Tent makers Vango and Nemo have long seen the benefits of inflatable tents, with air beams that are stronger, more durable, and quicker to set up than traditional pole systems. It now appears many more outdoor tent brands are catching on, but as the biggest drawback remains weight, inflatable tents may remain a car camping luxury.
Kelty ditches the aluminum poles and turns to inflatable AirPoles with the fast and easy to set up AirPitch series of tents that come in two styles, the Mach 4 and the Mach 6. Using a floor style hand pump, the inflatable tens can be erected and taken down in less than a minute. Claiming to be stronger and more durable than aluminum poles, the AirPoles won't bend, kink, or break, meaning they can stand up to any sort of weather.
The Mach 4 ($389) offers over 50 square feet of both internal and vestibule space with a peak height of 74”, giving up to 4 campers enough room to sleep comfortably and store a ton of gear. The internal sleeping compartment clips into the inflatable tent to create a double-walled space that is easily removed if not needed.
The palatial Mach 6 ($499) offers two separate sleeping compartments, each with 49 square feet of floor space to comfortably sleep 6 people and offer a bit of privacy. A centrally located vestibule provides 38 square feet of storage space with a peak height of 76” for plenty of headroom. The separate compartments are removable, adding a level of versatility to this inflatable camping tent.
German company Heimplanet, have followed up their original Cave inflatable dome tent model with the lighter and smaller Wedge. Weighing around 3.2 kg, the Wedge is still a bit on the heavy side for backpacking. Similar to the Cave, the Wedge is a freestanding inflatable tent that operates as a single unit- the inner tent, outer tent, and air beams are all connected for quick and easy pitching.
You simply unroll the tent, inflate, and then stake as necessary. The Wedge uses a smaller hand pump with a flexible tube and attachment valve that can inflate the tent in less than 30 seconds. The Heimplanet Wedge is slated for production some time in 2013.
Oase Outdoors was also showing an inflatable camping tent at the Outdoor Show earlier this summer, so expect to see more air supported tents hitting the market next year. What are your thoughts on inflatable tents?