When it comes to inflatable tents, there is one company that pops to mind instantly: Vango. They were probably the first to come out with the air-filled beam design, and certainly were the pioneers of the technology. Years later, they have a massive selection of airbeam tents under many names such as Amalfi, Odyssey, Icarus and so on. So many, that in fact, I sometimes struggle to decribe the difference between their product lines. In this review I am looking at 6-person Vango air tents in detail.
I called this post ‘Part 1’, in an attempt limit the number of Vango air tents reviewed in one article, so to try not to make things even more confusing… Having said that, I have created a table to compare the basic details of each tent discussed below, click here to go straight to the table: https://10ts-tents.com/vango-air-tents-comparison-chart/
Vango Odyssey 600 and 600SC
Let’s start with the Odysseys, there are two of them straight away. I have recommended them numerous times before (in this and this article), because they are one of the bests on the market in terms of value for money.
What is obvious at first glance is that the Odyssey 600 is a 3-beam construction with pre-angled beams. Pre-angled beams allow maximising the interior space and increase stability. Stability is one of the greatest selling points of any Vango air tent: they all have a Tension Band System, which are strategically placed straps/bands inside the tent that make the structure much more ‘rigid’. Vango tents can withstand winds up to 60 km/h, which is impressive.
The flysheet is made of a fabric called Sentinel Active Plus, that is a 70D thick high-quality material. The flysheet can withstand 4000mm rainwater before starting to leak, all seams are taped. The groundsheet is linked in, meaning that you can unlink it, roll it up and tuck it underneath the bedroom when you don’t need it. Also meaning that it is not attached to the flysheet, so make sure you have a good mosquito buzzer because they WILL find their way in. On the other hand, it could provide a better ventilation across the tent, so it is very unlikely that you’d find any condensation inside.
The bedroom is 360cm wide, separated to two units by a toggled divider. You may be able to fit 3 compact size inflatable double mattresses inside if the divider is down, or a double and a single in each room. Or sleep on camping beds, or on mats. There is 60cm allocated for every person, so it may not be very comfortable over a longer period, not for 6 anyways; but can be alright for a weekend or so. The bedrooms are darkened (made of a darker material to reduce the morning light).
You access the living are through one side-door or the fully meshed main entrance. The living area is surprisingly big: 9.3 sqm – that is more than plenty for a camping table to sit around. On the opposite side of the side-door there is a large PVC window, allowing plenty of light in.
The SC model comes with a sun canopy, that extends to a further 120cm along the tent, stretching the full length to almost 6 metres. The two fibreglass poles come within the pack of course, making it a bit heavier than the Air 600: 19kg against 17.5 kilos. The packed size is 70 x 38 x 38 cm.
What to look out for
The Vango Odyssey 600 is the entry level model with some very basic solutions. Just to mention a few: toggled separation, linked in groundsheet, no mesh on the side door, hardly enough space for 6.
Where to buy the Odyssey Air 600
The Odyssey 600 range is exclusive to Amazon, so I am presuming the main drive here was to keep the costs down. I have also noticed that the price tends to change up and down every now and then, so keep an eye on the Amazon listing to get the best price. I place the links below, they should show the current price. If you can grab one around £430, or £480 for the SC, then I would not hesitate much; otherwise, keep on reading…
Odyssey Air 600 Deluxe
Now that you know what to look out for if you are considering the Odyssey Air 600, I have good news: the sky-blue Odyssey Air 600 Deluxe has it all, and has it better.
- It comes with a 150D flysheet with 5000mm HH rating, and the ground sheet is fully sewn in.
- You have a secondary mesh door on both entrance doors.
- The divider between the bedrooms is zipped, so as the curtains.
Thicker fabrics mean heavier package: it weighs 22.2 kgs in a 76 x 46 x 44 cm carry-bag.
The only thing that is a bit strange: the 600 Deluxe does not have ‘Lights Out’ bedrooms.
What to look out for
It is exclusive to Amazon (click here for the product page, or see the thumbnail above), so you can’t buy it elsewhere. Keep an eye on the price, it can vary a lot. If you can grab one around £550 you have made a very good deal: other air tents with these features or even less, tend to go around £600 and upwards.
Amalfi Air 600
The prove this (i.e how good a buy the Odyssey 600 Deluxe could be), the prime example is the Amalfi Air 600. The 6-berth Amalfi is the biggest of the Amalfi range, and in terms of specs and features, it is somewhere between the Odyssey Air 600SC and the 600 Deluxe, priced above the Deluxe.
It has sewn in groundsheet and improved flysheet: it is made of Sentinel Dura that has better UV protection not just for you, but it protects its nice blue colour longer as well. In addition to the TBSII tension bands, it has external storm anchors to give you a piece of mind even in the poorest weather.
It has the same size ‘Lights Out’ bedrooms in a 3+3 layout as the Odysseys; however, the divider is toggled. You have a nice little canopy and flat front to maximise living space: and it surely needs it as the living area is only 6.4 sqm.
There is no side door, it is replaced by a clear PVC window with toggled curtains. Despite the AirZone ventilation system I suspect that airflow is rather limited inside the tent.
What to look out for
Condensation may be an issue, otherwise the Amalfi Air 600 is a sturdy little family tent with SOME features (such as the SkyTrack II hanging system) that you can’t find on cheaper Vango (or non-Vango) air tents.
