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"We were given the 6 berth model of the Vango…"
We were given the 6 berth model of the Vango AirBEam to test this summer, which uses Vango's revolutionary TBS®ll system and we were the envy of the camp! There's no poles involved at all but instead fat innertubes are inflated using a pump which is supplied with the tent. Once pumped up the tubes act as solid beams and once the tent is pegged out and you're ready to camp. On our second camping trip we managed to have the tent and inner-tent up within 20 minutes which was fantastic - we'd still have been putting the poles together on our old tent in that time!
As well as being incredibly easy to put up, this also means the tent feels incredibly sturdy, and we found it remained sturdy even on a particularly windy night in Epping Forest. Although we have yet to test the tent in a storm, the tent was fine during a rainy night and there no leaks the following morning.
The tent has a built-in ground sheet which I loved - no stubbing your toes on the pegs inside the tent - and made it feel really cosy and also very easy to maintain and keep clean and free of grass and dust. The inner tents peg onto the groundsheet and come with a built in tent-tidy which is very useful for mobile phones/torches etc.
The 6 berth slept our family of 5 comfortably for a few nights - I would probably recommend a slightly bigger model for a longer holiday as there wasn't much space for clothes etc. and the living area isn't huge, although you can buy extensions to the model which would be worth investigating. However it was perfect for a few days. There's flexibility in terms of how you lay out the innertents, with options for 2 or 3 rooms. My only gripe would be that the innertent fabric is a bit flimsy - my son tripped one day and managed to rip the fabric and I noticed there was a slight rip at the top of the fabric of one innertent where it was hooked up to the outer tent.
Putting down the tent is as easy as putting it up. You use the pump to defalate the 'beams' and unpeg. We had a few problems initially putting the tent back into the bag -perhaps we didn't inflate the beams well enough the first time but it was quite frustrating the first time as it wasn't even close to fitting in (and having been the first to put the tent up in our group of campers, we were the last to put it away much to our annoyance!) This sad, it felt easier (though still took a couple of times) on our second trip - so hopefully once you've got the knack this isn't a problem. Once in the bag though it's on wheels with a handle and can be pulled along like a suitcase which is great.
We've had lots of tents in the past and this is definitely our favourite because of the ease to erect and because it feels so sturdy once it's up. Although it's expensive, I'd definitely recommend it.Read moreLess
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