Tents can be a hassle to put up, especially if it’s not something you do very often. Enter the inflatable tent: A no-pole, air-powered camping shelter that aims to make camp set-up a breeze.
Inflatable tents have become more visible in the past few years, with brands like Opus adding auto-inflation to camping trailers. But one of the most innovative companies is Austria-based Gentletent. First launched in 2015, Gentletent now has an array of quick-rising inflatable tents, from a small 2-person tent to large vestibules that attach to a van.
Whether they are a ground tent or a vehicle annex tent, all of the tents are made from UV-resistant, breathable, weatherproof fabrics and feature a pipe system that forms the frame once it’s filled with air. You inflate the tent using either a hand or an electric pump, and it takes anywhere from 60 seconds to seven minutes depending on the size of the tent.
Since they lack any awkward poles, the tents pack down into fairly small bags and they aren’t as heavy as some tents on the market (it’s important to note, however, that they are not quite as light as the best backpacking tents, either).
The annex Gentletent models can also attach to any sized car or be used as shade at beaches or picnics. Front and back walls provide sun protection on models like the GT Box (around $1,150 dollars depending on the options you choose) and the inflatable GT Cabin serves as a shower or changing room.
Gentletent’s latest model—which debuted at the Dusseldorf Caravan trade show this past summer—claims to be the world’s first fully inflatable rooftop tent. Using an inflatable floor platform and a a telescopic ladder, the GT Roof inflates in five minutes and can be accessed either from the rear or side of the vehicle. It’s in innovative take on the rooftop tent, a sector of the RV and camper world that’s becoming increasingly competitive. The tent retails for approximately $2,700.
One of the largest concerns about an inflatable tent—or any tent, for that matter—is how resilient they are in windy conditions. In preparation for their 2015 launch, Gentletent performed a series of stress tests to evaluate how the tents handled in extreme storms, excessive wind, and even being run over by a van. The videos show that the tents took a beating and came out fine, but as with any tent, we recommend making sure your tie-downs are tight.