top car tents from decathlon nimblecamper - Good car tents at a low price? Decathlon - top 3 tents reviewed

Good car tents at a low price? Decathlon – top 3 tents reviewed

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You’re probably already familiar with the top tent choice for the everyday car camper – Decathlon’s Arpenaz Base M. At around £120, it’s the cheapest car tent you’ll find. By a huge margin – any other car tent you’re likely to find is either a few hundred pounds over this price, or it’s a cheap and flimsy Aliexpress affair. That’s probably why the Arpenaz Base M is often out of stock. Here’s the good news: Decathlon has expanded its range of car tents, giving us a better choice at various price points – but still below what’s generally available. I have selected the best car tents from their range in this article. But be quick – prices have gone up by 12% – 20% in a year since I started writing about them here.

Best budget car tent for camping – Arpenaz Base M

As already mentioned, this one is a long-term favourite for many people I’ve spoken to or judging by many comments in car camping forums. (FB groups like Berlingo campers only, Small Vehicle Campers etc). See my review for some of their testimonials. It cost 99 GBP in 2021, currently it’s at 120 GBP – seems car tents are in demand!

MY TOP BUDGET CAR TENT – Decathlon Arpenaz Base M

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

arpenaz base m berlingo2 - Good car tents at a low price? Decathlon - top 3 tents reviewed
If you don’t mind it’s not meant to be used as a car tent – but it actually can do the job pretty well, you’re in for a treat – at only 129.99 GBP / 139.99 EUR, you will get a pretty good tailgate tent – or a side door tent, you can make it fit both. Better for cars like Caddy, Berlingo, Sharan etc – with lower height compared to a Multivan (as most car awnings are made for those). Confirmed to fit most MPVs, barn doors as well. (see images below)
– Very cheap!!
– Height : 2.15 m | Floor area: 6.25 m2 | Comfortable for 6 people
– Openings on 3 sides | 3 mosquito nets
– Waterproof (200L per hour per m2)
– Packed size – rectangular cover | 57 x 18 cm | 18 litres
– Weight 8kg
– Easy set-up with a free-standing structure | Fibreglass poles
– The fabric filters UV radiation with a UPF of 30
– Withstands force 6 winds – around 50 km/h | Wind tunnel test
– doesn’t need a rail to be attached
– will not fit exactly as it’s not meant to be used with a car, but should do the trick – the opening is high enough for the tailgate or most barn doors + the sheet will protect from rain.

129.99 GBP / 139.99 EUR

I haven’t seen a tailgate tent in this price range that works better. Easy to carry, easy to erect and does the job perfectly – you gain a lot of storage space / living room with mosquito nets and window covers for privacy / cover during the rain. Add a tarp to cover the tailgate for extra rain protection and there’s not much missing from this (unintentional) car tent. If you are considering trying car camping with a car tent, this is the one to try. And you may never need another one, unless your family starts to grow 🙂

Available at any Decathlon website for your country.
I recommend buying this foldable table + 4 chairs too – good ratings, price and takes up almost no space.

4.9

There are three ways how you can fit it over your tailgate or side door:

Second image thanks to: WILL WALKLEY OUTDOORS, third image: Sweeper Liam
Touran image source: rjrdaydreamer.com

Budget but bigger car tent – Arpenaz Base Fresh (10 people)

This one is still very cheap at around 180 GBP (up from 150 GBP in 2021) considering it’s also bigger than the Arpenaz Base M – by 0.5m on each side and 10cm taller (overall and the opening). This gives you a generous 9m2 compared to Arpenaz’s 6.25m2.

