Outdoors

Modular Pod Tents bring campers together under the one roof

Modular Pod Tents bring camper...
POD Tents secure together to create a sort of camping compound
POD Tents secure together to create a sort of camping compound
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POD Tents are a design from the United Kingdom
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POD Tents are a design from the United Kingdom
POD tents are available for order now
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POD tents are available for order now
PODs can be combined together into shelters of all configurations and sizes
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PODs can be combined together into shelters of all configurations and sizes
The tunnels let all campers talk and interact
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The tunnels let all campers talk and interact
The PODs offer new opportunities for interior interaction
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The PODs offer new opportunities for interior interaction
POD Tents secure together to create a sort of camping compound
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POD Tents secure together to create a sort of camping compound
Inside the POD Maxi tent
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Inside the POD Maxi tent
POD Tents come in four- and eight-person sizes
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POD Tents come in four- and eight-person sizes
The connector tunnels are sold separately
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The connector tunnels are sold separately
The included sleeping cell splits the Mini into two two-person sleeping areas
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The included sleeping cell splits the Mini into two two-person sleeping areas
The zip-on tunnel includes poly ripstop construction and a steel pole
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The zip-on tunnel includes poly ripstop construction and a steel pole
The sleeping cell gives the POD Maxi space for hanging out, as well as two private sleeping quarters
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The sleeping cell gives the POD Maxi space for hanging out, as well as two private sleeping quarters
A look inside the Maxi with interior sleeping cell
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A look inside the Maxi with interior sleeping cell
The Maxi sleeping cell retails for £89
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The Maxi sleeping cell retails for £89
After adding the sleeping cell, which is sold separately for the Maxi, the tent offers dual two-person sleeping chambers and a lounge
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After adding the sleeping cell, which is sold separately for the Maxi, the tent offers dual two-person sleeping chambers and a lounge
POD Maxi sleeping configuration
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POD Maxi sleeping configuration
The Maxi offers plenty of floor and head space for gathering
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The Maxi offers plenty of floor and head space for gathering
POD Maxi eight-person tent
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POD Maxi eight-person tent
The POD Mini four-person tent
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The POD Mini four-person tent
POD Mini dimensions
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POD Mini dimensions

Every day we see new evidence that the world is becoming more connected thanks to technology. Activities that were once enjoyed solo or in a small group are now shared with virtually everyone you've ever known via social networks. Even camping, an activity that once meant quiet, secluded escapes into virtually human-less wild spaces, isn't immune to the trend. POD Tents, designed by the UK's M2C Innovation, make camping more social by transforming the typical small tent into an indoor community.

To be fair, camping often serves as a social activity in and of itself, allowing families and groups of friends to bond together beyond the reach of everyday distractions. Group campsites offer space for dozens, even hundreds, of campers to gather together 'round the campfire and enjoy each other's company.

Where M2C Innovation makes camping even more social is inside the tent. The social nature of camping typically comes to an end when it's time to retire to the tent, whether you're going to sleep or taking shelter from bad weather. The collective breaks down into smaller couples and groups that escape into their small, private domes, not to see each other again until morning light.

Quite similar to the Logos Decagon, POD Tents encourage the entire group to keep things social even after the no-see-um has been zipped shut. The modular camping system consists of individual tents that can be zipped together with connector tunnels. This allows you to create a large interior space where you can hang out with your entire group.

POD Maxi eight-person tent
POD Maxi eight-person tent

The POD Tent launched in late 2013, and M2C is working to expand its line and establish US distribution. The tents come in eight-person, eight-sided Maxi and four-person, six-sided Mini sizes. The Maxi sleeps all occupants in a circle with their heads in the center, while the Mini sleeps them next to each other in the center of the tent. The Mini comes with an internal sleeping cell that splits the sleeping area into dual two-person chambers, and such a cell can be added to the Maxi to divide it into two-person sleeping areas and a separate lounge area.

With a few tunnels, the PODs secure together into all kinds of different configurations. Campers are free to move between tents without having to go outside, providing new opportunities for inside activities. The tents and tunnels are designed to be fully weatherproof, and M2C believes that the PODs will appeal to everyone from festival goers to young families looking for a camping shelter that can grow with them.

