Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards

2022 tent owner satisfaction awards logoThe Camping and Caravanning Club is pleased to announce the winners of the latest Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards.

The sixth Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards come from the results of our most recent Tent Survey, which measures how tents have performed from their owners’ perspective. It’s based on information supplied freely by those who have bought a new tent, folding camper or trailer tent since 2017 and completed the survey, which ran from November 2019 to August 2021. And for the second time, we’ve asked about awnings.

The survey took place through 2020 and 2021 so it covers an unusual camping environment, which is reflected in some of the results.

You can view the results for each category below and see how things have changed since the awards began in 2016. Our aim is to help you if you’re looking for your next tent. The survey has also become invaluable for tent manufacturers, who have welcomed the comments made by owners and begun to incorporate some of the suggestions in their new models.

It’s worth noting at least a million tents are bought every year, in a market that’s worth over £135 million (according to outdoor industry analyst Profile Outdoors). The UK is a major player in a European tent market that’s expected to be worth £1 billion by 2023 (source: Research and Markets). For 2018, UK sales of tents and caravan/motorhome awnings combined were worth some £9.6 million, according to another analyst, Statista.

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in any of our surveys. Your feedback is invaluable in helping us produce the most informative survey of its kind.

Best Budget Tents | Best Mainstream Tents | Best Premium Tents | Best Backpacker Tents | Best Family Tents | Best Traditional Pole Tents | Best Inflatable Tents

Tent Owner Satisfaction Survey 2022: what we learnt

Welcome to our sixth Tent Survey

We published our first report in 2016 and we’re pleased to be back with the 2022 Awards, albeit after a longer gap than usual.

We did not hold a 2021 award ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions, so this year’s results come from surveys carried out over two camping seasons, from November 2019 to August 2021, covering new tents bought since 1 January 2017.

It’s great to find tent users are still generally pleased with the quality of the products they have bought.

We are thankful for the private buyers, manufacturers and retailers who provide valuable support, especially in such challenging trading conditions.

Awnings

In 2020, we extended the Tent Survey to include awnings and it has returned for a second awards. We are aware there is precious little information to guide awning buyers, even though it is a large market in the UK, and felt it was time this was rectified.

 

We covered three types of awning in this survey – Full caravan, Small porch caravan and Motorhome.

 

Full caravan awning

This category covers two types of large caravan awnings. The first is the traditional awning style, which covers one complete side of the caravan. It is fitted along the whole length of the awning rail from the ground on one side to the other and is sized to fit a specific model of caravan. The second is also known as a large porch or universal caravan awning. It connects along the majority of the top horizontal part of the awning rail and covers most of the side of the caravan.

 

Small porch caravan awning

This type of awning fits along the top part of an awning rail, providing a covered entrance to the caravan door and not much more.

 

Motorhome awning

This covers both drive-away awnings, tent-like structures that can be left on site when you take your motorhome off site, and the more traditional caravan-type awning that fits to the side of the motorhome.

 

Cassette awning

A cassette or roll-out awning is permanently attached to the side of your motorhome or caravan and the fabric can be unfurled on site to provide a canopy cover. There were not enough responses to this category to make an award this year.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the effort required to pitch an awning and its relatively high price, those who bought a new awning since 2017 show a high propensity to go camping – nearly half say they’re out between four and seven times a year and more than a fifth claim to go 11 times or more.

 

However, our respondents have paid a bit less for their awnings recently. The 2020 Awards showed some 70% of purchases were for awnings costing under £1,000, but this has risen to 81% in the 2022 survey.

 

Dometic (previously known as Kampa) emerged as the biggest single brand once again, accounting for 19% of all responses, with Vango a close second with 18%.

 

Other brands included Sunncamp, Dorema, Isabella, Bradcot and Outdoor Revolution.

 

The inflatable-tube awning market still seems to be increasing as 79% of surveys were for these structures this time. In the last survey this figure stood at 68%.

 

Key factors in the decision to purchase were size (32%), ease of pitching (24%) and price (21%).

 

As with tents, people generally liked the way their awnings performed. Asked to rate overall satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 for ‘not at all satisfied’ and 10 ‘extremely satisfied’ – the overall score was 8.7, up from 8.4 in our previous survey.

 

Three quarters of respondents said their awnings had no defects. Of those who did report reported problem, these were generally related to leaks, broken poles/failing tubes and damaged fabric.

Why did we do the 2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Survey?

The Camping and Caravanning Club is proud to be the longest-established organisation in the world that covers all forms of camping – from tents to caravans and motorhomes.

 

Today, the Club boasts some 350,000 member households – equating to more than 750,000 individuals – actively involved in camping, in all its forms.

