What is it?
Vango Skye Air II 400 AirBeam Tent RRP: £370
- Outdoor Gear UK
- Winfields Outdoors
- Vango AirBeam® – Quick to pitch and creates a strong and rigid structure
- All flysheet seams are factory taped, which provides a watertight seal
- Lantern Hanging Points – Conveniently positioned to attach your light(s)
- Square shape provides extra space to have greater freedom of movement when sleeping
- TBS®II tension band system ensures the tent performs in adverse conditions, especially in strong, changeable winds
- AirSpeed® Valve – inflate and deflate your tent effortlessly in minutes with the unique and conveniently positioned valve
- Vango AirBeam® is quick to pitch and creates a strong and rigid structure
- Bedroom pockets are conveniently positioned pockets for storing your essentials
- Queen sized bedrooms provide a 60cm sleeping area per person, meaning you have plenty of room to sleep and store essentials
We are well-known for our elaborate camping setups and whilst we love camping in absolute comfort, set up can often take a ridiculously long time for us to achieve and on a short camping trip, that’s over the top even by our standards.
I have a small tent that I love and use for solo camping trips, but for the two of us, who like at least a bit of space and not to be on top of each other along with space for our trusty camp loo, we needed something that provided us with a happy medium, that wasn’t too tiny but equally not too big!
We’ve been using AirBeam tents since 2016 and absolutely love them and would choose them every time over a traditional pole tent. Yes, they are a bit more expensive and can be a bit bulkier, but ease of pitching more than makes up for this.
Pitching the tent
The Skye Air II goes up just like any other AirBeam tent, I tend to roll the tent out, roughly peg it out at the corners, inflate the AirBeams, then finish the process of pegging out and guying.
Weather conditions were good for my first pitch, so I didn’t use every guy rope, and it took me about 5 minutes to pitch solo. If you’re guying it out fully and you’re doing it alone, you’ll still be fully pitched in under 10 minutes.
The first time of pitching was a little confusing, largely down to the fact the Skye Air II doesn’t have fully sewn-in groundsheets, so finding the base shape of the tent left me momentarily bamboozled, but thankfully, as soon as you pump up the beams (which takes about 30 seconds per beam) the tent pretty much pops into shape making it obvious and far easier to continue pegging down.
The bedroom compartment is already clipped in, as is the clip in groundsheet that covers the front section of the tent, however this can easily be removed, if for some reason you didn’t want to use it.
There’s just one door on the tent on the left side, and we did note a distinct lack of bug mesh, which meant that in use, we had to keep the door closed most of the time, and were thankful we had our Insect-o-cutor bug zapper with us.
At the front of the tent there is a good ventilation panel and again, at the rear of the tent, if you guy it out, it opens up some additional bedroom ventilation.
There’s the usual Vango storm tensioning straps inside the tent, multiple Lantern Hanging Points as well as storage pockets inside the bedroom area and the bedroom door stows neatly away when not in use.
I’ve been on three camping trips so far in this tent and each time I’ve had a slightly different configuration. The pictures below show the sleeping compartment with a single standard SIM inside sideways and lengthways to give you an idea of size/space.
On a solo camping trip to Snowdonia where I knew I was going to be out all day hiking and wanted comfort above anything else, I even managed to get my enormous folding camp bed inside the tent!
Impressive though that feat was, it’s really designed to be used with an air mattress or SIMs, and will comfortably sleep 2-3 adults. 4 would be possible, but it would be a very tight squeeze indeed.
On one trip it poured heavily all night, and after a good 9 hours of non-stop rain, I awoke to find a small pool of water inside the tent, just to the left of the door, at the base of the middle AirBeam, shown below.
This revealed one of the downsides of the tent in that the top and the side of the door zip shut, but the bottom of the door only closes via velcro which leaves gaps.
This means that In heavy rain and high wind, water can find its way inside. That said, the volume of water I had to contend with was very small and was easily mopped up.
- Very fast to pitch, it takes me about 5 minutes on my own
- Strong and sturdy
- Good amount of internal space
- Generously sized carry bag which makes getting everything packed away much easier
- Dark Nightfall bedroom compartment reduces early morning sunlight
- Although relatively chunky, at less than 10kg, it’s quite light to carry around
- Copes well in the wind
- Groundsheets aren’t fully sewn in
- The door doesn’t fully close across the bottom and relies on velcro
- Lack of bug mesh on the tent door
- Limited windows
This is a great little tent and fills a gap between a compact backpacking tent and a weekend or small family tent. The Skye Air II is ideal when we want a quick night away together, or when I’m solo camping for a few days and want a wee bit more space without taking a much larger tent resulting in a camping setup that’s too extra.
It’s quick to put up and very stable thanks to it’s AirBeam construction, which isn’t commonly something you find on a tent of this size. As with all AirBeam tents, it’s fairly bulky, but on the flip side, it is pretty light to carry which makes this a really versatile little tent, though the lack of sewn-in groundsheet, limited windows and no bug mesh door could be a compromise too far for some.
We feel the compromises are worth it however for this good quality, capable and versatile inflatable tent that comes in at such an affordable price point and makes the ideal choice for quick getaways.
DISCLOSURE | The featured product was gifted to us by Vango.co.uk. All views are our own and we were not paid to write this review.
Where to next?
- TENTS | Vango Stargrove II 450 AirBeam Tent From Outdoor World Direct – Review
- TENTS | Vango AirBeam Solaris 500 Tent Review
- CAMPING GEAR | Vango Blissful Double Air Mattress Review
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