The 6 Best Inflatable Tents Of 2018
Everyone has been in a situation where everything is prepared and ready for the long-planned camping trip, but a single pole from the tent is missing. The trouble is, sometimes, we find this out in the last minute, during tent set-up. For this reason, Vango company has invented a “poleless” tent that uses inflatable air beams that are stable enough to keep your tent erect in normal weather conditions. Even though there are cases where the inflatable tents are not applicable, in most cases, an inflatable tent is a real life saver. Carrying the poles around for miles can be a bit exhausting because of the additional weight. An inflatable tent weighs much less than a pole tent and it is the perfect solution for your next backpacking trip.
After Vango bringing to the market this weightless invention, camping brands follower and joined the game with inflatable tents with similar features. Even though you don’t have to recount the poles before each camping trip you take, it is of great essence that you remember to take the pump. The good news is that it weighs much less than the combined weight of all poles and it fits everywhere. Inflatable tents are also easier to erect than your traditional pole tent and the whole process takes a less time and effort. In fact, the whole tent for 4 persons could be erected by only one person. However, there are downsides to this construction which would also be revealed in this article, so it is up to you to decide if it is fitted for your next adventure!
Our Top 3 Picks
- Vango Odyssey
- Spacious and sturdy
- Kelty Mach AirPitch Inflatable
- Great for warm climates
- Coleman Valdes
- Great value
6 Best Inflatable Tents
This Vango AirBeam Odyssey tunnel inflatable tent has a strong structure resistant to winds and any other harsh conditions. The structure is supported with replaceable inflatable poles that are placed on the outside of the tent. The material is waterproof which makes it suitable for 3 seasons. However, it does not have any insulation which makes it a poor choice for winter temperatures. The material used for its construction is protex polyester 70 denier with fire retardant flysheet of 4000 mm HH.
This is one of the most reliable inflatable tents on the market supported with the tension band system which offers the tent an extra stability and durability. This means that if put under any kind of pressure, such as a branch falling over the tent, instead of breaking such as many traditional tents, it is constructed to bend and then come back to its original shape.
The tent allows you to have a spacious living while you are outside your home. You will feel as though you are at home because you also have sleeping areas that are visually separated and you have the feeling of privacy which is impossible to get when camping. There is a front as well as a mesh front door that increases the airflow if both doors are left open. The storage pockets will save you some money as you won’t have the need to buy extra storages unless you are packing heavily when camping.
The Vango Odyssey is designed for a good night sleep and being a comfortable hang out zone. It provides this feature with its Airzone technology which allows the user to regulate heat. The tent also has inner liners that are keeping the light out and they are ensuring you a good day nap as well.
The pitching time of the entire tent is only 8 minutes. It is done by using a hand pump which is included in the package. However, if you have an electric pump, the erecting process would much quicker. If you choose to do so, make sure you get a pump that shows you the exact pressure, so that you know when to stop. Otherwise you might burst the inflatable poles and the repair kit might help you with this problem. The weight of the entire tent is around 17 kg which makes it unsuitable for backpacking, but perfect for camping. The packing size is 70 x 37 x 36 cm and it is easily packed into a bag that comes with straps you could wear on your shoulder. The bag is a bit transparent and large for the tent, and it is a bit bulky, but at least you won’t have any issues compressing it inside the bag.
- Extremely spacious design
- Sturdy construction quality
- No insulation, not ideal for colder environs
The Kelty Mach Air Pitch inflatable tent is able to accommodate up to four people and it is available in one color only. Even though Kelty promotes it as a tent for 3 seasons, the material is much thinner from competitive models, which makes it unsuitable for mildly colder weather conditions.
This Kelty tent uses air pitch technology which is placed inside the tent. With the air beams placed on the inside, they are less subject to damage due to outdoor influences such as branches or sharp object scratches and puncture risks. There are a total of two air beams which decreases the risk of puncture, but it also increases the erecting time of the tent itself.
The tent is made from 68 denier polyester with a material quality of 1800 mm. Comparing to other competitive models, this is pretty thin which makes it unsuitable for colder weather, but extremely convenient for warm temperatures. The thinness of the material allows greater breathability of the tent, therefore avoiding the oven feeling. Even though you don’t leave any door open, a comfortable environment will be created inside.
