Even though air tents, or “inflatable tents,” are a somewhat modern invention, only appearing for the first time in the 80s, they have become a fan favorite. Yet, that doesn’t immediately mean they are always worth buying.
We decided to investigate and see what we could find about these modern new-age tents.
We have discussed everything we know on the topic to help give you a better understanding of if this tent type will suit your pocket and your needs:
Here’s The Answer To How Expensive Air Tents Really Are:
On average, it’s believed that an air tent costs roughly $700, but this price point varies significantly based on size and make. For example, some AirBeam® tents cost upwards of $2,000 while other air tents cost around $500.
What Lifespan Do Air Tent Manufacturers List For Their Tents?
Although air tent manufacturers don’t list the lifespan of their tents, there is a consensus amongst the camping community who own or have owned air tents.
For the most part, air tents are considered unreliable and temperamental.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t air tents that last long. Some campers have summarized that their air tents hold up well in various climates and weather conditions.
Granted, these are usually the more modern air tents that have been introduced to the public in recent years.
Do Air Tents Last Longer Than Other Tents?
In most instances, an air tent does not last as long as other tents that are available on the market. Most nylon, polyester, canvas, and poly-cotton tents will last between 10 to 20 years.
Some tents can even last as long as 30 years if looked after and maintained. According to many campers, the life expectancy of air tents is significantly less.
Since most consider air tents a novelty, extensive tests have not been completed on them. Most air tents have not been given a 10-year or 30-year tests, especially considering they are relatively new to the camping market compared to other tents.
The most significant hazard with air tents is that you get multiple punctures while camping and have a tent that has deflated to the point where it cannot be used to shelter you.
Even though it’s true that a puncture or two can be fixed if you get multiple holes over the lifespan of your tent, it compromises the structure and stability, making it a danger to campers.
It is possible that with the advances in technology, air tents will be more durable and adaptable, but at present, reliable air tents are few and far between. That’s why it’s usually best to buy an air tent from a reputable manufacturer and pay a bit more if you want one that will last you even five years.
Which Factors Impact The Longevity Of My Air Tent?
Like with regular fabric tents, many factors impact the longevity of your air tent.
Since air tents are generally believed to be more fragile than traditional tents, you must consider the factors that could reduce longevity:
Air tents are just as susceptible to weather damage as standard tents. If you use your air tent often during sunny conditions, your tent is going to degrade and sustain UV damage.
Since the pole section of an air tent is made from plastic, it tends to break down faster than aluminum or fiberglass poles when exposed to extended periods of sunlight.
Additionally, air tents can get damaged during heavy downpours and lousy weather, but how well it fares will depend on the fabric used for the rest of the tent.
Yet, it should be noted that many air tents have been shown to do well in incredibly windy conditions, but the same can’t be said for snowy weather or heavy downpours.
How Often You Use It
The more often you use your air tent, the more quickly it will degrade. Most air tents don’t last as long as traditional fabric tents, so using your tent often could severely affect how long it will last you.
Additionally, if you have a lot of people staying in your air tent, your tent could be sustaining damage quicker than it would if only you used it.
As with other tent types, how long your air tent lasts will depend on the brand and the material they have used to manufacture your tent.
More reputable and expensive brands tend to have a better life expectancy than cheaper brands.
This isn’t always the case, though, so ask the manufacturer what fabric they use and how long, on average, they expect their tent to last.
How You Store It
Since air tents are generally more breakable than traditional tent options, you must store them correctly.
If you store your tent somewhere it will be touched or moved often, then you risk sustaining numerous punctures that will be almost impossible to fix. You must also ensure that you store it somewhere dry and away from pests.
If it is near pests like rodents, you could find your tent chewed to pieces when it comes time to camp. In addition, if the place you store your air tent is wet, you could encounter mold or mildew, which can significantly reduce how long it lasts.
How Long Do Air Tents Stay Waterproof?
How long an air tent stays waterproof will depend on the fabric used in combination with the plastic tubing.
The actual plastic part of an air tent requires more waterproofing because, despite what you might believe, plastics don’t absorb water well.
So if the tubing of an air tent becomes saturated, it could hold the moisture and limit breathability.
If an air tent has polyester or nylon fabric, it will usually only need to be waterproofed after two to three camping seasons, depending on the climate and the condition of your air tent.
Yet, you will likely need to waterproof the plastic beams more often to ensure degradation isn’t accelerating with use.
How Can I Make Sure My Air Tent Lasts As Long As Possible?
It’s no secret that air tents are prone to breaking easily. That’s why it’s usually best to try and ensure it lasts as long as possible if you don’t want to waste your money.
Below we have briefly stated how you can make your air tent last as long as possible so that you get the most use out of it before needing to buy a new one:
Avoid Overly Rough Terrain:
Since air tents feature air chambers, it’s usually best to consider camping in areas where the terrain isn’t overly rough.
The rougher the landscape, the more likely you will experience multiple punctures and a possible end to your vacation.
We cannot stress this enough. If you maintain your tent, it will last you considerably longer.
This means you must frequently check for punctures and patch any that you find.
It would help if you also dried your tent completely before storing it in a dry place, and you must ensure it is as waterproof as it can be by frequently waterproofing it.
You also need to check the seems and look for weather damage.
Use a Footprint:
Air tents, like normal tents, need a footprint to protect them.
A tent footprint is a tarp or waterproof sheet that goes beneath your tent before you set it up.
If you have a footprint, you can ensure the underside of your tent is protected against rough terrain, dirt, and rocks.
Ultimately, a footprint will help ensure your air tent’s bottom doesn’t tear or rip.
When Should I Replace My Tent?
When your air tent has too many puncture holes or cannot be repaired, you will need to replace it.
Using an air tent that has been patched too many times will create an unsafe camping experience. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, patching an air tent too many times affects the structure and overall integrity of the air tent.
Additionally, if the fabric parts of your air tent have become unable to be waterproofed or if the fabric has a tear too large to patch, you will need to replace it.