A glance into the future; The Tent Show at Stoneleigh (Part 1)

Vango’s display and some news on the Airbeam…
Just days after our tent show at Sanders Garden World closed for the season, we were off to Warwickshire to take in the sights of the largest tent trade show in Europe at Stoneleigh Park, in Kenilworth. Featuring a display of over 400 tents from many of the leading brands, including Outwell, Vango and Terra Nova, The Tent Show at Stoneleigh was the place to be for a sneaky peek into what to look out for in 2012 and by extension so is this blog! 
Stoneleigh Park: 250 acres with a fair portion of it filled with tents!
Imagine a very clean, well ordered Glastonbury festival and you’ll get an idea!
One of the most interesting parts of our day at Stoneleigh wasn’t the two hour drive, or the antics with the sat nav, it was getting to experience the much discussed Vango Airbeam range in the flesh for the first time. In my time working at our tent show we’d not stocked the range, but it has been the subject of many enquiries from our customers. Having become somewhat of a talking point during the journey up, we were eager to get a proper look.
After seeing several models in the Airbeam range displayed out in the elements on a grey, windy day in September, we were impressed. The Infinity 600 we were shown went up ‘as one’ in minutes with just one person pitching.

Infinity 600 Airbeam being ‘inflated’
The tent features include windows that have been increased in size from last year, a highly rated 6000HH embossed polyester material, a patented storage ‘pelmet’ (that’s pockets to you and me), the well known Tension Band System (TBS) II for extra stability as well as curtains for privacy when required.
In the windy conditions of a large open field, the tent performed well. To those concerned about possible punctures, an easy to use repair kit is included in the bag.  The inflatable ‘airbeams’ are used instead of poles and are made of a very robust plastic that is inflated (pump included) to support the flysheet material and hold the shape of the tent. Inside, the space is ample and comparable to the Tigris 600.

The Infinity 600 will be available from Taunton Leisure in 2012

From next year Taunton Leisure will be stocking selected tents from the Vango Airbeam range for the 2012 tent season. We’ll be revealing the specific details, such as when exactly they will be available and which models we’ll be selling, at a later date.

We feel that the Airbeam range could prove to be the ideal choice for those who love camping and would like a tent that can be pitched and packed away quicker and easier than ever before!

It’s not just Airbeam that we are excited about, however. Vango had a lot for us to see and their range is vast. There are many other tents to look out for next year. We’ll touch on a few of them here.

Vango Alpha 300 has a new front for 2012
The Alpha 300, a stalwart of the Taunton Leisure range, has always been very popular. A reasonably priced, reliable and easy to use tent. For 2012 it will feature relocated ventilation points, which have been moved upwards from previous models to reduce the threat of condensation and a gothic style entrance for enhanced headroom and space in the porch area. This has given the tent a very striking appearance which will catch the eye. We’ll have the Alpha 300 and 400 available next season.
One of the success stories of 2011 was a new range known as ‘Calisto’.  Featuring lots of useable space and steel poles included at a great price, the 2012 Calisto’s will also include the updated venting system to reduce the threat of condensation. The front of the tent has been redesigned to be flat instead of angled. A ‘rain shield’ (we’re not yet sure of the correct term!) has been added which as well as being functional, looks pretty good! Next year we’ll have the Calisto 400, 500 and 600 available.  
Vango Calisto 500

Another feature to look out for is what is referred to as a ‘linked in groundsheet’ – a groundsheet that is toggle-in instead of fully sewn in that will provide a similar functionality to that of a fully sewn in groundsheet, but at a lower cost. Look out for this on the Zeal 500 next season.

As we finished up our tour of what Vango had to offer we took a look back and appreciated the scale of what we’d seen. Vango tents stretching far into the distance and we weren’t even halfway done for the day! There was much more for us to see.
Some models that we’ve not had chance to mention in detail but stood out include the Ark range, the Tigris XL range, the Mirage 200 and 300 and the ever popular Icarus range – all well worth looking out for.
There’s going to be a lot more tent info to come from us in the lead up to 2012 so stay tuned to find out more about the specific tents we will be stocking for next season. There are plenty more changes in the pipeline not just from Vango, but from Outwell too (including some pretty innovative design features).
This is just a taste of what is to come in the future.
For the sake of brevity, however, we shall leave those for another blog where we will be looking at what Outwell had to offer at Stoneleigh, including the updated ‘Sun’ range, ‘floating’ guylines and some pretty incredible hotdogs!
Until then…
Luke – Taunton Leisure Online.
If you would like to know more about the Airbeam range or any of the other tents we’ve discussed in this blog then feel free to get in touch with us via our brand new Facebook page, on twitter @tauntonleisure, or online at tauntonleisure.com. You can also take a look at Vango’s official site.

Update (28/10/11): Here’s a video we took at the tent show. Take a look at how quickly the Infinity 600 goes up!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa1X0NEhrtc&w=500&h=320]

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