Dometic ups its swag with backcountry-ready, pico-size inflatable tent
When we looked at the TRT 140 Air inflatable rooftop tent that Dometic recently introduced to the US market, we happened upon another newly introduced tent with inflatable bones. The Pico FTC is the brand's most compact tent and has the Swedish gear maker taking a few cues from the other side of the world. An inflatable Australian-style swag with an integrated air mattress, the Pico offers fast, seamless setup and all-in-one comfort. The tent further airs things out with a large mesh door and awning, offering a cozy, minimalist sleeping shelter for one or two people.
Not so surprisingly, Dometic first introduced the Pico FTC in Australia, where swags have been used for generations as compact, portable bedrolls for travel in the bush. Today's swags look somewhat similar to the bivy sacks common in Europe and North America but are heavier, more robust and feature a built-in mattress, all rolled into one single or double overnight shelter. Modern swags all seem to lean too heavy for foot travel and are used more for car camping and overlanding/touring.
Dometic makes clear that the Pico aimed primarily at car campers and vehicle tourers but says that it's light and compact enough to carry away from the car for a night farther afield. So it's definitely not the choice for a full-blown backpacking trip but convenient enough to wander away from the campground for a short while or an afternoon, then make a temporary wild camp, should the mood strike. Its backpack-style strapped carry bag assists for that purpose.
The Pico takes advantage of single-valve inflatable construction for easy setup. It also maintains the bedroll spirit of the swag with a built-in inflatable mattress. Those who want to create a protected front porch can secure the main door flap in awning position with the included alloy poles. The full mesh door below the poly-cotton door keeps the bugs out while letting ventilation in. Adjustable ventilation panels are also built into the head and foot walls of the tent, with protective awnings over top secured via guy lines.
The Pico's main body and weatherproof doors, flaps and awnings of are made from a poly-cotton Weathershield fabric built for durable, weather-shedding performance and interior temperature regulation.
The Pico FTC looks like a cozy little cocoon of a tent boasting simple inflatable setup and a relatively compact packed size, but we're not sure we could justify carrying 18.7 lb (8.5 kg) and spending AU$799 (approx. US$530) for a solo shelter. The two-person FTC 2 ups those numbers to 22 lb (10 kg) and AU$899 (US$600). The pump is included, as is a repair kit.
After launching in Australia last October, the Pico FTC 1 and 2 joined Dometic's European lineup for the 2023 camping season. The European Pico models retail for €500 and €600, respectively.
Dometic has been growing its US lineup of camp offerings, as we saw when it introduced the TRT 140 Air at Overland Expo West in May, but we're not sure this one will prove a great fit. The US is all about its tents and lightweight shelters, not so much swags.