 

Our Tent Surveys are open to all, not just Club members. In the earlier surveys the majority of respondents belonged to the Club, but things have shifted over time and for 2022 only around a quarter of respondents were Club members.

 

Through our Tent Surveys, we set out to:

• See which tent, folding camper, trailer tent and awning brands stand up to the test in the field, based on users’ feedback
• Help campers, existing and new, spend their money wisely
• Provide feedback to manufacturers on how they can raise the overall quality, reliability and suitability of their tents

How did we do the 2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Survey?

We use print and social media, including the Club’s own publications, plus a presence at major tent retailers and key outdoors shows to encourage campers to complete our surveys – though in-person events were restricted between March 2020 and the end of the survey collection period. We also promoted the Tent Survey through the Club’s campsite network and partners such as camping retailers.

 

We carried out our research between November 2019 and August 2021, based on units purchased new since January 2017. This timeline meant we could fit in with the main annual purchasing period for new tents for 2020 and 2021.

 

Previous surveys have only covered one camping season. The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the 2020 and 2021 camping seasons were unusual in timing and length, so we chose to keep the surveys open for an extended period this time.

 

As with previous surveys, all respondents were invited to go online and answer a questionnaire, designed to take no more than ten minutes. For consistency, we asked broadly the same questions as before.

 

The survey was open to anyone purchasing a new tent, trailer tent or awning from January 2017 onwards.

 

As in previous years, we dealt with many hundreds of responses. We are proud to be able to continue to build on previous surveys, making it by far the largest of its kind.

 

For the second time the results were collated by independent specialist MRQual Research Agency. MRQual has worked with Gough Mandarin, the organisation that previously collated our Tent Survey results and worked with The Camping and Caravanning Club for over 25 years.

 

Our final results for the latest Tent Survey were made public in November 2021.

 

Thanks to you – the tent-buying public

 

As ever, we are indebted to the many people who completed our online questionnaire about their tent buying and using experiences.

 

We have also made great strides in gaining feedback from non-members who buy brand new tents. For this, we also owe thanks to retailers who gave high visibility to the Tent Survey in their stores.

What did we uncover?

With the same online questionnaire as previous Tent Surveys, we asked for the basic initial information on age, gender, frequency of camping and more, from all respondents. The number of respondents increased by 55% over the previous survey, which is perhaps not surprising, given the extended window for collecting responses.

 

Around a quarter of our respondents bought their tent in each of 2018, 2019 and 2020 with 8% buying in 2017 and 18% in 2021.

 

In our last survey round 44% of respondents purchased from a specialist tent retailer but this dropped to just 28% this time. The number buying online increased to 37% (from 30%) and there was also an increase in the number buying from a more general retail outlets (up ten percentage points to 28%).

 

There were some marked changes in the prices paid for tents. The average price paid for a family tent, for example, dropped by a significant 23% this year – to £468 -and the only tent category to show an increase in price was the backpacking one, with the average price paid going up by 10% to £181.

 

However, we also saw fewer people being able to take advantage of discounted prices, with nearly half of buyers paying full price for their tent, up from 38% in the previous survey. There was also a marked increase in the number of tents coming into the over £500 bracket this time.

 

As with all our surveys so far, it’s the size of the tent that comes out as the most important factor in the buying decision. Ease of pitching and price were again the next most important factors, but this time these two factors held equal weighting, where price has always come third before.

 

Other key reasons for purchase included: choosing an air-tube frame, tent quality and black-out options for the sleeping area.

Top brands

Favourite ranges were Quechua’s Air Seconds, Arpenaz and 2 Seconds; Karsten’s Model 350; Outdoor Revolutions’s Ozone and Vango’s Icarus.

 

In total, the Tent Survey covers feedback on more than 50 makes of tent and in excess of 200 ranges – with some tents accounting for just one response.

Tent people: about our respondents

The main age category of tent buyers was 41-50 year olds, with 35% of respondents, with more than three quarters being aged 41 years or over.

 

As in previous years, a significant majority of respondents were male, just over 60%.

 

Over half camped as a family with children. Some 39% camped as couples, 13% camped alone and 23% camped with friends, in line with previous years.

 

Nearly half respondents camped two or three times a year, with 5% getting out to the campsite 11 or more times.

 

When asked how often they’d used their tent, 69% said three times or more.

 

We also asked how many tents they’d purchased since the start of 2017. A third had bought one, but a further 26% said two, while 7% answered three or more.

 

Most people bought their tents between 2018 and 2021, with around a quarter each year. Just 8% bought in 2017 and 18% in 2021.

 

Overall, some 83% of respondents reported no defects with their tents. This is good news as it’s up nearly ten percentage points over our last survey. Also, a full 53% said they were extremely satisfied with the way their tents performed.

