6-in-1 tent-hammock rearranges camp like modular furniture
We've seen ground tents that jump up and hang out in trees, inflatable tents that double as rafts, and hammock shelters that drape over your shoulders and work as rain gear. But we still weren't prepared for the pure multifunctional chaos presented in the Beluga from French company Qaou. Instead of stopping at two or three functions, this Swiss Army-like tent performs six, and that's not even counting its ability to connect with other Belugas and create multi-person super-tents. The Beluga treats campers to everything from Saturday afternoon couples' hangs to full-on off-grid camper communes.
Qaou launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to promote the eco-friendly design of its new two-person Beluga, which uses a waterproof fabric based on recycled plastic. Each tent repurposes 125 plastic bottles, which is certainly nice for those looking to go a little greener while overnighting in nature.
What really impresses about the Beluga, though, is Qaou's signature 6-in-1 versatility, first launched on an evolving tent line that got its start in 2017. In basic tent mode, the Beluga looks like a cookie-cutter dome tent that you'd see anywhere from a discount sporting goods store to a high-end outdoor gear boutique. But it can fold, stretch, zip, string and stake into much more than just that. The key to its flexibility is the two-piece rain fly used in place of the typical single-piece fly. Qaou uses one rain fly panel to cover the tent itself and a second as an awning around the entry way.
When not fighting wind and rain over top the tent, the two rain fly sheets detach to create alternative configurations. Each one can flip around and work as a single hammock, providing a daytime hang for each of the tent's two occupants. The two panels can also team into a single hammock sheltered by a tarp or a simple A-frame-style tarp shelter on the ground. Add in additional tent poles and pieces and they create a larger freestanding sunshade.
Qaou pushes the definition of "distinct function" a little in rounding out its 6-in-1 claims by splitting the tent with awning and tent without into separate functions, but even if you combine them into one, 5-in-1 versatility is pretty impressive for a single 4.3-lb (1.9-kg) tent. Plus, the Beluga has a bonus feature available to groups packing more than one. Two+ Belugas can be zipped together into a weatherproof multi-shelter, quite similar in function to the RhinoWolf and other connectable modular tent systems. Doing so creates a large sheltered space so campers can keep hanging out in a group even when they duck away to escape the weather.
The tent's pure-white color scheme should prove nice for hot summer trips but seems like an absolute magnet for dirt and grime. It's part of the eco-conscious design, however, as Qaou avoids using any dye or bleaches in the Beluga. Those looking for something more colorful should check out its Adventure V4.
It would seem consumers like the idea of getting more functionality and sustainability out of their tent purchases. Just two days after launching its Kickstarter, Qaou has sold out of its lowest early bird pledge level to more than double its overall goal. It currently has full 6-in-1 Beluga packages at the €199 (approx. US$227) pledge level, a nice savings over the projected €329 ($375) retail price. It is also offering 3-in-1 and hammock-only packages at lower pledge levels. If all goes as it hopes, the first deliveries will begin in December.