If you’ve been looking for easy-to-set-up tent options, there’s a good chance you’ve seen people recommending inflatable tents. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for a good reason.
Inflatable tents (also known as airbeam tents) use beams or tubes that fill up with air to replace fiberglass, aluminum, or steel poles typically used to construct a tent’s frame. They’re fast and easy to set up and break down. Compared to broken tent poles, damaged airbeam frames are much easier to repair on the spot. They’re also capable of withstanding extremely high winds.
Looking for the best inflatable tent of 2021? We assessed over 50 inflatable tents and have chosen the top 4 based on weather resistance, size, and material quality.
Editor’s Choice – SereneLife
|Max. Occupancy:||2 person|
The Serenelife inflatable tent is a lightweight and convenient tent that makes set up a breeze.
The coolest and most convenient part of this tent is that it comes with an air mattress built-in. The floor inflates along with the rest of the tent structure. No need to pack and carry around an air mattress or sleeping pad with this tent--you’ve got everything rolled up into one efficient package.
In addition to the convenience the built-in air mattress provides, it’s also specially designed for comfort. They’ve included a sturdy coil beam that provides back support and stops you from sinking into the mattress.
We were very impressed with the speed that this tent can be set up in. From start to finish, you’re looking at about 3 minutes to inflate the whole tent. This makes it an efficient option for day-tripper looking for a quick shelter or anyone looking to cut down the time it takes to set up camp.
Once you’re done with the tent, it deflates quickly and packs into a lightweight and compact carrying case. Whether you carry it on your backpack or from camp to your car, you’ll appreciate just how easy this tent is to transport.
Serenelife advertises that this tent can fit 3 people, but that’s just not right. It will fit two people without much room to spare. If you plan to fit 2 people and some gear, it’ll be an even tighter squeeze. It’s an ideal size for the camping couple, but a larger group requires a larger tent.
Another thing we’d like to warn you about is the waterproof capability of this tent. Although it is waterproof, you should expect some leaks in heavy rain.
If you’re ready to cut down your setup time and enjoy the convenience of a lightweight, ready-to-camp tent, the Serenline inflatable is about as efficient as they come.
Best Airbeam Tent – Vango Odyssey
|Max. Occupancy:||6 person|
|Extra:||2 room screen design|
Looking for a sturdy tent that can fit the whole family, look no further than the Vango Odyssey.
This tent comes with the TBS II, a tension band system supporting the tent and increasing its reliability in windy conditions. It’s not as wind resistant as the Hemiplanet Original. Still, it should be sufficient for most campers’ needs. Anyone who’s set up a family tent before knows how frustrating and time-consuming it can be. Despite how big the tent is, it’s quick and easy to set up and break down. That means more time spent enjoying the outdoors with your family and less time messing around with a complicated tent.
The doors on this tent are very impressive. There is a front and side entry door that is the full height of the tent. They have a mesh lining, so you open it up for excellent ventilation without letting in any bugs.
Vango advertises that this tent fits 6 adults, but we don’t think it would be possible to fit 6 unless some of the group were small children.
The tent’s shape provides significant headroom that makes moving around throughout the tent easier. The ceiling height is nearly the same throughout all areas of the tent, making it much more spacious than similar-sized dome tents.
If you buy this tent, we’d recommend you get additional layers for the floor. The material the floor is made of isn’t the most durable and is vulnerable to rips. You can take extra precautions by putting a tarp underneath the tent or some kind of outdoor rug or carpeting in the interior’s high traffic areas.
The sturdy Vango Odyssey inflatable will provide you the peace of mind and easy set up you’re looking for on your next family camping trip.
Best High-End Inflatable Tent – Heimplanet Original
|Max. Occupancy:||3 person|
|Extra:||Waterproof and wind resistant|
Campers who want the best for inflatable tents can stop their search here with the Heimplanet Original.
This tent is built with quality and versatility in mind. With the 4-season option, you can camp any time of year you’d like. Unlike other tents that advertise they’re suitable for winter camping, this tent really is capable of handling itself when the weather gets cold.
If you opt for the 3-season model, it comes with a mosquito net, allowing you to increase airflow while keeping yourself protected against bugs. This is a significant advantage for summer or tropical climate campers.
The most impressive part about this tent is easily its ability to withstand wind. Its geodesic frame design makes it incredibly sturdy, giving it the ability to hold up in winds up to 110 mph.
Its waterproofing ability is also high quality, further increasing the weatherproofing capacity of the tent.
We wouldn’t necessarily suggest the average camper makes a habit of camping in gale-force winds and torrential downpours, but if you need to be prepared for the worst mother nature can throw at you, this tent has you covered.
For all the protection and durability this tent provides, you’d expect it to be pretty heavy. But, weighing a mere 13 pounds, it’s a very lightweight, high portable tent.
