- Air beams in the tent body and fiberglass poles for the porch
- 2 blackout sleeping areas for sleep quality and cooler temperatures
- Rated to be 100% waterproof
Coleman has a large presence in just about every outdoor equipment niche. When they produce a product, you know that time when into the design and material selection.
Their Valdes Inflatable Tent can sleep up to four adults. It has three integrated air beams in the body of the main sleeping chambers. There is also a porch area which is supported by traditional shock-corded fiberglass poles, that can be used as a vestibule or a sitting area for table and chairs.
The two internal sleeping areas are blacked out. This helps prevent early waking with the summer sun as well as reducing the solar heating effect that can occur during the day. Coleman claims that this can reduce the internal temperature of the sleeping area by as much as 25 to 40 degrees.
The Tangkula Inflatable Instant Camping Tent was designed to be compact and lightweight. It has a 3,567 square inch footprint that measures in at 87-inches by 41-inches. Only weighing in at a total of 11-pounds, it also comes with a manually operated hand pump to fill the durable TPU air beams.
This tent uses 190T polyester material which has a PU coating, and B3 fine gauze with a tent cap designed to shed water quickly. The net result is the ability to withstand most moderate summer rainstorms. If there is a stronger rainstorm in the upcoming forecast, you might want to spray the exterior walls with some temporary waterproofing agent, or perhaps spread an improvised tarp overhead.
FoamMaker’s 10-foot diameter geodesic dome tent marries air tent innovation with futuristic visual appeal. It employs geodesic air beams created from durable PVC, which can be inflated in under 10 minutes. Its transparent walls provide a 360-degree view of the surroundings as well as late-night star gazing opportunities.
The exterior has been rated to be 3,000 mm waterproof, which gives it the ability to stand up to a very reasonable amount of rain. Yet this geodesic dome tent also adds functionality to the durable visual appeal. It can even be set up to accommodate a small air conditioner.
This tent is best used for backyard camping adventures, overnight guest sleeping accommodations, or times when you want to treat yourself to a little luxury camping. It’s probably not the best choice for getting away for some rugged primitive campsite.
How We Picked
Inflatable tents started out as an innovative way to set up camp quickly. Yet as time has gone on, they have evolved to also serve as a luxury camping option or a way to quickly set up a tent for an event.
Air beam construction is perhaps the most critical component. This is essentially a long capsule capable of holding high-pressure air. This allows the tent to flex, yet not break. It also helps to prevent things like collapse caused by excess rainfall like you sometimes find in traditional aluminum and fiberglass tent poles.
The basic structural shape was also something we considered. Tunnel tents and low domes tend to be the most common when it comes to inflatable tents meant purely for camping. With these two the tunnel style tents tend to be larger and cater to families or groups of friends who need to sleep more than two to three people.
Inflatable dome tents tend to be lower and have less total square inches. This makes them a better option for sleeping one to two people. They are more popular with couples or backpack hunters who need to set up quickly while traveling through the bush.
Ventilation can also be a factor with inflatable tents. The nature of the seams and their relationship to the air beams can reduce the amount of breathable wall space and the availability of ceiling mesh. This can lead to humidity build-up and condensation. This tended to be a problem in the earliest inflatable tents.
Fortunately, newer versions have started to address this issue with their refreshed designs. Still, we made a point to look out for thoughtful ventilation in the form of sealable windows or protected ceiling vents.
Waterproofing was also something we kept an eye on. Many inflatable tent manufacturers will trade off a rain fly, which can slow the total set up time, in favor of a special waterproofing treatment. This has some benefits and some drawbacks.
As time goes on the waterproofing characteristics can start to break down. This is often a natural result of use, as well as water exposure and microscopic degradation from solar fading. If a particular inflatable tent doesn’t include a rainfly in the purchase, or they don’t offer one as an accessory purchase, you might want to invest in a canister of waterproofing spray. They’re inexpensive and small enough to keep on hand in the tent bag kit.
Ryno Tuff Four Person Inflatable Camping Air Tent
What We Liked
The full coverage 190T Polyester Waterproof with a PU 1000 mm rated rainfly is certainly a nice touch. It was thoughtfully paired with the easy to use mesh windows to give you superior ventilation when you need it, and thorough rain protection when the skies open up.
