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Best inflatable tent 2022: Fast pitching and spacious tents for all budgets

Chris Haslam
15 Jun 2022
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Ditch the stress of pitching tents with our pick of the best inflatable tents

Inflatable “air tents” have only been around for a few years, but in that time they’ve understandably become popular with anyone who finds pitching a tent stressful. Inflatable tents are wonderfully easy to put up, with cavernous designs taking no longer than 15 minutes to pitch and with no “put pole B in slot B” to worry about. Arm yourself with a good pump and you’ll be relaxing in no time.

For this feature, we’ve sourced the very best inflatable tents currently available and have included options to suit any budget. As a new technology, inflatable designs cost a premium, but bargains can be had if you know where to look.

Take the time you need to make the right decision on which inflatable tent is right for you. It will make all the difference on your holiday, whether you’re heading to a field or a festival.

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How to choose the best inflatable tent for you

What features do I need?

Compared to a traditional pole tent, putting up the vast majority of inflatable designs generally involves pegging out the base, connecting the pump and giving it some welly until your tent rises from the ground.

Inflatable tents come in various shapes and sizes, with different supporting inner tube structures. Some have a single valve that pumps up the entire tent, while others – typically larger models – have multiple valves and separate sections, which offers peace of mind if one section does spring a leak.

One of the most overlooked elements of any inflatable tent is how easy it is to pack away again. While pumping air into a tube is incredibly easy, getting all that air out again is anything but, which means folding and rolling the tubes and canvas can be hard work. Like anything, it takes practice, but in our tests we’ve had infinitely more issues deflating and packing than we have pitching. As with all tents, a generously oversized bag is a must.

It’s also worth remembering that inflatable tents don’t tend to pack down as small as traditional designs, so double-check the dimensions if you’re short on car space.

As with our other tent guides, we strongly recommend designs that use blackout material to line bedrooms, keeping them cooler and darker for longer. If you want a lie-in, you need a blackout bedroom.

Look for a sturdy, sewn-in groundsheet with a coated nylon floor to keep you warm and dry, a waterproof rain fly (this is the outer layer of the tent) and plenty of guy ropes for stability. And the more loops, hooks and pockets in the tent’s interior, the better, for hanging up lanterns or stashing belongings.

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What size inflatable tent do I need?

Tents are sized by the number of adults they can feasibly sleep (two-, four-, six-person, etc), but unless you’re looking for an ultralight adventure tent for one person, the rule of thumb is that if you halve the stated person number, you’ll get the number of adults the tent will actually sleep comfortably. A four-person tent will give two adults plenty of extra space for bags and not being squashed, but if you’re camping with kids a six-person tent (with separate bedrooms) is ideal.

What happens if my inflatable tent bursts?

You’ll be amazed by how robust inflatable poles can be, and super-durable materials will protect them from all but the sharpest objects. But accidents do happen and valves can develop faults, so thankfully most models come with a puncture repair kit for on-site emergencies, and brands are now starting to offer replacement parts, which should help with longevity.

How much should I spend?

As a relatively new camping technology, inflatable designs cost more than traditional designs, but as their popularity grows prices will fall. You can pay anywhere between £200 and £3,000 for an inflatable design, but a good four-person design will typically cost around £400 to £600. Check your chosen tent comes with a pump included, because not all brands do. Pumps cost between £20 and £40.

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The best inflatable tents to buy in 2022

1. Vango Osiris Air 500: Best inflatable tent for most people

Price: £450 | Buy now from OutdoorGear

Part of a collaboration between the National Trust and Vango, this mightily impressive six-person inflatable tent is made using 301 recycled plastic bottles, making it one of the most eco-friendly designs we’ve seen. Impressively, Vango has calculated that the collaboration will see over 269,700 bottles collected and recycled this year.

But being eco-friendly isn’t enough these days, and thankfully the Antrim Air 600XL excels in every department. And, while you’ll need a large boot or sturdy roof rack to find room for it, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, hard-wearing, spacious pied-à-terre for the whole family.

