decathlon car tents2 - 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 are probably already familiar with the everyday car camper’s top car tent choice – Decathlon’s Arpenaz Base M tent – at around 120 GBP, it’s the cheapest car tent you can find. By a huge margin – any other car tent you are likely to find is either a few hundred GBP above this price, or it’s a cheap and flimsy Aliexpress thing. That’s probably why the Arpenaz Base M is constantly out of stock. Now here’s the good news – Decathlon has expanded its offer of car tents, giving us a better selection at various price ranges – still below what’s generally available. I have picked the best car tents from their offer in this post. But be quick – in a year, prices rose 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 HATCHBACK – TAILGATE TENT – Decathlon Arpenaz Base M

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

arpenaz base M - 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 around 120 GBP / 120 EUR (yep, cheaper in the EU), 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, Shara etc – with lower height compared to a Multivan (as most car awnings are made for those). Confirmed to fit a Berlingo, Kangoo, Sharan, Touran (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 | Only two fibreglass poles
– The fabric filters UV radiation with a UPF of 30
– 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 should do the trick – the opening is high enough for the tailgate + the sheet will protect from rain.

~120 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.

4.7

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 HATCHBACK – TAILGATE TENT – Arpenaz Base Fresh

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

6 person inflatable camping shelter air seconds base connect - 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. It has two large openings on opposite ends, giving you a choice of which side you’ll attach to the car.
– 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

~300 GBP / EUR*

*yep, in EUR it works out cheaper
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.

4.1

For more camping accessories:

Further reading


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