For a camper, there’s nothing better than getting to your campsite, scoping out the land and setting up shop. Why? Because the sooner you have everything set up, the sooner you can relax with a cold drink from your cooler and start thinking about cooking up something delicious on your camping stove. That’s when you can truly appreciate the great outdoors.
As far as we’re concerned, the faster you can get to that chill-out stage, the better. That’s why we love pop-up tents, tent heaters and other gadgets that make camping easier. And it’s also why we’re interested in a European trend making its way to North America: inflatable tents.
What Are Inflatable Tents?
Inflatable tents (sometimes known as air tents or air beam tents) forego those annoying poles in favor of heavy-duty, inflatable beams. Sure it sounds like a bouncy castle, but they’re much more heavy-duty and structured. Like a regular tent, inflatable tents still have material sides (like canvas). As for the beams themselves, they’re constructed from heavy-duty material to avoid punctures — kind of like the best air mattress you’ve ever owned, only better. The best part is these tents pump up quickly and can be braced just like a pop-up tent, with minimal-to-no struggle.
Another beautiful thing about inflatable tents is the beams are less likely to snap in a windstorm than traditional tent poles. Many of them also come with deflate options for an easy takedown. That said, you will need a pump (often sold separately) and a source of electricity if you’re using an electric pump. In that case, book an electric campsite or get a handy car adaptor.
How Common Are Inflatable Tents?
That depends on where you are in the world. In Europe, there are myriad options, from single-person tents to full-out inflatable camping houses with bedrooms, living rooms and dining areas. While some of those options have finally found their way to the States, most are still only online at a premium cost plus shipping. Luckily, we’ve managed to find a few options available to purchase in the U.S. right now. Ready to get camping? Read on for some of our favorite inflatable tent picks.
1. Decathalon Quechua Air Seconds
This four-person inflatable tent features plenty of living room and a high dome, which comes in handy when squeezing the entire family into a confined sleeping space. Like most tents, this one is waterproof and comes with UPF 30 fabric that helps block UV light. It also comes with a rectangular cover for easy transport, but what we love most is it has two rooms so you can either divvy up your crew or use one half as an eating area during the day. The only downside is that this tent has a hand pump sold separately.
2. Zempire Pronto 5
If you’re looking for an inflatable tent with a little more room than most, the Zempire sleeps five and has a freestanding design that feels open and spacious. It has an airflow roof that allows lots of fresh air in and warm air out even on wet days, a large awning to provide a shaded area, and a protected, clutter-free storage area at the tent’s rear that you can access from a closed opening in the rear inner wall. It also comes with brow poles for an extra layer of stability, giving you the best of both worlds.
3. Heimplanet Original Inflatable Pop-Up Tent
BEST GEO DESIGN
If you’re looking for a more traditional kind of tent but with a simple inflate-and-go option, the 1-2 person Heimplanet tent has you covered. You will need to connect the airframe to the inner and outer tent the first time you use this inflatable tent, but after that, you can roll and inflate any time you’re ready to enjoy the great outdoors. The tent comes with a packsack and features a one-pump system for easy inflation and deflation, but it’s also designed with multiple air chambers to keep everything steady in the case of damage. Furthermore, the geo-design can withstand high winds (up to 110mph), but it’s still lightweight enough to easily take on the road.
4. Coleman Meadowood Air
A three-room family option, this four-person tent blocks up to 99% of daylight in the bedroom compartment, ensuring the best sleep yet. There’s also a large vestibule in the front for hanging out in during rainy weather or eating without the bugs getting into your business. Even better, the tent is 100% waterproof. Sure, it’s structured with fiberglass poles for that extra stability, but we’re qualifying it as an inflatable tent because there are also three inflatable beams within.
5. Zempire EVO TXL V2 Tent
Whether you’ve got a large group or just prefer a ton of space in your tent, this 8+ person tent is the Rolls Royce of inflatable tents. The tunnel design and angled beam construction give you a ton of headroom, so you can easily move around within. At the same time, the double-sealed Boston valves at the inflation points make this tent extremely durable during windy conditions. There are also multiple rooms so the entire family can shack up together without awkwardness, and there are three doors so everyone can come and go easily. There’s also a living room for those rainy days, plus a skylight and additional add-on bedrooms for purchase if you somehow require even more space.