Vango Aether Air 600 XL Tent review: how does this inflatable, eco-friendly family tent perform on test?
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.
After a decent family tent that manages to keep a low carbon footprint? That’s the promise of the Vango Aether 600 XL.
We took it out for a test holiday to see how well it performs - from ease of pitching, spaciousness, to how well it blocks light and withstands the elements.
Here are our findings
Main material: Recycled Sentinel Eco material
Pitch time: 30-40 minutes
Plenty of living space
Good price point
Only two bedrooms
First impressions count – and when it comes to family tents, that’s all about how easy and intuitive they are to pitch.
We’ve tested out Vango’s traditional poled family tents in the past, and found some of them can be on the tricky and time-consuming side to get standing.
Not so this ‘Air’ version of the Aether, which can be inflated in minutes. While it’s much easier to erect this tent with two people due to its sheer size, the actual pitching process is very simple – just use the included pump to inflate each hollow pole in turn, and then peg out the structure to end up with a sturdy tent ready to go.
The lack of metal poles keeps this tent’s weight down to a respectable 24kg, which means one person can just about carry it.
The packed tent is pretty roomy, though, so you’ll need a decent car boot to get it to your next campsite.
Bedroom and living space in the Vango Aether Air 600 XL
Once inflated, step inside and you’ll find pleasingly straight walls and plenty of head height in the living room and canopy area.
Large windows give a good amount of light even on gloomy days, and the living area door can be fully rolled back if you fancy sitting in the porch, or kept open but with a bug-proof mesh liner zipped up to protect from insects while still letting a breeze in.
We found the generous living area offered enough space both to store kit and to set up a table and chairs – ideal for changeable weather when you may have to spend more time than you thought inside the tent.
The porch is bigger than that of some other family-sized tents we’ve tested, with room for a couple of chairs, so you can sit outside but still be protected from sun or rain.
If you like to sit and watch the world go by, cook outside or just have somewhere to store muddy boots, this porch will do you proud. If you do want to add on more space than the Aether offers, a compatible side awning is great for use as added storage space or as a second porch, but is sold separately.
How good is the Aether at blocking out light?
Two roomy bedrooms are lined with blackout material, effectively blocking out pesky dawn light so you can sleep in on summer mornings. Both rooms are ‘queen size’, and have room for a double air bed plus a bit of space for bags and kit.
While the Aether is marketed as a 6-person tent, having just two bedrooms does make this tent only suitable for two adults sharing one room and two or three children sharing another, rather than working for 6 people, so we’d only recommend it to families of four or five.
Weather-proofing for the Aether
We tested the Aether Air 600 XL out on a balmy summer’s weekend, and reckon this is the weather that will suit it perfectly, as it’s very well-ventilated and ideal for indoor-outdoor living. If the weather does turn, the outer fly material is waterproofed to 3,000mm (this is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is, and anything over 1,500mm will repel rain).
Eco-credentials for the Vango Aether Air 600 XL
Tents don’t usually have a great eco footprint, so we were pleased to see that the Aether is made using Sentinel Eco Fabric, which made from recycled single-use plastics.
We’d love to see all tent manufacturers follow this example, and if you’re trying to make eco-conscious purchases this year then look no further - the Aether’s design saves the environment the equivalent of 221 plastic bottles.
We think the Aether Air sits at a good price in the inflatable tent market, but if you’re after something of a similar size and design but with a more pocket-friendly price tag, and you don’t mind a longer pitching time, the poled Aether is available for £555.
If you like a lot of bang for your buck and you’re shopping for a design that’ll suit a family of four you’ll get on well with Vango’s Aether Air 600 XL, which boasts the convenience of inflatable poles but without a hefty price tag you’ll often find on ‘air’ tents.
The Aether Air has lots of living space, good ventilation and blackout bedrooms, so it’s ideal for hot summer weather.
We also like that this design is made from recycled plastic, making it a more eco-conscious choice than most family-sized tents on the market.