By: Vedge Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 15/06/2014
Having recently got back into camping (always used to go as a child and now introducing my children to hopefully what will make as some great memories)
It took me a very long time researching tents to finally plump on the Kampa Southwold air 8 with one valve to pump into to erect the tent.
Firstly as a family of 7 we needed a large tent no questions asked with plenty of living room space to fit us all in comfortably should we need to, secondly with 5 children under 10 we needed something quick and easy, imagine my surprise to discover this 'new' technology of air tents! A bouncy castle style of tent first sprang to mind! Seeing these tents in the flesh and how 'strong' the poles seemed really swung it for me but could these tents really be as simple as the manufacturers made out to put up and take down?
Well so far yes and no, honestly this tent is a pleasure to put up, absolutely love seeing it pop up in no time, now by no time I don't mean the 10 minutes stated by manufacturers probably more like 20 minutes but hey this is still new to us and don't forget the kids running around to deal with inbetween and re-reading the instructions, I reckon after a few more attempts we will have cracked the time down to 10 mins to pitch out - result!
One thing to note also in online videos where they (don't they always) make the pumping up of the tent look like a piece of cake it does In fact take a substantial effort to get things going initially and you definitely need two people, I'm sure with practice pitching could be done with one person but would end up taking approx 20-30 mins as a guesstimate?
Packing away (at the moment) is taking a lot longer, I suppose part of that is because we are still making sure we are completing each part correctly, valves in correct position etc.
Quite a bit of time is to be allowed to let air naturally dispel which is fine on a dry day and doesn't actually take that long but we have found ourselves helping the air out and still working on an optimal folding technique - again something that I think will improve with practice.
The tent bag is large enough so that you are not struggling to squeeze the tent in after packing up however at 33.6kg it is a heavy piece of equipment to carry (I could not manage on my own) my husband can just about manage on his own but best managed between two people.
The tent itself is fantastically roomy with plenty of storage pockets, 4 bedrooms, mesh ventilation throughout and sewn in groundsheet. We love the modern colour scheme (mocha and lime green) and day glow guyropes - ideal with the children!
The package (with footprint and carpet) is a huge investment for us really which we have saved up for being at the top end price wise, we would have absolutely loved to purchase the canopy that goes with the tent to give us extra room but at £400 alone we just cannot justify this kind of money on a canopy at the moment - it does seem a little extreme!
The quality of this tent is amazing, no leaks at all after last weekend of torrential rain and thunderstorms! I'm so glad we spent the extra money on a high end tent that will hopefully last us many many years!
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By: Helen72 Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 14/06/2014
Bought the tent and the canopy from Codicote Exhibition in May this year and have used once, so this review is just based on limited use!
We'd been looking at the Vango air ones and the HiGear ones and couldn't decide. Saw this one up and loved it, paid £1340 for it (ouch) including carpet, footprint etc.
Upsides: Excellent space, nice colour, seems well made, didn't leak (!), easy to put up.
Downsides: It is massive! (Am sure Vango is a smaller pack size and comes in a wheeled bag).
I think, if we'd seen the pack size before buying we would have reconsidered. It is so large we can't get it in our loft and it has lain like a huge boulder in our kitchen since we got back. I was even considering making it part of the furniture and throwing a tablecloth over it! I know it's a big tent but they could have made things easier by adding extra handles/grippers or something, you just can't get a grip of it - it's so big! A wheeled bag would make things a lot easier.
We thought that an air tent would save time but to be honest I think the time saved will be minimal. The majority of time is spent pegging out so it still took us 45 mins (not including canopy!). Obviously we'll get quicker and there are other advantages to the air beams in that you can't really go wrong with the pitching. Am looking forward to using it over the summer and will report back with with any other findings!
If you have a garage (and a large car) and can just fling it in you will be fine!
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By: Skiiddy Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 09/10/2013
Just discovered this great site and thought I would post a review of our Southwold 8.
