Built to sleep the modern couple or family, the Cinch tent pitches in seconds and includes integrated LED lighting and an available power supply that keeps gadgets topped off using sunlight. Campers enjoy full weatherproof protection with some of the wired-in convenience of home.
Cinch designer Jake Jackson loved everything about camping, except for the tent. After years of frustration with the models on the market, he decided to innovate his own. He developed the prototype about four years ago and began offering the design for sale in small batches, refining it along the way with feedback from customers. Last year, he decided the tent was ready for a larger market, and he got the launch off the ground with a successful Kickstarter campaign that went live in December.
A key to Jackson's design is the quick, pop-up construction. There's nothing all that revolutionary about the hardware, as pop-ups have existed for decades. Heck, they even make them for beds. The Cinch's flexible U-frame looks quite similar to the pop-up hardware used on designs such as the Coleman Popup 4 and Rightline Gear Pop Up Tent.
Jackson recognizes the pop-up tent's history in his introductory video and says that he finds existing pop-ups too small and cramped. So he's carved his pop-up out into what appears to be a roomy, comfy shelter with large front and rear doors, two indoor vestibules, above-door awnings, and enough space for two, three or four people, depending upon model. Between the doors and side windows, there is plenty of ventilation.
Each tent folds down into a carry disc that includes shoulder straps for hauling to the campsite. These aren't backpacking tents, however, weighing between 11 and 20 lb (5 and 9 kg ) and measuring between 27.5 and 35 in (70 and 90 cm).
Pop-up tents are ideal for campers looking for a convenient, relaxing experience without the hassles involved with more complicated gear. Jackson expands upon this theme in making the Cinch available as an all-in-one kit with standard LED lighting and optional solar power. The LED lighting is nothing more than four LED stakes mixed among a set of 36 and a pair of LED flashlight-lanterns, but couple those stakes and handhelds with the reflective guy lines, and you have a tent that's easier to find your way inside of in the dark.
The available solar kit includes a roof-mounted solar panel, small battery pack and lead wire that gets routed through an integrated weatherproof port on the tent wall. It also comes with a lock for securing the solar panel while you're away from camp. You can drop the battery pack into an interior storage hanger and let it charge throughout the day while you're off hiking, fishing or enjoying live music at an overnight festival.
Like it or not, tech has slowly encroached upon the traditionally unplugged activity of camping. Tent manufacturers have been working various types of technology into tent design, including integrated power and LED lights. The Cinch kit isn't the cleanest integration we've seen – it's really just LED throw-ins and an accessory solar pack with a hole punched through the wall – but we do like how Jackson has taken a comfy, easy-pitch pop-up and added some technological features that are sure to appeal to the type of casual campers that buy such tents.
While the Cinch Kickstarter ended months ago, the tents are available for preorder online, starting at £150 (approx. US$225) for the two-person and running to £190 ($285) for the four-person. Each tent includes a repair kit, as well as all necessary equipment, LED lights and carry backpack. The solar power pack is listed at £90 ($135).