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Inflatable tents - yay or nay?

(30 Posts)
logfiresspit Sat 23-Jan-16 21:52:42

So, there are 5 of us. Weekend campers - 2/3 weekends/year max, I suspect (has been less, as we've been relying on borrowing/renting pitched tents).

Time has come to buy our own.

This seems the most appealing tent so far:

Opinions?? It's a LOT cheaper than other tango air beams, especially given that it's an 8-man. What am I missing?

To be honest, ideally we'd spend half of this, but if this is going to work for us then I'd rather buy once buy right.

We don't need an 8-man tent, and would rather have a smaller one, but do like the vis a vis layout, and DH is super-tall so the sleeping pods need to be a minimum of 220...

logfiresspit Sun 24-Jan-16 22:07:28

bump?

Pengweng Mon 25-Jan-16 17:33:30

We have this and it's quite big, though sleeping area is only 210.

www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-spirit-6-tent-p321215

Do you need to have an airbeam one? Ours has 4 poles and we can get it up in 20 mins.

Or this one is an 8 man so you could use one end for you and DH and lie across the two pods.

www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-kalahari-elite-8-family-tent-p286230

logfiresspit Mon 25-Jan-16 19:39:03

pengweng: no, no real need for air beam - I was attracted by the idea of it being easy to put up, as this sort of thing is a real catalyst for marital quarrels for us!
The two options you suggest look really good. For your tent, do you have problems with rain pooling/pouring in when you open the door? we borrowed a tent that sort of shape once and it was a pain...

gruber Mon 25-Jan-16 19:53:05

I have to say, we are quite serious campers and haven't seen more than 2 air beams of any brand per campsite ever (including Hollands Wood where there are 600 pitches!)

Whether this is due to price or due to campers perceiving faults in air-beam tents I can't say. But I thought there would be more out and about by now so I'm wondering if they are not as good as they sound. Also the ones we have seen in the flesh seem a bit tricky to pitch - only ever seen 1 pitched correctly, the rest all slightly wonky or not quite right which made us wonder if it was
Actually hard to get up or if it was inexperienced campers! Sorry no real answers just a few thoughts.

logfiresspit Mon 25-Jan-16 20:24:30

mmm. that's interesting. Reviews are pretty patchy as well (you know, glowing from people who've just bought it and never used it, and then a smattering of 'we've been had!' tirades about water penetration, burst beams etc. etc.

Maybe I'd better ask a different question:

- if you were us - 3 growing children, tall parents, weekend fair weather after-school campers, with a tendency to fight over DIY/packing-type jobs - which tent would you go for??

Cuppaand2biscuits Mon 25-Jan-16 20:38:04

A friend of ours bought an inflatable awning and loved it so sold it on and bought the bigger version. I don't know lots about how they work but I suppose if it he failed they at least had their caravan to sleep in.

DonkeyOaty Mon 25-Jan-16 20:40:40

My sibling has an air beam and raves about it. A plus is one handed putting-up (disabled arm)

logfiresspit Mon 25-Jan-16 22:08:58

this is getting harder, not easier! i should have predicted that there'd be as many opinions as campers.

I need some firm views to sway me (one way or the other!)

DustyOwl Mon 25-Jan-16 22:21:41

We have a Vango airbeam and we love it. We have taken it to some pretty exposed sites, safely in the knowledge it won't snap and it is pretty sturdy for its height (I have worried about taller tunnel tents looking a bit floppy in British weather.) It has also withstood some very very heavy rain.

The down points are; it's pretty heavy and big, but I think we would have that problem anyway.

You have to keep on top of the air pressure depending on the heat. (If the temp drops you have to add a couple of extra pumps to keep it sturdy but that is no hassle really.)

We have been away in it a handful of times, so we are interested to see how it fairs over time. (We expected to be away in it a lot more last year but the weather stopped the impromptu trips we might have had!)

Not sure if this is helpful at all but thought I should share our experience of it.

gruber Mon 25-Jan-16 22:44:01

DH says Outwell Montana. He admits it is big, but you have a large family and there's plenty of you to help put it up! I really wouldn't economise on space here, if there's 5 of you inside on a wet afternoon you want all the space you can get. I will check the pod measurements but sure it would be big enough

gruber Mon 25-Jan-16 22:47:22

Scrub that, they've changed their range!! Not the Montana. Have a look though as the pod did measure 215, nearly what you wanted. The outwell extensions are good (seen a couple in action) and so add a good amount of space to a tent. Worth looking at their current range?