You also shouldn’t overlook the fact that this tent comes with a foot pump or air bellows with the initial purchase. If necessary, you could find an adaptor for a battery-powered air pump which would allow you to connect the hose to the valve for truly effortless inflation.
This is a thoughtfully designed inflatable tent that has most of the features you want in a value-priced air tent. It’s a little on the small side with a low ceiling, making it a sleeping tent. There’s no vestibule for dirty shoes, but you see that reflected in the very friendly price tag.
Tangkula Inflatable Instant Camping Tent
What We Liked
One of the common complaints you find with a lot of inflatable and tradition tents is the general inability to enjoy the sights and smells of the outside world. The weather-proof vents with the four large windows are a nice touch for times when you really want to take in the view and the smell of the natural world.
It’s also worth noting that the air inflation valve is up off the ground, which helps reduce problems with dirt and debris interrupting the seal.
This is a small, yet very functional inflatable tent. You can tell that a lot of thought went into designing it to be convenient to set up and use. The lack of a rainfly could be an issue in the long-term waterproofing of the side walls. The trade-off for this is the ability to look through all four large mesh windows.
As time goes on you might notice some minor water problems where objects touch the sidewalls. When this happens, you might want to try treating it with some spray-on water repellant.
FoamMaker Inflatable Transparent Bubble Tent
What We Liked
This tent offers the best of both worlds. You get a spacious porch area that can accommodate a small table and chairs or serve as a vestibule area for storing soiled items.
The blacked-out interior sleeping rooms shouldn’t be underestimated. Some of the most common complaints you find from tent campers are the early rising of the summer sun that wakes them up, and a sleeping area that is overheated by the long day sun.
The ability to sleep in, while enjoying cooler temperatures will go a long way toward helping you enjoy your tenting adventures.
Coleman is a relative titan in the camping industry. They are known for bringing high-quality items to the market. Which you will find with many of the features and benefits of their Valdes air tent. It is a little on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for in a tent-like this which is rugged enough to serve you for many long years to come.
Like a lot of their other products in the outdoor equipment space, Coleman backs the Valdes inflatable tent with a one-year warranty.
FoamMaker Geodesic Bubble House Inflatable Tent
The groundsheet is integrated with the side walls. There is also a special Vango TBS II tension band system that you can use for added stability in windy conditions.
What We Liked
The vestibule room is certainly something to appreciate. With some basic protocols of “Tent Rules” in place, it allows you to store dirty boots and other items to keep the sleeping area clean.
The proprietary Protex polyester with waterproofing qualities and the TBS II tension band system also help keep you comfortable in a rainstorm.
This is a nice inflatable tent for families who want to sleep in comfort. It’s a great option for a single parent who needs to set up camp in a hurry yet doesn’t have the help of another adult. The 12-month warranty is also a nice statement of quality in design and materials.
Inflatable tents are a modern-day answer to the age-old frustration of putting up a traditional pole-based tent. For decades, if not centuries people who wanted or needed to camp out, had to pack not only the tent canvas material but also a gaggle of heavy, cumbersome poles. Not were these tents heavy to pack with you, they also tended to take a long time to set up. They often left you with sweat on your back and doubts about the trip you decided to embark on.
Now, there are some people who will hear the term “Inflatable Tent” and wince worrying about the durability. Fortunately, modern manufacturing and engineering have gotten past this often-knee-jerk reaction to provide inflatable tents that can withstand much the same conditions as their traditional counterparts. Yet they do so at a fraction of the weight and set up in a fraction of the time.
They do this by essentially replacing aluminum or fiberglass poles with chambers of pressurized air. You layout the tent and pressurize the internal system which is sewn directly into the tent’s fabric walls. Some high-quality inflatable tents can be ready to use in under five minutes, without all the hassle of installing poles.
That being said, there are a few things you want to keep in mind while considering a tent, this includes key features to make sure that the one you choose truly meets your needs. As you might imagine, there are many factors that are similar to traditional pole-based tents, as well as a few that are unique to this increasingly popular niche.
The Size And Number Of People The Tent Sleeps
This is a pretty basic factor that you need to keep in mind at the start of the process. If you’ve ever slept in a traditional tent, you will notice ratings like “Sleeps Four” tends to mean that the laws of geometry will fit four people on the floor.
