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Inflatable tents and wind

  • 12-02-2024 2:25pm
    Registered Users Posts: 10,345 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi folks,

    We're thinking of upgrading the family camping tent next year and I'm quite interested in an inflatable tent like the Vango Airbeam

    My wife is a bit more traditional and would prefer a poled tent but I'd prefer not to be messing around with poles when setting up (since I'm doing about 90% of the work while she's winding me up)

    However I saw a few videos of airbeam tents getting blown over in the wind so now I'm a bit concerned

    There seems to be two schools of thought. First is that airbeam tents are worse because they'll get flattened by a storm whereas a poled tent will be left standing

    Second school of thought is that airbeam tents are better because if they do get flattened they'll just spring back up whereas a poled tent could rip

    Most of the manufacturers seem to say the tents are good up to 60km/h wind if properly pegged and guyed down. Tbh I'd be of the school of thinking to abandon campsite early if there's a weather warning but sometimes you get caught out

    I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of both, how you found them in a convenience versus durability balance and where you found the limits of the airbeam tents to be?

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 4,466 Mod ✭✭✭✭dory

    You might get better responses in the Campervan section. Although more for campervans than tenting, people there have awnings and I've seen a few Air Vs Pole debates.

    What puts me off airtents is the weight and the amount of space they take up in a car. I've seen a few now towing them in a trailer. For me that defeats the purpose of tenting over caravanning. A few are 20kg+. I've heard of the issue with them being more in the heat than in the wind - you have to remember to deflate the tent slightly when it gets v hot.

    In general I think it comes down to personal preference - is the extra money/weight worth that you don't have to faff around with poles? It is nice to just sit back and see it pump itself up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 83 ✭✭rex_turner

    We were in the same scenario last year and ended up going with an air tent (Vango Vesta). The very first night we stayed in it, there was a storm (long story but didn't knowingly plan to camp in the storm). I was very glad ours was an air tent - the wind got so bad, at 2am we went into the car but deflated our tent. At about 5am we reinflated the tent and went back to bed. In the morning all of our neighbours tents were flattened.

    We had some more normal windy conditions for the rest of the holiday and it coped very well.

    They are big and bulky and we have gone down the trailer route for all of our gear but that was the plan anyway.

    Atwolls are a UK camping shop that have a very good YouTube channel - well worth looking at. I'm sure they have something on air v pole. Lots of stuff on it if you google.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,345 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Thanks, might post over in the caravan section as well.

    I saw the issue around heat, not sure if it's going to have much impact in Ireland but probably a good habit to top up the tent with air before bed

    Looking at the weight, I did a quick check of a Vango Castlewood because it's in both poled and air versions. The air version is 2kg heavier (23kg Vs 25kg) so I don't think the weight would be a deciding factor

    Maybe for smaller tents the penalty outweighs the advantage

    I absolutely agree that carrying a trailer around kind of defeats the purpose, although I guess its cheaper than a trailer tent

    We're mostly weekend campers anyway and the boot is a decent size, but it is something to consider I'll admit

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,345 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Thanks, how are you finding the Vesta? We were thinking of getting the 850xl ourselves, it's probably bigger than what we need but having the extra space can be handy when it's raining and you're stuck in the tent for a while

    That's a very good point about being able to take it down in stormy weather and put it up easily, it isn't an angle I'd considered

    How difficult would you say it was to take down in the dark? Obviously it's never going to be easy in difficult conditions, but would it be easier than a poled tent? My instinct is that opening the valve and quickly rolling it up is simpler than messing around with poles in the dark

    I think one issue is that people get a bit of a mistaken idea of what those big family tents can handle. It says in the description that they're not designed for stormy weather, regardless of whether they're poled or air tents

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 83 ✭✭rex_turner

    We are a family of 6 so need the space of the Vesta 850xl (and hence limited boot space due to needing to use the 3rd row of seats our 7-seater). We spent a very comfortable 10 nights or so in the tent in Ireland at the end of last summer so got lots of rain, wind and sun. In general, based on our requirements we are very happy with it and plan to use it for our main holiday in France this summer.

    What we don't like is the lack of a porch area in wet weather - there is a very small canopy over the door but not large enough to stand under and remove shoes, coat etc. and because of the diamond shape living area section, none of the Vango extensions are compatible with it - we are going to try a tarp with it this summer (but if very windy would have to take that down). Also we already had a "living area" tent from Decathlon, so used that as our kitchen area. I think a tunnel tent is a better set up if you are cooking inside etc but given there are 6 of us and we're heading for the teenage years - the vis-a-vis set up is better for us.

    I really don't expect we will camp in weather similar to our first night again - it was Storm Betty and we were in Portrane, all of the electricity in North County Dublin was knocked out - so I think it was an extreme test! (The kids loved it though!) It was just a one night stop-over so all we had in the tent was sleeping mats and sleeping bags. Deflating and reinflating was very straightforward (you can inflate the Vesta at one single point).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12 Dharmacolm

    Hello there, Im literally in Belfast at the minute to upgrade our tent. Its the only way we could get our hands on a Berghaus tent. Next to Outwell its up there with the best quality air tent at a reasonable price. It retails at €1400 and we got it half price in Go outdoors belfast. It was £654 on promotion. Its a Berghaus Air 800 nightfall (8 person) and the range have won awards for best family tent.

    I did serious research because its my first airbeam. I wanted peace of mind for wind and rain and this is by far the best I could get in my price range. The water proofing is better than most tents out there and definitely best in price range. Its a really impressive 6000hh. Any other tent with that will set you back 100s of euro more.

    Your spot on the with comparison to poles. Poles break, beams bend. Plus you can get replacement beams. As far as I can make out you can argue that both are as sturdy but I have seen with my own eyes air tents fairing better in storms and pole tents getting wrecked. Usually if the air tent doesnt hold up its because they didnt put extra air in the beams for storm weather or are novices when it comes to pegging out the tent. The shape and design of the Berghaus Air 800 is designed for Irish and British summers (bad weather). Theres a smaller Air 600 model. The model I got was selling for £749 half price and I got it off them for £654 because I was able to show it for that price online on Ultimate Outdoors. They matched it because Go Outdoors and Ultimate Outdoors are owned by the same company.

    You will not get a better tent for that price and you cant get Berghaus tents in the Republic. Check out the model and maybe consider a trip North. I headed up from Galway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12 Dharmacolm

    I would add we have a Ford Galaxy so no worries for space. The bag is 32kg but it has wheels lol. We are a famiĺy of four so 2 bedrooms face each other with big living space in the middle. We alway use a tarp off main tent for sitting out or cooking and just roll it back for storms. If theres just the two of you the bedrooms on each side are removable so you would have a massive living space.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,258 ✭✭✭eeepaulo

    Just in terms of the beams popping in heat, i think early air tents had more of a problem. Its the change in temperature you need to watch out for, if you set up in the evening and its 15 degrees and put the pressure to the max it suggests and its hot the next day you might be in trouble.

    I have a berghaus air 4 tent since about 2016 i think, it suggests 4.5-7 psi, i usually just go to 4-4.5, im usually a fair weather camper, you only need to go any where near the maximum if its really windy, it stays up much lower.

    I tend to go away with just the dog, if my partner comes she has no interest in camping so im setting up everything. Airtents are really easy to set up on your own, i use an electric pump rather than faff about with the manual one, so im sorting out the guys while the tent is inflating. There's no way a similar poled tent could be easier to put up

    A bit bigger, more expensive, bit heavier.

    Those vango tents look lovely, i think these days any of the good brands will be ok.