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Tent Reviews: Vango Illusion 800 AirBeam

Tent and Awning Reviews Index  >  Vango  >  Illusion 800 AirBeam Reviews

Current Model?
RRP on date added:
Bedroom inners:
Living area groundsheet:
Pitching Style:
8  (more 8 berth tents)
41.00 KG
Fully Sewn-in
Average User Rating:
7.13/10 from 15 reviews

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15 Reviews of the Illusion 800 AirBeam         Showing 01 to 10          Page:   1   2  

By: Tonyd3  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2017   Rating: 

Thought I ought to update my review of this tent from a few years back.

To be fair to Vango they replaced the tent we had problems with with a brand new 2017 model.

However, there is a principal in psychology called cognitive dissonance. It is how religious cults work, the more you put into something the more you have to justify your choices with blind faith and obedience.

Paying nearly 1 and a half grand for a collection of inner tubes and heavy duty Doritos packaging will drag you down that cognitive dissonance highway pretty quickly.

So, the year we got the new version of the tent . No rain, no problems. Even with all of use breathing heavily inside it. No leaks (condensation anyone?) Next year we had a little rain but I had pitched the tent at NASA levels of perfection, so while it leaked a little it wasn't so bad but then neither was the rain. Now please bear in mind this was the third iteration of this tent we were trying so I assumed it must have been my fault (cognitive dissonance at work) so I got up early and cleaned the pools of water that only formed when it rained.Before my wife could get up and tut about this white elephant I had bought.

This year, it rained properly and but the tent was pitched as tight as a gnats chuff but still it leaked. Pitched it again when we got home to dry the tent (yes we are those sort of people) no one in the tent and pitched pin tight and still it leaked. There is no other conclusion.This is just a crap tent, no way around it, I can't go along with the fiction anymore.It simply doesn't function as a tent. I cannot believe the other reviewers that praise this nonsense, have actually seen rain or understand what a tent is supposed to do. As I said before I have been camping for nearly 30 odd years and never experienced such a consistently awful product. Will never buy a Vango product again. By the way I'm selling this one, so if any of the folks who think this is a great tent want to recommended it to their friends I have one doing cheap.
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By: Loxyfoxes  Reason: I've used one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Leaked first time it was used. Was told this was good as a wetting will have sealed a membrane to prevent any leaks ever again (was v dubious to hear this news). Used this week. Flooded. The wind flattened the beams on one side of the tent which allowed a pool of rain to build up and gush into the tent. Managed to dry the thing out with aid of other kind Campers and wash all clothes which were floating in the flood. Then the next night the wind blew and the tent was destroyed. Burst beams and crushed tables etc. This was the only tent on the site that fell fowl to the weather and it was probably the most expensive one there-more fool. Me. I bought it so I could manage alone with my kids and dog but one of them is still having nightmares about the whole episode. Called the Vango helpline which rang, and rang and rang with nobody licking up.

Had to go home early with some very disappointed children. Tweeted but got ignored.
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By: RebeccaMcClunan  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Well bought this tent as on my own with two kids and could put it up alone with minimum help from them.

First used it May half term and it popped, we had faulty batch one but all credit to Vango sent out beams to me at the site promptly and sent a couple of lights. Bedroom toggle ripped easily off, storm guy came unstitched, it leaked. It got sent back and apparently all sorted. I was happy with repairs of stitching and service.

Then summer holidays, all good till it rained, every beam had a puddle at the bottom. Bedroom floors soaked, puddles under carpet.

Back to supplier who returned it to Vango and it's been all sorted to my satisfaction.

Disappointed in the tent as I love Vango products but prepared to accept its a one off design fault. Really happy with suppliers service and Vango's customer service.
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By: Djespie1  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Bought this tent to go back to basics of proper camping under metaphorical canvas.

It is relatively easy to erect, however do not be fooled by the Vango propaganda and promotional videos.It does not go up fully inflated, pegged and guyed in 10mins.

You are looking at 30-45mins at a conservative guess. Still not too bad though.

Putting air into the beams is hard work so don't be fooled on how easy it looks on video.

Simply peg out 4 corners and inflate from the rear going fowards. We open the zipped side door to prevent a vacuum forming. Someone will need to go inside to help the beams up.

Carry on and pump up all 5, straighten the tent, peg all the outer pegs and then guy. It will never look like it does in the show room though.

We then set up the interior.

We have the complete front awning, but because of how it sits when zipped, water runs backwards and pours through said zips onto floor. It also leaked above one of the windows despite having been weather by a couple of torrential storms in Somerset earlier in the year.

