After many years of camping Helen, my wife, and I were looking at how to make setting up camp quicker and easier. We’d learned that the time gets used in setting up all the poles.
What if you could just lay the tent out and pump it up in a few minutes?
Well you can and the Berghaus Air 4 proves it.
So what’s the deal with Air beam tents?
All the rage – and for good reason – an air beam tent has a few advantages over a conventional poled tent:
Quick to put up and take down
This is where an air tent shines. A peg in each corner and out with the pump. A few pumps and not much effort later all the “beams” are inflated. It’s then just a matter of pegging out the guylines. Easily less than 10 minutes. Dropping your tent is a simple matter of releasing the air valves and it just collapses. No poles to unthread from their sleeves.
Wind resistance and stability
I struggled with my old school thinking and imagined an air tent would be all floppy and pretty useless in a wind.
Having compared a tent model with the option of poles or air beams, I can report that an air tent is sturdier. There is also less wind resistance on an air tent. The air beams can collapse in a very strong gust but they just bounce back again. Try that with a conventional poled tunnel tent and you break the pole.
Why would you want one?
If you are looking to reduce the hassle of long and complicated putting up and taking down of your tent then inflatable air beams are the way to go. Strong and stable. It is an excellent construction method that erects really fast.
And why not?
If you are looking for a light and compact tent then poles are the way to go. An air tent takes up more space in your car and is heavy if you are planning on lugging it a long way.
The Berghaus air 4
The Berghaus Air 4 is an inflatable or air beam tent of tunnel design. It has no poles other than one to hold a side porch up. This makes it MUCH faster to put up and take down. It comes complete with pump, repair kit and wheeled carrying bag.
For a family of 3 or 4 it is a compact tent that still has space for everything including a split bedroom. There is room for 4 in the main living area but it would be a bit tight being in there on a few wet day.
If you are a couple looking for a very spacious luxury tent then the Berghaus Air 4 is a good bet. It’s huge for for 2 people but the luxury is fantastic.
More than 4 people? Then consider a larger version of the same tent. It is made up to an 8 person version.
- Extremely spacious
- Well equipped for livability
- Can be erected in around 10 minutes
- Full headroom
- Can be difficult to get in the bag
- Heavier than a poled tent
- Bulkier than a poled tent
The outer tent is made from a blue 70 denier fabric with a a 6000mm Hydrostatic head rating and all seams are taped. This is not a flimsy toy tent. It’s extremely waterproof and strong.
Support is thanks to 3 air beams, each of which has an inflation point at the bottom. These feature spring loaded, quick release air valves that allow the tent to deflate in a jiffy. Do remember to reset the valve before inflating or all the air will come out when you disconnect the pump. Noisy and embarrassing.
The whole thing is fire retardant and tested to the BS EN 5912 standard.
There are luminous guy-lines which saves the embarrassing trips in the night.
Standard version – 3 air beams
- 7.56 m2 living area
- Outside dimensions – 495cm x 280cm
- Bedroom – 250cm x 210cm
- Headroom – 200cm
- Mattress width space – 62.5cm for each of 4 people
XL version – 4 air beams
- 8.37 m2 living area
- Outside dimensions – 605cm x 310cm
- Bedroom x 2 – 140cm x 215cm
- Headroom – 205cm
- Mattress width space – 70cm for each of 4 people
There are 2 doors – one on the side that has a generous rain porch, and one on the end. Both feature generous flaps over the zips to keep the rain out.
The end, or front, door has a zip down each side and rolls up to the top to stow out of the way when open. The side door has a C shaped zip and rolls up to one side when open.
Both doors have fine mesh screens. This will keep the bugs out while stillngiving heaps of ventilation. The porch on the side door keeps the rain out so keeping it open and using the mesh screen will work well on a wet day.
The front door needs to be closed when it’s raining or the tent will become a bath-tub.
The windows are very clear and bright PVC which lets in lots of light. They also have curtains on the inside which are attached at the bottom and can open half way. This is great as it allows a degree of privacy whilst still letting the light in.
The front window blinds roll to the sides and there are vents directly above them. These have a flap on the outside which can be closed with Velcro and a prop to hold them open. These help to reduce condensation.
In the main living area
The main living area is large with space for 2 chairs and a table. We favour putting a chair on each corner by the inner tent and having a table in the middle. Great for relaxing, cooking or eating.
There is plenty of room for 4 but not in quite the same spacious luxury.
At 6’2″ I can easily stand up in the main living area.
Storage abounds with 5 pockets on the inner tent between the bedroom doors and some more below the side window. Very handy for keeping your kit organised.
The central air beam has a lantern hanging point with neat little velcro loops for attaching a cable to. You could also run fairy lights through the loops. At the bottom of this beam there is a zipped hole to receive an electric cable from outside. This keeps everything neat and provides great illumination at night.
If you want to protect the floor and add warmth there is a carpet available.
In the bedrooms
The breathable inner tent is made of 185T dark polyester which only lets in a small amount of light and lots of air. This makes it easy to get a good nights sleep.
