Someone says to you, “Have you heard of those new air tents? The ones you inflate”. What is the first thought to come to mind? Perhaps you think bounce house. No. Maybe you picture a blow-up, igloo type structure with a power blower to keep it inflated. Nope. So what exactly is an inflatable tent? It’s one of the newest, most innovative designs in today’s tent industry. Gone are the days when poles and ropes were the only functional ways to erect a shelter. Today’s resourceful designers have developed a durable, forgiving inflatable shelter that might be just what your camping experience requires.
Above: Heimplanet The Cave Tent
These blow up tents are incredible durable. Unlike the conventional tents on the market, these shelters erect using air poles, instead of the traditional fiberglass and aluminum poles, which use shock cord for tension. Using a specialized quick fill, fast release, air valve, these inflatable tents set up and come down in mere minutes. Let’s take a closer look at the rewards of owning one of these air frame tents for camping …
|Product||Other Sizes Available||Our Rating||Price|
|Heimplanet Fistral Inflatable 1-2 Person Tent - Cairo Camo||4.5||$$$|
|Heimplanet Nias Cairo Camo Tent: 6-Person 3-Season One Color, One Size||4.5||$$$$|
|Heimplanet The Cave Tent One Color, One Size||4.5||$$$|
|Wenzel Vortex 15x9-Feet Eight-Person Airpitch Tent||4 Person|
|Kelty Sonic 6-Person Airpitch Tent||6 Person|
|Kelty Airlift 6-Person Tent||4 Person|
Air Inflated Tents
If you have ever been concerned with following the frustrating instructions of traditional tents (i.e. insert fiberglass pole B in corner pocket C), you are in for a treat. Air pole tent technology has already aligned the poles in their proper position, all you need to do is attach the pump to the pole value and inflate. Since the poles are integrated into the design of the tent, they never shift or tangle.
Tent Design Style
With an exciting concept such as air structures, it’s easy to understand the desire for manufactures to get into the game. As such, there are a few stand out designs:
- Geodesic Structures
- A complex design with an easy solution. The geodesic dome is one of the strongest engineered shapes on the planet. The design allows the structure to be extremely stable and provides the ability to withstand high winds without blinking an eye. Heimplant was the first company to design an inflatable dome, called The Cave. The Cave is considered the consumer Rolex of the inflatable tent.
- Conventional Structures
- Capitalizing on the familiarity of the traditional tent design, some inflatable tents for sale in the consumer market are crafted to integrate air technology in the standard shape and look of conventional tents. Both Kelty® and Wenzel® offer versions of this type of design. The Wenzel® Vortex comes in a 4-person and a 6-person model. The 4-person model is the smallest inflatable tent on the market today. Think of it as everything you love and trust about camping in a one minute set up package. Can’t beat that!
- Air Screens
- Kelty® has even stepped over into inflatable screens. No move struggle with a bulky and tricky to lift pop-up tent. The Kelty® AirScreen has lightweight screens on the walls and a floor. Use it for hot weather camping, or a summer picnic area. Either way, this design is versatile, fast, and lightweight.
Strength & Durability
Contrary to the prevailing thought that these structures might be like air mattresses, in constant need of repair or replacement, the tubing for the air poles is made of high-density rubber. In reality, they are more like bike tires than air mattresses. Their design allow them to withstand movement and flexibility that a fiberglass or aluminum pole won’t/can’t. The air poles give if a tree branch where to fall, unlike the conventional poles that would crack and bend. They move freely with high winds and can take a beating.
Above: Heimplanet Fistral
Ease of Use
Easy as pie. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, in this case … Yes! Simply find a flat surface, clear away any debris, unfold the fabric, hookup the pump, give it a few pushes, and secure with stakes. That’s it. Sweet as pie!
Fast Pitch / Fast Stow
The number one resounding claim of these wonders is just how easy they are to use. Some may turn up their noses to innovation, but there is no getting around the sheer fact that they pitch in a fraction of the time required for a conventional tent. The clock doesn’t lie.
Quick Repair in Field
If for some reason, you were to spring a leak in the field, the tents come with a quick repair kit to patch the hole and keep going. Unlike regular poles, which once they are broken or damaged in the field, can’t be repaired or replaced while you’re camping. This is a huge benefit.
Waterproof Tent Fabric
Conventional tents are waterproof or water-resistant, but just because the manufacturer has replaced the pole design doesn’t mean the fabric quality is lessor. You can trust in a secure shelter regardless of the weather conditions.
No Wrong Way
This is the beauty of the inflatable tent: there is NO wrong way. The manufacturer has taken the guesswork out of the setup of these tents. You literally can’t do it wrong. Simply connect the pump to the valve and pump, the tent does the rest. When it’s time to take it down, open the valves, let out the air, press out the remaining pockets of air, fold, roll, and stow. Up or down, it’s a few minutes of no nonsense action.
Hand Pumping is Overrated
In our opinion, the only real valid argument someone could have about purchasing an inflatable tent is the reality that someone has to pump it up. You carry either a hand pump or an electric pump that runs on batteries, but both options present challenges. Plan to use the electric pump but don’t bring extra batteries and you are in trouble. Use plan old muscle and you might get tired of pumping, depending on the size of the structure. Keep in mind though that pitching a traditional tent is far more time consuming and it still requires sweat-equity.
Hemiplanet Tents: The Fistral, Cave, and NIAS.
You might be familiar with the standard tent which is pitched with aluminum poles, guywires, and stakes. What you’ll find here is something entirely different. The German based company Hemiplanet has been slowly introducing a new kind of tent which uses a creative inflatable geodesic technology to support the structure, something that truly separates their product from your traditional shelters.