PhoebeMcPeePee Mon 25-Jan-16 22:52:53

We camp with friends who had one - brilliant in good weather but after a day of heavy rain less impressive (it sagged in the middle & water penetration issues too)

DustyOwl Tue 26-Jan-16 07:05:59

We haven't had any water problems but you do have to make sure the beams have been re-pumped (why does that sound rude confused) when the weather changes.

RNBrie Tue 26-Jan-16 07:11:52

We have the high gear kalahari 8 and it's ok... But we have small children who need watching so pitching it can take forever with only two adults. Getting it packed up takes even longer. We prefer camping in a group so a couple of people pitch the tent and a couple of people mind the kids.

My dream is an airbeam tent! Although from what I understand, they are quick to pitch but it's physically quite challenging unless you have an electricity hook up and a pump?

Callmecordelia Tue 26-Jan-16 07:17:15

I have a vango airbeam - a 2014 version. We are fair weather campers too.

Pros - it's very easy to put up, and I can do it by myself. It's even easier to do that if you have a fairly level walk to the pitch so the suitcase wheels can work, as it's a bit heavy. It's very secure, and has been up for days with no issues. It bent a few times in some winds, but the tension bands helped with that.

Cons - it's heavy, and very big. I am on my third one shock because the previous two had leaks. We've tested this one as much as we can, and it seems fine. The aftercare from our retailer was excellent and we got new tents each time with no issues at all.

You can't really get away without the footprint. It's easy to put up, but getting all the air out of the beams to get it away again, even using the deflate setting on the pump is hard work and doesn't do the full job. It involves a lot of sitting on the beams when rolling it (always towards the valves!) and then cursing. I would hate to do that sitting on mud.

Callmecordelia Tue 26-Jan-16 07:21:51

RN I can't deny that I'm a bit knackered after pumping it up. But that's nothing to how knackered I am after taking it down. Could be the psychological thing - when I'm setting up, I'm looking forward to putting everything up, making the tent look pretty, sitting in my lovely camping chairs with a glass of wine.....

RNBrie Tue 26-Jan-16 10:26:32

That's how we feel about our tent as well Callme putting it up is always worth it, taking it down is a pita.

We are wondering if we need to stop camping till the dc are older and can help with the construction!?!

Callmecordelia Tue 26-Jan-16 13:24:16

I will be comforted by the thought that everyone feels the same about putting down tents next time I'm rolling on mine like a demented sausage, trying not to swear in front of the DC.

I think you're on to something with getting them to help - sadly DD is too slightly built and a bit young to help with air squashing out, and DS will be a very small baby this summer. (currently pg smile)

logfiresspit Tue 26-Jan-16 14:03:25

oh now, there's something i hadn't thought about - the fact that it's potentially MORE of a nuisance to take DOWN than an ordinary pole tent!

Callmecordelia - am a bit horrified to hear of two leaky tents - discovered before you went, I hope?? That's perhaps what concerns me most about the air beam ones: that if a beam punctures, you're really really stuffed...

momb Tue 26-Jan-16 14:13:43

If a beam punctures you are in the same position as if a pole breaks: you just patch it and re-inflate.

We have a Vango Tigris 800 which is a little bigger than the tent you are contemplating. (5 poles but very very similar) and we regularly camp with a family with an airbeam of similar dimensions (4 beams).
The airbeam tent is pitched with bedrooms and beds in about half the time of our flexipole tent (15 mins all in vs 25/30 mins mins). The striking though: We can strike our tent, a shared kitchen tent and an event shelter in the about the same time that it takes to strike the airbeam. It's just more cumbersome to manipulate and get back in the bag altogether.

Buttercup27 Tue 26-Jan-16 14:16:29

We've just bought one and had a great deal (£200 off due to Internet price match) haven't camped yet but have put it up in the garden.
We are contemplating buying a spare beam just in case and they are around £70.

Callmecordelia Tue 26-Jan-16 14:50:31

It wasn't the beams leaking. They leaked water around the seams, far beyond what a bit of fabsil would sort. The beams seem very solid and well made.

Callmecordelia Tue 26-Jan-16 14:58:03

And we sort of discovered it before we went. The first one was found to be leaking in a test camp in my parents garden, about the third time I'd put it up. The second one leaked in test camp two in a friend's orchard when we put a hose on it, so first time out. We actually found a hole in the groundsheet then too - there was no hole in the footprint. Back it went.

By this time, the summer was ticking on, and we never actually paid for a campsite at all, because the only camping we were doing was test pitching in people's gardens. On test camp three, it seemed OK, and then first trimester exhaustion set in.

logfiresspit Tue 26-Jan-16 22:11:36

Buttercup27 - where, where??! what have you got?

The striking issue is interesting, and one I'd not thought about At All. Why isn't this mentioned in air beam reviews??

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