Areas for improvement

As ever, the quality of tent pegs has been a cause for concern but things seem to be improving. Over the last few years the quality of tent pegs score has improved, though slowly. In the last survey they were rated an average 6.9 out of ten but this year it’s risen to 7.4. Pegs are still the item most would like to see improved, with 35% of buyers mentioning them.

 

Other areas that could be better included the size and strength of storage bags, additional features (such as storage pockets, cable entry points and carpets) and ease of transportation.

 

More respondents would like to see tents being better value for money and we also saw a big increase in the number who wanted improvements in waterproofing (from 13% to 21%), which is a concern.

 

Nevertheless, it’s great to see the number of people who bought a tent free from defects increase from 74% to 83% this time.

Purchase prices: questions over price

One of the bigger news items was tent pricing. Fewer people were able to take advantage of sales or other discounts in this survey, with 48% paying full price – a full ten percentage points up.

 

This was not necessarily reflected in the price of tents, though, as the average price paid for a family tent dropped 23%, from £608 to £468. We saw a drop in average price across all the categories, apart from backpacker tents, where the average price increased by 10% to £181.

 

The number buying premium-priced tents (over £1,000) dropped from 23% of respondents in 2019 to 14% in 2022.

 

Do note, however, the Tent Survey is not necessarily a picture of sales dynamics. Our survey measures owner satisfaction, not actual sales.

Buying tents: the good news

We scored overall satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 for ‘not at all satisfied’ and 10 being ‘extremely satisfied’. The aggregate score of 9 represents a slight increase over the previous survey, which is good news. Indeed, 92% said they would buy the same make of tent again – a figure that’s also slightly up on previous years.

 

And there was an 8.9 score for the likelihood of recommending their make of tent to others. Plus, nearly three quarters of respondents said it was ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ they’d recommend their chosen tent brand to others.

 

Those surveyed also expressed particular satisfaction with aspects such as method of pitching (9), waterproofing and outer fabric durability (both 8.9).

 

We also asked about where folk made their tent purchases. There was a significant change here as the biggest sector was online, accounting for 37% or sales. Specialist camping outlets dropped from 44% to 28% in this survey, though more general retail outlets increased from 18% to 28%. In earlier surveys, we’ve seen a fairly consistent 30% of purchases being made online. Supermarkets were a consistent 1% but show sales dropped by half, from 6% to 3%.

 

Another interesting feature is the change between sales of inflatable tube tents and those with traditional poles over the years.

 

For the first time in 2019 the number of inflatable-tube tents over took the poled variety (48% to 36%) but this survey sees poles making a bit of a comeback. 45% of tents had an inflatable frame while 40% had traditional poles.

 

Pop-ups remained at 7% and knuckle-jointed structures accounted for another 3%.

Folding campers: small but significant

Compared with tents, the market in folding campers and trailer tents is tiny, though we had nearly twice as many respondents reporting on their experiences this time compared with the last survey.

 

The replies came from a generally older sector, with only 14% being age 40 or under, and nearly 70% were Club members.

 

The specialist nature of this market was reflected in where people bought their trailer tent or folding camper, with 57% buying from a dealer and only 5% buying online.

 

Opus was the manufacturer recording by far the most responses, though the split between its inflatable-tube models and traditional poled variants widened from 60:21 to 70:3. Next came Pennine, with 10% of responses.

 

Most of those surveyed had purchased their unit in 2020 (29%) with 2019 coming a close second (27%) and 22% buying in 2021.

League tables and conclusions

The league tables published here show the winning brands across key categories – Budget, Mainstream, Premium, Backpacker and Family tents. We also categorise by tent frame type – Traditional Pole and Inflatable Tube. Plus, there are separate classes for Folding Campers (including trailer tents) and Awnings (three categories).

 

Our results are based on the overall score ratings given. On a scale of 1 to 10, we asked: How satisfied overall are you with how your tent has performed? – where 1 is ‘not at all satisfied’ and 10 is ‘extremely satisfied’. The results were then converted into percentages.

 

We covered tents bought new from 1 January 2017 until the time the respondent filled in the survey questionnaire, between November 2019 and August 2021.

 

The Camping and Caravanning Club Tent Owner Satisfaction Survey remains unique. No other organisation measures ownership satisfaction on this scale – and completely independently – and we are committed to continuing our work, providing benefits for future tent buyers as well as suppliers and retailers.

 

Conclusions

 

This year’s Tent Owner Satisfaction Survey continues the great news that owners of tents and awnings are, in general, overwhelmingly happy with their purchases.

 

We stress, the Tent Survey is a measure of owner satisfaction, it may not necessarily reflect sales patterns, but by continuing with the project, we hope to give a clearer snapshot of the UK tent sector, its users, their expectations and experiences.

