Isn’t camping just the best?
Spending time outdoors with the family, exploring nature, sleeping under the stars.
And all this can be yours – once you’ve managed to pitch your tent without murdering everyone within 10 feet.
The most stressful part of a camping excursion is setting your tent up – particularly if you haven’t done it in some time and you’ve forgotten what goes where.
It can be the disastrous catalyst of humiliating emasculation, it can end relationships, and it can tear families apart.
But all joking aside, it needn’t have to be like this. Not if you consider an inflatable tent instead.
There’s a whole host of advantages and disadvantages that we’ll discuss later, but right now let’s take a look at the current best inflatable tents on the market.
Let’s find out if this idea will float, or if it’s all just a load of hot air…
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- TOP 10 Best Inflatable Tents for Camping 2021
- Tangkula Inflatable Tent
- Moose Outdoors Inflatable Tent
- Ryno Tuff Camping Tent
- Kelty Sonic Airpitch Tent
- Ihuniu, Inc. Inflatable Air Tent
- Vango Odyssey Air 600 Tent
- Heimplanet Fistral Inflatable Geodesic Tent
- Dama Air Floor Inflatable Floating Tent
- Heimplanet Nias Inflatable Geodesic Tent
- Wildcat Outdoor Gear Luxury Inflatable Tent
- How to Choose the Best Inflatable Tent
TOP 10 Best Inflatable Tents for Camping 2021
Tangkula Inflatable Tent
Review: Inflatable tents tend to be on the more expensive side compared to their pole counterparts, but we’ll start with this budget option to get things going. It can set up in minutes with a hand pump, as the frame and the inner unit work together to minimize time and effort.
There’s enough space inside for up to three people, so it’s perfect for a small family for backpacking, hiking, car camping or even just in the backyard for the kids.
It weighs 11 lbs and is built with a durable 190 denier polyester with PU coating for added protection against the sun and rain.
Internally it has two rooms for plenty of space for you and your gear, and it comes with its own carry bag for ease of transportation.
- Low price point.
- Hand pump included.
- Highly portable.
- Perhaps a little small for three adults.
- Other colors would have been nice.
Moose Outdoors Inflatable Tent
Review: Moose Outdoors are dedicated to creating tents with a minimal set up time so you can enjoy your camping experience sooner rather than later.
This family version is ideal for up to four people and can be up and running in as little as three minutes, while it has the ability to deflate in seconds just by using the special valve.
It is made from a highly durable fabric that is resistant to 3000 mm of water, and it comes with a groundsheet attached.
Highly versatile, Moose Outdoors tents can be used in a variety of settings and conditions, from the beach to the campsite and everything in between.
Six stakes ensure the tent is securely fastened to the ground and it can withstand winds of up to 33 miles per hour.
- Quality build.
- Excellent price for what you get.
- Hand pump included.
- Plenty of room inside.
- Choice of two colors.
- Again, you might be pushing it with the claimed four person capacity.
Ryno Tuff Camping Tent
Review: Made from tough and durable polyester taffeta, this inflatable tent from Ryno Tuff looks like it isn’t an inflatable tent – and you can use the weather-resistant canopy for extra protection.
It’s a decent tent for casual use in warmer and drier climates – such as on the beach or in your backyard in the spring or summer. There’s enough room to fit up to four people, and the breathable inner tent has large mesh windows to let the light in and keep the mosquitos out.
The floor is made from a tough, waterproof material, the seams are taped for added protection and the whole thing is fireproof (as most decent tents should be).
Ryno Tuff also feature in this review of the best sleeping pads for car camping – so you should check that out if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep while on the road.
- Quality build and construction.
- Easy set up.
- Super portable.
- Not as large as claimed.
- Windows useless when covered with the outer layer.
Kelty Sonic Airpitch Tent
Review: Constructed from a 68-denier polyester and offering an excellent 6-person capacity, the Kelty Sonic Airpitch tent inflates to have one large room.
It is a single-walled tent that has a packed weight of 18 lbs and 13 ounces.
In spite of its size, you can use the dual-action, high-volume hand pump to set it up in under a minute, leaving more time for you and your family to enjoy your camping experience. The airpoles are strong and flexible, and won’t break as easily as steel or fiberglass versions.
It has taped floor seams for extra weatherproofing, while the high and low fly vents improve breathability. It just might be the best airbeam tent available.
- Large capacity.