The premium features and high-quality construction come at a price, as expected with a tent like this. It’s pretty expensive. For the price, however, we would have at least thought it would come with a pump. Unfortunately, you’ll need to purchase one separately.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line tent that will protect you in even the most extreme conditions, the Heimplanet Original is the tent you’re after.
Best of the Rest – Tangkula Inflatable Tent
|Max. Occupancy:||3 person|
If the Serenelife tent wasn’t for you, the Tangkula Inflatable tent is a great alternative 2-person tent option.
Not everyone wants a built-in mattress like the one included in the Serenelife. This tent gives you the ability to use your own air mattress instead of one that’s been built in.
Like the Serelife, it advertises that it can fit 3 people, but it only comfortably fits 2 adults. This still makes it a great option for a couple looking for a lightweight, portable tent.
The sun is one of the most destructive elements to any tent. The high-quality UV protection of this tent will not only increase the tent’s longevity it’ll keep you cooler on hot days. Summer campers and beach day-trippers will appreciate the added protection from the sun.
You won’t have to worry as much about the rain either with this tent. It has fully taped seams and, overall, has great water resistance. Even in heavy rains, this tent will you protect you from leaks.
Like the Heimplanet Original, it also features a geodesic frame design. Although it can’t withstand the same degree of wind intensity as the Heimplanet, the design choice increases this tent’s wind resistance.
The inner storage pockets are a nice little feature that maximizes interior space and keeps your gear organized. And to keep the interior from getting dirty, there’s a vestibule at the entrance where you can store wet and muddy gear while keeping it protected from the rain.
Inflation time is very fast, which dramatically reduces set up time. Plus, Tangkula has included a handpump with the tent. Considering the high-end Heim Original doesn’t even come with a pump, it’s an excellent addition for a tent at this price point.
This is a great all-around tent for the camping couple who value a durable and lightweight setup.
Inflatable tents are an excellent option for anyone looking for their tent set up process to be as quick and easy as possible. Plus, the peace of mind of enhanced wind resistance and repairing them while out in the wilderness are factors all campers can appreciate.
You really can’t go wrong with the Hemiplanet Original. Whether you need the ability to camp in 3 or 4 seasons, this tent will keep you protected from even the harshest element. It’s a quality tent that can withstand seriously heavy winds. Not to mention the fact that its lightweight design makes it easy to bring with you anywhere you go.
If you’re convinced that an inflatable tent is the way to go, there are a few things you’ll want to think about before you go all in and buy one.
Every inflatable tent will be better suited to the needs of specific types of campers. That’s why we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you navigate the process of purchasing.
You need to take into account the type of weather you’ll be camping in. This comes down to how heavy the winds and rain could potentially be.
Inflatable tents are known for their ability to withstand high winds, so they all do an outstanding job compared to other types of tents in terms of wind resistance. Their lack of poles allows all inflatable tents to bend in the wind. However, some of them are designed to withstand higher winds than others.
Size, profile design, and quality of materials affect wind resistance among inflatable tents. A larger tent will be more vulnerable to being pushed around in the wind than a smaller tent.
If wind resistance is essential to you, consider looking for a tent with a more rounded shape instead of a flat, boxy shape, as these work better in the wind.
The quality of stakes and fabric used by the tent’s manufacturer is critical to its wind resistance. Although they add extra weight to the setup, high-quality steel stakes work the best in strong winds. The higher quality of the tent’s material, the less likely it is to rip when being whipped around in a storm. Be sure to read reviews and keep an eye out for anyone mentioning thin, low-quality fabric--it’s a definite red flag.
On the waterproofing end, if you want your tent to hold up in heavy storms, you’ll want to make sure the tent comes with a reliable rainfly, is sealed at the seams, and that the fabric has a high waterproof rating.
Of course, if you decide that weatherproofing, in general, is not that important to you, be aware that tents are often priced based on these factors. You may be able to get a tent that is just as well, if not better, suited to your needs for much less money if these components are not a factor in your buying decision.
Quality of material and construction
The quality of material and construction of an inflatable tent is vital to the tent’s overall function.
A low-quality inflatable tent could be even more headache than a low-quality standard tent. If an inflatable is made with material that is easily ripped or punctured, it could mean that you’ll more frequently dealing with a deflated structure. Although airbeams are easier to fix than standard poles, you’d still rather not have to fix them all the time. Make sure the manufacturer has used high-quality, durable material and that the reviews reflect this.
Ease of setup
If you plan on moving around with your tent setup, you’ll likely want the tent set up and break down process to be as fast and straightforward as possible.
You can look at reviews to see how whether the set up process was complicated for them as well as download the set up directions for the tent online before purchasing to make sure you’re capable of setting up the tent.
