A trend we've noticed while touring various trade shows around the US and Europe over the past few years is the hanging hammock pod. Part hammock-chair and part fabric treehouse, these pods are available from a number of different brands, bringing a bit of suspended relaxation to the trees. TreePod is one such brand and, much like the Cacoon, its hanging shelters have served as fun, simple children's treehouses. It's now launching a version for adults, a suspended camping tent that suspends two campers above the ground for a different perspective and experience.
Right along with hammock pods, suspended tents are another trend that has gained steam over the past five years or so. Tentsile has earned some fame with its ever-expanding lineup of tree tents, and brands like Kammock and Crua Outdoors have devised their own means of getting campers up off the ground. In addition to offering a higher vantage point and looking pretty cool in photos, such tents get campers up off the hard, bumpy ground, away from critters, pooling water and other undesirable elements.
TreePod recognizes that the suspended tent market is a fast-crowding space but believes the design it's adapted from its kids' treehouse line will offer a more user-friendly experience.
"There are other companies in the field of suspended tents, but none have done it from a single point or reached the level of ease of use that the Camper affords," says TreePod CEO Ricardo Bottome.
Indeed, in the past, we've often stared at the likes of the Tentsile Vista and been awed briefly before reality set in: "How the hell do you secure such a tent in picture-perfect fashion way up above the ground?!" We're thinking the answer is decidedly not a very relaxing way to start off the camping trip. More basic dual-point hammock shelters are simpler, but they still require a pair of trees spaced just right.
The Camper, on the other hand, utilizes a single-point suspension system, requiring only one sturdy tree branch for set-up. The aluminum frame and high-tensile-strength fabric walls fill out the structure, holding up to 500 lb (227 kg) of total weight. The tent sleeps two people and has a 54 x 84 in (137 x 213 cm) footprint. Guy lines prevent the whole thing from swinging around like a wind-battered piñata.
We'd like to try setting the Camper up, or at least see some video, before declaring it a no-hassle breeze, but the new tent at least looks and sounds easier to manage than some of the other tree tents out there.
Each camper enjoys a dedicated door, making entry and exit more convenient than a single-door design. An optional mesh divider keeps the two campers comfortably separated if they so choose. The mesh doors and windows include retractable weatherproof panels so that they can be closed to fend off bad weather or left open for added ventilation. Taped seams help prevent moisture from getting in.
TreePod introduced the Camper at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market this week and plans to begin selling it by April 2017. It will retail for US$575.
We've seen similar single-point suspended pod designs before, but variants like Luminair tents and Cocoon Tree pods have leaned much more heavily toward the glamping resort end of the market, with price tags well into the thousands of dollars. Others have actually been part of a resort. TreePod offers a simpler, more affordable alternative for outdoorsy folks, though $575 is still a pretty hefty price to pay for what amounts to a basic two-person tent that hangs in the air.