- Super fast set up time.
- Strong, durable airbeams.
- One sheet.
- Not the most waterproof.
Ihuniu, Inc. Inflatable Air Tent
Review: An inflatable backpacking tent that offers a professional waterproof exterior that is suitable for four-season camping.
It is made from highly durable 210 denier Oxford cloth, with one door and four mesh windows to ensure your home has excellent ventilation while keeping the bugs at bay.
Featuring internal pockets for storing valuables and essential gear, this tent can take up to four people, but it’ll only take one of you a matter of moments to set up with the hand pump included.
It weighs just 6.61 lbs, making it ideal if you’re on the go with backpacking, hiking, or even music festivals. The durable materials and strong construction ensures you will get many years of use out of this inflatable tent – no matter what you’re using it for.
For more of the best instant tents, follow that link and compare which ones you think are worth buying.
- Tough and durable construction.
- Packed with useful features.
- Easy to inflate.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Again, fitting four people inside this is pushing it.
Vango Odyssey Air 600 Tent
Review: Scottish company Vango was founded in 1966 and have been making top quality tents and camping equipment ever since. The 6-person Odyssey Air is yet another addition to their portfolio of outstanding tents, this time bringing in an inflatable version.
It offers pre-angled beams which provide greater space internally while ensuring an excellent brace against side winds. It has a tough and durable Protex 70 denier polyester flysheet which is water-resistant to 4,000 mm and is a fabric exclusive to the company.
There’s a linked-in groundsheet that can easily be detached from the living area if required. It offers dual entry in a large and spacious tent that can be erected inside eight minutes.
- Name to trust.
- Quality materials.
- Very comfortable.
- Pump included.
- Heavier than other models.
Heimplanet Fistral Inflatable Geodesic Tent
Review: The first of our inflatable tents from Heimplanet, who arguably make the best inflatable tents around. This is a geodesic design (which utilizes the shortest points to make a sphere) and is designed for up to two people over three-season use.
It features two vestibules for all your gear and your sleeping positions, with two closable ventilation flaps to allow maximum airflow. The multi-chamber safety system will give you peace-of-mind if there does happen to be a problem, but these tents are built from top quality materials so you’re unlikely to have to worry.
The flysheet is 100% high tenacity polyester, 40 denier 240T ripstop, PU laminated and 2,500 mm water-resistant. Quite possibly the best inflatable tent of 2021.
- Outstanding build quality and materials.
- Name to trust in inflatable tents.
- Extremely stable design.
- Super-fast set up time.
- Very expensive for a two-man tent.
- Pump not included.
Dama Air Floor Inflatable Floating Tent
Review: Okay, so admittedly this one is a little bit of a joke/just something alternative. Is it an inflatable tent? I think so.
It’s certainly versatile enough that you can set it up as a normal tent in a campground or the wilderness AND take it out on the water as a paddleboard or rowing shade – just check out those pictures!
It will comfortably sleep four in its dome design, so you can take the whole family for a spin on the water (although quite what the weight capacity is for a tent is anybody’s guess).
It is a single shell with a large inflatable mat and it even comes with a set of aluminum oars. This offers loads of fun in one hand while being a genuine place to sleep in the other.
It might not be the best family inflatable tent out there, but for the sheer enjoyment you’d get out of playing around in this, it comes close.
- Versatile for land and on the water.
- Easy to set up.
- Loads of fun.
- Might not be so great for “normal camping.”
Heimplanet Nias Inflatable Geodesic Tent
Review: The Nias from Heimplanet is a three-season tent that offers space for between four to six persons. It’s ideal for family or group gatherings and offers a two cabin design that is extremely sturdy with the geodesic dome construction.
It’s built using double air beams, making it one of the best airbeam tents available on the market today. It too offers the multi-chamber safety system, while it’s extremely weatherproof with an outer shell boasting 100% polyester 66 denier 210T ripstop, PU lamination with a 5,000 mm water column.
And for a six-person tent, it weighs just 13.23 lbs – so it’s not at all bad when you really want to be flexible. An environmentally conscientious company, the airframe is made from recycled materials, too.
- Outstanding quality and construction.
- Tough and durable.
- Highly weatherproof.
- Very expensive.
- Pump not included.
- The shape and style is not for everyone.
Wildcat Outdoor Gear Luxury Inflatable Tent
Review: We’re upping the ante here when it comes to luxury with this Wildcat Outdoor Gear inflatable tent that’s really much more like a literal home away from home.
