Outdoors

Heimplanet shrinks its inflatable tent design

Heimplanet shrinks its inflata...
The Wedge is a two-person tent
The Wedge is a two-person tent
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The Wedge is a two-person tent
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The Wedge is a two-person tent
The insect-like inflatable frame provides quick set-up
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The insect-like inflatable frame provides quick set-up
The tent includes an integrated rain fly
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The tent includes an integrated rain fly
The original Heimplanet Cave
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The original Heimplanet Cave
The Cave sleeps three and sits six
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The Cave sleeps three and sits six
The Heimplanet Wedge will be available in time for the northern spring
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The Heimplanet Wedge will be available in time for the northern spring
At $599, the Wedge is rather expensive compared to competitors
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At $599, the Wedge is rather expensive compared to competitors
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Heimplanet received much buzz for its funky, geodesic inflatable tent, the Cave. Realizing that not everyone wants to lug a big, round, air-filled cave around into the woods, the company has designed a lighter, more streamlined tent-for-two. The Wedge maintains Heimplanet's striking styling but packs it in a smaller, sleeker package.

Air is light, but the idea of the Wedge, and inflatable tents in general, is not to save weight. By the time you get done with those thick, heavy air struts and pump hardware, inflatable tents end up weighing considerably more than lightweight, aluminum-poled backpacking tents – 7.1 pounds (3.2 kg) in the case of the Wedge.

The idea of inflatable tents is to make camping a little easier. Instead of wrestling around with poles, the full tent is erected with a simple pumping action. Heimplanet describes Wedge set-up as "roll out, inflate, finished" – no ripcord, no bending semi-rigid poles, no little hooks or gussets, just inflation (and staking). The external air shafts inflate into shape, in turn pulling the tent and fly erect and taut.

Inside, the Wedge provides 48 square feet (4.4 sq m) of space for two. The design includes a breathable nylon ripstop inner tent with no-see-um mesh venting and an integrated nylon ripstop rain fly for weather protection. There's also a vestibule for dirty shoes and gear. The multi-chamber structural design includes three chambers, so if one deflates, two others will keep the tent standing.

While Heimplanet is a heavily European brand – two Stefans from Hamburg conceived the idea while surfing in Portugal – it hopes to put itself further into the American market. Co-founder Stefan Clauss told us that he believes that, unlike in Europe where the outdoor market is fairly polarized between hardcore outdoor hounds and casual family campers, the American market has more middle ground. It's made up of essentially passionate outdoors folks that spend time adventuring and camping but don't necessarily need the lightest, techiest gear for bagging peaks and logging hundreds of miles. That's where he sees Heimplanet tents resonating most.

I don't know too much about the European market, but I do think that Clauss' portrayal of the American middle ground is accurate – plenty of folks that spend a lot of time in the mountains and woods but aren't necessarily looking to fast-and-light their way to world records.

Standing between Heimplanet and that crowd, much of which certainly overlaps with the stereotypical ski/climb/roadtrip/surf bum genre, is its rather high prices. The Wedge is set to hit the market in March for US$599, which is more than many a high-tech ultralight tent or big, sturdy base camping tent. It feels like that price needs to come down for Heimplanet to truly compete.

Whether or not Heimplanet finds many buyers in the U.S. or elsewhere, its tents definitely look more interesting than average and should start plenty of conversations around camp.

Source: Heimplanet

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9 comments
MBadgero
I like the concept of inflatable tent poles, but how do they make the inflation dependable? Ever slept on an air mattress that the air gradually went out of over night? Now imagine this tent coming down on you in the night. And it appears that you can't get to the inflation valves from inside the tent.
Slowburn
re; MBadgero
Air mattresses leak because their life cycle makes them prone to puncture.
Realmcoyoneone REalmcoyoneone
Looks cool and seems easy to set up, just blow it up..They'll have to use stronger material for those inflatable tubes, birds will puncture it when they land on it and sticks on the ground will also puncture it.
Druid
" It feels like that price needs to come down for Heimplanet to truly compete."
At last a statement that reflects a real understanding of a product and not just, "here it is, isn't it cool!
Rick Lees
Nice concept, in theory. It needs to be less than $150 US, and have some serious resitance to the tubes leaking....But mostly, get the cost WAY down!!
Griffin
Reminds me of the Facehugger scene in "Alien"...
Stefan Clauss
The material of the tubes is very tough and resistant. A bird or some sticks will never be able to break them. Deflation works perfect, easy and fast. Compared to other quality tents, it's a really fair price. You are welcome to give it a try.
JohnJones
Looks Great. But doesn't pack small, isn't very light, is very expensive, I'm out.