Inflatable tents are a great way to make camping easier. Compared to traditional pole tents, they are significantly quicker and easier to erect (especially for the casual camper), making everyone's life easier when you're setting up camp.
But putting up an inflatable tent still comes with its own challenges. There are unique items to be aware of if you've not done it before, but follow our step-by-step guide, and soon you'll be enjoying the best parts of your camping trip!
Pitching an Inflatable Tent: Step-by-Step
Pitching an inflatable tent is a relatively simple task. Here are some instructions you'll need to follow:
1. Find a good spot for your tent
A general rule is that the rear corner should face away from prevailing winds to ensure stability, but this isn't always possible for all campsites and terrain types. So you'll need to assess what's available before deciding on an appropriate spot.
2. Check the ground
Make sure the ground is nice and flat, so your tent doesn't tip over. It is important to check the ground before setting up your tent, as there may be sharp objects that you might not want poking through. Also, if the ground has any irregularities or slopes, it will be difficult for tent parts to stretch out evenly.
3. Prepare to pitch
The steps to pitching a tent are as follows:
- Unpack the tent bag and find the door.
- Lay out all of the pegs and any other essential items, put it on a flat surface.
- Open up the air valves and connect them to the pump. The valve fitting may be screwed in, clicked in, or pushed into the pump fitting, depending on the model.
- Next, insert pegs in each corner, then push them into the ground making sure everything is secure.
- Inflate your tent with an electric pump or manually using a hand/foot pump until the beams are fully inflated. Don't forget to check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct pressure level.
Helpful Tips When Pitching an Inflatable Tent
Pitching an inflatable tent takes a little more than just opening and closing the flaps. There are some helpful tips you should keep in mind before pitching your new, or old, portable shelter.
- Inflate beam to full capacity with air so it can stretch out correctly. You will want to use up all of the available space inside the tent so that there is no room for air pockets when you set up camp. Make sure not to over-inflate as this may cause damage to the material and result in deflation later on down the road.
- You also want the ground to be level, dry and clear of debris. If there are any sharp objects nearby, such as tree branches or rocks, make sure they're covered with something soft like a tarp.
- Inspect your inflatable for any holes or tears before inflating it. Inflate the tent slowly to prevent air from leaking out and causing damage to the material.
- Check all of the valves to ensure that they're closed tightly before starting to inflate your tent. Check that all seams are sealed, and no air is leaking out before you inflate it.
- Take care when inflating - avoid overinflating by following these guidelines:
- Fill with air until there's no more room left inside for more air
- Then wait 1-2 minutes before adding any more air
- Repeat this process until desired firmness is achieved.
Common Problems You May Face
Putting up airbeam tents is much easier than fiddling around with tent poles, but there are a few comon issues to be aware of:
- The inflation valve may not work or won't be able to seal properly, especially in cases where the valves stop working after being punctured.
- When all of the air suddenly leaks out from one spot during set up, a small hole may have formed in one of those segments of material. Definitely check both ends to see if either has been punctured before trying to continue inflating the tent.
- If the tent footprint is sufficiently stretched out, the beams may not inflate evenly, and the tent will be unstable.
Can I Over Inflate an Air Tent?
All tents have a limit on how much air they'll hold. If you inflate an air pole too much, the zips can burst, and the bladder inside could explode. It's always best to inflate your tent to no more than the pressure recommended by the manufacturer so as not to hit this limit.
If you inflate your tent to a point where it's overfilled by 20%, it could potentially burst. Always use a pressure gauge if you have one available. Most electric pumps have one built-in, and you can usually set the inflation pressure on the pump so that it does not overinflate.
Overinflating can also mean that the fabric will stretch and tear before it breaks. A safe method for easy inflation without risking tears or breaking is to use a hand pump or electric pump rather than using a compressor, so there's less chance of zips bursting.
How Long Will It Take to Set Up My Air Tent?
You will need to estimate how long it will take based on your previous experiences with air tents. But generally, the process of air tent setup is something that would usually take a few minutes. And if you are an experienced camper, you can do it in about 10-15 minutes. If you are new or don't camp, then the time could range from 20-30 minutes for just one person.
The other thing to consider is how much time you have. Air tents, like the Berghaus Air 4, are quick and easy to set up, but they require some space to be inflated properly. If you only have a few minutes before the sun sets, it will take a little longer than if you had all day long. For an 8-person tent, like the Berghaus Air 8, it takes about 10-15 minutes on average if everyone is helping.
The Bottom Line
Pitching an inflatable tent can be a pain, especially if you don't know what you're doing. Now that you're armed with the right knowledge to pitch your inflatable tent, it's time for some camping.
Inflatable tents are a great way to enjoy an easy campout and make life on the road just a little bit easier. Keep these tips in mind when packing up this weekend, and soon enough, you'll have your inflatable tent ready in no time at all!