Most people don’t want to be packed into a tent just like sardines in a can. Especially families and groups of adults who prioritize privacy. The rule of thumb with just about any tent is to subtract two from it to give you a basic number of how many people you can realistically sleep.
If you have larger members of your family, or elbow room is a priority for more than one of you, then you might want to even consider subtracting four from the number of people a specific tent will sleep. After all, there are very few times when you are going to stretch out in a tent and say, “I wish I had less space!”
Admittedly, this is an area of common complaint with some inflatable tents. The nature of their design and structure can sometimes limit the amount of airflow compared to their traditional tent counterparts. When shopping for an inflatable tent, try to keep an eye out for one that boasts good airflow, multiple vents, or other ventilation options. This is especially important if you plan to be camping in very hot, humid conditions.
Also keep in mind that windows can also help improve ventilation, but might not necessarily be advertised as part of the tent’s ventilation system. Larger windows tent to increase the viewable space during the day as well as improve airflow.
This is only a minor factor in the modern generation of inflatable tents. These days most come with the same kind of stakes, pins or guidewires that you find holding traditional tents to the ground. This ensures that the inflatable tent will hold where you want it to be against even the strongest winds.
It’s also worth noting that the lack of rigid poles inside the tent fabric alleviates concerns about accidental collapses and punctures in severe weather. An inflatable tent might jiggle and rumble around, but you can trust it not to collapse or tear apart on you at the worst possible time like a pole-based tent could.
Just like their traditional counterparts, inflatable tents are available in different shapes and dynamic styles. This can influence the number of sleepers the tent can comfortably hold as well as the internal layout of the sleeping area, gear storage, and shoe space.
A tunnel-shaped tent is arguably the easiest to inflate and set up. Many of the popular version includes simple room dividers to provide family members with the feeling of their own private sleeping quarters. A lot of tunnel-shaped tends have permanently attached air beams for superior rigidity.
A dome-shaped inflatable tent isn’t as common as tunnel and bubble tents. Though they have started to grow in popularity for being roomy, light and easy to take with you from home to campsite.
Bubble-shaped inflatable tents are geared for backyard use, or specialty purposes more than camping. For homeowners, they can provide you with an attractive sunshade or covered pergola for times when you want to entertain friends or dine outside. Some of them are designed with a geodesic shape that is visually attractive as well as incredibly stable. A few manufacturers even offer playful inflatable tents for kids to play in when you need to get them out of the house.
On a professional scale, there are also some inflatable tents that cater to special needs. Things like portable spray booths or wildlife observation stations with a minimal footprint top the list of possible options.
The Location Of The Inflation Valve
Dirt and debris that gets into the inflation valve can damage it or lead to an improper seal. If possible, try to prioritize an inflatable tent that’s up off the ground. When taking putting it up or taking it down, take a moment to inspect the valve to make sure it’s clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Do You Set Up An Inflatable Tent?
A. To set up an inflatable tent, you simply lay it out in the location and orientation you want. Then open the valves and fill them sequentially. This can be done manually, or via a special pump. Once all the air beams have been fully pressurized, you spread the rain fly and secure all the attachment stakes or guidewires.
Q: Does An Inflatable Tent Need Constant Air Pressure?
A. When you hear the term “Inflatable Tent” it might draw your mind to things like bouncy castles and air trampolines that need constant air pressure from a compressor to maintain their inflation. Fortunately, this is not the case with modern-day inflatable tents where the air beams are specifically designed to hold and maintain high air pressure.
Q: Are Inflatable Tents Vulnerable To Puncture?
A. Most inflatable tends are made from a material called TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane. It has mildly elastic and abrasion resistance properties for superior durability as well as puncture resistance. In its thicker iteration, you see this same material being used by popular cell phone case manufacturers.
When it’s deployed in the backyard or the campsite the tent is as durable if not more resistant to damage than a traditional tent. However, improper storage is the most likely cause of rips, tears, and punctures. Be mindful to pay attention to how the tent comes out of the bag, then try to replicate a similar folding pattern when putting it away again. Make sure to pack the back away from possible sharp objects.
Q: Is An Inflatable Tent Right For Me?
