Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE review: testing out this behemoth of a family tent designed to sleep up to eight. You won't miss this tent in a campsite – it's one of the biggest family tents I've tested, boasting no fewer than three roomy bedrooms (plus an optional extra one), a generous living space, a great porch and a roomy side awning. This design sits in Outdoor Revolution's 'Premium' range of tents, but doesn't come with a premium price tag, especially considering it can sleep up to eight comfortably. This is a big and bulky tent at almost 50kg, though – so is it worth the space, and the spend? And how does it compare with today's best tents, or the best inflatable tents around, specifically? Here's my Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE tent review.
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE review: price and release date
The Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE Tent is available for £1,399, and was updated in 2021 as part of Outdoor Revolution's premium range.
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7.0SE tent review: setup
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7SE Air Tent (7-man) specs
Main material: Polyester
Pitching time: 45min
Standing height: yes
Pack size: 93 x 63 x 56cm
If there's one area where I think the Outdoor Revolution Airedale needs a bit of improvement, it's in pitching. OR reckons you can pitch this tent in 10 minutes – it took me more like an hour on my first go. The concept is simple – you lay the tent out flat, peg out the four corners, then inflate each of the five air 'poles' and you're basically there. Inflating the air poles is simple and takes a minute or two for each pole, but once inflated you'll need to get inside the tent and attempt to straighten them while someone else pegs out the tent.
Even then, the final effect can resemble a wonky bouncy castle if you don't get the pegging angles taught. The side awning takes a traditional pole, which is a simpler process. Better pitching instructions would help, but there are some handy videos online to watch before you pitch.
Once erected, the tent does feel pleasingly solid – the large air tubes are tough and sturdy, and come with a lifetime guarantee. This tent is also very large, so you'll need to check the campsite you're heading too has roomy enough pitches to comfortably take its footprint.
When it's time to pack away the Airdale, the air poles let air out easily but folding and rolling the tent small enough to fit back in its carry case is no simple task. It's also a pity the bag doesn't have wheels, as at almost 50kg this tent definitely needs two people to transport. Stick to using this big tent for car camping – and check your boot is big enough to transport it, and that you've got room somewhere like a garage to store the large carry bag at home.
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7.0SE review: at camp
Once the Airedale 7SE is erected, all is forgiven – this is a brilliantly roomy family tent that feels far larger, taller and airier inside than most other family tents, including some I've tested at twice the price. The roomy porch has tons of space for sitting under cover, for storing kit or even for airing wet clothing. The porch's big windows (including a windowed door that can also be fully unzipped) make this a lovely indoor-outdoor living space in all weathers.
Inside, there's a long, high living space with more than enough room for a camping table and chairs plus extra seating to lounge about on – it's honestly bigger than some student flats I've lived in in here. At the back of this tunnel-style tent is the bedroom, which is one big space separated into three with dividers. To the left of the living space is the tent's side awning, which is one of the tent's crowning glories (the SE in this tent's name stands for Side Extension, in case you were wondering). It works as a side door, as a roomy storage area (I liked keeping cooking kit and food safely zipped up in here) or even as a separate two-person bedroom using the add-in bedroom available (£79.99).
This option to create an eight-man tent, or to give an extra child a roomy bedroom if you're a family of five, makes this a very versatile choice for growing families. There's also generous head height throughout – if you're over 6ft or find most tents claustrophobic, you'll get on with this design.
The bedrooms don't feature true 'blackout' lining to totally block light, but they are definitely dark enough to help you catch ZZZs, and are also highly ventilated with large mesh panels, so they're good for summer camps. The three bedrooms will sleep six (two in each bedroom), but work even better for a family of four, with parents sharing the central room and children in the two side rooms. This makes the Airedale a great choice for families with older children or teenagers who need their own space. The deep bedrooms will all take double air mattresses or camping beds – great if you like a bit of luxury come bedtime.
This was also one of the best-ventilated tents I've tested in a while, so it's a good choice for hot summer holidays. If the heavens do open, the tough polyester material is fully waterproof – rain literally rolled off it on test, and no condensation formed inside. I also found the Airedale withstood wind well, and other reviewers report this design stand up to even heavy winds.
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7.0SE review: alternatives to consider
If you have a bit more to spend, we really rate Coleman's family tents (see T3's Coleman Weathermaster XL Air tent review for an excellent inflatable option, or this Coleman Meadowood 4 BlackOut tent review for a poled alternative).
The smaller Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6SE, sleeping six (£1,099), and 5SE, sleeping five (£899), shave the price down but offer a similar design and quality to the 7SE. If you're after an air tent that's easier to pitch, I rate Dometic's (admittedly very pricy but excellent) Ascension 6-person tent (£2,599).
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 7.0SE review: verdict
Outdoor Revolution is right to class this tent as a 'Premium' model – it offers brilliant living and sleeping space for larger families and its heavy-duty material is weatherproof, windproof and feels pretty bomb-proof all in all. This is a heavy, large and bulky tent, and one I found tricky to pitch on test, but if you're heading on longer family holidays, especially with older kids and teenagers, and need a good amount of space, it could be well worth it. All in all, there's very impressive value for money here.