Road Test – Vango Airbeam Kinetic 600 Tent

Posted on September 11, 2013

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We are not a camping family. Scratch that…we WERE not a camping family! Our children have wanted to camp for awhile and so this summer we decided to give it one more try…and wow! Camping can be really, really fun. But what I have realised more than anything is if you don’t have the right kit you’re setting yourself up for failure. With the right kit anything is possible!

Which brings me to the Vango Airbeam Kinetic 600 tent and our trip to the absolutely wonderful Greenacres campsite near Glastonbury to review it.

Vango say, “Vango AirBeam® Technology creates strong and rigid tent structures with unrivalled speed and simplicity of pitching.”

Of course we should have had a rehearsal of putting it up at home in the garden to test this out. People scoffed slightly when we admitted we hadn’t yet given it a go…but Globalmouse is a busy travelling family and time rushed past us and before we knew it we were off…so when we got to the beautiful Somerset fields it was going to be make or break…humiliation or success!!

All around us families were putting up their tents in military formations – seasoned campers who each knew who had to stand where, and which pole needed to attach to which other pole…and on and on…it was a little intimidating!

But still, we were confident in our kit and out of the car it came. I should start by staying that even though this is a tent which sleeps 6 it comes neatly packed in almost a rucksack style bag – super compact and with wheels on one end so you can roll it, airport style, around.

We started off by spreading it out on the ground. Simple!

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Next you peg the four corners down. Simple!

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Then you find the valves, there are 3 – one in the middle and one at either end…Image

And with the amazingly easy pump you get with the tent you pump it up with next to no effort. And I promise I am not exaggerating, in less than 5 minutes our tent had literally popped up. It was almost embarrassing as we looked around at the other families, still working out which poles went where. I say almost embarrassing because actually we felt pretty smug! It was like a magic tent. No poles, nothing extra to work out what goes where, simply lay it flat and pump it up and *ping* there it is!! In fact, it was so quick I didn’t get a single photo of it going up. (I’ll do that next time, yes there will definitely be a next time).

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The last thing to do is to put in around 12 pegs around the tent and that is it.

There are loads of things we loved about this tent. For one there are air vents for hot days but if you don’t want to use them it is completely sealed making it really cosy for cooler nights. Every door has a mosquito net you can use and there are some great storage solutions around – like the places to hang your shoes through the doorway.

You can split the main bedroom into two if you like but we kept ours open as our children are quite young and wanted to see us!!

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The main space is really roomy too and we had a table and chairs in it without it feeling crowded.

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For 6 foot 3 Mr Globalmouse he reveled in stories of tents at Glastonbury Festival which he had to crawl into…recounted as he stood without stooping in the tent – it is full standing height throughout.

We spent some lovely days at Greenacres. It’s a wonderful campsite and our children were all really happy to play with all the others at the playground. I loved how they kept the middle space clear for lots of games and there were constant kite flying, mass campsite football games, cricket matches and loads of tricycles and bicycles ready to be played on as well as a little playground.

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I also loved the Sunday morning arrival of the croissant lady!! Something every campsite should have.

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But there was a slight concern hanging over us. We still had to put the tent down. Again, never before attempted. What if this proved to be the problem??!

So, when checking out time drew closer we sent the children off to the playground again…or more accurately they were already there!!…and decided to go for it!

Out came the pegs and then we had to locate the valves and turn them. Whooosh. Down went the tent. The whole thing just collapsed down. Magic tent!!

We rolled it up back into its bag – we did have one issue here with trapped air inside the tent but we realised we should have opened the doors first to make sure the air had chance to escape. It all then went back into its rucksack bag and back into the boot of the car in another 5 minutes flat.

The struggling with poles, trying to work out which bit goes where, spending absolutely ages just erecting the tent is over. We called it our magic tent all weekend and absolutely loved it. If I was going to be picky I would say that if you have teenagers the two rooms (or 3 if you split the bedroom) might feel a bit intense. But you can buy add on rooms and to be honest by the time they’re big enough they can have their own tent. Just not this one. This is mine and it’s my first tent love!!

http://www.vango.co.uk/vango-airbeam/kinetic-600.html

Any questions? Ask away!! I’d love to hear what you think.

Our tent is on long-term loan from Vango for the purpose of reviewing it but this is an honest and unbiased account.

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