Best Budget Tents 2022 (up to £300)

Green Hi Gear tentWinner – Hi Gear 93%

Runners up – Quechua and Vango 90%

Previous winners

2020: Hi Gear
2019: Quechua
2018: Quechua
2017: Hi Gear
2016: Quechua

Previous Highly Commended

2020: Quechua and Coleman
2019: Coleman, Vango
2018: Hi Gear, Vango
2017: Kampa, Quechua
2016: Vango, Quechua


2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Our definition: Up to £300 will get you a tent of almost any size, so we base this category on the prices respondents told us they paid. As a result, it also includes any special offers at the time of purchase.

Hi Gear again took the top spot here with a 93% rating, exactly the same as last year, while last year’s runner-up Quechua shared the position with Vango this time, on 90%.

Hi Gear was originally the house brand for the GO Outdoors chain of camping retail outlets, but since GO Outdoors was integrated into JD Sports these tents are now available in other JD Sports outlets such as Millets. Quechua is exclusive to Decathlon.

The results are based on prices paid, not manufacturers’ recommended selling prices.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Hi Gear squeezed the win here with a 93% rating, coming up from fourth last year, while joint runners-up Quechua (last year’s winner) and Coleman were both on 91%.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

For this category we had an impressive mean score of 87% for overall satisfaction.

Quechua scooped the number one slot for the second successive year (it also won in 2016 and was second in 2017), with exactly the same 90% overall rating as last time. Quechua (pronounced ketch-oo-ah) is sold exclusively through the Decathlon shops of its parent company.

Vango gained a Highly Commended slot with 87%, just one per cent less than Coleman.

Eurohike (87%) and Hi Gear (82%), house brands of retailers Millets and GO Outdoors respectively, took positions four and five this year. Hi Gear is a past winner of this category, with a 90% rating when it topped the charts in 2017.

Our results are based on prices paid, not manufacturers’ recommended selling prices.

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Best Mainstream Tents 2022 (£300-£999)

Blue mainstream tentWinner – Berghaus 95%

Highly Commended – Coleman and Outdoor Revolution 93%

2020: Outwell
2019: Outwell
2018: Vango
2017:
Robens
2016: Karsten

Runners up

2020: Kampa Dometic and Vango
2019: Kampa Dometic, Hi Gear
2018:
Hi Gear, Quechua
2017: Hi Gear, Outwell
2016: Cabanon, Outwell

 


2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Here, we’re looking at tents that were sold for anything between £300 and £999, which covers a good number of tents in the middle of the market. It’s also where larger, weekender and family-size tents are more to the fore.

Berghaus, a brand within the JD Sports portfolio and sold through retailers such as Blacks and Ultimate Outdoors, achieved a 95% satisfaction rating to top this category with Coleman and Outdoor Revolution being Highly Commended with 93%.

The overall satisfaction figures were a fair bit higher than in recent years, which should be reassuring news for anyone thinking of buying a mainstream tent.

This was the first year Berghaus has received an award. The brand has been a prominent name in the outdoor industry for more than half a century but has not been a big player in the tent market until recently. In fact, all those mentioned above are relative new comers in our awards line up.

This is a price category and includes all types and sizes of tents that were purchased (regardless of manufacturers’ recommended prices) for between £300 and £999.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Outwell’s 90% satisfaction rating gave it top spot, with Kampa on 88%, and Vango 87%.

This was Outwell’s second win in this class – it was also top last time around. But, all the brands mentioned above have performed consistently since we first began the Tent Survey in 2016.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Despite scoring well in all past surveys, this is the first time Outwell has topped the Best Mainstream Tents category, its 92% satisfaction rating a full 2% over nearest rival, Kampa.

Hi Gear ran a close third, with Quechua and Vango not that far behind.

All five brands mentioned here have consistently been among the top scorers among mainstream tent brands.

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Best Premium Tents 2022 (over £1,000)

Karsten tent pitched upWinner – Karsten 99%
Highly Commended – Zempire 97%

2020: Karsten
2019: Karsten
2018: Karsten
2017: Karsten

Runners up

2020: Kampa Dometic
2019: Kampa Dometic and Vango
2018: Vango and Outwell
2017: Outwell and Vango


2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

At prices from £1,000, this is a sector that defines itself. Buyers are more likely to be experienced tent campers who know what they want and are prepared to pay for it.

This is a category Karsten has made its own – it’s been voted winner at every Awards to date. This time around, the super-premium brand achieved a near-perfect 99%. It’s consistently scored in the upper 90s since we started the Tent Survey.

