I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely convinced by inflatable tents before our family camping trip to France and Spain for 3 weeks last year. Running through my mind were endless questions – how do they work? Surely poles are just as easy (and cheaper). What if it gets punctured – won’t that be a faff to fix? But my husband is a huge fan of making life easier for himself with fun gadgets and several campsites, pack-ups and tent adventures later, I’d go as far to say I’m a convert! We can’t swan off camping anywhere at the moment, but the back garden might be a viable tent-pitching option! Here’s my review of the inflatable Berghaus Air 8 tent for family camping holidays.
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How easy is it to put up the Berghaus Air 8 tent?
It occurred to me that I should have recorded a stop motion video of us putting up the tent instead of arsing around and pretending that I had magic powers to summon the inflation…next time! But basically, it’s simple as – check out the Blacks video here for full instructions.
Like a normal tent, you roll it out, lay it flat on the ground and peg down the corners first. To pump up the tubes, you start at one end and work your way down.
The Berghaus Air 8 tent comes with a hand pump and pressure gauge making the inflation process quick and easy. There are no fiddly poles to speak of, just robust inflatable air beams which take minutes to blow up and are just as quick to deflate. If you’re using an electric pump (like us), just make sure you’re within reach of an electrical point (i.e your car), then it’s even easier to put up the tent!
There are five beams altogether and with our electric pump it took about 90 seconds per tube to pump up. Just attach the pump to each beam in turn and inflate to the specified pressure. As soon as you take away the pump, the pressure valve system keeps the air locked in, so there’s no scrabbling about to stop the air shooting out once the beam is full of air.
Then, simply peg out the luminous guy lines and your done – ready to stand back and admire your handiwork (preferably with a beverage!)
How easy is it to take down the Berghaus Air 8 tent?
I’m not kidding when I say a five year old could do it – watch my video below to see our young daughter deflating the tent! It’s spring-loaded, so all she had to do was press the buttons on the quick release air valves, et voila! Simply repeat for all the beams.
Inside the Berghaus Air 8 inflatable tent
One huge noticeable timesaver was not having to fix an inner tent via loops and hooks to an external shell. The tent is a single unified component – the bedrooms and living space are pre-attached to the framework so there is no additional connecting or construction needed once you’ve blown up the tent.
The tent sleeps families or groups of up to 8 people and has 4-berth bedrooms at each end, with living space in the middle. It feels really spacious and you can stand up easily throughout.
We had a double bed in one bedroom and kid’s camping bunk beds in the other, which was a great space saver. It felt very big for four of us and would happily sleep 8 people. The bedrooms include a removable divider for additional privacy, and I hope one day that we’ll be able to use this for the addition of a portable toilet to our camping trips! There’s also a place to hang a lantern in the living area and in the bedrooms.
There are plenty of storage pockets dotted all around the tent – a large organiser below the window, inside both bedrooms, outside both bedrooms and 5 pockets in the main living area – which is really handy for easily accessing toiletries, torches, kids’ paraphernalia and the like.
Instead of waking up sauna style, sweating and gasping for air, we found the tent really breathable. 185T polyester is used to prevent condensation and the bedrooms are darkened, so you don’t get that alarmingly bright 4am wake up call (unless your kids have other ideas). There are big windows in the main living area, which makes the tent light and bright during the day, and these are fitted with adjustable blinds for shade and extra privacy.
The tent is protected from the top and the bottom by way of a flysheet that has been seam sealed and fully taped, with a heavy duty groundsheet beneath (which our youngest tripped over without fail every time she entered or left the tent). It’s generously ventilated with high and low-level vents and meshed doors for improved airflow and condensation control, which can be easily sealed in the event of bad weather.
There is a zipped access point on both sides of the tent for an electrical hook up and the central beam is fitted with velcro cable routing to keep wires tidy and out of the way. There are also large doors at the front and rear for greater flexibility, and both are equipped with fly mesh inner doors to help manage the climate inside.