Where to buy the Amalfi Air 600
Winfields Outdoors are a great place to spend your money on the Amalfi 600: you get £70 off the £650 RRP and further 5% if you register a new account and buy it online. There are pretty good deals on accessories as well. Click here: Amalfi Air 600 on Winfields Outdoors
Icarus Air 600 & Icarus Air Vista 600
Starting with the Icarus Air 600, ‘cause it is a bit of an odd-ball. It is a 2014 model, but some retailers still stock it (and not surprisingly offer it at a reduced price). Narrower than the previous ones, but it is longer; as it has 3 bedrooms for 6 people. The rooms are 140 cm wide each, so the Icarus Air 600 is the first tent on our list that has wider bedrooms, providing 70cm for each person. This is enough to have a normal double airbed tucked into the pod, or to have two camping beds on the side leaving a small corridor in the middle.
A toggled divider separates the two bedrooms in the back, all bedrooms are ‘Lights Out’. The 3rd bedroom occupies the front of the tent, craving space out of the living area reducing the useful space from 10 sqm to 7.5 sqm. More importantly, it blocks the large main entrance door, but fortunately we have a fully meshed side door. The layout is very similar to the Quechua Air Seconds 6.3XL, and my remarks on the Air Seconds 6.3 regarding the glass being half-full or half-empty applies here as well: it is either a large 4-person tent with the option to turn it into a 6-person tent on occasions; or a 6-person tent with quite limited usability, depending on which way you are looking at it.
The flysheet is a 70D Protex fabric with 3000mm HH waterproof coating, while the fully sewn-in groundsheet is attached to the flysheet with an external storm skirt to provide all round protection.
The Air Vista 600 is a 2018 model (it has been discontinued in 2019), and is much upgraded compared to the Icarus Air 600. The layout is ‘normal’ again, with 3, large ‘Lights Out’ bedrooms side by side. The living area is generous, and the porch is even bigger; the two rooms together provide an enormous amount of living space (more than 13 sqm). The front door on the porch is fully meshed and opens like a wardrobe: it is a double zip door that gives you more flexibility to control the airflow across the tent.
The Protex 70D flysheet has 4000mm HH waterproof coating, and the similarly to the Icarus Air 600, the ground sheet is fully sewn-in and it is attached to the flysheet with an external storm skirt.
You also get the SkyTrack system with the Icarus Air Vista 600, which lets you easily attach lighting or storage to the roof of the tent.
What to look out for
If you are considering the 2014 model, make sure you buy all accessories that you might ever need e.g footprint, carpet etc..
Where to buy the Icarus Air 600
GoOutdoors stock both models, and as I mentioned above, they probably are trying to get rid of the Icarus Air 600 now, so expect to pay much less than the normal retail price. You can get a further 10% discount on both the old model and the Icarus Air Vista 600 with the GoOutdoors Discount card, so you can expect to pay less than £600 for the old model, and just above £700 for the Vista.
Keswick Air 600DLX
Strange to see the Keswick Air 600DLX and the Amalfi 600 on the same list, but there you, both are 6-berth airbeam tents. And to be fair, in terms of sleeping space, they are the same size: the Keswick Air 600DLX has two, 3-person ‘Lights Out’ bedrooms side-by-side in the back of the tent, 180cm wide each. This is exactly the size the Amalfi 600 bedrooms provide, though here you find a zipped divider separating them.
On the other hand, the Keswick has 5 air beams, and the full length extends beyond 7 metres, so you can expect that the living area is simply enormous. To be honest, I think it is actually bigger than the living room of my flat…
What is also worth noting about the Keswick, that it is exclusive to Winfields Outdoors, has been since 2017. Thanks to this, it has some features that you would not necessarily find on other Vango tents, or not together.
One such feature is the Sentinel Exclusive fabric of the flysheet, which is stronger and more durable than any other fabric Vango use, and they use high-quality canvas anyways… It has more than double the strength of standard flysheet fabrics (150 Denier) with a 5,000mm HH rating, UV protection and ColourLok technology (which I presume is another name for the UV protective layer on the canvas).
Vango fitted heavy duty zips on the heavier flysheet fabric both on the double zip front door and the fully meshed side door. The side door also has a canopy. You also find plenty of ‘crystal clear’ PVC windows, so the Keswick feels light and airy. To help this, the Keswick has a redesigned ventilation system with both low and high ventilation. Thanks to this, airflow has increased throughout the tent by 50%, so it is unlikely you find any condensation (unlike in my living room…).
Of course, you can find the tensioner bands inside for great storm protection (TBS II System), as it gives extra rigidity to the tent during rough weather. You also find unique guy-line adjusters around the Keswick: they are lightweight, easy to use and designed to hold firm in windy conditions.
The ground sheet is fully sewn-in, and like any other Vango tent, the seams are taped in the Vango factory.
The only downside, if I can say that, that the larger tent is obviously heavier: it weighs over 30kgs when fully packed up.
What to look out for
Apart from the apparent manual handling issues, what you need to consider before you buy it, is the shifted balance of sleeping vs. living space. If I said it for the Amalfi or the Odysseys, I say it here: 60 cm for each person in this 3+3 layout virtually guarantees an unforgettable holiday for all 6, not necessarily in a good way. The Keswick seems more like luxury 4-person tent (or 2 adults 3 kids). Depending on how active the kids are, the enormous living space can be a bit of an overkill, or an absolute must.
Where to buy the Keswick Air 600DLX
Winfields Outdoors are the exclusive retailers of this model, click here to see the product page. The Keswick Air 600DLX is currently on a 27% discounted price, plus you can get further 5% if you are a first time buyer, so you could probably get one just shy of £800.
In the next part
Keswick TC, Anantara, Tahiti, Taiga and Valencia.
Leave a comment if you have any questions, suggestions, or anything to say!