It is absolutely jam-packed with features, offering loads of space in two bedrooms, a side pack area, living room with standing space and a front porch. Yet it sets up and takes down in less than five minutes – which is absolutely outstanding considering the size of it.
It’s ideal for all the family or for a fun weekend away with all your buddies, so much so that you’re likely never want to leave and return to the real world. There are loads of different configurations too, so you can build the tent to your own specifications depending on who is along for the ride.
It is also completely waterproof, with a polycotton blend of Ripstop fabric keeping you and your loved ones warm and dry.
- It’s like a house!
- Versatile and adaptable.
- Excellent build quality.
- Loads of space.
- Very expensive.
- Very heavy.
How to Choose the Best Inflatable Tent
How do you choose a normal tent? Is it that simple?
Let’s go through some of the things you should be looking for when you’re in the market for the inflatable version.
Just like tents with steel or fiberglass frames, inflatable tents come in a variety of sizes.
Perhaps the first thing you want to consider is how large do you need the tent to be?
Whether you’re camping solo, with a partner, or taking the whole family on an adventure, you’ll find there’s an inflatable tent size that’s right for you.
A word of advice though – as with any tent, always take the berth size with a pinch of salt. As a rule of thumb, I generally like to round up.
So, if you’re looking for a two-person tent, get one that’s suitable for three – and so on.
And take into consideration how much stuff you’re going to be bringing with you. Packing a six-person tent with six people and six people’s worth of stuff isn’t going to leave much margin for error.
Setup Times and Ease-of Use
If you’re still debating the merits of an inflatable tent do consider just how fast and easy it is to set up.
You’re literally going to have it fully inflated and ready to move in within a matter of minutes – sometimes seconds.
This is particularly useful if you want to save time, you don’t want to fall out with anyone or you just generally loathe erecting a regular tent.
And don’t forget, pretty much anyone can manage to inflate these things, so you can just get your kids or the mother/father-in-law to do it while you sit back and enjoy your vacation.
With an inflatable, 99.9% of the time you don’t even need to look at the instructions. Try saying that about a pole tent.
Again, like their fixed-pole counterparts, inflatable tents will offer varying degrees of weatherproofing, against the wind and the rain.
Always check to see the level of water the flysheet (outersheet – or roof) can take, as well as the groundsheet for moisture coming up through the tent’s floor.
The higher this number, the more rainfall is required in order to force water through the material, and the more the tent will be waterproof.
But you don’t always need a crazy high waterproof rating to stay dry in your tent and the trade-off is that a higher rating means a more rigid fabric that is often susceptible to tearing.
For more information, check the video below about how to waterproof your tent further if you’re in any doubt.
It’s interesting to note that many campers prefer inflatable tents because they can actually stand up to the wind much better than pole tents.
This is because the pole tent is rigid and can get damaged easily if buffeted with high winds. It’s far more likely to “blow away,” too.
An inflatable tent “goes with the flow” so to speak, they’re more flexible and can sway and offer some give in blustery conditions.
Think like the reed instead of the oak tree.
If you look after a good pole tent and give it the TLC it deserves, it will last you for decades – possibly even for life.
Inflatable tents aren’t quite there yet – because they do still have the risk of developing tears and punctures (however unlikely) and they’ve just not been around long enough to thoroughly test their longevity.
That being said, they all come with puncture repair kits just in case you do manage to damage them in some way – and as such it’s cheap and easy to patch them up.
But don’t let this put you off – inflatable tents are still very much tough enough to withstand whatever you throw at them – particularly the high-end models.
For the most part, you’re more likely to break a rigid tent pole that you are to damage or puncture an inflatable air-beam.
And let’s face it, neither version is going to stand up to 1300 lbs worth of bear looking for food, so it might be a good idea to pick up one of these quality bear sprays if you’re taking your tent into the backcountry.
There’s no doubt when it comes to the huge main advantage that an inflatable tent has over a regular one – and that’s the speed in which it can be set up.
While your friends might still be huffing and puffing getting their house in order, you’re already enjoying the sunshine and kicking back with a beer in your front vestibule.
But the truth be told is that inflatable tents aren’t as portable as pole versions. They’re usually on the heavier side of things, and they tend to come in bulkier carrying bags.
They’re not really that suitable for backpacking (with some exceptions), and you’re far more likely to take them car camping than strapping one on your back and hiking the trails.