The recurring comments about double zips on the doors is also a concern for us having a rather active 2 year old. The internal fitted carpet acts like you are on an ice rink and I only bought it to keep er in doors happy.

No issues with the beams or stitching.

It is now back with Vango being tested for the leaking issues. Will have to wait and see on the verdict.
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By: Tonyd3  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Having used this tent for a very dry weekend at the end of May we finally got the chance to use it for a longer stretch.

I'm afraid it has not faired well.

Even before we had the chance to use the tent, it had to be exchanged, because several pegging points were missing. Then when we did get the tent back it was one of the batch that had to have it's beams replaced. But surely now nothing else could go wrong! Once all that was sorted we used it for two nights in May in Rosbeg. Weather was fab, no rain and no issues.

We then didn't have a chance to use the tent until this week in (August) Westport In Ireland. On the second night it poured with rain. In the morning 3 of the five beams had large puddles gathered around all of their bases. The bedroom sections were floating in water and it had seeped through into the bedrooms themselves. The tent had also leaked over one of the bedrooms and the water had soaked through the groundsheet in the living room area.

I have been camping for over 20 years and I know a thing or two about tents. This is probably the worse tent I have bought when you consider the price paid for it. The layout is fine, the heavy material seems good but the build quality is just pathetic for a tent at this price bracket, aside from the leaks one of the bedroom ties has already come out.

Sitting in the campsite as I type with the bedrooms suspended, hoping they will dry out and praying that it doesn't rain again or we will have to go home. Was really looking forward to using this tent, but feel like a mug now paying 1250 quid for a tent that performs like a £150 quid one.

Before anyone tries to have the condensation conversation with me. There was no pooling of water before it rained and if this is supposed to be an acceptable level of condensation for an Air beam,then I think I should buy a boat!
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By: Gaelypants  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

I bought the Vango illusion 800 in March this year. I've used it on 3 trips so far. I'm a 40 year old mum of 2 & I can manage this tent on my own. It is very heavy at about 45kg but it's in a big wheelie duffel type bag so the only lifting is in/out car & I stand it on end & shove it in/up with help from my knees.

It's easy to pitch. I'm still only using the manual pump & the tent is erect in 5-10 mins, the kids like to help but it takes a bit of oomph!

Great head height, good sized bedrooms (3 across back). I unzip the divider so I've got a double air bed & 2 camp beds in together & the other wee bedroom is used as toilet/dressing room. The 'living room' bit easily takes 4 camp chairs & a table. The front part has room for table & chairs & camp kitchen type unit. I've also got the sun canopy & this was pretty easy to zip on & it was good protection for the front doors.

So far, no leakage. I've mostly left the vents open so minimal condensation. It's been in plenty rain already (Scottish:)) & we did have one windy wet night in the borders. The tent took it all in its stride, even the canopy survived the night. In the rain I keep the front doors closed & use the storm door for access, minimal rain gets in then.

The 2 side doors have a mesh option but there's no mesh option for the inner divider wall, there is a pvc window panel in this. On our trip last wk to the campsies there was lots of wasps & they kept getting in despite trying to keep the inner wall mostly zipped up.

On the whole I love it & im looking forward to many years as happy campers.
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By: Gadsby  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

I've already written my lengthy review on this fab tent. However - I just wanted to add in a comment about the Vango 'call back' on the beams.

Unfortunately my tent was amongst the batch number that they'd had problems with (go to their website, all the details are on there). It's to do with an unspecified thread being used to make the beams - and Vango made the decision to send out new ones free of charge. I must say they were extremely helpful and the beams were sent out a couple of days after I'd called them.

My beams had actually been fine and I had no problems whatsoever - but last week I decided to change them (just in case!).

It's definitely not a 'one man' job. I roped my partner in to help and it took just under an hour to replace them all. Each beam is the same size and by the end of it we'd got the hang of it.

It's a brilliant design and such an easy thing to replace - just a bit awkward.
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By: Shastings  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Vango Illusion 800, 2016.

Purchased April 2016, from Attwoolls, used for the first time in anger over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend and used on each subsequent weekend prior to writing this review.