BIGGEST BUDGET HATCHBACK – TAILGATE TENT – Arpenaz Base Fresh

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

camping living room with poles arpenaz base fresh 10 person 2 - Good car tents at a low price? Decathlon - top 3 tents reviewed
A gazebo & tent in one – with more room for your things and a 185cm tall opening, you can basically reverse your tailgate into it. It doesn’t have the cover sheet that you can put over your car as the Arpenaz Base M, so rain insulation might need some DIY tarp/sheet, but other than that this is a good choice if you need something big and cheap.
– Cheap
– Height: 2.25 m (opening for tailgate 185cm) | Floor area: 9 m2 | Comfortable for 10 people
– Openings on 4 sides | but only 1 mosquito net
– Waterproof – Water column (Schmerber): Flysheet > 2,000 mm
– Rectangular cover | 89 x 22 x 30 cm | 58 litres
– Weight 11.6kg
– Easy installation: self-supporting structure | Aluminium poles
– The fabric filters UV rays with an UPF of 50+
– Withstands force 6 winds – around 50 km/h | Wind tunnel test
– Car connection/fit: doesn’t need a rail to be attached
– Car connection/fit: will not fit exactly as it’s not meant to be used with a car, but the opening is high enough for the tailgate, but you might need to buy an additional sheet to cover the tailgate during rain

~180 GBP / EUR*

*yep, in EUR it works out cheaper
Available at any Decathlon website or store in your country.
I recommend buying this foldable table + 4 chairs too – good ratings, price and takes up almost no space.

4.3

Inflatable car tent – Inflatable Camping Shelter – Air Seconds Base Connect

INFLATABLE CAR – TAILGATE TENT – Air Seconds Base Connect Fresh

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

Air Seconds Base Connect car tent 1 - Good car tents at a low price? Decathlon - top 3 tents reviewed
Don’t like fiddling around with poles? This inflatable car tent might be the right choice for you then (note that it does require a separate pump). It’s made to connect to cars and vans, you can also buy an additional bedroom section to put inside. This looks like Decathlon’s first venture into real car tents (as so far, it was unintended – they built tents that happened to fit cars too). It’s also 10cm taller than the Arpenaz Base M. The sheet + poles make joining it to your car even more flexible. Unfortunately, the opening is much wider than an MPV, so you will have two big gaps on the sides, requiring further insulation during rain or against bugs. It has two large openings on opposite ends, giving you a choice of which side you’ll attach to the car. It fits really well from the side of the car – even on a Multivan.
– Average price
– Height: 2.25 m (opening for tailgate 175cm) | Floor area: 6.25 m2 | Comfortable for 6 people
– Openings on 4 sides (2 suitable for a car) | but only 1 mosquito net
– Waterproof – Water column (Schmerber): Flysheet >2000 mm rating Groundsheet >2400 mm rating
– Rectangular cover | 77 x 29 x 29 cm | 64 litres | Removable groundsheet
– Weight 13kg
– Easy installation: Extremely quick pitching thanks to its all-in-one inflatable structure (requires a separate pump though)
– The fabric filters UV rays with an UPF of 50+
– Withstands force 7 winds – around 60 km/h | Wind tunnel test
– Car connection/fit: doesn’t need a rail to be attached
– Car connection/fit: will not fit exactly as it’s not meant to be used with a car, but the opening is high enough for the tailgate, albeit a bit too wide. Will fit the side door well too.

~300 GBP / 320 EUR

Available at any Decathlon website or store in your country.

You can extend it with an internal bedroom section made specifically for this tent – keep the mozzies out easier and have more privacy. A changing/privacy shelter during the day, bedroom at night. See images below.

I recommend buying this foldable table + 4 chairs too – good ratings, price and takes up almost no space.

4.3

There are at least two ways how to fit the Air Seconds Base Connect tent over your car

For more camping accessories:

Further reading

Post author:

Lukas

Founder of NimbleCamper.com, avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast. Car camping and microcamping allows me to keep traveling and exploring with a much greater level of freedom & privacy – to go anywhere and sleep anywhere. I didn’t have 30K to buy a VW Multivan, so found my way to the world of everyday car camping conversions. Here I share my experiences and what I learn.

Check out my thoughts on a balanced life: sensimism.com

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