One of the biggest surprise of the 2020 Camping, Caravan and Motorhome Show for me were Lichfield Tents, tucked tightly next to Vango’s exhibition. I could hardly wait to review any of the Lichfield air tents, but then a pandemic happened.
To be honest, at first I thought I was looking at another range of new Vango air tents when I walked by the Lichfield Eagle Air 5, and I liked the new colour very much. Not until I had spoken with one of the Lichfield guys I realised, that those weren’t Vango air tents at all…well, almost.
In this Lichfiled Eagle Air 5 and 6 review:
Lichfield Tents 2021
Well, they part of the same family as Vango (AMG Group), so no wonder that Lichfield tents looked very familiar.
Lichfield had 5 tent models on display, 4 air tents and 1 poled tent, and this is their entire range ever since.
From what I gathered, the specs are very similar to their Vango siblings, minus the fancy names.
On all Lichfield tents I found the TBSII – inner tension band system – for storm protection.
The guy confirmed to me that they are tested to 88 mph.
All tents have the darkened ‘Lights Out’ or ‘Nightfall’ bedrooms, but they did not call them that.
All Lichfield tents got the Sentinel Exclusive flysheet, 150D polyester fabric with 5000mm HH, UPF50+ UV resistant & fire retardant material…but they did not call them Sentinel Exclusive, but simply just flysheet
I liked the colour of them, that sandy yellow / greyish tone gave a warm, homely feel to all Lichfield tents.
As I mentioned they have five models in their range, all named after a bird – Kestrel, Falcon and Eagle. The Eagle air tents are the biggest of the family, there’s a 5-person and a 6-person model.
The Eagle Air range tents have inflatable beams, which makes erecting them much easier; you just need to inflate the beams, no fiddling with the fibreglass poles. They are also less prone to damage, deformation etc.
Especially on bigger tents, where you’d spend hours trying to fit all the pieces together, there’s a huge benefit: setting up takes 20-25 minutes including everything. The tents themselves can be inflated in 10-15 minutes. They all come with a handpump, or you can the 12V socket of your car to run any electric pump like this Kampa 12V electric pump
Lichfield Eagle Air 5 & 6 review
It is difficult to review the Lichfield air tents without mentioning Vango. If I compared them to Vango, the value for money is absolutely stunning in the favour of the Lichfield tents, despite that they are not the cheapest tents on the market. I found that they are consistently at least a £100 cheaper than the same or very similar Vango tents (Eagle Air 6 vs Vango Keswick II Air 600DLX for instance)
Who are the Lichfield Eagle Air Tents for?
The smaller sibling is a 5-person tent (comfortable for up to 4), while the Eagle Air 6 is a 6-person tent (comfortable for 4).
Despite being new on the market and the lack of ‘field test’, thanks to their build quality and Vango heritage I can certainly recommend them for more frequent use in all weather conditions. Both Lichfield Eagle Air tents are a great asset for any family holiday.
Lichfield Eagle Air – Pitching
The Lichfield Eagle Air 5 weighs a little over 21 kgs and it comes in an oversized bag. It’s good on one hand – makes it easier to pack it away – but takes up quite a lot of boot space: the size of the pack is 82 * 55 * 55 cm. It is slightly heavier than other 5-person air tents, which is probably due to the heavier, more durable fabrics used and to the fact that all Eagle Air tents are sold in a bundle with carpet and footprint (the full weight is 27.5 kgs).
The Eagle 6 is only slightly bigger, 82 * 60 * 60 cm and the tent itself weighs 28 kgs, but together with the accessories it weighs more than what’s recommended as a one-man lift (32 kgs overall).
Pitching them is easy and should not take longer than 15 minutes with a bit of practice.
You start with laying down the footprint first – it’s part of the package with every Lichfield Eagle Air tent (you normally need to buy them separately). Then you roll out the tent. The smaller Eagle has 4 airbeams to fill with air, while the Eagle 6 has five of them. They are all equipped with Vango’s AirSpeed Valve.
You then remove the cap from the valve, turn it to ‘Open’ and connect the double-action pump that comes with the tent (or you can hook up an electric pump like the Kampa 12V electric pump and set the pressure to 8psi).
The whole process should not take more than 10-15 minutes. After that you peg out the tent using the high contrast guylines.
The footprint of the Lichfield Eagle Air 450 Air covers a 665 by 320 cm land, most of that is taken up by a the living area (which includes a large porch).
The Eagle is not just wider (360 cms), but is longer by almost a metre. So you need almost 27 square metres of flat surface to pitch this 6-person tent.
Both Lichfield Eagle Air tents have 2 bedrooms, the smaller Eagle in a 3+2 setup, while the Eagle 6 has two 3-person bedrooms of equal size situated side-by-side. There is 60cms allocated per head, which is not very generous, and it certainly limits the fun factor. You’ll definitely need narrow beds if you intend to use them as a 5- person or 6-person tent, or you don’t use beds/mattresses at all.
It is a different matter if you only ever want to use any them as a 4-person tent. The 3-person bedrooms are 180 cms wide and 210 cms long with generous headroom – there’s plenty of room to swallow you, your double mattress and some of the equipment.
The second bedroom of the Eagle 5 is 120 cms wide and 210 cms long. Having only 120cms in width is a bit limiting but may be suitable for up to two kids on a narrow double mattress or on trekking mattresses.
The bedrooms are separated by a toggled divider, which is less than inspiring at this price range. They do the job though, so you can open up to have one big bedroom.
