Since 2012, Tentsile has been bringing camping to the air with an ever-growing lineup of suspended tree tents. Now it's coming back down to earth ... and water. The all-new Universe is a multifunctional, five-person camping shelter that can pitch in the trees or on the ground, before going to work as a day raft for lazy floats on the lake. It's not uncommon to camp at night and enjoy the water during the day, and now you can do it all on one piece of equipment.
Tentsile has been helping to open minds to the idea of camping amidst the trees since its inception, serving as a leading player in the surging market of hanging shelters and camping hammocks. During the time that Tentsile's been firing out one tree tent after another, there's been a little experimentation in sheltered watercraft by other players, from stand-up paddleboard bivies, to packraft tents, to sheltered rafts, to inflatable roof-top tent-rafts. The Universe is the first product we've seen that brings the worlds of tree tents and sheltered watercraft together into a single piece of three-in-one adventure gear.
"This world-first addresses the need to have an all-terrain, multi-use, fun-packed product that encourages both adventurous play and basic practical needs in any environment," says Tentsile CEO and founder Alex Shirley-Smith.
Like other Tentsile tree tents, the Universe has a triangular base that secures to a tree at each corner. But in place of the usual tent floor, this one has an inflatable floor made from SUP-style PVC drop stitch. This not only creates a large, cushioned floor for up to five adults to lie on, it floats on the water, letting the Universe transition from cushioned tree tent, to cushioned ground tent, to day raft.
The big, triangular floor is clearly not a performance-enhanced design, so expect the Universe to hit the water much more as an inflatable cabana for slowly whiling away long summer days than a fast, sleek mileage-racking vessel.
Shelter-wise, the Universe offers a full no-see-um mesh canopy and retractable rain fly for protection from weather and pests. Both are fully removable, freeing up fresh air and twinkling views. The rain fly can also be left on and simply clipped back to the poles during floatation, providing some shade from the sun.
The Universe includes more than 5 feet (1.5 m) of headroom inside and plenty of vestibule space for protecting muddy boots and other gear you might not want to sleep next to at night. Users can adjust the pressure of the floor for more stability on the water or softer comfort when camping.
The Universe can hold up to 880 lb (400 kg) and pack down to a size of 43 x 16 x 16 in (110 x 40 x 40 cm) for travel. With its five-person capacity and 100-lb (45-kg) weight, the Universe is the largest tree tent in Tentsile's lineup and at the very opposite end of the spectrum to the last new product we saw from the UK company, the single-person UNA.
The all-new Universe will retail for US$1,999. It will go up for preorder next month before a full launch in March 2019.
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