Both bedrooms are large. It’s rated as a six-person tent, but we think the sleeping area makes it perfect as a four-person design right up until the kids want their own tents. There are blackout liners to keep early risers asleep for a little longer, and, as we’ve come to expect from the latest range of Vango tents, the innovative racking system throughout the tent makes it easy to hang up lighting and storage. Once everything is neatly stored, the massive 10.45m² living space and 3.8m² porch is a blessing in bad weather.

Key specs – Capacity: 6 people; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 24.3kg; Waterproofing: 4,000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 70 x 43 x 39cm; Pump included: Yes

Buy now from OutdoorGear


2. Quechua Air Seconds 4.2 XL Fresh & Black: Best-value inflatable tent

Price: £430 | Buy now from Decathlon

This is an inflatable version of the fantastically versatile Arpenaz Decathlon 4.2, but with the added bonus of inflatable poles and blackout bedrooms for maximum lie-in potential. It’s a slightly larger design, however, with 5.9m² of living space split between two bedrooms and a generous communal area in the middle that’s 1.95m tall at its highest point.

With four separate inflatable poles made with two layers of tough thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and four well-designed air valves, pumping it up can take a little longer than some others, but you do get the extra peace of mind that if a sharp disaster strikes, the tent won’t collapse on you. Inflate it to the recommended 7PSi and you’ll be amazed by how rigid the structure is. For the money, you’ll not find a more impressive inflatable design. The pump will cost you an extra £19, though.

While not designed for the worst possible conditions, the 2,000mm water-resistant polyester flysheet has taped seams and will laugh in the face of rain, stay grounded in high winds, and provide an excellent shelter for a young family.

Key specs – Capacity: 4 people; Standing room: Yes; Weight: 18.2kg; Packed dimensions: 75 x 37 x 37cm; Waterproofing: 2,000mm; Pitching time: 10mins; Pump included: No

Buy now from Decathlon


3. Heimplanet Fistral: Best lightweight inflatable tent

Price: £369 | Buy now from Amazon

One of the pioneers of inflatable tent technology, Heimplanet’s Fistral is a super-stylish, utterly practical 1- or 2-person design featuring two entrances and two vestibules, so you never have to climb over a sleeping partner to get out.

At 2.5kg it’s the lightest inflatable tent we’ve used and packs down to a sleeping bag size for easy carrying, although it’s still a bit big compared to a similar-sized backpacking pole design. The materials used include recycled polyester and extra-durable 40D ripstop – and at 132cm, there’s plenty of space for two people to sit up if the weather outside is atrocious.

With only one valve and the inner bedroom already stitched in, it’s insanely quick to pitch, but don’t worry about leaks; if the valves fail there are two chambers, so the tent will remain pitched. It’s expensive but impressive.

Key specs – Capacity: 1 to 2 people; Standing room: No; Weight: 2.5kg; Packed dimensions: 34 x 20 x 20cm; Waterproofing: 2,500mm, 5,000mm ground sheet; Pitching time: 2mins; Pump included: No


4. Dometic Boracay FTC 301: Most innovative inflatable tent

Price: £950 | Buy now from Dometic

Swedish brand Dometic is probably better known for its motorhome and campervan equipment, but its limited range of premium inflatable tents deserves more of the limelight, because their uniquely boxy design is game changing for tall people.

We tested the smallest tent in the collection: the capacious three-person Boracay FTC 301. A four-person version is also available, as well as much larger designs, but they all share the same square profile that, at 1.9m high with only the slightest pitch, gives the tent great head room as well as much more usable space.

Build quality is superb. Premium materials are used throughout, and the design of every toggle, zip and guy exhibits impressive attention to detail. For instance, the tent peg loops are colour coded for easier pitching, the internal window blinds unzip and stuff conveniently into a built-in pocket, the blackout bedroom is eerily dark, and the hanging loops are quality metal carabiners. You really can see where the money has been spent.

Setting up the tent couldn’t be easier. Using the included pump, pitching took us less than 10 minutes, and that included fitting the poles into the rain porch and completely pegging out the tent.