Zempire is a new entry in this exclusive category, snapping at the heels of Karsten with a satisfaction rating of 97%, which would have made it a winner in any other category in this year’s Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards if it weren’t competing against Karsten.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

This time around, Karsten increased its overall satisfaction rating to a near-perfect 99%. It’s consistently scored in the upper 90s since we started the Tent Survey.

All credit to Kampa, too. A more mainstream brand, it nevertheless notched up 92%.

Do note Karsten’s exclusivity, too. Its tents are sold solely by the Camping Travel Store here in the UK, whereas brands like Kampa are available more widely.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Another awesome score for Karsten sees it topping a class it has come to dominate. The only downside for Karsten was the slightest of slips in its satisfaction rating – 98% this time around compared to last year’s 99%.

Few would dispute second and third-placed brands Kampa and Vango are far more mainstream than Karsten – making their 91% and 85% scores almost as impressive. Note that Karsten has a single UK retail outlet, Camping Travel Store, whereas you’ll find Kampa, Vango and Outwell in plenty of specialist tent shops. We can also report a higher number of overall responses for the Premium category this year.

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Best Backpacker Tents 2022

Robens Backpacker TentWinner – Robens 93%
Runner up – Quechua 91%

Previous winners

2020: Quechua
2019: Vango
2018:
Vango
2017: Vango

Highly commended

2020: Vango
2019: Terra Nova, Quechua
2018: Robens, Quechua
2017: Quechua


2022 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

These are tents designed to be carried by individuals on walking (or cycling) trips. Ease of use is critical here – in terms of carrying, packing away and pitching on a nightly basis during trips away – as well as weight. These are products that must perform.

There has been a bit of a shake up in the Backpacker category this time. Robens has taken the top spot with 93% satisfaction while last year’s winner Quechua dropped a percentage point to 91% and now sits as runner up.

There are lots of technical tents in the backpackers category – tents designed to perform in all weather conditions – but high quality, specialist brands such as Terra Nova and Hilleberg didn’t produce enough responses to be measured.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Vango’s winning streak in this category (it topped the class for three consecutive years) has come to a close. Quechua was our winner this time around, with 92% satisfaction, with its nearest rival settling for 89%. Coincidentally, 92% was Quechua’s score last year, when it was in joint third place (with Terra Nova).

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

A third win in a row confirms Vango as the King of the Backpackers. For 2019, its tents managed a 91% satisfaction score – its Trekking and XD Trekking ranges, along with specialist Force Ten models and some of the more mainstream Adventure tents all contributing to the overall success.

Terra Nova has pushed its way into the top three for the first time, and third-placed Quechua scored the same 87%. Weight is the key determinant in this class, followed by size and then price. Terra Nova is one of only two brands in the whole survey where owners said they would 100% recommend others to buy.

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Best Family Tents 2022

Blue mainstream tentWinner – Zempire and Berghaus 95% Runner up – Outdoor Revolution 93%

Previous winners

2020: Hi Gear and Zempire
2019: Coleman
2018: Kampa
2017: Hi Gear

Highly commended

2020: Quechua
2019: Kampa Dometic, Quechua
2018: Vango, Quechua
2017: Outwell, Quechua

 

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Three or more people camping together, perhaps for a week or more? That’s the simple sum-up of our Family Tents category, where size really can matter. Such tents may take longer to put up and pack away, but it’s the space and convenience when pitched that are most important, allowing the whole family to enjoy a camping holiday.

Once again, this is a keenly fought sector and we have two winners. Last-year’s victor Zempire is joined this time by Hi Gear, both achieving a table-topping 95% satisfaction rating.

Newcomer to the awards Outdoor Revolution also achieved a very respectable 93% to be Highly Commended.

Family Tents is by far our biggest category in terms of responses – accounting for 60% of all purchases - though this survey showed a shift towards three-four person tents at the expense of larger five-six person ones in previous years.

Our two winners target different sectors of the market: Zempire appears in our Premium Tents Awards listings while Hi Gear has done well in the Budget Tent and Poled Tent Awards. Hi Gear was originally the house brand for the GO Outdoors chain of camping retail outlets, but since GO Outdoors was integrated into JD Sports these tents are now available in other JD Sports outlets such as Millets.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

In this keenly fought sector there were two winners – Zempire and Hi Gear. Both achieved 92% scores.

Third placed Quechua couldn’t be closer, either. It rated 91%.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

This year’s winner – Coleman – grabbed top spot by some margin. Its 93% satisfaction rating was some way ahead of the 89% of Kampa and Quechua in second and third place, respectively.

Other honourable mentions go to Hi Gear and Outwell, which both scored 86%.

Overall satisfaction for family tents was 87% this time around, exactly the same as for weekender tents.