Having been out of the camping game for some time, we decided that taking our two Saluki hounds to Hotels for weekends/holidays was just ridiculously expensive and being based in Devon, we have a vast choice in regards to sites within 1 to 1.5 hours distance. We like our creature comforts and after a week of thorough research, we bought ours from Casey's Outdoor Leisure. This is a monster of a tent however, we considered the Air Canopy to be an essential part of our adventures, especially with the two dogs, and purchased one of these too!.
Our first weekend was in early September and we booked Heligan Woods, Cornwall for two nights; a couple of friends came with us for one night and I was grateful for the help! The instructions are reasonably straight forward and the main tent was up in under 15 minutes. The canopy is a different story and took at least 30 minutes to work out what went where and even then, because the instructions are very poor, we managed to connect it incorrectly by which time, we were exhausted and in need of a cold beer!
The bath style groundsheet for the canopy has three gusseted holes and when I asked Kampa about them and what they were for, the chap I spoke to couldn't remember! However, the tent is very spacious, expertly crafted and has a huge living area. Our friends departed the next day and we prepared ourselves for the forecast which promised high winds and heavy rain; sure enough, it arrived at about 11pm! There is something exciting about being inside a tent when the rain and wind are lashing above (and to the side!).
Next morning, I was relieved to feel the warmth of late summer sun and breathed a sigh of relief noting that the tent was already drying out nicely in time for our departure at midday. In spite of this, we had a really good look around and there were no leaks, no sagging air tubes and all the guy ropes were taught, amazing! The storm had passed by about 0200 although the rain probably continued intermittently, throughout the night.
We figured that taking the tent down would be reasonably easy; unscrewed the valves and sure enough, it fell gracefully in to a neat pile. The instructions tell you to fold the tent towards the opened valves in order to release any excess air in the tubes but this proved a little awkward and my wife and I literally had to lie on the tent when rolled up and squeeze the air out before it would fit neatly back in to its bag - de-camp time was about 1.5 hours.
Our second outing was spent at Little Cotton in Dartmouth which is one of our favorite locations for walking. Being late September, we had a choice of pitches as there were 1, 2, 3.NO other campers in sight(!) save for the Motorhome crowd who were sited in their own area.
Our pitch was nicely flat and this time, setting up the main tent was a breeze! In all from unloading, laying out the footprint, pitching, pumping the main tent, erecting the Air canopy took about 30 minutes - unbelievably quick! and this time, the canopy was put in to its proper location (in front of one door and the corresponding window). Looks brilliant when up and although we had my sister-in-law and partner with us, again, we/they could not beleive the amazing space.
De-camp was simpler and took a little over an hour but there had been a heavy dew overnight and once home, the tent had to be fully dried out ready for winter storage.
We did consider the Outwell Concorde XL, a superior tent in many ways but in terms of price, it is very close to that of the Karsten 325 which if I'm honest and could afford it, would be my first choice. We wanted a large tent for friends and family who are like minded, spontaneous campers although we are now looking to book a week in France and have already begun booking occasional long weekends already for next year.
I have given the Soutwold 10 out of 10 purely because I believe that £1 for £1, Kampa have got their pricing right for the new generation of 'Air' tents. Vango, whilst very good, seem to have used a less substantial material and Outwell, whilst using ploy/cotton, are out of reach of many people so the Kampa range would be our recommendation.
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By: Strasse Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 19/07/2013
What a brilliant tent - replacement for a Pendine 8 which did loyal service for 5 years. The Southwold Air really does take 10 mins (complete) to put up & peg out. Was rock solid in Brittany Gales and survived the riggors of the Le Mans weekend (those who go will know what I mean!).
Really big internal layout - it costs but is the best tent we have ever had
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The Kampa Southwold 8 Air is a revolutionary new Airframe design in todays market of tents ! All of the "Airpoles" are connected via a very clever valve system which means that the entire tent can be pumped up in a minute ! With this brand new valve design if you ever have a fault with a AirPole you can just easily close off the one beam so your tent will stay up no matter what happens during your stay.
AirFrame - all Airpoles interconnected Ridge AirPoles for extra stability Isolation Valves - in case of damage to one AirPole Inner tents remain in-situ for set up and take down Sewn-in-groundsheet Two doors with wet weather protection Organiser pockets in inner tents Complete with manual pump with pressure gauge