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Air Pole Tents vs. Traditional Pole Tents: Which is best for you!

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Trying to figure out which tent is best for your camping needs? Let’s pitch Camping and Caravanning Club president and Peter Storm ambassador Julia Bradbury against our camping expert Ian to find out if air tents or pole tents come out on top!

When it comes to camping, selecting the right tent is a crucial decision. Two popular choices are air tents and pole tents, each offering unique advantages and considerations. From setup time to price and durability, we’ll explore the characteristics of both tent types to help you make an informed choice for your next outdoor escapade!

Pole Tents:

Pole tents, also known as frame tents, rely on rigid poles made of materials like aluminium, steel, or fiberglass to create a structural framework supporting the tent fabric.


  1. Smaller Packsize: Pole tents are space-efficient, making them easier to store and transport.
  2. Cost-Effective: They are generally more budget-friendly than air tents.
  3. Spaciousness: Pole tents offer more headroom and interior space, thanks to their taller centre poles.


  1. Setup Time: Setting up pole tents can take longer due to multiple poles and fabric attachment.
  2. Difficulty: They might be challenging to set up alone, making them less ideal for solo campers.

Popular Pole Tents

Air Tents:

Air tents, also known as inflatable tents, use air-filled beams instead of traditional poles for support. These tents have inflatable tubes made of durable materials, inflated using a pump.


  1. Quick and Easy Setup: Air tents can be pitched and taken down faster than pole tents, thanks to the inflatable beams.
  2. Robust and Stable: They offer excellent stability and resistance to weather conditions, as they lack traditional poles.


  1. Weight: Air tents can be heavier due to robust materials, which might impact portability.
  2. Price: They are often more expensive than pole tents, so budget-conscious campers might prefer pole tents.

Popular Air Tents

Choosing the Right Tent for You:

Ultimately, the decision depends on your camping preferences and needs. Consider the following factors:

  1. Cost and Frequency: If you camp frequently or embark on extended trips, the ease and efficiency of an air tent might outweigh the higher cost. Occasional campers or budget-conscious individuals may find pole tents more suitable.

  2. Portability vs. Durability: Evaluate whether lightweight portability or robust durability is a priority for your camping adventures. If you’re constantly on the move, a small pole tent might be the better option.

  3. Setup Time and Familiarity: Air tents offer quick setup with a pump, while pole tents cater to traditional campers who prefer familiar setups.

Remember, whichever tent type you choose, opting for a high-quality tent from a reputable retailer ensures great durability and an enjoyable camping experience!

Author: Amy

Hi, I am Amy I have two loves in my life camping and writing. When I am not writing for The Expert Camper, I am usually camping. Lake District is one of my favourite spots, but really anywhere in the UK under canvas I am happy.


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