Few tent attributes are more important when camping with kids than an easy setup. Nobody’s got time to insert pole A into pole B, and it’s one of the reasons quick-pitch tents are so popular. Any why Lotus Belle’s massive inflatable shelter will be too.
Sure, it might look like a circus tent out the movie Aladdin, but Lotus Belle’s Air Beam Bud is really a scaled-down version of the company’s popular “glamping” tent. While the company has built its name selling larger (and much heavier) models of these circular canvas tents (13-, 16-, and 20-feet in diameter), the portable Air Beam Bud represents its first foray into a light, easy pitch shelter.
The 79-square foot, waterproof tent weighs 40 pounds, boasts mesh windows and a zippable front door, and can accommodate a queen-sized bed ⏤ so plenty of room for the whole family. They also sell add-ons like a woodburning traveller stove, insulated liners, and a large, overhanging front porch under which you can chill out, play cards, or just leave your shoes and wet gear.
Best part of the Air Beam Bud, though, has to be the set up. It’s supports are integrated, and it doesn’t require a center pole to stand. Rather, you simply stake down the groundsheet and guy lines, insert the accompanying bicycle-style hand pump (that works on both the up and down stroke to speed things up), and get pumping. It goes up in a matter of minutes, and the whole process is easy enough that even the kids can help out instead “looking for firewood.” Easier still is the take down — pop the plug and it deflates in less than 10 seconds.
The Air Beam Bud comes in red or cream with an accompanying carrying duffel and will set you back about $1,200.