Iíve now pitched and de-pitched this tent 5 times: once on a practice run in the garden, once for Airbeam replacement (see below*); and three times for weekend camping trips. On each occasion, from opening the bag to being able to walk around inside, the initial pitch has taken me less than ten minutes (on the occasion that my wife decided to video me, it took just under 7 mins Ė though I was trying extra hard as I knew the footage would end up online). OK, after raising the flysheet, you still have to run out guys all around and do a little final positioning as with any other tent, but Iíve always found the initial pitching the most stressful part, particularly if it's heaving down with rain and your pitching partner has to abandon proceedings every few minutes to tend to screaming kids. Which brings me to the most important point of all: this tent really can be pitched solo, with relative ease - a serious game changer for such a big tent! For comparison, our previous rig, an Outwell Montana 6p and awning, which together gave a very similar amount of usable space, would take up to 30 minutes just to raise the tent's flysheet, with my wife helping and the kids, meanwhile, waging WWIII in the back of the car. The awning then had to be pitched separately and attached, taking another 20 minutes or so. With this in mind, let's face it, Airbeams are a no-brainer. De-pitching is an absolute breeze: de-guy and open up the doors as with any other tent, open the valves, pull the pegs, fold and roll.

In total the tent has done eight nights camping so far, being up for three nights on two occasions and two nights on a third. Iím happy to report no discernible loss of pressure in the Airbeams while pitched and despite some very heavy rain on the 11th and 12th of June, during our stay at the Stratford Upon Avon Beer Festival, not a drop made it through the flysheet. The oversized Airbeams are very sturdy, able to take my 20 stones leaning against them when tieing my laces, etc. Structurally, the tent proved completely stable in a very stiff sea breeze, which was more than enough to blow over furniture and flatten windbreaks all over the site, during our spring bank holiday weekend stay in Portesham, Dorset. OK, we haven't yet encountered any storm force winds, but Iím confident we have a tent that is more than capable of handling the worst a British Summer can throw at it.

Ventilation seems adequate: two of our trips so far have been very humid indeed and with four people inside you would naturally expect some condensation to form overnight in a polyester tent. In this respect the Illusion is certainly no worse than any other polyester tent Iíve ever used and markedly better than many. Having a rain-safe canopy over one of the side doors helps in this respect, as the top of the door can be opened on those extra muggy nights, to allow quite a lot of extra air circulation, but without fear of letting in any rain.

Quality wise, Iíd say the workmanship and attention to detail on this tent are at least as good as the Outwell Montana rig we previously used and it has a super heavy weight (420D) flysheet, which should, in theory at least, last for years. We do around a monthís camping each year, at least two weeks of which are in the French sunshine, so flysheet longevity is an issue, particularly in a £1000+ tent, which needs to last. Not sure if it is quite as strong as the Montanaís, but the groundsheet in the Illusion is definitely nicer under foot and much quieter to walk on; and with a footprint beneath is well up to the job. Zips and so on all seem to be of suitable duty, though just as noisy as any other (when will someone invent the silent zip?). The bag is heavy duty and oversized, so quite easy to get the Flysheet into (very unlike the Montana). Having said that, I don't roll the pump inside, as this has its own bag anyway and would inevitably make packing away that bit harder.

As far as quality goes, I can only really find two niggly downsides. Firstly, the supplied pegs: the corner stakes are thin and easy to bend, while the remainder of the pegs are the usual cheapo shepherdís crook type. I know it's all about keeping costs down, but I would have expected better in a tent at this price point and Iíll be replacing these before next use. The second issue is the colour of the storm straps, which have to be out at the rear, even in calm conditions, because they lift open the rear vents. These straps are attached to the top of the tent and so, by their very nature, protrude much further than regular guys. Why then, when Vango have gone to the trouble of making every other guy on the tent luminous, are these dark grey in colour Ė perfectly camouflaged against darkness and just begging to be tripped over late at night?

In terms of layout, the four, supposedly two person, inners can be configured into a room each for the two kids and a nice double for mom and dad. Iím not sure where tent room sizes originate, but with most air beds, camp beds or SIMs being 70cm wide or more, they're a bit of a joke! This is the first time each of our little cherubs has had a room each and they love it. The built-in awning is spacious and gives us room for four to sit and eat, a cupboard, fridge and space to spare. The removable dividing wall between the built-in awning and the main tent is also nice, giving a great open plan feel if you want it, or a bit more cosines if you don't. Others have complained about the lack of a sewn-in groundsheet in the awning, but we preffer to have grass under our feet Ė particularly with the mess that a three and five year old can make with a bowl of Jordan's, so the included detachable bathtub ground sheet stays at home!

On the subject of the built in awning: on what planet did tent manufacturers decided that curving the front of a tunnel tent was a good idea? It seems common these days, particularly on premium tents and makes little or no sense to me. In fact it must raise production costs and frankly makes pegging the front of the tent out far more awkward than would otherwise be the case, while reducing usable space inside Ė would anyone ever seriously consider rounding the corners out of a house??? Both Vango and Outwell seem to have gone down this route Ė if they're reading this: it's not big and it's not clever! ĎBring back cornersí, I say!

