Hybrid shelter lets you sleep high or low
Crua Outdoors, the force behind the insulated Thermo Tent, is bringing its camping innovation to the trees. The all-new Hybrid is a single-person shelter that's part hammock, part bivvy and part tent. And it even brings its own sleeping bag and inflatable mattress. It's basically everything you need for a warm, comfortable night in the wild.
While we've been familiar with the "Thermo Tent" since last year, we weren't so familiar with "Crua Outdoors." That's because when we covered the Thermo Tent, the Crua Outdoors name hadn't been born yet, a move announced earlier this year. Not that we're complaining, since we know a little about rebranding.
Not looking to be just another tent company in a market flush with them, Crua has focused on bringing new ideas to the campground. The Hybrid isn't completely novel, following a recent surge of high-flying shelters, including Tentsile's ever-expanding lineup and the Flying Tent, themselves having followed other hammock shelters like the Hennessy Hammock and Lawson Blue Ridge Camping Hammock. But it does belong to a subset that can be pitched both on the ground and in the trees, and it brings a complete sleep system right along with it.
Unlike many of the dedicated hammock tents out there, the Hybrid includes an aluminum frame to give the ripstop and mesh body the proper structure it needs for standing up on the ground. Guy lines secure it to that ground, and a rain fly adds full weather protection.
Since not every campsite is amenable to pitching a bivvy/tent – think rough, solid rock or deep mud – Crua designed the Hybrid to double as a hammock shelter, suspending the camper above ground via suspender bars and cables. It'll hold up to 285 lb (129 kg) and can hang with the rain fly or without.
The ability to camp in the trees or on the ground puts the Hybrid in the same category as a few other shelters, like the aforementioned Lawson Blue Ridge and Flying Tent, and makes it a pretty cool piece of camping kit. But Crua hasn't stopped there. Inside that meshy shell, it's put an inflatable mattress, adding sleeping comfort and insulation from the cold ground/air below. A removable, custom-shaped sleeping bag rated to 23° F (-5° C) finishes the snug interior off.
Camping tends to be a social activity, and some campers like to bring the fun from the firepit to the tent itself, sleeping below a single piece of tent fabric with their campmates. For them, the Hybrid can easily zip together with other Hybrids, creating a larger roof over two or more campers' heads, a capability we've seen on other recent designs like Pod Tents. The Hybrid's dual side doors mean such a community tent can be built out indefinitely.
Crua is hosting a Kickstarter campaign for the Hybrid now and offering the 7-lb (3.1-kg) kit (tent/hammock, sleeping pad, sleeping bag) for pledge levels of US$249 (an estimated 38 percent off retail) and up. If all goes to plan, deliveries will begin in December.
Some of the Hybrid's features are demonstrated in the video below.
Source: Crua Outdoors
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The concept is nice. I like some features, zipping the two together, hammock/ground set up.
That said, I'm left curious as to how well two zipped together would fair fowl weather. A single ground sheet for two would flood the underside.
The hammock style lacks comfort for sleep. If anyone has slept in a "U" shape hammock they'll know what I mean. Fowl weather again poses a threat due to guy lines and a lack of protection from what is shown in the video and images while in hammock mode.
It needs more thought put into it by way of first hand use in less than ideal conditions before I'd take it seriously.
There are changes I'd make just by looking at the images that would improve it. Actually using it or going out in the wild to see what is actually needed, key to design imo.
You don't have to go Neanderthal to enjoy the outdoors. You just have to use common sense. And a little imagination and you can camp with the similar comforts of home. It doesn't take much. I know first hand.