Vango are releasing a new range of tents for 2011. This new range replaces fibreglass or metal poles with inflatable ‘airbeams’ (as Vango put it). By inflating the support structure Vango state you should be able to pitch faster. I also considered that as these are not fibre glass, the poles should have no issues snapping when cold. This obviously is a good thing.
A few things do worry me though.
- The new range is not only more expensive than more traditional designs which to be fair I would expect. Strangely it is more than 3 times the price (comparing the strikingly similar Velocity 400 to the Beta 450)
- The Inflatable supports could be punctured. Not a plus point in a tent designed to have children in it.
- If you pitch at the hottest time of day (which you probably will), the supports will not be as rigid in the middle of the night when they get cold and the air pressure inside them reduces.. Not the best time to allow the wind to flatten the tent against your face.
- Somehow these tents are heavier?! I am not sure how they have managed this, but by removing the poles (one of the heaviest bits) they have increased the weight from 7.70 kg to a whopping 9.55 Kilo’s (Again comparing above two tents).. How?.. I know you have more fabric and reinforcing to hold the air in, but how can a tent with no poles weigh about 30% more than the weight of a similar tent with the poles included in the weight?
I haven’t had first hand experience of these tents, so I can’t say if they are identical. However they are both made by Vango, they have similar dimensions when erected and are the same shape..
I’d love to say I like this new range, but what they say leaves me with too many doubts. I will definitely keep an eye out for these on the street but it’s gonna have to be really special to win me over after looking at their initial specifications.