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Best Traditional Pole Tents 2022

Traditional pole tentWinner – Quechua 90%
Runner up – Hi Gear and Vango 89%

Previous winners

2020: Quechua
2019: Outwell
2018: Robens
2017: Robens

Highly commended

2020: Coleman and Outwell
2019: Vango, Quechua
2018: Outwell, Vango
2017: Outwell, Hi Gear


2021 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

If the main frame of a tent uses poles – whether metal (steel or alloy) or GRP (glass reinforced fibre or fibreglass), that’s the basis of a traditional pole tent.

This was a tight category in terms of customer satisfaction. Quechua is our winner, achieving the same rating as it did in the 2020 Awards at 90%, while both runners-up are just one percentage point behind at 89%.

Interestingly, having seen poled tents overtaken in numbers by inflatable-tube models last time, the pole has seen something of a comeback, though more survey respondents still bought inflatable-tube tents this time.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

This was our tightest category in terms of customer satisfaction. Quechua peaked at 90%, while both runners-up are on 89% (a slightly higher score than was sufficient to give Outwell a class win last time).

Tents using traditional poles are no longer the most popular in terms of total responses. This time around, across all categories some 38% of responses were traditional poled tents.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

This is our tightest category in terms of customer satisfaction. Outwell’s 88% top score was just enough to pip Vango and Quechua, which came in with 87%, the same figure was the overall score for this class.

Even fourth placed Hi Gear managed a creditable 86%.

Last year’s winner, Robens (a sister brand to Outwell), dropped out of the favourites altogether this time around.

Tents using traditional poles are still the most popular in terms of total responses, although they are showing signs of decline. They’re most likely to be tunnel designs, too.

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Best Inflatable Tents 2022

Karsten TentWinner – Karsten 99%
Runner up – Outdoor revolution 92%

Previous winners

2020: Karsten
2019: Karsten
2018: Karsten
2017: Kampa

Highly commended

2020: Zempire
2019: Quechua, Kampa Dometic
2018: Quechua, Vango
2017: Vango, Outwell


2021 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Inflatable-tube tents are quick to pitch because the main poles are tubes into which air is pumped, usually via a foot pump, but electric ones can sometimes be used.

We see a fourth win in as many years for Karsten, recording a 99% satisfaction rating that’s in keeping with its performances elsewhere.

Outdoor Revolution has moved into runner up position this time with a decent score of 92%.

Inflatable-tube tents have shown considerable growth in popularity since we first did our Tent Surveys, with more respondents buying them rather than poled tents for the first time in our last survey. This time the number of poled tents has recovered somewhat but inflatable tubes are still dominant.

2020 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

Karsten recorded a 99% satisfaction rating to win this category again.

Zempire, the brand that claims to be the first to introduce inflatable-tube tents in its native New Zealand, came out with a highly creditable 93%. Unusually, its whole portfolio comprises inflatable tube models.

Inflatable tents have shown considerable growth in popularity since we first did our Tent Surveys. This time around, we witnessed a leap to 48% and such is the strength of growth, we’d expect that to continue over and above half of all purchases next time around.

2019 Tent Owner Satisfaction Awards update

This is Karsten’s second consecutive win in this class, but it increased the margin of its victory this time, with an overall satisfaction score of 98% over second-placed Quechua’s 91% and third-placed Kampa’s 90%.

Honourable mentions also go to Vango (87%) and Outwell (85%).

Karsten is one of only two brands in the whole survey where owners said they would 100% recommend others to buy, the other being Terra Nova.

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Tent brands

Airgo
Airgo is a family tent brand from outdoor retailer Go Outdoors, based around its air-tube tents and awnings.

Aventura
A budget brand previously sold exclusively by Halfords but no longer available. It included two- and four-person tents and prices were so competitive that you could buy a complete camping set, including a four-berth tent with sleeping bags and more, at less than £100.

Bell Tent
As the name suggests, this is a manufacturer of a range of bell tents in unbleached cotton canvas. Set up in 2006, the company also makes other tents from traditional materials, including its take on the classic Scout patrol tent.

Cabanon
Founded in 1959, this French manufacturer is best known for its traditional frame tents, using cotton or polycotton. The tents are designed to last and are priced accordingly, though their quality is evidenced by the number permanently sited on campsites. For example, Cabanon supplies the Ready Camp tents sited on Camping and Caravanning Club Sites.

Caranex
This Scottish-based manufacturer offers a range of tents that act as awnings for cars. It has a partner company in Walton on Thames, Surrey, that can adapt one if the basic model doesn’t quite fit your vehicle. The name Caranex is a contraction of the term ‘car annexe’. The company has been producing these since the 1970s and they can be seen on campsites and elsewhere, providing extra accommodation on anything from a MINI to a VW camper.

