Camping Magazine Awards 2018 - The Best Tents
TENT OF THE YEAR/BEST INFLATABLE TENT
In a year when there were so many other rivals for the title, it took something truly exceptional to be named overall Tent Of The Year. The Coleman Valdes 6XL and the Robens Country Cottage ran it close, but we think the luxurious Vango Serenity’s unique layout and innovative design features put it right at the top of the pile. This is a tent that brings a totally fresh approach to family camping. It’s certainly not cheap, but the £1,700 price tag is justifiable – treated well, this tent could last you 20 years and provide countless family holidays.
From the outside it may look very much like any other large inflatable tent, but this is far from being some derivative, ‘off-the-shelf’ model. As soon you step inside you realise that it has a style all of its own. It’s obvious that the exploitation of space was uppermost in the minds of the designers. The footprint is vast and it enjoys more headroom throughout than most other tents we can remember. But it’s the effective use of all that space that’s so impressive.
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A built-in front awning, with huge PVC windows and a skylight, makes a superb, bright area for cooking and eating. The living room is wonderfully spacious as well, with plenty of room for camping furniture. The innovative SkyTrack system lets you attach hanging storage, fitted LED lights and SkyLiners, which give the tent added insulation and create a cosy ambience.
And then there’s the sleeping area… and that’s where things start to get really interesting. They call them Emperor bedrooms and they’re cavernous, with enough room for double beds, storage and furniture. There are doors at both ends of the bedroom, with the rear leading to a full height storage area and a handy back entrance. Add in the quality materials and workmanship plus the various extra features (four, count ‘em four, EHU cable entry points!) and you have a worthy winner.
OUTWELL PHANTOM 5SA
This is a quality inflatable tent that is perfect for a family of four. With one single inflation point, it’s quick and easy to put up and boasts all the outstanding features you’d expect from an Outwell tent, from panoramic windows to spacious bedrooms.
KAMPA BERGEN 6A AIR PRO
The 2017 version of this spacious, bright and flexible tent was commended in our awards last year and the updated 2018 model more than deserves the same accolade this time around. It’s simply a great, well thought out family tent with of quick and easy inflation and lots of useful features.
BEST LARGE FAMILY TENT
Bigger families need more room – especially when it comes to longer camping holidays. These tents provide space and flexibility for living, cooking and sleeping on site.
COLEMAN VALDES 6XL
The Valdes 6XL was Coleman’s first foray into inflatable tents when it launched a couple of years ago and it was an immediate hit. It’s always been excellent tent but the new upgraded version is a significant improvement. The big difference, and the feature that we like most, is the hugely expanded front porch, is now big enough to provide shelter for outdoor cooking or to expand your already generous living area. The Valdes also features Coleman’s brilliant blackout bedrooms, excellent for keeping morning sun at bay, and the really convenient hinged front door. Overall this is a superb tent for family camping adventures that is child friendly, easy to pitch and boasts loads of living space.
OUTDOOR REVOLUTION AIREDALE 7.0
Quality design, construction and materials, coupled with space and versatility make this a superb large inflatable tent for big family holidays.
ROYAL BUCKLAND 8
Bright and spacious, this is a great value pole tent with vis a vis bedrooms and a generous living area.
BEST SMALL FAMILY TENT
For smaller families, massive tents aren’t necessary, but you still want enough space to relax and enjoy your camping trips in comfort.
ROBENS COUNTRY COTTAGE 600
For quality and design, Robens tents are hard to beat. Not only are they reassuringly reliable, flexible and good value for money, but they very much look the part. The Country Cottage 600 is a great example of what Robens does so well – combining the best elements of technical tents with the sort of user-friendly features you’d expect of a family model. It’s a spacious tunnel tent with tonnes of living space for a family of four and a comfortable sleeping area. The construction and materials – polyester flysheet with a 5,000mm hydrostatic head rating and alloy poles – mean it is more than capable of standing up to the worst weather conditions you’re likely encounter. During our testing in Denmark, we endured two days of relentless rain but the tent passed with flying colours. On top of all that, it simply looks stunning!
BERGHAUS AIR 4 XL
A new, more compact version of the incredibly popular 6XL, this is family camping luxury at an affordable price – excellent value for what is a great tent.
OUTWELL EDMONDS 5A
A perfectly-sized tent for a small family, that works just as well for weekends away as long summer holidays. Quick and straightforward to pitch and packed full of trademark Outwell features.
BEST TOURING TENT
If you’re moving from site to site on a daily basis, you need a tent that is quick and easy to pitch but doesn’t compromise on space or comfort
OUTWELL HUNTLEY 3 SATC
When it comes to buying a tent for touring holidays or weekend breaks, the key thing to consider is how quickly you can get it pitched and get on with enjoying the important stuff. When time is limited, the last thing you want to be doing is spending ages putting your tent up. Equally though, it’s important that your tent has plenty of living space, especially if you’re travelling with kids. The Huntley 3SATC scores highly on both counts. It’s fast and straightforward to pitch; easily erected by one person in a matter of minutes. And, although it’s relatively compact by Outwell standards – good news when it comes to fitting it into the car boot – it’s still extremely spacious once pitched. Quality materials and top of the range features like bedroom windows, zipped curtains and loads of ventilation make the Huntley rise above its competitors.
VANGO AMALFI 500
It’s quick and easy to pitch, making it perfect for weekends away and is an ideal introduction to inflatable tents.
KAMPA BREAN 4 CLASSIC AIR
A classy polycotton weekender that is ideal for couples looking for a quality tent that is simple to put up without losing anything in comfort.
BEST VALUE TENT
REGATTA KARUNA 6
It’s stating the obvious, but value for money is not all about paying as little as you can. That £100 supermarket tent might look like a good deal, but you won’t be thinking that when you’re lying shivering in a pool of rainwater at 3am. The key is getting as much as possible for your money and that is what makes Regatta’s Karuna 6 such a good buy. This is a great entry level pole tent aimed at newcomers to family camping but it’s just as good for experienced campers who want to get as much as they can for their money. For the size of tent and the quality of materials it is superb value at around £740. The vis a vis layout, with bedrooms at opposite ends of a good-sized central living area, works especially well for families with older children. And that all important 5,000mm hydrostatic head waterproof rating means you will be well protected from the elements.
EASY CAMP BLIZZARD 500
The Blizzard 500 has a unique design that provides standing room in the living area at the front but slopes away at the back where headroom is less important.
QUECHUA AIR SECONDS 8.4 XL
A good value large family tent that uses Fresh & Black technology designed to keep the tent cool in hot weather and keep the heat in when it’s cold outside.
BEST LUXURY TENT
ZEMPIRE AERODOME III PRO
For sheer lavish, magnificence in a tent you’d have to go a long way to beat this exquisite model from New Zealand. Zempire have created something really special here, that will not only make you the talk of the campsite but should provide you with years of luxury camping. First of all, it’s huge. There are three sleeping pods accommodating up to eight people all around a huge central living ‘hub’. The list of features is lengthy and impressive, from the unique ‘gull wing’ front that leads into the enclosed porch to the skylight window and the 10,000mm hydrostatic head rating. It’s all designed to make your camping experience as comfortable, cosy and memorable as possible.
A tipi tent constructed with deluxe polycotton fabric steel and alloy poles, this is a real headturner that combines classic styling with the latest tent technology.
OUTWELL BALLENTINE 6SATC
Even by Outwell’s high standards, the Ballentine is luxury camping at its finest. Large bedrooms, a vast front canopy and the highest spec materials are just some of the top of the range features.
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