The area of vestibule is around 4,60 m2 which means that it is pretty spacious inside and quite comfortable for four people to be accommodated. The length if it is 3 meters and the width 2,7 meters. Even though it looks like a square, it is fact rectangular shape. The height is 1,9 meters which is high enough for a tall person to stand inside without having to dock his head. However, this is the height of the highest part of the tent, the center. The entire tent is not this height which means that you shouldn’t count that you will move through the tent with your head held high. This is simply impractical in any kind of tent. The weight of the tent is 9,11 kg which is making it suitable for camping as well as backpacking on small distances.
The tent does not come with a sewn in ground sheet, but a detached one. It also comes with a manual pump which is convenient if you are backpacking with it since you won’t be needing electricity. Since there are only 2 air beams, Kelty has integrated an insurance in their pump which is a smart move beneficial for both sides. The pump comes with a pressure reading gauge that tells you when the pressure in the beams is high enough so that you stop pumping. There is also a relief valve that allows you to relief the pressure is such thing is required. The pump makes the erecting process faster than any other competitive model from this price range. You would be done in only 2 minutes and you could continue with your other camping activities.
- Thin material is fantastic for warm climates
- Quick inflation time, even with a hand pump
- Not suitable for colder temperatures
- Only one color option
Coleman Valdes FastPitch
This Coleman Fast Pitch inflatable tent is intended for 6 persons, although Coleman offers smaller inflatable tents as well. The construction in tunneled in order for the tent to get a firmer structure that is not easily collapsible if there are strong winds in the area. However, this only goes if you place it with the pitched end is turned toward the wind. Otherwise, it is much less stable. The shape also ensures greater interior space usage and increases privacy.
The tent has a stable structure with replaceable air beams that is more convenient than an open airflow structure. However, the biggest advantage it has is the groundsheet which is usually missing in tents from this price range. The groundsheet included in this package is welded and very well integrated in the whole structure. It is completely waterproof and it will ease your packing a great deal. Most campers assume that if you have a waterproof tent, you don’t need a groundsheet. Although this is somewhat true, a groundsheet will help you have a perfect peach every time you are erecting your tent. It banishes almost every pitching problem that might occur. This is the main reason why this tent classifies for a fast pitch one as its name suggests. The taking down of the tent is just as easy and you will have plenty of time to focus on other camping activities. An 8 person tent could be easily pitched by only one person.
The inflatable poles are wider than usual tent constructions and they are enclosed well in the PE shell. The poles are made from TPU material which is strong enough to hold the entire construction and stand stable in windy and rainy weather conditions.
The tent has a water column of 4000 mm which is actually the hydrostatic head indication. This means that the tent can hold up to 4 m column of water before any leaks occur. This only applies for the surface material. However, this Coleman tent includes more waterproof features. It is manufactured with water resistant material with flysheet seams that are completely leak free. The water resistance comes from the treatment which is being done on the material in order for it to be able to protect you and your equipment from moisture.
This Coleman inflatable tent is specifically designed in order to maximize the space and your comfort while camping. It is high enough so that you move around freely and without any head bending. It is the perfect getaway equipment for a weekend with your friends or extended family. The rooms are designed so that resemble your home bedroom. They are spacious enough for double beds to be accommodated and you are now able to sleep until noon with the blackout feature.
The blackout feature is able to block most of the daylight that would otherwise come inside your bedroom and wake you up. It is a revolutionary feature if you really want to get rested on your camping trip, even if you are a light sensitive sleeper. Even though the blackout feature is self sufficient, it is causing other positive effects. The blocking of the sunlight causes your bedroom to be 5 degrees cooler comparing to outside temperatures. However, the high quality material is also not allowing fast cooling inside, so the night temperature inside would be 1 degree warmer. This is done by the thick fabric which is storing sunlight energy in its surface, therefore, keeping you a bit warmer during the night.
The tent packs to a size of 78 x 58 x 41 which is pretty compact comparing to other tent models on the market and the size of the tent. Its weight is only 26,6 kg which is also pretty low considering the number of people that it can accommodate inside. A carry bag is included in the package, as well as a pump and a manometer that will show you the optimal pressure of the air beams, therefore increase their durability. All things considered, this is a great inflatable tent choice for a larger group of people. It is also currently on sale, so you would save some money if you are a relatively quick decision maker.
- Solid construction will hold up to the elements
- Innovative blackout feature blocks out light
- Packs down compactly
- A bit on the expensive side
Heimplanet - The Cave
The design of the Heimplanet Cave inflatable Geodesic tent resembles a spider or an igloo to some people. Truth is, the design is suggesting some of its features. It is warm enough to keep the temperature comfortable even during the winter and it is stable enough to endure strong winds. Most parts of the tent are replaceable, including the air beams which are completely exposed and placed outside the tent shell.
