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Inflatable Tents

An inflatable Tent is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with air, but hydrogen, helium and nitrogen are also used. One of several advantages of an inflatable is that it can be stored in a small space when not inflated, since inflatables depend on the presence of a gas to maintain their size and shape. Function fulfillment per mass used compared with non-inflatable strategies is a key advantage.


Stadium cushions, impact guards, vehicle wheel inner tubes, emergency air bags, and inflatable space structures employ the inflatable principle. Inflation occurs through several strategies: pumps, ram-air, billowing, and suction. Although the term inflatable can refer to any type of inflatable object, the term is often used in boating to specifically refer to inflatable boats.

Tents were used at least as far back as the early Iron Age. They are mentioned in the Bible; for example, in the Genesis 4:20 Jabal is described as ‘the first to live in tents and raise sheep and goats’. The Roman Army used leather tents, copies of which have been used successfully by modern reenactors. Various styles developed over time, some derived from traditional nomadic tents, such as the yurt.

Most military tents throughout history were of a simple ridge design. The major technological advance was the use of linen or hemp canvas for the canopy versus leather for the Romans. The primary use of tents was still to provide portable shelter for a small number of men in the field.

By World War I larger designs were being deployed in rear areas to provide shelter for support activities and supplies. A distinction is made between high-pressure and low-pressure inflatables. In a high-pressure inflatable, structural limbs like pillars and arches are built out of a tough, flexible material and then inflated at a relatively high pressure. These limbs hold up passive membranes. The space where the visitors or inhabitants stay is at normal atmospheric pressure. For example, airplane emergency rafts are high-pressure inflatable structures. Low-pressure inflatables, on the other hand, are slightly pressurized environments completely held up by internal pressure. In other words, the visitors or inhabitants experience a slightly higher than normal pressure. Low-pressure inflatables are usually built of lighter materials. Both types of inflatables (the low-pressure type more so) are somewhat susceptible to high winds. A recent inflatable, built for architectural and design experimentation, is the CICCIO module.