What are Inflatable Tents – Are They Better?

What are Inflatable Tents

Setting up a tent can be one of the most frustrating experiences of camping, resulting in hours of work and frustration.

Many of us have spent hours painstakingly crafting the perfect structure.  Only to have the entire tent collapse when the foundation isn’t set up correctly. For those of us who can’t seem to master the art of tent building, inflatable tents are the way to go.

What are inflatable tents? 

Inflatable tents, also known as air bean tents, are just like conventional tents. These tents have inflatable beams, instead of having metal or fiberglass poles. Use a pump to erect these inflatable tents make them sturdier and more convenient than standard tents.

Let’s dive deeper into why tents are great for trekking, backpacking, and camping.

Inflatable Tents

Commonly referred to as air beam tents or air pitch tents, inflatable tents are becoming a preferred option among many campers.

Inflatable tents are very similar to conventional tents. The main difference being that they do not contain traditional poles made out of steel or aluminum. Instead, tubes containing air placed strategically throughout the structure.

Once inflated, these air columns serve the same function as steel or aluminum poles, giving the tent the stability it needs to stay upright. These structures utilize air rise technology to efficiently set up the tent. The process that involves hooking up the tent to a pump, turning on the pump, and letting the structure put itself together.

The interconnected frame used by most inflatable tents assemble in minutes.

Benefits of an Inflatable Tent

Inflatable tents have many benefits over conventional tents.

  • Inflatable tents are very easy to set up. Owners only need an air pump, reducing the setup time from a few hours to a few minutes.
  • These tents can easily be set up by one person without an instruction manual. Tent setup is no longer a collaboration of several individuals offering varying degrees of input. This type of tent is especially helpful for parents of small children. They can have one parent watch the children and another set up the tent.
  • Inflatable tents are better options for families. As a general rule, the larger the tent, the more complicated it is to set up.  Also, if a particular inflatable tent is a massive structure meant to hold many members of a family, set up is just as easy.
  • Inflatable tents provide a consistency of structure that is duplicated every time the tent is inflated. Gone are the long hours of trying to position the metal poles to build a sturdy structure correctly. Instead, the air columns are always in the same place every time once inflated.
  • The poles are more durable than traditional metal poles, which will weaken over time after exposure to bad weather. Instead, the tubes of inflatable tents are made of durable material meant to withstand the elements for more extended periods.
  • Inflatable tents are stored more efficiently, whether in the car on the way to the campsite, or at home after the camping trip. 
  • Finally, it is significantly more comfortable and cost-effective to repair inflatable poles than metal poles, instead of having to purchase specific replacement poles directly from the company.  Inflatable poles can easily be fixed with a puncture repair kit or Tear-Aid patch, often included with the structure upon purchase.

Are They Stable and Reliable?

Many may wonder if the ease of setup of inflatable tents may result in the sacrifice of some stability of the overall structure quality.

Thankfully, this is not the case as inflatable tents are very sturdy and even surpass the durability of conventional tents in certain situations.

When exposed to high winds, metal tent poles will bend and sometimes break under stress, compromising the overall structure. However, instead of weakening when bent under the pressure of strong winds, an inflated air column will bend and then revert to its original position.

Also, punctures in inflatable tubes are extremely rare and occur less frequently than the breakdown of metal poles. As a result, inflatable tents are generally a more reliable structure over time.

It is important to note that inflatable tents are lighter than traditional metal tents. This lighter weight increases the importance of pegging down the inflatable tent and fastening it in place with ropes.

Here is an example of how easy it is to put one up:

When is the Best Time to Use Them Over Conventional Tents?

If you end up spending significant amounts of time camping in areas that are prone to bad weather, inflatable tents are a much better option than traditional tents.

These tents will be able to withstand the elements over time, as well as providing a sturdier structure in the short-term when facing heavy winds.

Inflatable tents are also a good option for parents of younger children who need to be supervised more closely. Parents could conceivably lose track of their children as they are spending hours of time and concentration setting up a tent.

Also, because assembly is so simple and requires only one person to set up, one parent could watch the young children while another could set it up.

In general, inflatable tents are probably a better option for families as it allows them to spend more time hiking or socializing together.  Instead of spending hours trying to set up tents with cumbersome metal poles.


Best Inflatable Tent

There are a lot of great options available, but if we had to chose one, it would be the Easy Camp Hurricane 500.

This Hurricane 500 tent has inflatable beams. Three beams with separate valves that one person can set it up easily and quickly. 

This tent has the shape of a tunnel type tent, that is a 3-room structure with an inner tent that has two sleeping units, and with one giant front room. 

It comes with two doors in the front area, one on the front and one on the side. You also have clear PVC windows and at a very affordable price.

The area is 116.3 ft² (10.8 m²), and the weight is 34.8 lb (15.8 kg). 

Click here to take a closer look at it on Amazon!



Inflatable tents are emerging as the best option for campers of all backgrounds. The growing popularity of inflatable tents is rooted in their ease of assembly.  A process that is reduced from the few hours generally required for traditional tent set up to a few minutes.

They also present a more sturdy and reliable structure in specific situations.  Such as dealing with high winds, as opposed to traditional tents, whose metal poles tend to bend and break over time.

Inflatable tents are also more durable than conventional tents.  Especially when dealing with exposure to poor weather over longer periods. Punctures in the air columns rarely occur because of the durability of the material of the air column.

Finally, inflatable tents are ideal for families with small children.  Allowing more time can be focused on them with a more straightforward setup process.

Need Help Preparing for a Hike or Backpacking Trip?

Check out our Hiking Equipment Guide for Beginners.  It’s a complete list of gear that every beginner should have!

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Lee G.

I love the outdoors! Everything from hiking, climbing, rappelling, and caving.

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