The structure of the tent is a dome and can be erected in less than a minute which is exceptionally impressive. The structure of the tent is so well designed that it is safe to claim that it is weatherproof. It is designed and able to endure low winter temperatures which makes it a four season tent.
The tent structure is adding to the stability of the entire construction. The geodesic construction of this tent also means that collapsing it is a bit more difficult because of its material and volume ratio which is perfectly balanced. The superior stability is due to the double layered air beams that are also harder to damage or puncture. This increases the lifespan of the air beams, therefore, of the whole tent.
The multi chamber safety system is allowing the user to inflate it with only one step. In most cases, this means that an airflow is allowed between chambers and if one air beam punctures, this results with deflation of the others as well. However, this is not the case with Heimplanet Cave. Once the tent is inflated and erected, the air frame should be separated into chambers that will protect the other chambers if one gets punctured. Since the air is divided into many chambers, the detection of the punctured beam would be very easy and the replacement as well. This emergency multi chamber system is patented and is unique to Heimplanet Cave inflatable tent only.
The valve system is also outstanding. It has integrated 2 in 1 valve and each one of them has two closures. One valve is for easier inflation process which is the main reason why the inflation time is shortened. And the other one is for faster deflation.
Inside the tent there is space for three people to comfortably sleep inside. Although this is an bizarre number, it is the perfect accommodation for a one child family. It is cozy, safe and stable home away from home. The height inside the tent is 40 inches which is not high enough for an adult to stand inside. The size of tent when packed is 40 x 32 x 23 cm which is smaller than similar competitive models. The weight is only 10,6 lbs and this makes it suitable for camping and backpacking as well.
Regardless of how much you take care for your tent, or the quality of the materials, products get damaged. For this reason, the company offers replacement for each and every one of the parts the tent is constructed with. You could simply change the tent parts instead of buy a new tent after many years and it will be as good as new.
In the package, you have included a repair kit, pegs, a packing bag, gear loft, guy lines and a pump adapter.
The tent is available in two different color options, the classic one and cairo camo which is a bit pricier than the classic one. In general, the Cave is a great inflatable tent that indeed offers the protection and stability of a cave!
- Suitable for most weather types, even in the winter
- Unique and sturdy design
- Can be erected in 1 minute
- Available in two color options
- Might be too warm for hot climates
- Quite expensive
Coleman Pop-Up Tent
This tent is suitable for four people. It comes with pre-assembled poles for 10 second setup. And the taped floor seams work to keep you dry. This tent is well-built, quality, and will do well to keep your camping trip convenient while sleeping in a pretty sturdy and reliable tent.
This Coleman is 9 ft. 2 in. x 6 ft. 6 inches and 3 ft. 4 in. center height. There is a similar Coleman tent that also comes in a two-person size just in case you wanted a more snug abode.
Coleman claims this tent will setup in ten minutes due to the pre-assembled poles, but according to testers, this tent does do what it advertises. Furthermore, it comes with two storage pockets. It also packs up flat for optimal packing. This tent comes with a rain fly that is adjustable for ventilation and protection.
- 10 second set up
- Packs flat
- Room for four peoople
- Can handle light rain
- Some feel the zipper on the door is a bi flimsy
G4Free Pop Up Tent
This tent has two large windows and a 'D' shaped door for all around easy access. The G4 comes with strong fiberglass poles that make the process of setting up super simple. And it is staked to the ground with Hogan hooks.
This pop up tent is 95 x 71 x 39 inches, and it will fit a queen sized mattress. It is suggested as 3-4 person tent.
While this tent is not designed to be water-proof, it is ideal for a beach day or good weather conditions for camping. It also comes with a cover for light rain and can be removed for extra air ventilation.
The highlight feature of the G4 is the Quick Release that claims to work in one second. You simply toss the tent into the air and what it inflate.
- Easy to setup
- Great open design
- Quite affordable
- Not suitable for rainy weather conditions
Criteria for Evaluation
An inflatable tent would be perfect if you are a solo adventurist who prefers traveling alone. Pole tents require a handy person, or minimum of two people in order to properly erect a tent. However, erecting an inflatable tent could be literary done with your eyes closed. So, if you are not a fan of the whole setting up process, you should seriously consider some of the inflatable tent suggestions bellow.
An inflatable tent is also a good solution if you are traveling with your children since you will be able to set it up by yourself in a matter of minutes. You could get a family 6 person tent which would weigh significantly less than a pole tent.
