A camping hammock with extra utility, the Flying Tent from Austrian startup Startraveller Equipment GmbH lets you better react to the weather and terrain. It can hang lazily from the trees, stand up on the ground, and drape over you as a poncho. And it pitches in as few as seven seconds so that you can get out of the cold and wet in a hurry.
Camping hammocks and tree tents have been hitting the market like crazy over the past several years. New hammock tent products like the Nube and Draumr have been joined by what could be called tree-suspended tents or canvas tree houses, like those from Tentsile. If you don't like the hard, bumpy ground, there's no reason to sleep there - opt for a shelter that straps to a couple tree trunks and leave the ground behind.
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While its name sounds more like a Tentsile-style tree tent, the new Flying Tent is definitely a camping hammock by design, as it can be used as a traditional open hammock or enclosed with the included all-in-one tent system. The zip-on tent component features mosquito netting, a retractable rain fly and integrated hoop poles at the ends for structure. The camper can sleep with the rain fly off for breezy ventilation or with it closed for better weather protection.
Looking at the fully enclosed Flying Tent, it's a bit reminiscent of a hanging bivouac sack or one-person pop-up tent (something like the Catoma IBNS), and it is basically just that. The Flying Tent can drop down from the trees and stake out on the ground, providing a weatherproof shelter for one. This way, if you're out in the desert or there are otherwise no properly spaced trees around, you can still camp out in your Flying Tent.
To ensure that you can set up camp as quickly as possible, the Flying Tent relies on its integrated fiberglass poles to basically pop into shape, working similarly to pop-up tents like the Cinch. Assuming you already have the upper tent component zipped to the hammock, you just pull it out of its carry case and clip it to the tree straps or stake it to the ground. Startraveller says it'll pitch in seven seconds flat, but we're guessing it'll take the average user a little longer to get things fully set up, especially when dealing with tree straps. Whatever the case, it should be easier and quicker than pitching a more traditional tent with multi-segment poles.
The Flying Tent is not the first hammock-tent/ground bivy combo we've seen, but it looks like a much smoother design than the Alpine Hammock we covered back in 2012. It also has an extra trick up its sleeve. The hammock portion serves as a poncho, complete with a hood, drawcord length adjustment and zippered pockets. So wear your hammock to escape the rain, then string it up in the trees or set it up as a ground tent, it's a pretty versatile piece of gear.
The Flying Tent packs down into a thin, arched case measuring 15.7 x 13.4 x 1.6 in (40 x 34 x 4 cm). If it doesn't fit comfortably in your backpack, it can be strapped to the outside, as Startraveller shows in its materials. At 2.6 lb (1.2 kg), it's light enough to use for things like backpacking and bikepacking, though it's not the lightest of the ultralight when it comes to one-person shelters. The packed tent can even be used as a ground cushion to keep you cleaner when sitting at camp.
Startraveller is raising money on Kickstarter now and things are going quite well, it says that it reached its US$20,000 goal within the first 24 hours, and it's more than tripled that goal as of writing. The early bird models have been snapped up, but Kickstarters will still find the tent at pledge levels of €149 ($170), a healthy discount on the estimated €279 ($316) retail price. The tent comes with the tree straps, tent stakes and other accompanying hardware and ships anywhere in the world. Deliveries will begin in July, assuming everything moves along as planned.