Pitched at young families, this six-person air tent feels pretty futuristic, with its spaceship-grey design and inflatable poles. Ideally, you will have a powerful robot to help you carry it, because, at 39kg, it’s hard to find humans willing or able to lug it around. Alternatively, since it’s a six-sleeper, you and your fellow campers could all get into the team spirit and heave it into position together.
- Off camping soon? Don’t miss our family camping checklist.
In our case, we had four adults and four tiny children keen to lend a helping hand. The little ones weren’t much use at the heavy lifting, but offered lots of encouragement.
Buying a tent? Check out our other family tent reviews:
- Best budget option: Easycamp Palmdale 600 Lux tent
- Best air tent: Vango Aether Air tent 600XL
- Best small family tent: Buxton Waterproof 4 Man Tent
A note to prospective buyers – even packed down in its handy oversize tarp bag, this tent is huge, at 100cm x 70cm x 50cm. It took up most of our car boot. If you want to carry anything else with you, such as clothes, food or cooking equipment, you’ll need a roof rack, trailer or your own lorry. But given the eye-watering price tag of £1,599, it’s clear that this is a longterm investment (one that offers seriously comfortable camping for extended periods), so it’s worth planning your means of transportation before purchase.
Once unpacked, the Zonda 6EP assembles easily, with the help of a nifty double-action handpump, to a vast structure that resembles an inflatable bungalow. It boasts three black-out bedrooms and a large indoor space in case of bad weather, plus an extendable porch with a removable groundsheet, so you can adjust your flooring depending on the weather.
In the living room, the large tinted windows have curtains, so you can allow daylight to flood in or block it out as required. Lantern hanging points offer the option of electric lighting, facilitated by twin electrical hook-up points. The front of the tent can open up entirely to the elements, should the weather be clement, while insect mesh panels on doors and windows keep bugs to a minimum. Plenty of air vents help you regulate ventilation and condensation.
Designed by outdoor experts Wild Country, the clever details of this product showcase the company’s 35 years of tent-making and camping experience. Is it worth the price? Well, it’s thoughtfully made and beautifully presented. There’s no doubt that the Zonda 6EP is pretty fabulous. Just make sure you have a plan for how you will transport it anywhere – and where you’re going to store it at home.
Facts at a glance:
- Sleeps: 6
- Type of tent: Family, tunnel design
- Pack size: 100cm x 70cm x 50 cm
- Weight: 38.7kg
- Poles: 12cm diameter Air Flex Poles
- Flysheet: 150D 190T Polyester RS fabric PU6000mm FR
- Groundsheet: Sewn in. 120g/M2 PE FR
- Standing room: Living room 210cm; bedroom 190cm
- Inner tent: 68D 190T Breathable polyester FR
- Colour: Light blue-grey with red guy ropes
Outwell Dreamboat double mattress 12cm
After a few nights in a tent, you might find it hard to get comfortable in bed. Your back might be stiff and hips sore in the morning, too. So it may be worth investing in a really comfortable self-inflating mattress such as the Dreamboat. It really does feel surprisingly like your mattress at home. The price tag may be stiff, but if this luxury allows you to persevere with camping holidays – always more affordable than other options – it might be an investment worth making. Note that while it packs down into its own stuff sack, it’s still fairly bulky when packed, so make sure you have room for it in the boot before buying.
Sea to Summit Tek Towel
Day three of your camping trip, and your damp cotton towels stink already. You can’t get them dry no matter how you try. Argh. What’s the solution? A travel towel will dry in a fraction of the time – ridding itself of the lingering damp that causes odours. If you’ve tried travel towels and don’t like the texture, you may like the Tek towel from Sea to Summit – it is made from soft microfibres with a ‘terry’ finish that feels more like a cotton towel.