of traditional poles

What we Don’t

  • Multiple pump points

Vango Odyssey Air Inflatable Tent (Air 500, Air 600, Air 800)

Vango has carved its name as one of the world’s best inflatable tents manufacturers.

The Scottish camping gear specialists have completely revolutionised inflatable tent technology. In fact, every brand that popped onto the scene later was, to some extent, borrowing a leaf from Vango.

The company has a stunning array of tents that continue to impress with regard to tech implementation and design. And the cool part is Vango has made sure to serve the market with a tent for every budget.

One such tent that makes it to our list of top inflatable tents is the Vango Odyssey Air 500 tent for 5 people, aka the Odyssey Air 500.

The Odyssey 5-person tent is one of the most reliable air beams on the market, thanks to Vango’s patented tension band system which affords the structure additional stability and durability.

As with most other items on this list, the interior of the Air 500 is characterised by swathes of space that provide a homely feel whenever you’re far from home. This is accentuated by the Airzone technology feature which allows the user to regulate heat levels inside the tent.

You can increase airflow by leaving the front and mesh doors ajar, and the sleeping areas are visually separated allowing for privacy.

Those of us who struggle catching sleep in bright conditions need not worry as the tent has inner liners which block the light out, allowing you to enjoy a good nap even in the daytime.

The Vango Odyssey Air 500 inflatable tent features storage pockets for stashing your valuables without the need to purchase extra storage. It is also fitted with lantern hanging joints, as well as cable entry and tidies, all which come as standard.

Pitching the tent takes roughly 8 minutes, and a hand pump is included as part of the package. The AirBeam 500 inflatable tent packs away into a large strap bag.

On the downside, this waterproof tent is a bit heavy (17kg) which makes it unsuitable for backpacking. But if you intend to use it for camping, this should not be a problem.

The lack of insulation also makes what is otherwise an amazing offering wanting in terms of all-weather usage as it is not ideal for colder temperatures.

>> Check out our guide to the best inflatable car beds

What We Like

  • Sturdy construction
  • Spacious
  • Waterproof

What we Don’t

  • Bulky
  • Not the best for cold season due to lack of insulation

All in all, there is a reason the Vango Odyssey AirBeam range is still considered one of the best inflatable tents in the market today.

If you prefer a larger size, the Vango Odyssey Air 600 Tent is worth the consideration. This one is capable of holding 6 people.

If you prefer an even larger size, few tick that box better than the Vango Odyssey Air 800 which can sleep eight.

Kelty Mach 4 Air Pitch Inflatable Tent

Kelty is a brand based in Colorado that is devoted to the creation of superior outdoor gear with the ourdoosy sports types in mind. You probably might know them as the original makers of the aluminium backpack.

When it comes to tents, the trusted brand has a plethora of top inflatable tents that will have you spoilt for choice. One in particular that we would like to bring to your attention is the Kelty Mach 4 Air Pitch inflatable tent.

As the name suggests, this air beam tent is able to accommodate four people. It is a compact model that allows for easy and fast setup, usually taking up less than 5 minutes.

best inflatable tentIt would take less time to erect the tent were it not for the two air beams – although these serve the wonderful purpose of decreasing the risk of puncture. This is especially considering the air beams are located on the inside of the tent, thereby minimising the risk of damage by external objects like branches and other sharp objects.

It is constructed from 68 denier polyester, boasting a material quality of 1800 mm. This is nice quality, overall, but it makes the tent quite thin therefore rendering it unsuitable for colder temperatures.

Conversely, the thinness of the material makes the Kelty Mach 4 Air Pitch tent perfect for warm weather. This is because it has high breathability which helps combat that oven feeling synonymous with tents and hot weather – and it’s not like you have to leave your door open.

It is spacious on the inside, and while the tent may appear as a square in shape, it is indeed rectangular. A height of 1.9 metres at the centre means even a tall person can stand inside comfortably.

But it is good to note that this is the highest point in the tent and – just in every other tent – it is not possible to move through the tent without having to dock your head.

The Kelty Mach 4 comes with a detached ground sheet, with a manual pump thrown in for good measure.

Kelty was thoughtful enough to integrate an insurance on the pump. It comes with a pressure-reading gauge that informs you how much pressure is in the two air beams so that you know when to stop pumping.

This pump makes the erecting process faster than most other tents in this price range. 2 minutes should be enough to have everything setup, leaving you to embark on other important activities.

A weight of 9.11 kg makes this tent ideal for camping as well as hitting the trail on shorter distances.

While Kelty markets the Mach 4 as a three-season tent, the thin material does not make it ideal for colder conditions, unless we are talking the early days of fall. Another downside is that it is available in only one colour option (grey).

What we Like

  • Perfect for warm climates
  • Optimal for UV protection
  • Quick inflation time, even using hand pump

What we Don’t

  • Unsuitable for cold conditions
  • One colour option

Which Inflatable Tent?

The beauty of inflatable tents is their ability to make less work of your campsite routine.

Pitching tent is not a strong suit for most people, and few want to go through the usual rigmarole of fumbling around with tent poles following a long drive to their camping spot.

Of course, it gets easier once you get the hang of it, but that takes time.

If you want to take the hassle out of your camping, an inflatable tent is the way to go.

The best inflatable tents bring out the best of qualities associated with traditional tents, minus the trouble associated with the latter. And their unique design sets them apart from their normal counterparts.