The biggest advantage of this kind of tent is its inflatable construction. This makes them ideal for backpackers who are walking great distances in order to get to their campsite. However, if your campsite is out on the open, unprotected from trees around you, a traditional tent might be more suitable for you. Sites with strong winds are not to be matched with inflatable tents which brings us to our next point.
Inflatable tents are perceived as very unstable to winds and many people have the misperception that floating off in strong winds is a real possibility. The reality is that they are perfectly stable if you secure them with ropes, which is the case with any other tent. However, compared to pole tents, if you are to be located in windy area, you will need to secure your tent better. If you manage to do so, an inflatable tent’s construction might be even stronger in harsh weather conditions than traditional tents. However, this is not easily done and it is definitely not a few minutes job. Even though the simple erection of the tent would take only few minutes, securing it could take up to an hour depending on the size of the tent and the weather conditions you are preparing for.
The popular belief about the inflatable tents is that it is the cheaper alternative to traditional tents. However, this is not picturing the reality right. Inflatable tents are high-quality tents with superior features to traditional tents. It is interesting to mention that the first tent in space is an inflatable tent. As you might already assume, this requires that the tent is of great quality and with great features. Nevertheless, even a high-quality product might get damaged if it is not used according to the instructions and if it is not cared for.
This means that before setting up the tent you should carefully observe the surface. All sharp objects and rocks should be removed and cleared from the area. The tent should be placed on a flat surface and all the instructions should be followed in order to avoid punctures. Inflatable tents come with a puncture kit that will help you take care of the issue. It might be surprising to know, but puncture in inflatable tents is not more common than the traditional poles tent punctures. Nevertheless, if this happens and you prefer not using your repair kit, there are inflatable poles for a replacement that you can purchase from the same company as your tent.
On the other hand, the reliability of your inflatable tent will depend on the airflow in the air beams. There are two types of construction with different constructions. One with continuous airflow through the entire structure of the tent and others who have inflatable poles that are completely separate and replaceable. If an inflatable tent with continuous airflow gets a puncture while you are not around, there is a possibility that it collapses. However, a puncture is less likely to happen when no one is in the tent. If you notice a puncture though, you could close that section of the tent in order to save it from collapse. Closing off each tent section is a possibility in almost all inflatable tents. Even so, separate inflatable poles is the better alternative.
Even though inflatable tents are less heavy than conventional tents with poles, they are bulkier. So, when it comes to packing them, you will be wearing a big bag on your back or shoulder. They are not compressible, so you will simply need to pack it and stuff it inside the bag.
The most common significant issue with inflatable tents is their puncture. However, this only occurs if you are not aware of its characteristics. All inflatable products, tents included, tend to blow out when the temperatures increase. This is due to the fact that colder air takes less space than hot air. When this happens, if your air beams are fully blown, they might not have other choice but to burst and destroy your trip. In order to avoid this issue, it is important to anticipate this natural phenomenon and consider the part of the day that you are setting up your tent. If you are erecting it around noon, when the temperatures are high, it is safe to assume that the tent will bend a little during the night. The opposite also applies. If you are blowing it out at night when the temperatures are lower, keep in mind that by noon you might end up with collapsed tent if you blow it too much. In this case, make sure you release some pressure by releasing the valves a bit. Releasing the valves causes that excess pressure comes out of them if the weather gets too hot and the pressure too much for the air beams to take. However, this also means that once the temperatures drop, you might need to blow the tubes up again to the pressure that is recommended by the manufacturer.
At the end, it all depends on the type of camping you are planning, how will you be traveling to your destination and your personal tendencies when it comes to camping.
Broken Air Pole?
Before buying an inflatable tent, it is important to also consider repairing it. The breaking of the tent can be rather annoying, but luckily, there is a remedy if you have a repair kit. And the best thing is that they are very easy to use. In fact, the hardest part is locating the puncture. If the hole is too small and you cannot locate the puncture, try removing the air beam from the tent first. After that, put it under water. The puncture will reveal itself by forming bubbles where the hole is. After this, it is the same ways as fixing a bike tire puncture. Simply patch up the puncture and then replace the punctured tube.
Understanding The Construction Of Inflatable Tents
Inflatable tents with the highest quality have air beams that are constructed with an inner tube, so called TPU that has a similar design like a bike’s tire. For those of you who haven’t had a flat bike tire before, it is constructed with a thinner smaller tire which is placed inside a wider, more sturdier sheath, in this case, made from polyester. The polyester shell is there in order to protect the air beam itself from damages but it also adds to the stability of the entire structure.
