Is AirBeam For You?
Inflatable tents and awnings have now become a mainstay in the camping and tent market. They replace the traditional pole and sleeve method of pitching your tent with ‘beams’ of air. This provides massive benefits to the end user, some of the most apparent benefits have been listed below.
- Simple pre-attached ‘poles’ means no more colour coding and long pitching times
- Minimal damage if pitched against van or caravan
- Speed of erection 3-4 minutes to pump up a 4-5 man tent!
- No more pole breakages in the middle of the night
- Lightweight poles, comparative to large steel frames
- Single person pitching
- Quick and easy replacement if an airbeam does get damaged (see replacing an airbeam article)
Looking at these obvious benefits, it is no wonder Vango have invested so much time, money and effort into their AirBeam system. They really have revolutionized the way we pitch our tent or awning.
Vango spent 12 years developing the AirBeam, and since its release in 2011 have continually listened to consumer feedback to ensure that the AirBeam concept is hear to stay; not just a concept that will fizzle out. Vango are now calling it, ‘tried and tested technology’. In 2014 they are on their 3rd generation of Vango AirBeam's. They have made certain modifications to the actual Airbeam's from the original 2011 launch to ensure AirBeam's withstand the daily rigors of family camping; for example, they have now been fitted with significantly stronger outer sleeves, (Oxford nylon with a ripstop inner fabric). AirBeams® now inflate to 7 psi to increase the strength of the structure (previous pressure was at 3 psi).
This has considerably decreased potential problems related to the use of airbeams in both tents and awnings. Vango are now so confident with their third generation of AirBeam technology they are offering anyone with a tent bought pre 2011, an upgrade of Airbeams.
‘A free upgrade to a 3rd generation AirBeam is now available to all customers with a 2011 model.’
Extract from Vango’s service centre.
If you do ever have any problems please see Vango’s guide to replacing and repairing airbeams
‘Vango AirBeams® are pre-attached beams encased in a highly robust, double-skinned sleeve system that create a stable structure when inflated to provide excellent weather resistance. Recognising the universal need to save time and effort without compromising on performance, Vango designers have applied their extensive knowledge and experience of this AirBeam® technology to develop superior awnings for vehicles and caravans.’
Extract from Vango.
Penrose Outdoors have been selling Vango AirBeams® for 3 years now, since their launch in 2011 and have seen the range grow from the Vango Infinity 600 and 800 and some smaller tents like the Vango Flux 200 (first tent in space) to include a huge range of large family tents. Luxury, family tents introduced for 2014, include the Inspire 500 and the Evoque 800 Airbeam tents.
In 2013 Vango expanded their AirBeam® range into the motor-home and camper-van, awning market which saw the inclusion of the drive away ‘Air Away’ awnings. These include the Kela and Sapera models and they have seen great success in these areas.
See Penrose Outdoors' 2014 video review here.
We have had great success and substantial customer feedback for these reviews, with all the Volkswagen transporters, T4, T5 and Bongo style vans we have down in the surfing areas of Cornwall.
New for 2014, Vango moved into the caravan awning market with the Verkhala range of caravan awnings. See our video review here-
2014 Vango Airbeam Range Features
- All the AirBeam tents, for 2014, come with a double action pump that will rapidly inflate your tent or awning. The pump comes with a pressure dial attached to the hose and a pressure release valve making it simple to get your AirBeam to the right pressure. In this case 7 psi. We have tested these out and it makes for very light work of pumping up the beams and is an inherently tough structure!
- Some of the main features and improvements of their tent ranges have filtered into the awning and caravan ranges. The improved specification of the fabric, for example, that comes as standard is similar to that of higher priced tents. Vango have introduced a 420 denier nylon fabric for the caravan awnings. This is an extremely tough fabric when you consider that just one year ago Vango bought out a 150 denier polyester fabric to surpass the previously used 70 denier fabric. Vango utilise a higher denier fabric to enhance resistance to wear and tear and the constant degradation from UV light. The reason, I assume, they have gone to such a substantial thickness on the caravan awning is due to the amount of time these tents and awnings generally stay pitched for. If they were to use this fabric on larger tents it would be far too impractical in regards to the weight and size it would take up. You might need a separate trailer or maybe a lorry to carry it! In comparison to a traditional tent though, the 150 denier fabric the Vango AirBeam tents are using is still far superior to most of its competitors fabrics. I feel that when customers are paying such a premium price for a product, features like this should come as standard. This would ensure the tent has a longer lifespan even when pitched in the toughest conditions.
- Vango have also introduced a 300-denier oxford nylon groundsheet fabric for the floor area which is obviously going to have the most wear and tear especially on harder surfaces. Many of these fabric upgrades are invisible to the naked eye but will increase costs in the manufacturing process but will massively increase the quality of the tent itself.
- Large Diamond Clear PVC windows for maximum light and great visibility without the usual distortion effect.
Here is a run down of our tents for the coming year. We feel we have selected the best range to fit our customers needs.
Vango Eclipse 600 Tent
Vango Eclipse 600 Tent
Featuring the 150 denier flysheet and the preshaped airpoles this monster of a tent is new for 2014 and delivers everything that is good about Vango’s Airbeam range. For its size it is easy to pitch and is the perfect family sized tent. It has front and side doors that are covered by a small porch that stops drips or rain getting into the main tent. It features crystal clear windows and a very large living area. The main part of the tent also features a fully sewn in groundsheet.
Quick pitch 2 man tent offering Vango's Airbeam technology. The ideal quick pitch tent for weekends and short breaks for couples and friends. The Flux offers comfortable space, storage pockets and Vango AirZone ventilation, an ideal introduction to the Vango AirBeam range.
Extremely quick and easy to pitch using AirBeam Technology, this 5 man tent offers extra headroom and large windows. The Flux 500 offers the same great features and quick pitch two pole design as the rest of the Flux range, however, the added height will be ideal for those looking for extra headroom.
Driveaway Awning, AirBeam technology, inflatable awning with bedroom and living space, ideal for VW T4 or T5. The compact Kela is available in 2 sizes (standard and tall), features high quality 150 denier Protex fabric and comes in a convenient carry bag that is easy to store. All Vango driveaway awnings come with a wide range of attachment mechanisms making them simple and convenient to attach to your vehicle. Join the revolution with a Vango AirBeam Awning.
Vango Genesis 500 Tent
Weekend campers will delight in the size and flexibility of the Genesis which features a large front porch, with huge Diamond Clear windows, which is ideal for storing your camping essentials. It has a relatively small pack size that will fit easily into any car boot but, with its high front beams, there is loads of comfortable living space. The convenience of two side doors make this a versatile tent which will impress seasoned and new campers alike.
The new Sapera range of free-standing drive-away awnings offers unrivaled convenience to discerning motor-home and campervan owners seeking extra living, storage or bedroom space. Using tried and tested Vango AirBeam technology, Vango have taken awnings to the next level by making them easier and quicker to pitch than ever before.
One of Vango's Elite range of tents, this is a great tent for those who need lots of space. Five man AirBeam tent with multiple bedroom options. AirBeam technology makes this large tent quick and easy to pitch. The extension space at the front of this impressive tent is massive and provides a great place to sit back and soak up the surroundings
With a full height AirBeam structure at the front of the tent, the camper has more living space and headroom to play with. This coupled with the new 150 denier fabric makes the Exodus a must buy for the family looking for the ease and convenience of Vango AirBeam technology and the comfort of a large family tent.
We are fortunate enough to have a large indoor showroom in the centre of Truro, Cornwall, therefore if you would like to see any of these particular model on display please let us know and we can advise you whether it is currently on display or we can book a day for you to see it setup.