Coleman
An outdoor brand that was founded in the same year as The Camping and Caravanning Club (1901), Coleman began with the development of the petrol lantern and it is still well known for its camping accessories in the UK. Its tent range reflects its heritage in the vast spaces of North America, with a selection of backpacking tents, including long-lasting names such as Bedrock and Cobra, but it also has a strong range of family tents. The FastPitch and Instant tents are all quick-pitch, including models with inflatable-tubes, pre-threaded poles and pop-up frames.

Dometic Outdoor
Dometic Outdoor is the camping arm of the Swedish Dometic Group. The Dometic name now appears on ranges of tents that were previously at the top end of the Kampa range. The 2022 range includes large inflatable-tube tents and some new rooftop options.

Easy Camp
Easy Camp is part of the Danish Oase Outdoors group and produces camping equipment that’s cost effective, aimed mainly at those who are just starting out in the field. Festival and fair-weather adventure campers are well catered for, as are families. The most recent tent ranges include air-tube versions of tunnel tent designs. You won’t find many extra frills on an Easy Camp tent, but it will be designed to bring camping within the reach of those on a lower budget.

ESVO
This Dutch company has the largest tent manufacturing factory in Holland and provides fabric to many other outdoor supplies companies. It can trace its roots back to 1922 and now sells tents with traditional designs, predominantly in cotton or heavy-duty polyester with a cotton feel.

Eurohike
Blacks and Millets (now both owned by JD Sports) are part of a network of outdoor specialist shops and Eurohike is the name associated with their own-brand products. Eurohike tents range from pop-up festival-style units to eight-man family tunnel tents, all at competitive prices but without the bells and whistles you might find in more expensive brands.

Force Ten or F10
The original Force Ten tent was designed in the 1960s and became an instant success with those who travel light, including explorers on major expeditions to the Himalayas. Today, the tent is still available, in its Classic Mk 5 form, but the Force Ten range has been extended to include backpacking and lightweight tents for all types of camping expedition, in one-, two- and three-berth forms.

Gelert
Now owned by Sports Direct, Gelert has been supplying camping kit from its base in Beddgelert, Snowdonia, since 1975 and is named after the famous dog buried in the village. Its current tent portfolio is smaller than in years gone by, covering just two-to-four-berth.

Hi Gear
Hi Gear is the name given by outdoor retailer Go Outdoors to its traditionally-poled family tent range (other tent brands in the Go Outdoors family include Airgo and OEX). As Go Outdoors is now part of the JD Sports empire, these mid-range tents can be found in sister retailers, such as Millets. They are mainly tunnel style but range from smaller, weekender tents to large units that can accommodate a family for a fortnight in comfort. Some retail outlets are large enough to have several pitched tents on display.

Highlander
This company was started in the mid 1980s by a mountaineer who took over an old army surplus store, which is still owned by the same family in Scotland. Its current range of tents extends from small backpacking options to six-berth family tunnels, all designed to do the job without unnecessary extras at keen prices.

Hilleberg
Based in Sweden, family-owned Hilleberg designs and sells tents ¬– and nothing else. The tents will stand the worst of the world’s weather and have been doing so since the 1970s. You will pay a fair amount for a Hilleberg, but it’s the type of unit that could keep you alive in the most extreme conditions. Technical fabrics mean the tents are generally lightweight and ideal for carrying into the wilderness.

Hypercamp
Hypercamp is the house brand of Obelink, an outdoor megastore in Winterswijk, in the east of the Netherlands, and includes several ranges including traditional frame tents that are rarely seen in UK stores today. The tents generally have a classic Dutch feel, with muted colours and cotton-feel fabrics.

Isabella
Throughout its history, Isabella has produced high-quality awnings for caravans, with a few tent models appearing in its line up at different times during its 60-year history. In 2017, it supplied a small range of tents in 1960s/70s designs as part of its anniversary celebrations. Camp-let trailer tents are now also part of the Isabella stable.

Jack Wolfskin
A German company best known for its outdoor wear that also supplies a range of technical tents for backpackers and expeditions, along with a few family models.

Kampa
Now known as Kampa Outdoors, this formerly British brand has had a strong presence in the caravan and motorhome awning market for several decades and moved into tents more recently. It is now part of the Swedish Dometic Group current range includes a selection of well-specified poled and air-tube tents for families and couples alongside smaller weekender tents.

Karsten
While inflatable-tube tents have become popular in recent years, Dutch company Karsten has been supplying high-quality, cotton tents with air-tube frames since the 1980s. Represented in the UK by the Camping Travel Store, the tents are modular so you can buy as little or as much space as you need, though the prices reflect the fabric and build quality. These are tents designed to last.

Kelty
A big brand in its USA homeland, but with limited representation in the UK, the range of tents available in this country depends on the current importer’s selection.