There is plenty of headroom in both Eagle tents, the headroom is 210 cms at the entrance and despite sloping slightly, there’s still 200 cms right at the back of the bedrooms.
The are storage pockets in each room, and one cable entry point to hook up your devices.
The bedrooms have dark fabric walls and Vango calls them Nightfall bedrooms – this is the name for the bedrooms that do not fully block out light. Lichfield don’t call them anything, they are just ‘dark fabric’.
If you don’t know if having black-out bedrooms important to you or not, have a read of this post on Blackout Bedrooms (history, function, and what they are called by the different tent-makers)
Access is easy through the side doors – there are two of them – or through the porch, which is separated by double meshed doors. The entrance routes can be dropped flat to allow easy access wide wheel-chair or a pram (and there’s no sill when you enter the bedrooms either).
What’s interesting is that the Eagle Air 5 has wider side doors than the Eagle Air 6. It’s because of the way the air beams are situated – the Eagle Air 5 has only four of them and the distance is slightly bigger between the beams, thus it allows for wider side doors.
The size of the living room is moderate, the Lichfield Eagle Air 5 has a living room of 5.7 square metres, while the Eagle Air 6 has 9.6 square metres to fill up with camping gear.
Just as a comparison, other 6-person like the Joro 600 or the Stargrove II 600XL air tents that are close relatives of the Eagle Air 6 have living rooms of around 11 square metres (they also have bigger bedrooms too).
Thanks to the pre-angled beams and the almost upright walls, internal height within the tents is good (210 cms). Despite being slightly smaller than the competition, the Lichfield tents feel airy and spacious thanks to the plenty of light coming in through the large clear windows and the sandy warm tone of the flysheet. There are toggled privacy curtains to cover the windows, should you need a bit of privacy.
What’s really noticable is that the porch of both Eagle Air tents is quite big, even compared with other 6-person tents I mentioned above.
There’s no groundsheet covering the porch area (245 by 320 cms on the Eagle 5, 245 by 360 cms on the Eagle 6), and thanks to the large windows and the flat entrance to the living room, it really feels as an extension to the living room. So the porch on the Eagle air tents is not just for storing your mucky gear somewhere that’s protected from rain, but it’s organically part of the internal living space of the tent.
This makes up for having a smaller than average living room, and now it’s only a matter of your personal preference of porch versus living room space.
The large entrance doors that are fully meshed.
Protection from weather
The Eagle tents come equipped with top-notch fabrics.They don’t have fancy names like EVERY other tent maker have for their tent fabrics, Lichfield simply calls them flysheet (with great specs). Just to put it into perspective, the fabrics used on the Lichfield Eagle Air tents are equivalent to the fabrics that Vango calls Sentinel Exclusive (and it probably is the same, but they can’t say that): a 150D polyester fabric with 5000mm HH waterproof coating.
(if you are not sure what that actually means, head over to the FAQ about acronyms etc.)
All seems are factory-taped so you don’t need to worry about proofing them, the groundsheet is sewn in.
Although it is made of polyester, and polyester does not have great thermal properties: will be hot inside in the summer, and will be fresh inside on a cooler autumn morning; this fabric is more than twice as thick as the one used on cheaper polyester tents (entry level tents have 68D, 70D, or 75D polyester flysheets).
Despite that you can still expect some condensation to build up on the inside wall of the flysheet in colder weather. This is something you’ll have to live with, although this ultra quiet dehumidifier may help a bit, or if you doing it analog, the familiar Unibond absorbers can help you out.
The Eagle tents come standard with an inner storm protection system, which is called TBS. Or, I don’t know how they call it, as this is an acronym Vango uses for the inner tension band system, which increases the stability of the tent (they can be tucked away when not needed). This TBS system is another great feature inherited from Vango.
To make sure that the tent stays stationary in high winds, you have good quality high-viz guylines. These are the thin types that are not thicker than a shoelace, and the pegs are pretty standard too. Having said that, Vangos are tried and tested up to 55 mph windspeed so I am assuming that the Lichfield Eagle 5 & 6 are tested too (more on the topic in this post), but if you regularly camp in windy areas you might want to invest in these storm proof straps and pegs for a peace of mind.
I’d like to say that the Lichfield Air tents are convincing, but I have some reservations…
Yes, they are both at least a £100 cheaper than the most similar Vango air tents (especially if you consider that you don’t need to buy the footprint and the carpet, they come with the Eagle air tent), but that’s still the middle of the market with very tough competition from all sides.
What’s definitely on the side of the Eagle air tents are the huge windows and wide side doors (on the Eagle 5), the large porch area, the Sentinel Exclusive (equivalent) flysheet and other great features inherited from Vango.
So if you wanted to buy a Vango Keswick II 600DLX, I’d definitely recommend you considering the Eagle 6 for example. But it’s hard to forgive the somewhat disappointing size of the living room (especially of the Eagle 6), and the below-average size of the bedrooms.
It is even more difficult to say whom for I’d recommend the Eagle Air 5 – the 3+2 configuration combined with the below-average size of the bedrooms and the living room limits its versatility very much – ideal perhaps for couples or families of 4 with two younger children.
But then, there’s the Kampa Kielder 5 Air – bigger bedrooms, bigger living room, smaller porch, same or better fabrics, almost £100 cheaper even as a bundle with carpet and footprint (detailed review on the Kampa Kielder 5 Air here); or the Berghaus Air 6 XL (detailed review here)…
Where to buy the Lichfield Eagle Air tents?
I recommend Winfields Outdoors, and don’t forget about your 5% discount if you sign up with them for the first time.