Naturally you will ask yourself how an inflatable tent could be a safe option while camping. So many things could happen to puncture the support poles. Right? Its a legitimate concern, but Hemiplanet has taken extra precaution to make sure you do not wake up with a deflated tent sagging down to meet the tip of your nose in the night. Each of the inflatable support beams have been designed with a double layer system that replicates, at first glance, the idea of a bicycle tire; they are incredibly durable. If a puncture occurs there is little need to worry because the beams can be separated into distinct chambers, meaning only a small portion would loose stability while the others keep holding strong. You will be able to continue use, but Hemiplanet has made it easy enough to find the leak and patch it yourself so you won’t deal with the hassle of sending it off for weeks just for a simple repair.
The geodesic pattern is built with stability in mind. In fact, these tents, respective of their weight and material, prove to show more stability than many traditional producing brands. Testers and product reviews will demonstrate how incredibly these tents hold up in extraordinarily high winds, simply because of the non-traditional designs used.
Each of these Hemiplanet’s products have been created to make your experience easy and comfortable. These three tents require a simple process to be set up and inflated. First, you unpack and roll out your tent. Making sure that all the valves are closed you then choose one, any one, and start filling. Within minutes you will have a strong, durable, and comfortable shelter to keep you safe from the harsh elements. Its really as simple as that. There is no construction required since the inflatable frame and housing material all are one unit.
Packing your tent up is just as easy. You simply deflate by opening the valves, squeeze the extra bits of air out, roll it up, pack it up and you’re on your way. There is really no need to think these new types of designs would be hard to get the grasp of; in fact it is easier than most traditional designs. No fumbling with tent poles or clips.
The Hemiplanet inflatable shelters The Fistral, The Cave, and the Nias are all built with the same quality and design principles in mind, but each has their own small differences that will in the end cater to your different needs. Continue reading below for more details regarding each specifically named tent.
The Fistral is the smallest of the Hemiplanet designs we offer. It is aimed to be used for a solo camper or to be shared. Two vestibules offer enough space to keep your equipment while still providing you with a comfortably sized sleeping area. Inside you will find pockets to help with organization so you wont struggle to find your headlamp at night. With two doors you will have the luxury of not disturbing your camping partner’s sleep in the early morning hours when you want to watch the sunrise.
This is the first inflatable tent by Hemiplanet, its baby so to speak. Being the first, its obvious that Hemiplanet put much deliberate thought and consideration into the creation of The Cave. For 2-3 people, the cave offers the durable support, stability, and roomy comfort that all their products come with and then a little extra. After the initial quick set up of this tent it is capable of being pitched in a matter of minutes! It also offers a detachable gear loft to store equipment above.
Designed for the use of 4-6 users, this tent is the best option for larger groups, families, or those who like to carry more gear and have the space to keep it. The two cabins, comfortably fitting three people each, are accessible through the very large, centrally located vestibule. Here there is plenty of space for equipment and cooking appliances with tons of head room. Each sleeping cabin interior also has the option to be left out, creating even more storage space.
Wenzel Vortex 4, 6, and 8
If you are intrigued by the idea of camping in an inflatable shelter but are still unsure whether or not to invest a large amount of money, consider the Wenzel Vortex series as a quality introduction. Each of their tents, which come in sizes big enough to sleep four, six, or eight people, is supported by Airpitch Technology. They also share similar structural and bonus features such as a large D style door which has a zippered window if you’d like a little more light and air in. At each end of your Wenzel Vortex you will find two more zippered windows and air vents for better circulation.
These tents fill up quickly and easily with zero time wasted figuring out which poles go where. You simply use the included pump to inflate each fill point and watch your tent rise. Stake out some Guy Ropes and you are ready for a comfortable nights sleep in an incredibly spacious tent.
Each of these three tents are wonderful for options similar to car camping or a quick weekend trip, but given the weight and size we would recommend one of our other offers if you are hoping for some back country hikes and sleeps deep into the wilderness.
Kelty Sonic 6 and 8
As a product of the trusted Kelty, the Kelty Sonic has the options of shelters with enough room for six or eight people. This product is designed with nothing but ease in mind. Set up is incredibly minimal; by using the included pump your large tent will be set up in moments.
Perhaps one of the best features in this tent is the shear size. For both the six and eight person tents, each has high ceilings and plenty of floor space. With 50.5 square feet of floor space in the six and 136 square feet in the eight, you will have a luxurious amount of space to brag about as you set up next to the other guy in his bivy bag.
When the weather turns and it starts raining you could even invite a few friends in as the support beams are sure to keep your tent standing through the worst of winds while the several vents provide enough air flow to reduce condensation.
Kelty AirLift 4 and 6
The Airlift is another model of inflatable tents made by the reputable Kelty brand. With this model you will find the simple all in one set up system, allowing even one person to set up a tent designed for large groups. Quickly inflate your tent and set out the guy wires for a living space fit for a king. With these tents you’ll find a generous amount of head room (6ft at the highest point). No more duck walks from end to end!
One of the nicest features of these tents are the vestibules. With enough head space and room available, you will find that two to three camping chairs can fit under the shelter with room to spare.
The industry is taking notice of desires of consumers and the accessories are steadily on the rise. There are inflatable solar lanterns on the market and some new fasteners for traditional lanterns to attach to the air poles on the inside. You can find nets and zippered pockets to affix to the air poles on the interior of the tent too. Some manufactures sell specially cut ground sheets to match the footprint of your tent. There are upgrades on pumps, which include solar powered pumps. They can be pricey but can be nice upgrade. Finally, your tent will come with a stow bag but there are additional varieties with various hold, strap, and handle configurations to suit your taste.
Get Pumped about Camping!
So now you can find inflatable camping tents for sale. Who would have thought it? Well, they did and consumers benefit from it. So, get pumped and get out there!