Khyam
With more than a quarter of a century’s experience, Khyam has made its name with its Flexi Dome Quick Erect system featuring sprung poles with knuckle joints that can be left attached to the tent itself and make pitching swift. Sizes range from single-dog to eight-berth-family tent. Today the company also sells some family-size inflatable-tube and poled tents.

Lichfield
A budget brand from the AMG Group, which also includes Vango and Force Ten, the Lichfield name has a long history but its tents went through a phase of being available online and through supermarket-style retailers. In more recent years, the avian-themed tents (such as the Eagle and Falcon) have a higher quality feel again.

Lightwave
Founded by a serious climber who has done unsupported treks across the Andes and more, Lightwave supplies lightweight tents with no added frills for three-, four- and five-season use.

OEX
This backpacking tent brand from outdoor retailer Go Outdoors is designed to give kit that performs well at an affordable price. It currently sells a small range of one-, two- and three-berth tents.

OLPro
OLPro was founded in 2011 as a family tent brand and has both poled and inflatable-tube tunnel tents in its current range, in a selection of distinctive colours.

Outdoor Revolution
Outdoor Revolution has a heritage in caravan and motorhome awnings but has reintroduced tents into its portfolio in recent years. All in a distinctive grey and black colourway, there are several family-sized tents in air-tube and poled designs along with some pull-out frame styles.

Outwell
Part of the Danish company Oase Outdoors (with sister brands Easy Camp and Robens) and firmly established in the UK as a leading player in the family tent market, Outwell has a large portfolio of tents in varying layouts, fabrics and at different price points.

ProAction
This is a budget range of tents sold by the high street chain Argos – among others – with basic tunnel and dome designs.

Quechua
Best known as a pioneer of budget-priced pop-up tents, with ranges including 2 Seconds Easy and Air Seconds inflatable-tube tents. The full Quechua range includes poled, pop-up and inflatable tube tents, in sizes up to eight berth, all sold through the retail chain Decathlon.

Robens
The technical brand within the Danish Oase Outdoors group, Robens tents include lightweight backpacker models, tipi styles and family units offering up to ten-berth accommodation.

Royal
A brand based in the Midlands, Royal is now owned by FPS Limited – best known for its distribution network – which allows the company to supply its tents to a wide range of outlets. It currently supplies a range of essential poled and air-tube tunnel tents in four- to eight-berth variations.

Skandika
Skandika is based in Germany and sells a large range of tents, primarily aimed at family camping, right up to a 12-berth pod-style tent. It does not have outlets in the UK but its keen pricing is making it increasingly popular with those buying online.

SoulPad
UK-based manufacturer of traditional ridge and bell tent designs in cotton and polycotton.

Sprayway
Now back to its core business in outdoor clothing lines, Sprayway has stepped away from supplying its own brand of tents in favour of selling Zempire ones, originating in New Zealand.

SunnCamp
A long-established tent brand, SunnCamp currently only offers a single two-berth model, but it has sold a wide range of family tents in years gone by.

Terra Nova
Based in Derbyshire, Terra Nova has been making mountain and specialist lightweight tents since the early 1990s when it took over the tent arm of Wild Country. In recent years, it has also resurrected the Wild Country name as its entry-level backpacking and family tent brand. Terra Nova also holds Guinness World Records for some of the lightest production tents available.

The North Face
Outdoor brand The North Face has been in the UK for more than 50 years and currently offers a small range of lightweight tents in the UK.

Urban Escape
The camping brand of the Halfords retail stores network, Urban Escape includes a range of family tents from a two-man pop-up upwards.

Vaude
A German company with a long heritage in the tent market. Founded in 1974, Vaude has been the winner of Germany’s Most Sustainable Brand award. Its range of lightweight tents is designed for a range of conditions, right up to the most extreme expeditions.

Vango
The name Vango tells of the company’s origins in Glasgow as it’s an anagram of Govan, the area of the city in which it originated. Now part of the AMG Group, along with Force Ten and Lichfield, Vango is the UK’s largest tent brand, with a heritage that goes back more than 50 years. It has ranges to cover all types of tents, from lightweight backpacking tents (with Duke of Edinburgh Award and Scout approval for some ranges) to large polycotton tents. It is also credited with bringing inflatable-tube tents into the mainstream with its AirBeam collections.

Wild Country
Wild Country is Terra Nova’s entry-level tent brand. The portfolio extends from lightweight and backpacking tents to weekend and touring tents with a few family models under the Zonda name.

Wynnster
A long-standing name going back to the 1930s that is now part of the same group as Khyam but is not currently selling tents. You can, however, still buy Wynnster branded camping gear.

Zempire
These tents from New Zealand are high quality, mainly inflatable-tube designs with distinctive shapes reflected in their names, such as Mothership.