Size and weight
One nice thing about an inflatable tent is that there’s no need for the heavy pole system that standard tents require. This means that a broken-down inflatable’s overall weight can potentially be much lighter than traditional tents of the same size.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that there will be weight differences amongst different inflatable tents. This will make individual tents better suited to the needs of specific types of campers.
Generally speaking, the bigger the tent, the more it will weigh and the less portable it will be. You’ll need to decide how many people will be sleeping in the tent and how much room you’ll need for gear.
If you want a lighter-weight tent because you’ll be backpacking or transporting the tent around by hand frequently, consider getting an inflatable in the 1-3 person size range. Just keep in mind that it will be tough to fit extra people and that you may have limited gear storage space.
If you need extra people in the tent, you’ll need to get a tent in a bigger size range. Just keep in mind the higher the sleeping capacity range of a tent is, the heavier and less portable it will become. If you won’t be taking the tent far from the vehicle you’re transporting it in, this probably isn’t an issue. If there’s a potential you could have to walk with the tent for a considerable distance to set up camp, you may want to consider purchasing two smaller tents to fit the same quantity of people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, inflatable tents are good in the wind. There are some inflatable tents capable of withstanding winds of 100mph or more. The primary reasons for an inflatable tent’s efficient wind resistance stem from the fact that they use airbeams, tubes, and other forms of inflatable champers to form the tent’s structure instead of standard tents, which typically use fiberglass, steel, and aluminum poles. When a traditional tent is subjected to strong winds, there comes the point where the pressure that is being placed on the poles will bend them to the point where they will break. On the other hand, the airbeams or tubes that support the structure of an inflatable tent are not capable of snapping because there is no solid material that can reach a pressurized breaking point. The fact that standard tents have poles that are liable to snap also highlights a distinct advantage of inflatable tents. When a tent pole snaps, it is difficult, if not impossible, to fix or replace, leaving your tent even more vulnerable to destruction from high winds. If a single airbeam becomes deflated due to a leak from a rip or hole, it is possible to fix it on the spot, restoring the tent’s structure to full integrity and increasing the chances it will make it through the period of strong winds. Another factor with standard tents that leaves them more vulnerable in high winds is that the tent material is a component that is separated from the tent’s structure. Typically some snaps or ties connect the tent material to the poles. These connection points are vulnerable to breaking apart when subjected to high winds. However, the structure and tent material of inflatable tents are permanently bound together with stitching or sealant. Although the tent material can become separated from the tent’s structure, this type of separation is more likely in standard tents.
The size of a tent you should get depends on a few factors. These include the number of people using the tent, the desired spaciousness relative to the number of campers, the type of weather you’ll be using it in, and your budget. The number of people using the tent should be the most significant determining factor. You need to make sure that, at the very least, there is enough room to fit the number of people using the tent. Tent companies provide a range of campers that can fit in each model tent within their description. You’ll want to make sure that the number of campers fits within the number stated by the manufacturer in the tent’s description. If a tent says it sleeps 2-3 people, it will likely be a very tight, or nearly impossible, fit with three people. So if you need to fit 3 people, a tent advertised as a 3-4 person tent will usually be the more reasonable fit. Although, at the bare minimum, you need a tent that can fit the number of campers, you may want or require additional space. Suppose each camper has gear that will need to be stored inside the tent, or you just prefer extra room for increased personal space or to make hanging out inside more comfortable. In that case, you’ll want to buy a tent that’s stated camper capacity is greater than the number of campers who will be using the tent. You’ll also want to consider the type of weather you plan to use the tent in. Although this is not a universal truth, the bigger the tent, the less resistant it is against wind and rain. The larger the tent’s profile, the more vulnerable it is to being blown around by the wind unless it is made with heavy-duty materials to compensate for the lack of aerodynamics. When it comes to rain, bigger tents have more seams and more potential points of leaking. They also tend not to shed water, and some smaller tents that have more efficient rain-resistant profiles. The other factor you’ll want to consider is your budget. Although this is not always true, bigger tents tend to cost more than smaller tents. Bigger tents that are comparatively cheaper tend to be made with low-quality material and are less reliable. If cost is a factor, you’ll want to find a balance between the desired space, acceptable level of quality, and affordability.
When you are buying a tent, you should consider how you intend to use it and then look to see if a prospective tent’s components will fit your needs. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure the tent can fit the number of campers and gear that will occupy the space. You’ll also want to consider the type of weather and climate you’ll potentially be using the tent in. If you plan on using it specifically in summer, a tent with adequate ventilation is preferable. If you plan to use it in winter, the manufacturer should expressly state that the tent is made for winter camping. If you want to use the tent in heavy rain, check the tent’s waterproof rating and other components contributing to the waterproofing ability, such as a reliable rainfly. If there is a chance you’ll be camping in high winds, check to see what type of material the structure and materials are made out of and if they’re capable of withstanding high winds. If you’re not an experienced camper, you’ll also want to make sure the tent has a relatively easy set up process.