Valves are needed on the ends of the air beam in order to keep them in place. It is not rare that the air beams are blown through holes on the valves. However, this entire construction means that a pump is not a luxury that makes the inflation process easier, but a necessity. A pressure of minimum 6 psi is needed in order to inflate one air beam. The human lungs could not produce a pressure higher than 2,5 psi. However, many people prefer wearing a pump instead of several carbon or aluminum tent poles.
Guy lines and stakes are also part of the essential gear if you decide on purchasing an inflatable tent. However, in order to use them, which is necessary for a stable construction, you must have somewhere to attach them to. Luckily, there are trees in the woods, so unless you are going to an urbanized campsite, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Q: Which companies make the best inflatable tents?
A: Inflatable tents are a relatively new invention that not every outdoor gear manufacturer could produce. In fact, there aren’t many inflatable tents manufacturers on the market. The revolutionary design is specific and most companies are refusing to take the risk of manufacturing a product that has relatively low demand on the market. However, there are few who have managed to gather a community willing to try them and unsurprisingly, they loved it.
A while after Vango company launched its first inflatable tent design, several companies has followed the lead. Nowadays, these companies are the leading manufacturers of the best inflatable tents. It is interesting to mention that most of them are European which suggests that inflatable camping is more popular in that part of the world.
Kelty, a USA located company is also one of the top brands in the inflatable industry. Besides producing high-quality products, they are also part of the Conservation Alliance which is supporting the environment by supporting such organizations.
Coleman is a UK company that specializes in the production of camping gear. In their manufacturing process, they are focusing on the quality of the materials they are using, more than the design of their product. For this reason, they are among the best inflatable tents producers.
Easy Camp is a Danish company that is family run and it is part of the Oase Outdoors group. Outwell and Robens are the other parts of the group. Easy Camp are leaders in price. Considering the features they have to offer, they have the lowest possible price on the market.
Q: Are inflatable tents a better choice than a conventional tent?
A: The advantage in inflatable tents is that you simply need to pump them up and you have a strong construction that is as good as one made with traditional poles. However, there are disadvantages to this construction as well. When it comes to comparing the quality of both types of tents the biggest doubt campers have is stability. However, since the Heimplanet has announced that their tent could resist to winds of 120 mph, this has no longer been an issue. Although both types of tents have their advantages, we have concluded that inflatable tents are the more logical option between the given choices.
- They are much easier to erect,
- Have a great stability and construction strength,
- Pack small in size,
- Have the ability to bend without being broken
- They are easily repaired on the field.
However, in order to give you the chance to decide for yourself, we are also presenting the downsides to the inflatable tents:
- They tend to be heavier than the conventional tents
- Their price is higher
Q: How does an inflatable lawn tent work?
A: If you are wondering about an inflatable lawn tent, it is important to know that the features explained in the article apply to lawn inflatable tents as well. However, inflatable lawn tents have an entirely different purpose from the other types of inflatable tents. They are mostly used for events or as a shady area in your backyard. However, there are campsites that use lawn tents as an additional coverage of the outdoor gear that has no place inside the tent. Even though this is not practical for a weekend, if you are going camping for a month on one location, you will find the lawn tent more than useful.
An inflatable lawn tent is made from PVC material which is water resistant. This is the most important feature of lawn tents which is mainly why they are being used. Inflatable lawn tents are also placed on the beach for creating a shadow for a larger group of people, although, considering the price, this is an arguable feature. Nevertheless, in order to stabilize them, you don’t need trees nearby, but simply guy ropes, stakes, and a relatively soft surface.
There are various types of tents available on the market; one for every group, situation, and type of camping. Inflatable tents, although relatively new, are a common choice for campers whose final destination includes traveling with a vehicle. Even though inflatable tents could be ideal for certain people, it might not be exactly what you are looking for. For this reason, it is important that when choosing a tent, you start from your own camping preferences and habits. If you decide for an inflatable tent, make sure you choose the system that fits you better. The inflatable tent suggestions above are carefully selected from the various choices on the market and they are the best air tents out there. They are reviewed and rated and they are safe choices that are durable, comfortable and safe.
If you have doubts about any of the suggestions above or inflatable tents in general, simply pop us a question in the comment section. Our experts will get back to you as soon as possible. If you found this guide helpful, spread the word and share it on your social media!