The only thing weíve missed from our Montana 6p setup is the small side porch, which was perfect for a porta potty. This has proven an invaluable accessory since my wife became pregnant with our first child and we now rely on it for the kids night-wees (that's my excuse and Iím sticking to it). Not having the convenient (excuse the pun) little side porch, as with the Montana, Iíve invested in a pop-up toilet tent for longer breaks. For weekends weíve just been bringing the porta potty into the awning over night and keep it under the trailer in the day time Ė not exactly perfect, but itíll do.

We also purchased the rain/sun canopy for the front if the tent, which simply zips on and has a single steel pole threaded through the front for support. This is a similar build quality to the tent itself and is effective in providing a nice area of extra shade or rain protection when the front of the tentís awning section is open. We considered the zip-on front awning, but decided that for us it would be a little excessive on a tent this size. One thing to note is that Vango have a habit of changing their fly sheet colours from season to season, so if you're considering purchasing any add-ons, it's worth remembering this and getting everything at the same time if you're fussy about everything matching!

*Potential purchasers may be aware that there has been a recall for the Airbeams on a small batch of these tents, one of which was ours. Vango have replaced all five beams, including inner tubes, even though it was only the outer casing that was potentially defective. The fault was apparently to do with the specification of thread used on the seems of the outer casings. OK, it would have been better to get it right first time, but 10/10 to Vango for the speed and ease with which the matter was handled. The silver lining is that under the exchange we got to keep the inner tubes from the defective beams meaning we now have 5 spares, which has saved us a few quid as we were planning to get a couple as a Ďjust in caseí.

Niggles aside, weíre very pleased with this tent and looking forward to using it on our long summer break in France this year. Our experience so far leads us to thoroughly recommend inflatable tents, as they really do take some of the stress out of what is, after all, supposed to be a relaxing endeavour.
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By: Gadsby  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Very exciting to own this beauty of a tent!

Pitched for the first time about a month ago. I made a few silly mistakes but basically did it all on my own. The inflation bit was much easier than I thought it would be - just need to keep your back as straight as possible!

The size and weight of the packed tent makes it tricky to manoeuvre - you certainly wouldn't want it far from your car. I was not looking forward to packing it away - but again - I did it all by myself! Having watched the Youtube video to see how it's done, it was invaluable. I can not lift this into the car by myself though it's definitely a two person carry!

The inside layout is great - I love the whole quality and practicality of the tent. My eldest was delighted with his own bedroom pod. I thinks it's a shame they have decided to include a separate pod in the back bedroom - it would've been better as a divider. Saying that, I ended up using it as a dressing room!

I bought the carpet to go with this tent - which isn't my favourite design - it has quite a 'wrinkly' fit, which I did trip over a couple of times (possibly Prosecco slightly to blame!). Might be good to have made it smaller and lay flatter. However, it certainly makes the tent feel cosy.

I love that there are lots of hanging hooks in all the areas too - makes hanging lights a joy! The beams are so solid it feels really secure.

The wide opening doors and main partition are also a great idea - although a tip to remember next time - is once inflated - go inside and zip all the doors up before final pegging out. Otherwise they can be awkward to zip up later at night.

I was also impressed with the mesh doors and the vents - they seemed to be doing their job well - I had been aware that inflatable tents can collect considerable condensation at the bottom of the beams - but making sure the vents were always open, this wasn't a problem.

I'm really looking forward to our next camping holiday now.
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By: Yorkshire2016  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2016   Rating: 

Test run before the main event over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

This is the new tent we exchanged for the faulty Oxygen Ozone 6.0 xt which leaked like a sieve last year. It went up an absolute treat and will do the job nicely. Very good quality.

My only issue is that I need to buy a new pump. I don't know what I did wrong but on the deflate setting I gave it a couple of good pumps and the whole thing exploded sending shards of plastic shrapnel into my shins. Not too painful though as I was wearing jeans.
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15 User Reviews of the Illusion 800 AirBeam - Showing 01 to 10          Page:   1   2  

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Manufacturer's Description

New to the Vango AirBeam range, the Illusion offers the ultimate in flexibility. Sleeping up to 8 people in comfort, with a separate 2 person inner in the living area for additional privacy or guests, this can be simply packed away during the day. The built in front awning creates a completely separate area to use for food preparation, dining or storage. Alternatively the internal wall can be rolled away to completely open up the tent creating a huge internal space. With the options of an accessory sun canopy and a front awning, the space can be truly tailored for any family.

... there may be more info on their website

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