Camping holidays with the kids are a summer classic – and Vango has set out to design the perfect tent for two adults and two kids to escape to in the Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent (RRP £1,130), updated from the popular Rome model for 2022. This Air tent is made of recycled fabrics, has oodles of living space and comes with handy inflatable poles – I gave it a whirl to see if it's worth its sizable price tag, and if it's worth a place amongst today's best tents. Here's my Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent review.
Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent review: design and features
Let's take a tour around this rather palatial family tent. The Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent has a bit of a mouthful of a name, and it's correspondingly big in real life. The first room you'll meet is the porch, which is so roomy it serves as a second living room or as a storage space for a barbeque or a table and chairs. A large door means you can fully close the porch off from the elements, or mosquito netting doors will let air through while keeping bugs at bay. Through the porch is the frankly massive living area, with lots of headroom and generously wide plastic windows, which let in plenty of light or can easily be covered with blinds. The back of the tent is divided into two bedrooms – one double and one triple. The living space has a little bonus, too – a small storage area to one side that's roomy enough to use to store camping kit and kitchen equipment, or as a changing space. The whole shebang has an outer fly fabric made from recycled single use plastic that's fully waterproofed and feels durable enough to put up with the elements, rain or shine.
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Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent review: pitching and living space
Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent specs
Pack size: L78 x H44 x W54cm
Pitched height: 210cm
Pitch time: 20-30 minutes
I've reviewed plenty of large inflatable family tents in the past, and they all like to claim they're very easy to pitch. Most are sadly not – but Vango's is no idle claim. While the Vango Rome II is large and heavy, and takes two people to carry, once you have picked your pitching spot, it's pleasingly easy to set up. Once rolled out, I pegged out the corners of the tent and inflated each pole in turn (a pump is included), then pegged the main tent and the side tent into place. It's a simple job with two people, and takes about twenty-thirty minutes (Vango reckon it takes 12 minutes, but I haven't gotten that quick yet…). And unlike some behemoth family tents, the Rome can also be set up by just one person. Packing down is similarly simple, although the Rome is huge (and heavy, at almost 32kg) when packed away, so make sure you've got a big car boot and ample storage space at home before you buy it.
Living space is in, general, very good indeed in the Rome II, although there are two limitations. One is that there are only two bedrooms, so the Rome II will only suit families with two smaller children who are happy sharing – if you have teenagers who don't want to kip together, you'll need a larger tent with three separate rooms. The two bedrooms that are included are great, though – both are lined with dark material, effectively blocking early morning sunlight, and both have standing room. The larger bedroom is ideal for fitting a wide inflatable camping mattress. The two bedrooms can also be converted into one truly palatial bedroom if it's just two of you going camping for the weekend.
The other area we'd have liked to see improved is the Rome's storage space – it's ideal for use as kitchen storage, with room for a table or a cooking surface to fit inside it, but it's a shade too small to double up as a spare bedroom, which seems a pity, as that would make the Rome far more versatile.
The main living area and porch of the Vango Rome II are very light and roomy, and are a pleasure to be in – there's space to spare for a dining table and chairs plus loungers, and the big windows stop the Rome feeling gloomy and dark. If the weather's looking grey, this is tent you'll feel happy to spend the day hanging out in.
Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent review: alternatives to consider
Vango's larger version of the Rome 550XL, the 650XL, has an added bedroom for just £100 more, and will suit bigger families, or families with teenagers. The Outdoor Revolution Airdale similarly packs in 3-4 bedrooms, but does take longer to pitch. If you're on a tighter budget, the Vango Joro 450 ditches the air poles and comes in at a more reasonable price.
Or for something different, Roben's Yukon offers great quality in a glamping-style canvas tent, but there's only one room, so it's only suitable for families with little children.
Vango Rome II Air 550XL tent review: verdict
Let's tick off the must-haves for a good family tent for four people. Two good bedrooms – tick. A pleasingly roomy living space with extra storage – tick. A big porch you can sit in if it's sunny and close up in rainy weather – tick. Good weatherproofing – tick. Easy to inflate, pitch and take down – tick. Vango's updated Rome II Air 550XL is ideal for two adults and two smaller children heading to the great outdoors on longer camping holidays. It is heavy, bulky and pricey, but I reckon if this tent ticks your boxes, it's worth it. Plus, the Rome is made with recycled materials, so it's a more eco-friendly pick than most models if you're buying new.