However, they are much easier to pack down having no rigid poles to fit in. How many times have you struggled with a regular tent trying to squeeze it back into the bag it came out of?
With an inflatable tent you just stuff and go!
The prices of tents these days vary immensely, and you can pay as much or as little as you want – from a few bucks to thousands of dollars.
Inflatable tents are generally more expensive than their rivals, so bear that in mind if you’re thinking of making the switch.
Of course, as they become more popular and more options flood the market, expect the price of inflatable tents to come down drastically.
What is an Inflatable Tent?
Simply put, an inflatable tent replaces the fiberglass, metal or plastic poles with airbeams that you inflate either with a hand, foot or electric pump.
Scottish company Vango produced the first air tents on the market, but over the next few years expect to see a lot more models and brands releasing their own versions.
As mentioned, the massive advantage is just how easy and fast they are to set up. Also, that absolutely anyone can do it – even if you’re not Mensa standard and don’t have a high enough IQ to problem solve erecting a regular tent.
What is an AirBeam Tent?
An AirBeam tent is technically a Vango tent – the first company to develop the technology.
However, this brand name has become synonymous with any inflatable tent and is used to describe tents that use beams filled with air rather than traditional tent poles.
How Stable is an Inflatable Tent?
As noted above, inflatable tents are actually incredibly stable – far more so than tents that use fiberglass, steel or plastic poles.
Air tents are flexible and they are far more likely to move with the wind or other such conditions.
So long as you’ve fixed them well to the ground with guy ropes and pegs, there’s no reason a good inflatable tent won’t stand up to anything the weather throws at it.
Except maybe a hurricane, that is.
Are You Sure They Won’t Burst?!
Here’s the thing – when anyone mentions anything about an inflatable product these days, for the most part we all assume that there’s a high chance it’s going to burst, tear, deflate, or puncture in some way.
Whether it’s inflatable kayaks, camping beds or camping pillows (or anything else that uses air for that matter) for some reason we just don’t trust them.
However, we’ve come a long way since cheap blow-up lilos, and these things are built to last.
Tough, durable and made with premium materials, they’re not going to suddenly pop and fly away while you’re sleeping.
But accidents can and do happen – which is why they all come with repair kits.
And we don’t recommend hacking or stabbing at them with these amazing backpacking knives just in case.
How do I Use an Inflatable Tent?
Well now, that’s one of the beauties of taking an inflatable tent camping – it’s ridiculously easy to use.
As I mentioned previously, there’s a good chance you won’t even need to look at the instructions (although we would advise you do so anyway).
With no fiddly poles to deal with, jabbing them through the material’s small holes, bending them, breaking them and potentially ripping the tent fabric, you can have total peace of mind that anyone can set up an inflatable tent.
Watch the informative video below that explains everything – but really, just attach the pump to the valve and inflate.
It couldn’t be simpler – and that’s why they’re becoming more and more popular.
Do You Need a Constant Stream of Air to Keep an Inflatable Tent Erect?
Good question. You might have seen those inflatable bubble tents or forts for children on the market. They’re not really suitable for camping and, like a bouncy castle, they require a constant stream of air to keep them up.
For the most part (and certainly the products in this review) these inflatable tents don’t need to do that.
Once you’ve filled the beams with enough air (as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions) you simply seal the valve and you’re done.
How do I Take Care for My Inflatable Tent?
It’s not too dissimilar from caring for a normal tent and you need to go through those motions after every time you take it out.
If you’ve packed the tent away when it’s still wet, make sure you thoroughly air it out when you’re home. Nobody wants a moldy tent that is going to stink to high heaven the next time you want to go camping.
Wipe off excess dirt with a clean cloth and use a mild soap and warm water solution to clean it up.
Watch the video below for some more general advice on how to clean and care for your tent so it gives you many years of enjoyment.
Will an Inflatable Tent Float?
Unless you’re specifically buying a floating tent – and I’ve included one in this review – it would be a very silly idea to try and take an inflatable tent out on the water.
They’re not built for that and you’re going to drown.
So, what do you think? Inflatable tents? Gimmicky or here to stay? Are they going to be around as long as the pole versions have been? Time will surely tell.
Let me know in the comments section what you think of the best inflatable tents and if you’d ever consider purchasing one. Personally, I’m definitely game to give them a try.
Happy inflatable camping, people!
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