PODs can be combined together into shelters of all configurations and sizes
PODs can be combined together into shelters of all configurations and sizes

We can see the appeal of a modular tent system but think pricing might prove an issue. At £499 for the Maxi and £399 for the Mini (approx. US$780 and $625), the tents are already rather expensive for what they are: heavy car camping tents made from basic materials like polyester ripstop and fiberglass. If you want to connect them, which is really the whole selling point, you'll have to pay an extra £89 (US$140) for each tunnel.

So to build a big, POD-based community shelter, you're either going to be spending four figures on all the tents and tunnels or spending time convincing everyone you camp with to invest in POD hardware. The POD Tents website is currently offering the standard Maxi and Mini at 10 percent off suggested retail, but that's a small discount on a pricey system.

Interestingly, while M2C is working on launching a higher-end "Elite" line for launch around 2016/2017, it has no immediate plans for cheaper models.

"With a lower price comes a compromise on quality, and we aren’t prepared to do that as we want it to be a premium quality product," M2C director Jason Thorpe tells us. "There are no current plans to launch a 'budget' version at this time."

M2C hosted an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for the Maxi and Mini Elite models last November. The tents had improved components and specs, such as aluminum poles, when compared to the standard models. The Maxi Elite's listed weight of 19.5 kg (43 lb) was a solid drop from the 23.5-kg (52-lb) weight of the standard Maxi. M2C listed estimated retail pricing at £525 to 599 for the Maxi Elite and £425 to 499 for the Mini.

POD Tents and accompanying equipment are available for order now and can be shipped globally.

Source: POD Tents

6 comments
Robert Walther
Ah, the joys of camping. I remember the '60s, three or four families at Lake Cumberland. One family with eleven wonderful children. The heat, the insects, the mud. Since then my idea of 'roughing it' is staying in a hotel without room service. I did spend nearly a week(in the late '80s) white watering on the Salmon River in Idaho, bu the meals were catered, the tents maintained by the staff and we had hot showers.
Dave Lawrence
If I'm honest I don't see this as recreational equipment; for me, this is again something that could find a use in emergency medical aid, instant shelters for short term treatment such as handing out medications, giving injections etc. Erect it, do your humanitarian thing then just bag it up and move on. Nice addition to the carnie kit as well - Roll up, roll up, see Miss Gypsy Rose Lee !! Pick your fortune teller from our choice of LBGT, ethnic, and gender sensitive clairvoyant charlatans. Ask for the tent number when you hand over your $20
Jim Sadler
I know it is a tough nut to crack but the misery element in camping in my area is heat. It is almost always hot and super humid here. I know of nothing that does any real good as even in winter we almost always have the AC running. Part of the problem is that the ground is hot here. The best but not perfect thing i ever had was a jungle hammock which i hung up in the trees so that I could be as far from the ground as possible. That jungle hammock kept the rain out as well as the bugs and there was a safety bonus as well as you were not likely to wake up with a rattle snake pressed against the mesh next to your arm or trying to fight off wild hogs.
Buellrider
When we ride out to Sturgis we all have separate tents. Go into tent to get away and have privacy. I could see the utility of these zip together tents if you had kids you were camping with and then they would have their own room. Other than that it is just a tent with a room which many tents already provide with partition sheets that zip in if you want.... or not, it's up to you.
jaxx003
Can't help being a product designer. In the photos, this hits you as a breakthrough product; it's only when you hear the social justification and the price points that you understand why it might fail in Kickstarter. Few families camp out with each other often enough to justify interior socializing space (Maxi) over all other considerations, and four figures for a tent is kinda ridiculous. But back to the first impression: two-person connectable modules with privacy barriers allow multiple possible uses and can be produced at competitive prices. What need of a tunnel at extra cost? Right-sized versions can allow both social and private space to every camping combo from fishing buddies to parents with kids to multiple families. Great start, just work on the price.
Wulfher
Awesome for those trips where it rains all the time. You can always close off the pod connections for privacy. It would be tricky to set them up though unless you had a lot of clear space.