Last year after a single holiday, the decision was made to sell it on. It was a fabulous tent, loads of living space, but the sleeping pods were small. It just didn’t work for us. We have taken our tents camping in Europe for several years, so our tent is an investment!
I had chatted to various camping friends about their recommendations, and there were varying opinions on air-beam tents. They always came up as part of the conversation, but people seemed to have differing opinions on whether you could buy a reasonably priced air-beam tent.
The benefit of an air-beam is quite clear – no poles to fight with, and in theory therefore easier to put the tent up – especially if you’re a lone adult trying to put up a family tent. The main problem with air-beam, in my view is the weight of the tent bag! The air beams are weighty!
I’m looking for an 8 man tent to ensure we have plenty of space, but I want room in the sleeping pods to be able to stand up. This may sound silly, but many of the cheaper tents have low ceilings in the sleeping pods and I’m tall. So, bluntly I fear I may put my head straight through the pod in the middle of the night.
Decathlon offers two 8 man tents, thankfully it is the cheaper one which has more height in the sleeping pods (160cm). The 8 man Arpenaz 8.4XL is a traditional tent, but most reviews suggest it is quick to pitch. Priced at £399.99 it appears to offer good value.
I’ve always been a fan of Vango, and the Longleat Air 800XL is a serious contender. It boasts a 10 minute pitch – so even if I’m slow surely that means 20 minutes and it’ll be ready? The height in the sleeping pods is 190cm. The price – it’s on offer at £599.99. But it is an air-beam – so no fighting with poles!
I’ve also looked at an Outwell Middleton 8A, this has a RRP of £1439.99. It doesn’t work for me as the sleeping pods are too low (150cm tall). This does have the benefit of extra living space – ideal if we’re camping in the UK.
Currently I think it’s a choice between the Decathlon tent which offers great value, and the Vango which offers ease. £200 between the price makes it a tough choice as that could pay for a weeks pitch fees!