It is huge for a three-person tent, and ideal for a young family or luxury-focused campers. The living area has space for big chairs, camping table, stove and all the kitchen paraphernalia you could ever want. Also, thanks to a capacious secret storage area accessed through a zipped door in the bedroom, you can keep everything out of the way until needed. It is a shame that the storage area is inaccessible from outside, though.

The fabric used is an extremely durable 150D polyester, and Dometic offers the same tent in a technical heavy cotton if you crave even more luxury. It also offers an add-on inflatable canopy for £380 which provides even more communal space – a potentially invaluable addition for when the weather turns.

Key specs – Capacity: 3 people; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 23kg; Waterproofing: 6000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 78 x 36 x 43cm

Buy now from Dometic


5. Coleman Weathermaster Air 4: Best inflatable tent for weekend camping

Price: £690 | Buy now from Winfields

The Weathermaster range consists of this four-person design, an extended XL four-person version with extra living space, a huge six-person design and an even bigger eight-person option, all based on the same impressive tunnel structure, and all using FastPitch Air technology.

We chose the standard four-man design because it’s extremely well proportioned at 14.1m², making it ideal for a young family looking for living space, separate bedrooms and the all-important black-out lining.

Thanks to the groundsheet, outer and sleeping compartments all being connected, all you need to do to pitch the tent is pump up the poles and peg out a couple of guylines.

The Coleman Weathermaster Air comes in a large wheeled bag that makes it easy to get the heavy tent to the pitch, but it is an awkward shape as it doesn’t fold away like a traditional bag.

We love the use of pale grey for the roof material in the living area, as it helps to make the space feel lighter and brighter, but don’t think of it as thin, because it’s one of the more waterproof designs on the market (6,000mm hydrostatic head) and with fully taped seams you won’t be getting wet.

Key specs – Capacity: 4 people; Standing room: Yes; Weight: 19.2kg; Packed dimensions: 78 x 53 x 38cm; Waterproofing: 6,000mm; Pitching time: 15mins; Pump included: Yes

Buy now from Winfields


6. 3m Nova Air Dome Tent: Best inflatable tent for glamping

Price: £799 | Buy now from Boutique Camping

This is a thoroughly modern take on the classic glamping yurt, made using a mid-weight 200GSM polycotton canvas treated with a waterproof layer that also prevents UV damage and mildew (the curse of the classic tent). It’s a fantastic, innovative design that ticks all the glamping boxes, but importantly it takes just a few minutes to pitch and has no annoying centre pole as you’ll find on a tipi.

The six air beam geodesic structure is actually hidden under the canvas to keep this looking traditional, but each air pole is reassuringly modern, being made from 2mm thick TPU.

It’s not huge, especially given the price, but Nova also offers 4m (£899) and 5m (£999) diameter designs if your budget (and boot space) will stretch.

We love the open design and think it will appeal to romantic glampers who will appreciate the classic hobbit house aesthetic, but who also understand the benefit of the mosquito nets, decent headroom, 150cm door height and rain-deflecting canopy.

Key specs – Capacity: 4 people; Standing room: Yes; Weight: 20kg; Packed dimensions: 115 x 31 x 31cm; Waterproofing: Cotton treated DWR; Pitching time: 5-15mins; Pump included: Yes

Buy now from Boutique Camping


7. Outwell Knoxville 7SA Air Tent: Best inflatable tent for big families

Price: £1,713 | Buy now from Outdoor World Direct

It’s an investment buy, but with three bedrooms and enough living space to host Strictly Come Dancing, this is a tent that will grow with you, no matter how large your family gets.

The list of clever features here is extensive, with a hanging rack system for lights and black-out bedrooms. These come with ingenious magnetic closing doors that do away with the need to fumble about for noisy zips in the night. The side doors each have a small canopy to keep the rain off, there are loads of pockets for storage and organisation and, being inflatable despite its monster dimensions, it pitches so much more easily than a similar-sized pole design.

Key specs – Capacity: 7 people; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 3; Pitch time: 10-20mins; Weight: 46kg; Waterproofing: 6,000mm HH

Buy now from Outdoor World Direct


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