We are a family of four, (two adults and two kids) so why on earth do we have an eight berth tent with the optional extra porch? Well, we started off with a 6 berth tent and while the kids were small it was OK. The tent was great, it was well made and easy to put up, but it had a sloping front wall which really impacted on the interior space. We realised after our first trip that it was only just big enough for four people, and when we added in cooking furniture or seating it was cramped to say the least.
How big is the Berghaus Air 8?
Big! Actual footprint is 7.5m x 3m and is 2.15m in height. It weighs 30kg. For a family of four it’s over the top really, but then again, why not? I love having space, but I hate that space to be cluttered with other peoples stuff. Because this tent has four sleeping pods it means that the kids get their own space to keep all their stuff leaving the main area free for seating etc. Add on the porch and this tent expands from big to !HUGE! it’s the perfect place for your camp kitchen. The front door zips down both sides and can be rolled up out of the way giving plenty of essential ventilation while you are cooking.
Skipping forward a little we swapped tent holidays for touring caravan holidays but realised that for that quick weekend away we still needed a tent. Learning from our last purchase we knew that we wanted a tent without sloping walls and a lot more space than a six berth could offer. Looking around we found the Berghaus Air 8 and knew instantly that it would tick the boxes for us! Looking further and discovering the porch, it was obvious that finally we could have a decent amount of space inside the tent and we could even eat in there if the weather was bad. In the Air 8 each of our children could have their own sleeping pod, which still left a double width sleeping pod for us and of course the porch would be the perfect place for cooking. We bought it online from Millets without reading reviews, watching videos or any other supporting information because we were so convinced it was right for us.
The Air 8 is very well made from a 70 denier flysheet with 6000mm Hydrostatic Head. We had heavy wind and rain over night (well we were camping in Wales) but we had no leaks or condensation. The seams are fully taped and the ground sheet is fully sewn in. The air beams are easy to inflate with just a few pumps of the supplied large volume pump. The pump also comes with a pressure valve so you can inflate to the correct psi, the instructions tell you what is the ideal pressure.
Inside there are suspended sleeping pods made from the normal inner tent material and there are two ‘ladders’ of storage pockets. The only thing I don’t like about the sleeping pods is the central divider is just a hanging sheet and while it does dived the space into two, it’s not totally ‘private’.
There are some nice little touches in the tent, such as the zip tab has a finger hole so you can undo the zip easier. The ends of the airbeams are all accessed from outside and the flap zips shut when you no longer need it. The bag is big and because it’s heavy it has built in wheels so you can pull it along rather than having to carry it.
Putting up and taking down
We have all been to the camping shows and we have heard the loud blowout noise of an airbeam being deflated only to be pumped up again in seconds by the sales person. There is no doubt that the pole-less tent is much easier to erect and the Air 8 is no different. Unroll it from the bag, lay it out on the pitch, pump up the beams and you are done bar the pegging out. So erecting the tent is easy, but the fun starts when you take it down. Now this is probably the same with any airbeam tent but no matter how you try there is always some air trapped in the middle or at the wrong end of the beam. The pump with the Berghaus is dual purpose, it will blow as well as suck, so what we have found is if you deflate the beam, then when it’s on the ground, walk up the beam as you pump on the deflate setting then that is the only real way of getting the air out. Having said that we still get air trapped and have to do the process a few times.
The bag is big but I wouldn’t say overly generous however if you get the rolling up right it will go back in the bag first time.
This is a quality tent and the distinctive yellow band around the bottom third combined with the vivid blue fabric means that you stand out on the camp site, useful if you are staggering back after an evening in the club house (not that I would know!). The blue colouring does have one downside however, when you emerge from the tent after being inside for a while the world outside seems very greeny-brown as your eyes get used to the white light again (however that might be loosely connected to the club house the night before – I’m not totally sure).
Would I recommend the Berghaus Air 8?
Definitely. Even with six people there is plenty of space to go around, (eight would be too cramped for me, but all eight would fit) I would also recommend the Air Porch too because it is the perfect place for cooking. One thing I would point out is when you are booking a camp site make sure they understand that this is a LARGE tent as some of the pitches we saw would not accommodate this foot print.
Also…. get a trailer, it’s liable to fill the boot of your car otherwise!