Released just in time for 2021’s summer of camping staycations, Outwell’s Pinedale 6PA tent (RRP £1,169.99) is the latest design in the brand’s inflatable family tent line-up.
The Pinedale sits towards the top of Outwell’s range of tents in terms of size, sleeping six if needed but ideal for a family of four sharing two bedrooms, but it’s actually one of its more affordable options. We tried out the Pinedale in the great outdoors to see if it delivered on performance. Is it the best tent for a summer family getaway? Let's find out.
- Need something smaller? Here are the best backpacking tents
- Get nice and comfy on the best camping bed
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: design and features
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: Specs
Pack size: 91cm x 44cm x 44cm
Living rooms: One
Pitch time: 20 minutes
The Pinedale is a ‘tunnel’-style tent with an extra living area on one side – a T-shaped tunnel, then. Inside there’s one roomy living room area, plus one bedroom that can be divided into two, and the door of the tent is further protected by a small porch. The Pinedale boasts big clear windows in the living room, offering a nigh-on panoramic view when you’re indoors.
When it comes to weatherproofing, the Pinedale has an outer flysheet that’s waterproofed to 4,000mm (this is the Hydrostatic Head, the measure of a fabric’s waterproofness, and 4,000mm is enough to put up with heavy rainfall). If it’s hot and sunny instead, there are wide vents in the living room and behind the bedroom to improve air flow. The ‘blackout’ bedrooms also keep things cooler and will block out light.
If you’re hanging out inside the tent during the day, the large main door can be fully opened to the elements, or a mesh inner door can be zipped up to let in light but keep bugs at bay. The large ‘wing lounge’ area off the living room is a handy space for storage or for setting up a table and chairs.
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: Pitching
Although the Pinedale is easy to pitch, this is still a big and heavy tent at 32.7kg and you’ll need a large camping pitch to set it up on, a roomy car boot to transport it in and a good amount of storage back at home.
Big family tents mean a fiddly pitching process, right? Not so with inflatable tents, which use air to fill wide poles and allow you to pitch even multi-room tents all in one go. Even if you’ve never tried an inflatable tent before, you’ll find the Outwell Pinedale easy and intuitive to pitch using the included pump. Once you’ve unpacked the tent, laid it flat and pegged out the four corners, it’s a case of inflating the air poles using the included pump. Once erect, there’s a traditional pole to pop into the ceiling of the porch. Then you can peg out the remaining guy ropes and you’re done – the process took us 15-20 minutes, and while it’s easier two with people, it can also be done by one, which isn’t true of many traditional family tents.
Like with most tents we test out, packing the tent down again always seems to require a bit more effort. Putting away the Pinedale isn’t too stressful, although you’ll need to make sure all air is squeezed out of the poles – the easiest way to do this is by lying on them as you let air out. Then fold the tent into three lengthways and roll up it tightly to make sure it fits back into its carry bag easily.
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: performance and comfort
Once pitched, what stands out when camping in the Outwell Pinedale 6PA is how light and airy this design is, with big clear windows, a wide door and generous standing room. On test we liked the versatility of the main door, which lets in plenty of light – fully opening the door and uncovering the tent’s big windows make this a lovely space for indoor/outdoor eating. The wing lounge does make a big difference to daily living inside the tent – it’s a great catch-all space for a sofa, outdoor kit, kids' toys or a table and chairs. Some other tents have a side door in this space – the Pinedale doesn’t, but we’d argue that this wing is better as a handy extra storage or living space rather than as another door, especially when there’s already such a generous main one. The wide living space and the clear windows stop this tent from ever feeing stuffy or small, and make it a nice place to hang out in bad weather.
The bedrooms would be a squeeze for three but offer plenty of room for two, and each will fit a double air mattress. The bedrooms have a dark lining that we found really helped keep the room cool and keep the dawn light out, and we also liked the high ceiling, quiet doors and storage pockets in the bedrooms. A unzippable central divider does offer good privacy once closed, so two couples could also share this tent.
We appreciated the attention to detail throughout the Pinedale, which quality punches above its price point when it comes to design: included are luminous guy ropes, slightly tinted windows to improve privacy in the day time, extra thick ‘storm’ guy rope straps for resisting wind and plenty of well-placed vents for good ventilation. We also loved the hooks on every beam, ideal for hanging lanterns or stringing up filament or fairy lights, or even for fashioning a mini washing line in bad weather. This is a tent that feels carefully thought-out.
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: alternatives to consider
We’ve also recently reviewed the Lichfield Eagle, an inflatable 6-person family that we think is pretty similar to the Outwell Pinedale - best for sleeping four in two bedrooms, with generous living space. The Pinedale does have more room than the Lichfield Eagle thanks to that side wing, and is better ventilated, but is pricier.
If you don’t mind the longer pitching time of a traditional poled tent, the Outwell Greenwood is a much more affordable option for four. If you do need to sleep a family of six with space to spare, pick a tent with three separate bedrooms. In Outwell’s own tent range you’ll find the Outwell Parkdale 6PA, which looks and feels very similar to the Pinedale – the difference is that you lose the side living room but you gain a bedroom, so it’s more suitable for a family with four children. Or the palatial Zempire Aerodome III Pro 8 tent is worth pushing the boat out for, and sports three bedrooms sleeping up to eight.
Outwell Pinedale 6PA review: verdict
If plentiful living space and good quality for money are top of your list when you’re shopping for a camping holiday, Outwell’s new Pinedale 6PA tent will be right up your street. We especially rate this tent in hot weather – large, well-placed vents and an airy living room that can be opened up to the outdoors make this design ideal for indoor/outdoor living all summer long.
If your idea of a good summer holiday as a family involves packing up the car and heading to a campsite in the UK or Europe for a few weeks of chilled camping, the Pinedale will be a great portable home for four or five people.