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Tent Reviews: Vango Illusion TC 800XL Air

Tent and Awning Reviews Index  >  Vango  >  Illusion TC 800XL Air Reviews

Current Model?
RRP on date added:
Bedroom inners:
Living area groundsheet:
Pitching Style:
8  (more 8 berth tents)
55.00 KG
Fully Sewn-in
Average User Rating:
8.5/10 from 2 reviews

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2 Reviews of the Illusion TC 800XL Air

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

We purchased this tent partly based on the great review given by 'Tupik' on this website about this tent. I second everything he says about the tent. The only comment I would make is that the bedroom sizes are very slightly smaller than the tent that I saw as the only competition, the 8 man Kampa. Having said that, our double self inflatable did fit in the bedrooms. We have only used it once so far but the polycotton and the oversized air beams give the whole tent a solid feel. I imagined that the air poles would be affected by the weight of lamp(s) etc hanging from them inside, but that is not the case at all. We are VERY pleased with our purchase and are looking forward to our next camping trip.
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By: Tupik  Reason: I own(ed) one  Made in: 2017   Rating: 

After 30 years of camping, mostly wilderness-type camping in smaller tents, I've finally succumbed to changing my tent, itself 20 years old, too small for a family of three really and no longer waterproof!

The years have taught us that poly-cotton is the only material we'd consider, for better climate control quietness and durability. After seeing how stable and easy air beam tents are to erect and how stable they seem, we decided on air beam being the way forward for us. Having a large car, we're not constrained by tent size so we didn't discount anything. In fact, one thing I've come to appreciate is that for adequate living space when the weather turns nasty, it's always better to go for a tent which sleeps twice the number of people in your party.

Before we bought the Vango, we looked at loads of options, including the Pheonix from Outwell, their Alamosa an Concorde tents. From Kampa, we looked at their Croyde and Brean Classic Air polycotton tents. From Vango, we looked at the TC Solace and TC500XL.

From our perspective, the Outwell tents were slightly more expensive, and whilst we liked the Pheonix a lot (and would have probably bought that one), we felt that the extra money went more into little details of design than outright quality or space, so it offered nothing tangibly better for the seasoned camper. The Alamosa was a fab design but we felt flawed as in a strong wind, if that big opening wasn't facing down-wind, you'd be in trouble!

The Kampas didn't float our boats at all. We felt that whilst they offered possibly better VFM and good space, they looked too much like a polytunnel, and were no-where near as well made, lacking in things like double stitching around major stress points such as the guying points. The Croyde, whilst a big, usable space, didn't seem as well ventilated as the Vangos and just wasn't as solid.

So, onto the Vangos. Not cheap in polycotton-guise, but to my eyes, they all offered the sweet spot between design touches, quality and space for the money. I think that they had some great things going for them including the over-size air beams, and attention to all high stress points. They all felt solid. The Solace, whilst marketed as a 4 man tent would have been too small even for the 3 of us, although there is an optional awning for it. The 500XL was absolutely spot on. We liked that one a lot. The 3 living space layout is spot on with sleeping quarters followed by a big airy living space and finally an equally spacious awning is a sensible and well proven design. However, the 800XL won out. For just slightly more, we felt that the extra space on offer would be a godsend. We could even take bikes and there'd be plenty of room to store those. It's large enough for even the most impressive of Glamping kitchen set-ups in the awning frontage and has a living space roughly the same as the average new 3 bed home!

We got a great deal from Attwoolls who were fantastic to deal with, and first attempt in the back garden including time wasted on working out which was width or length wen unfolding, it took two of just just 25 odd minutes to erect albeit without the guy ropes in place. I think that we could get that down to 20 minutes easily, but doubt we'd get the 12 to 15 minutes claimed, mostly because of the faffing about re-positioning the ground guys to get the tent shaped properly.

Once up, I checked beam pressures were all on 7psi then soaked the tent as part of the recommended seeding for waterproof performance of the stitching and weave. It proved unnecessary as the tent later was caught in a torrential downpour which lasted hours and caused local flooding, but it remained dry as a bone inside. Absolutely nothing got even slightly damp anywhere despite a deep pool of water forming in the roof bays! (remember, we hadn't guyed it out to tighten everything up nicely). In the morning next day, I noticed that next door's cats had paid it a visit and one of the little darlings had ripped through one of the windows with their claws. Not happy, but used Kampa repair tape for an effective repair.

After 24 hours, I re-tested the pressure and it had dropped to 6 psi, but the tent felt just as solid and reassuring so the drop didn't affect stability. It didn't seem to drop any further and all beams were the same so I put this down to cooler temperatures. I like the fact that unlike some others, this uses separate beams so in the event one springs a leak, the tent will stay upright! Our friends have an older airbeam Vango with a single point inflation and when their's sprung a leak, their whole tent collapsed, partly due to a leak on the isolating valve! Keep it simple rings true here, so we would advise anyone looking at these to play it safe, forget gimmicks and stick to individual beams which are also easy to replace if needed.

We're off to Exmoor for a few weeks in the wilds so very much look forward to some comfortable living in a very well made and spacious tent, and will update this review when we return, but for now, I highly recommend this for any family looking for a fabulous space and great design in an airbeam tent. We're so far delighted with it and Vango have indeed improved on the Rhapsody on which this is based.
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Manufacturer's Description

The epitome of luxury camping, the Illusion TC 800 XL Air is designed for families who go on longer summer breaks and are looking for a tent to enrich their camping experience. This 8 man tent is designed with a superior Polycotton flysheet (65%cotton, 35 polyester mix) which, is extremely durable and will aid climate regulation within the tent, whilst providing protection from the elements. The tent’s structure comprises of Super AirBeams® which are 30% larger than our standard beams making the tent very robust. Designed with king size bedrooms, a large living area and spacious pre-attached awning which can be used for additional living or storage space. This tent has been designed to the highest quality and finest detail

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