Condensation and heat are further reduced by a massive vent in the back of the bedrooms. This ties up with a large vent on the outside.
The inner tent can be split into 2 with a removable divider. This gives some extra privacy where needed.
There is space for 2 double air mattresses.
For storage there are several pockets that are easily reached when lying down. Great for your overnight bits and pieces.
The entrace doors are full height with vents at the top which can be closed if less air – or more privacy is needed.
If it’s really hot – and there are no bugs, you can fold down the top half of the door.
When the doors are open there is a neat storage pocket for them which keeps them out of the way neatly. No need to roll them up – just stuff in the pocket.
Like the main living area, there is a single hanging point for a lantern.
Putting it up and taking it down
This is the real strength of an inflatable tent and the Berghaus Air 4 is no slouch in this department. It’s simple and fast…
Peg out all 4 corners with the large stakes.
Make sure the grey valve button on the beam is in the out position.
Pump up each beam until the pressure gauge on the pump is in the green. The supplied pump is awesome and makes this really fast and easy. It takes approx 12 pumps for a beam to inflate – less than 1 minute for each.
Peg out the guy-lines.
The porch brow has a conventional pole that fits in sockets on the beam. Just push in.
That’s it. It all takes less than 10 minutes.
How to pack it away
Push in the button on each valve and the whole tent collapses.
Remove all the pegs and fold up the tent.
Now comes the only difficult bit…
Leave it for a few minutes for the air to escape and roll up. This can be a bit of a faff and needs to be done well so it fits in the bag. It’s a tight fit.
What comes with a Berghaus Air 4?
- 2 way pump that sucks air aout as well pumps it in
- 4 x heavy duty corner stakes + round wire pegs for everywhere else
- Repair kit that includes all fabrics, puncture repair kit, guy-line, door securing toggle and a buckle for the corner pegging points
- Wheeled carrying bag that makes moving it around a doddle
You can buy a footprint that goes under the tent to protect it. This is a groundsheet that is cut to be exactly the right size and shape for this tent. It comes with its own pegs and a bag. A great way to protect your investment.
There is an extension porch which adds a huge 8.5 m2 extra space outside the side door. It comes with its own groundsheet and pegs. Expensive but worth considering if extra space is important. Bear in mind that you could buy a small tent for the same money.
There is also a carpet for the main living area. A good addition that protects the floor and makes it warmer in the winter.
Weight – 19Kg
Relative to their poled cousins, an air tent is generally heavier. Not really an issue unless you have a long way to carry it. This is alleviated by the wheeled bag that the tent comes with.
An air tent is bulkier when packed. Particularly if you don’t work at packing it.
Once you have let the air out and waited for a few minutes to ensure the beams are empty – the work begins. Rolling the stiff tubes inside the tent can be a struggle. Overall the work of packing up is easily outweighed by the ease of every other part of the process.
Is The Berghaus Air 4 a good tent?
Well it’s certainly popular with users. Here’s what people say:
Not what you are looking for?- here’s some alternatives…
The XL version of the Bergaus Air 4 adds a lot of extra space in all dimensions:
It’s taller, wider, longer, has bigger bedrooms, and adds a front porch. This is a massive 4 person tent and is excessive for a couple. However it will comfortably accommodate a family of 4.
|Berghaus Air 4||Berghaus Air 4 XL|
|Dimensions – 495 cm x 280 cm||Dimensions – 605 cm x 310 cm|
|Weight – 19 kg||Weight – 28.3 kg|
|Floor area – 7.56 m2||Floor area – 8.37 m2|
|Headroom – 200 cm||Headroom -205 cm|
With extra outdoor space in the porch it will even cope with rainier weather and is a genuine 4 person tent.
This tent is considerably more expensive than the standard Berghaus air 4. But it really is a completely different tent. I’m surprised they didn’t make it into a model of its own and give it a different name.
A very similar tent to the Berghaus Air 4 and this one is available with poles or air beams.
We studied this tent a lot and compared it to the poled version. The Air beam version is more stable and much easier to put up.
It’s lighter, shorter, and has less space inside. This makes it more suitable for a couple than a family.
If you don’t fancy the idea of an inflatable tent then this is a similar option. Smaller than the Berghaus Air 4, it is still a great size for a couple and possibly a family of 4
|Berghaus Air 4||Coleman Oak Canyon|
|Dimensions – 495 cm x 280 cm||Dimensions – 470 cm x 280 cm|
|Weight – 19 kg||Weight – 18.5 kg|
|Floor area – 7.56 m2||Floor area – 5m2|
|Headroom – 200 cm||Headroom -190 cm|
The same style of tent as the Berghaus but with poles instead of air beams. Consequently it is not as easy to put up but is still pretty rapid.
If you are looking for a luxurious multi featured tent then this one delivers it all. It’s spacious, nice and airy, with lots of headroom.
It’s fast to put up and will have you sitting in your chair with a brew whilst others on the campsite are still faffing with poles.
The Berghaus Air is a bit bigger than most of the competition so if that extra space – to go with easy erection – takes your fancy then take a look at the price on Amazon.