Vango AirBeam tents are a firm favourite with the team here at Camping with Style, and with post-lockdown camping exploding in popularity, couples and family campers looking for a new tent would do well to consider the Vango Stargrove II AirBeam. Read on for our full review…
What is it?
Vango Stargrove II 450 Air Tent 2020 RRP £625
- 4 person tent
- 10 minutes pitching time using the Vango AirBeam system
- Nightfall Bedrooms – reduce the early morning light into the tent
- Large Living space – two living space areas
- Airbeam design – aids quicker pitching and set down
- Three-zone design
- Toggled curtains in living area of tent
- Cable-entry point for mains electric access
- 70-Denier Fabric, 3000mm Waterproofing (HH)
- Weight 19.6kg
- Dimensions when pitched 6m x 3m
We spent several happy years camping in the Vango Solaris which was our first introduction to AirBeam tents back in 2016. 4 years on and my daughter and her fiancé have claimed the Solaris, so we were delighted to be able to welcome an Airbeam tent back into our camping lives.
The Vango Stargrove II 450 is brand new for 2020 and looked to be the ideal size for us. We generally take a fair bit of camping gear with us even for short weekend camping trips and whilst there’s just the 2 of us, we do like space, so the 4-person Stargrove 450 looked like it would be perfect for our needs.
Whilst we do love bell tents, we also miss the flexibility that modern tents provide. We like the ability to clearly separate living and sleeping areas inside a tent, something you can’t do in a bell tent without buying a costly inner tent which also eats up usable space.
Putting the tent up
As with all AirBeam tents, pitching is quick and easy. If it’s your first time, I’d recommend watching a video and reading the instructions on how to open and lock closed the valves on each beam before you attempt it for the first time.
To pitch, you basically peg out the footprint, and then lay out the tent, pegging in each corner to secure it to the ground. Next, inflate each of the 4 beams one by one, then continue pegging down the base of the tent before pegging out the guy ropes.
It took us no more than 15 minutes to get the tent up, including pegging out the footprint groundsheet. We opted to leave the removable groundsheet out of the front section of the tent and used this as a kitchen area instead.
Leaving a groundsheet out also meant we could rig up a makeshift privacy screen to use our camp shower in the front of the tent. As with many other campsites, the site we chose to stay at has reopened with showers and toilets closed, so having this additional area with no ground sheet proved really useful.
Looks & styling
I really like the green colour of the tent which blends beautifully with the outdoors rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. The contrasting grey colour of the beams makes for a really stylish looking tent, much more attractive than garish bright red and royal blue tents which still seem to be so prevalent.
The tent took a real battering in high winds, but stood firm
Features & practicality
We were particularly keen to test out the Vango Nightfall bedrooms which reduce light in the sleeping compartment, and we found they were indeed pretty effective at reducing light. Quite honestly, I’d say that Coleman Blackout bedrooms are a little better, but the Vango Nigthfall bedrooms were definitely effective at blocking out pesky early morning light.
We had to take out the divider curtain in order to fit our double Outwell Pasodas camp bed inside the bedroom compartment and would have preferred the bedroom to have one large zipped door that could be opened and rolled up. Instead, there are 2 smaller zipped doors which were permanently attached in the middle which we felt made the tent look a bit messy, but at the same time, we totally understand why it’s designed that way, as with the divider in place, it provides doors that can be zipped and rolled away independently.
We also felt that the bedrooms seemed to retain heat exceptionally well. Great in the evening once the sun went down, but not so great first thing in the morning when the sun came up again, the bedroom did heat up very fast again, getting me out of bed very early on both mornings.
Finally, we really liked the integrated awning which makes the tent really flexible. Although it was very windy and showery during our camping trip and we didn’t get to open the big front doors/windows, in summer, I’d imagine this will allow for fantastic airflow in the tent and would also mean you could cook, in what would essentially become an open-ended awning.
- Good amount of space inside
- Very fast and easy to put up, inflation of the air beams takes minutes
- Very light and airy tent inside with lots of big windows to make the most of the view
- Lantern hanging points in each of the 3 sections of the tent
- Vango Nigthfull bedrooms help reduce light, so they are ideal for those with young children
- Great levels of waterproofing
- The internal bucket-style groundsheet can be unclipped and pegged down in good weather to avoid tripping
- Good stability from the air beams and guy ropes
- The bedroom was very effective at retaining heat
- Generous size bag, so it’s easy to pack away the tent at the end of your camping trip
- We would have preferred the side door to be zipped across the bottom
- The front section of the tent would be much more multi-functional if the large windows could also be zipped up and covered
- In very high winds, we felt that the front section needed a central guy rope to help tether it down
- As with most tents, the standard pegs just don’t cut it in high winds
Pitching ease 5/5
Overall Rating (4.5 / 5)
The centre of the front of the tent could have benefited from a central guy rope
The Vango Stargrove 450 air tent is a really lovely family tent and whilst there were a few minor niggles (more personal preferences than anything), for an entry-level AirBeam tent, we think the Stargrove II provides great quality, some good features and a decent amount of space.
This tent makes a solid choice for small families or couples who want a spacious tent coupled with the fast pitching convenience of AirBeam construction, without wanting to pay a small fortune.
If you’re looking for a superb family #tent, then you won’t go wrong with the @vango Stargrove II 450 available from @OutdoorWorldDir (gifted)
It’s an Airbeam tent, and it’s so fast and easy to pitch and performed amazingly in very high winds this weekend. #camping pic.twitter.com/z3SuymJ5oA
— ᘳᗗᘻᕵ & ᖶᖇᗋᐺᕩᒹ ᙢᓎᖇᕦ! (@CampWithStyle) July 7, 2020
DISCLOSURE | Thank you to Outdoor World Direct you supplied the featured product for us to test. We were not paid to write this review.
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Shell loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident which left her with a broken back. Despite this she used the outdoors and healing power of nature to aid her recovery and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.
From snowboarding and kayaking to hill walks and meditation Shell shares her travels and microadventures here on the blog and in various publications she’s written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting wellbeing and the many benefits of nature therapy.
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