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Kelty AirPitch inflatable tents pitch in less than a minute


August 15, 2012

The Kelty Mach 6 includes two sleeping modules connected by a central gear vestibule

The Kelty Mach 6 includes two sleeping modules connected by a central gear vestibule

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Most tents still use solid metal, fiberglass and composite poles, but a few manufacturers, including Nemo, have experimented with inflatable poles to limit packed size and make set-up easier. Now Colorado-based Kelty can be added to their number with its AirPitch tents that leave the irritation of bendy, shock-corded poles in the past. The tents use inflatable poles, which Kelty claims guarantee quick, easy set-up and tear-down. Less time hacking together your shelter means more time spent with your family ... or knocking back a cold one while enjoying the views.

With its large four- and six-person car camping tents, Kelty really isn't worried about a small pack size, but it is concerned with simplifying the pitching process. Similar to German manufacturer Heimplanet, it takes advantage of the quick set-up of inflatable design to offer family sized tents focused on ease of use.

Kelty's AirPoles eliminate the stereotypical headache of reading instructions, piecing together pole segments, and carefully adjusting and attaching the rainfly. Instead, you simply lay the tent flat, inflate the AirPoles via two individual valves and call it good within less than a minute – although staking the tent out will certainly take you past the minute mark.

Each AirPitch tent includes an integrated rainfly, so there's no separate attachment process and you can set the tent up from inside in the event of a rainstorm. In the morning, simply pop open the valves and the tent deflates back into flat form in about the same minute time-frame it took to inflate.

Kelty says another advantage of AirPoles is that they won't bend or break like hard poles. Of course, AirPoles could spring a leak, which would be the equivalent of a broken aluminum pole. A leak is potentially easier to fix in the field, assuming it's small and you have a patch kit.

However, it remains to be seen how inflatable poles in such a large, broad-sided tent stand up to wind.

Each AirPitch tent includes a floor-less, screened vestibule for gear storage. The Mach 6 has two separate three-person sleeping modules, and the Mach 4 includes one four-person sleeping area. Each tent comes with a dual-action hand pump. Other features include taped seams, internal storage pockets, fly vents for air circulation and guy outs.

The Mach 4 will retail for US$400 and the Mach 6 for $500 when they hit the market next January. Check out the video below to get an idea of how they set up and break down.

Source: Kelty

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

A small one would be great for bicycle trips - you'd already have a pump, too!

Cora Muis

Finally I have been asking for this exact thing for some time.

Michael Mantion

my parents used to have one like this in the seventies. Never understoof why they stopped making them.

Peter Jacops

Is this really worthy of GizMag, or even newsworthy at all? Inflatable tents have been around for decades. And I expect they still get punctures!

Mike Hallett

Seems like a nice tent concept to me. Love innovative tent designs. So long as these tents can pack up small enough then it is something that I'd go for if the price is right. I'm always limited by the length of the shock corded poles when it comes to taking a nice sized tent on motorcycle trips.


My little car has an air compressor (no spare but it is used to re-inflate a tire). Perhaps one could use an air compressor to speed up the inflation.

I think it is neat in that it is big inside with lots of room yet so easily to put up.


So how do you inflate it if you don’t have a bicycle pump or a car tire pump to inflate it?

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