When we think of blow-up tents, it's mainly in the capacity of low-effort family camping trips, and most of the entries in our best inflatable tent guide are built for just that. But two outdoors brands have teamed up to release a state-of-the-art option that's meant for tougher stuff. The new tent was released this month, just in time for the, er, spring heatwave. But it's not meant for namby-pamby UK camping in any case: the HEIMPLANET x 66°North Cave XL 4-season tent is built for the most extreme weather conditions.
This isn't an entirely new concept from HEIMPLANET. The German camping brand is known for making pioneering inflatable tents, and the new release is based on its distinctive Cave design. 66°North is an Icelandic heritage brand that started life making protective clothing for the world's hardiest professions (fishermen and search and rescue teams in the North Atlantic, that is). As such, the harsh Icelandic weather conditions were the standard against which this collaborative effort was pitted.
"Iceland has always been our reference for heavy tent conditions," says HEIMPLANET co-founder Stefan Clauss. "Many people have told us that Iceland is the ultimate proving ground for the stability of a tent... To now take all our experience to build a tent to match the demands of Iceland is a dream coming true."
Despite being unorthodox in its pole approach, the design employs the tried-and-tested geodesic dome construction known to provide the best stability in blustery weather. There are 10 crossing points, and rugged materials designed to hold up against wind, rain and blizzards. The eyewatering orange shade is inspired by safety shelters in the Icelandic highlands and ensures ultimate visibility in the wilderness.
Of course, you're still getting the ease afforded by air poles – this hi-tech tent can be pitched in under a minute, say the brands. It has been sized up compared to the classic Cave design, with a 5sqm (54 SQFT) ground area, a 102cm (40 inch) inside height and the capacity to sleep 3-4 people. It packs down to a 40 x 32 x 23cm (16 x 13 x 9 inch) pack.
To make sure the tent was up to scratch, the two brands also roped in Benjamin Hardman, an extreme weather adventurer and landscape photographer, for his advice in developing and testing the design. "I've long used HEIMPLANET tents during my Icelandic expeditions, so I was able to share my first-hand experience of what elements are crucial to incorporate in a four-season tent designed for unpredictable settings," says Benjamin. He also notes that the Cave XL 4-Season would be a great choice for "many types of explorers, whether you're a hardcore camper or just looking to spend more time in nature".
Those just seeking to connect with nature more might baulk slightly at the price though – the Cave XL 4-Season is a limited edition design, and is currently available to buy from 66°North.com (opens in new tab) for GBP £825 / USD €985. Slightly cheekily, the pump's not included, so you'll need to remember to pop one of those into your cart too (GBP £30-£50 / EUR €36 - €60 at HEIMPLANET (opens in new tab)). For more options for a range of seasons, head to our best backpacking tent guide, or consult our general best tent guide for a wider range of styles.