A. Inflatable tents appeal to just about anyone who needs to set up an outdoor living accommodation. They are increasingly popular with hikers where every ounce of weight matters. They are also deeply appreciated by parents or individuals who may need to set up the tent without the help of another adult.
At the same time, inflatable tents are also becoming popular for luxury campers, as well as professionals who need an outdoor event tent that’s quick and easy to set up.
Q: Does Weight Matter?
A. An inflatable tent tends to weight less than its traditional tent counterpart. If you are going to be driving up to your campsite, then the weight of the inflatable tent isn’t really going to be a factor. On the other hand, if you are planning to take it on a back-woods hiking trip or as a sleeping accommodation after an ascent, the you might want to pay attention to the total weight.
Q: Do I Need A Rainfly?
A. One possible feature flaw that you find with some inflatable air tents is the lack of a rainfly or a minimal rainfly. You get the feeling that some manufacturers do this to help promote the fast easy setup. They compensate with special waterproofing treatments.
While most of these treatments will handle modest summer rainfall, they tend to not be as impervious to water as a traditional rainfly. With some, the waterproofing treatment can gradually start to degrade with use and prolonged sun exposure.
One of the earliest signs of a problem like this is pooling or water transfer where interior items touch the sidewalls. For example, an air mattress that where the corner presses up to the wall material might develop a damp stop on it. If you notice a problem like this starting on one camping trip, you should move items away to prevent further water intrusion.
Once the exterior of the tent is thoroughly dry. You can spray it with a secondary waterproofer like Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellant, Aqua Armor Fabric Waterproofing Spray, Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On Waterproofing.
There are also some manufacturers who note this minor inconvenience and will offer an inflatable tent with a substantial rainfly in the purchase or as a secondary accessory.
Q: Do I Need A Waterproof Floor?
A. Inflatable tents don’t necessarily have the same type of “Bathtub Floor” that you see with high end “Waterproof Floors” of traditional pole-supported tents. This is largely related to the way the bottom sheet attaches to the sidewalls and the air beams.
Still, most inflatable tent manufacturers are making a point to use waterproof materials to help prevent water intrusion. When in doubt try to pitch your tent on the campsite’s highest ground. Laying down a tarp in advance is also a wise insurance policy if rain is in the forecast.
Q: Will An Inflatable Tent Float On Water?
A. If you live somewhere that experiences freak flooding, or you are interested in estuary camping, an inflatable tent isn’t a good option. The air beams themselves might make the tent buoyant, which could be a factor if your campsite is struck by a flash flood. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough air volume to support the weight of gear and individual campers.
Q: How Do I Prevent Punctures And Tears?
A. Proper storage is critical for maintaining the integrity of the TPU air beams and tent materials. Some manufacturers will include folding and storage information in the owner’s manual. If possible, take a time to snap some pictures with your phone the first time you take the tent out of the packaging.
Also, bear in mind that proper deflation is key. Even a modest amount of air left in the air beams can suffer excess pressure when pressed and folded. Even if it only took 5 minutes to inflate, be prepared for it to take 10 minutes to meticulously deflate the air beams.
Inflatable tent materials and design features continue to evolve to meet consumer needs. The versatility and flexibility of these units allow them to cater to a wide range of needs. If you need a basic camping tent, you might prioritize a smaller unit. If you a quick sleeping accommodation for an overnight guest, you might want to prioritize a larger bubble tent.
It’s best to start by thinking about the size of the tent you want in terms of the number of people you need to sleep. Then carefully dial that number back by two to three, to make sure that everyone has the elbow room they need to be comfortable.
Also, bear in mind how shape affects height. Dome tents tend to have a lower ceiling and set up quickly. Tunnel shaped inflatable tents are taller, but it might take a little longer to fully inflate the structural air beams. If you want a lot of headroom, to stay in luxury, you might want to adjust your focus toward bubble tents or visually stunning geodesic domes.
While considering units, keep an eye out for things like ventilation, and the size or presence of a rainfly. Sometimes inflatable tent manufacturers will treat these things as a tradeoff. A large rainfly can impede ventilation, while good ventilation often compromises the tent’s overall water resistance. You might want to move a specific tent up your list if they include a rainfly or some type of superior waterproofing along with thoughtful ventilation.
Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API