A rain brow above the door prevents fly sheet run-off from dripping inside the tent.
Tips for deflating the tent
Wrangle in a small child to assist! It’ll keep them busy and away from getting up to mischief while you’re trying to take down the tent!
- Unpeg and tie up the guy lines.
- Take off the door canopy first (with the only pole in the tent!)
- Unpeg rest of the tent, leaving the 4 corners still pegged down.
- Press the valves to deflate the beams in no particular order.
- We often got the kids to walk across the deflated beams to get as much air out as possible.
- Fold one side into the middle, then fold the two halves together.
- Roll it up slowly and expel any extra air by sitting on it as you go.
What about punctures?
We didn’t have any during our 3-week camping trip, but the tent comes with a repair kit, just in case.
Are there any downsides?
I really love this tent but one of the downsides is that when it’s packed down, it is massive and pretty heavy (70lb when packed) – it took up half our boot! We were really tight on space with three weeks of camping gear and this meant we had to be really strategic with our packing, despite the fact we had a roof box and a back box! However, the heavy duty carry bag that comes with the tent has wheels integrated onto the base.
We also had one issue at a campsite, when we had selected a pitch that was quite far away from our car (which contained the electric car pump!) and had to half put up the tent in one place then carry it over half-erected to where it was supposed to be pitched. This was entirely our fault though and could easily have been remedied with a hand pump, or just choosing the closer pitch!
As we had never planned to carry the tent ourselves – i.e, we’re always going to have the car when we intend to use it, this doesn’t pose a problem. It’s a really great family tent that’s perfect for just a few nights camping, several weeks of outdoor adventures, or even if you fancy pitching it in your garden.
I’d also personally like to have somewhere to put a portaloo!
Where to buy the Berghaus Air 8 tent
We spent three weeks in this tent last summer and we look forward to many more year of family camping in it. It is quite expensive as far as tents go, but we are sharing it with my in-laws and see it as an investment for lots of future family holidays that will work out cheaper than say, renting a villa! It’s excellent quality, was entirely waterproof when we had bad weather, is a good size for family camping and easy to put up and get down.
Extras for the Berghaus Air 8 tent
For those wanting extra storage and living space, a Berghaus Air Tent Porch extension is also available. It adds an extra 9 squared metres of space and features the same rapid inflation system as the tent. The porch is designed to join seamlessly with all Berghaus Air tents.
If you’re after a slightly smaller tent, there are Berghaus Air 4 and Berghaus Air 6 versions available.
I’d recommend getting a mat for outside the front porch to stop everyone traipsing mud and sand into the tent.
Future family camping adventures
The tent was a brilliant piece of new camping kit. Pitching time was dramatically reduced which was very welcome, especially on days where we had to pack down at one campsite and pitch at another. I loved not having to clip the inner tent to the outer shell each time too.
As the entire world is currently in lockdown, there are no plans at the moment to go camping anywhere, although I do really fancy camping in the back garden!
We had grand ideas about catching the ferry to Santander, and working our way back from Spain, through the East of France (the opposite of our French/Spanish itinerary last year). We were also going to put it to good use on a school camping trip to with the rest of my daughter’s class in June (although sadly I can’t see this happening now).
The tent stat lowdown:
- 8 man tent – Tunnel design with 2 pre-attached bedrooms and 1 spacious living room.
- Fully waterproof – 70 Denier flysheet with 6000mm Hydrostatic Head and fully taped seamed with a rain hood above the door to keep you and your belongings dry.
- Large windows – For extra light and visibility with polycotton curtains for privacy, designed with toggles for multiple height options.
- Side doors – One step-through and one C-shaped to prevent leaks and draughts.
- Fire retardant – Tested to the BS EN 5912 standard.
- Size: 215 x 750 x 300cm
- Pack size: 88 x 56 x 47cm
- Weight: 30kg
- Recommended tent pressure: between 4psi and 7psi – temperature and outdoor pressure can affect the pressure within the tube. Please note over inflation can cause the tubes to burst.