A tent, a hammock, a rain tarp, and a lean-to are all variations on one theme, but they don't normally stand in well for each other. Rather than packing a whole bunch of different kinds of tarps on your travels, Church Outdoor Gear has now unwrapped the Walden Hammock, with a unique shape that lets it transform into several types of shelter as quick as the weather changes.

As the name suggests, the Walden's primary function is a hammock. Laid out flat it measures 10 ft (3 m) long and 6.6 ft (2 m) wide, and it's made of 70D ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating, to make it strong and waterproof. When strung up it can support over 500 lb (227 kg), and it's designed with a wide middle panel so you don't have a seam pressing into your back.

But the clever part is the transforming design. Shaped kind of like a stretched kite, the Walden has six tie-down points and a system of channels that let you hang or prop it up in a range of configurations. It sounds a lot like the Treeo, but seems a bit more flexible.

Along with the hammock, the Walden can be hoisted up as a fly line roof, provide more shelter as a triangular dining fly or hung up sideways as a sunshade or wind break. On the ground, it can be pitched as a breezy A-frame tent or battened down as a plow point. The team even says it can make for a camping blanket, but we can't see it being too comfy in that role.

True to the spirit of packing lightly, the Walden's tie-down points can be secured with most standard tent or hiking poles and stakes, and each point has 9 ft (2.7 m) of paracord attached that neatly stashes away into a built-in pocket. When it's time to return to the real world, the whole kit and kaboodle crams into a compression sack that weighs just 2 lb (0.9 kg), and has room for straps and stakes.

Church Outdoor Gear is currently funding the Walden hammock on Kickstarter, where it's already passed its US$5,000 goal and raised $8,700, with eight days remaining on the campaign. Pledges currently start at $79 for the hammock alone, while higher tiers add T6 aluminum stakes, kayak straps and trekking poles. If all goes to plan, the Walden is said to ship in August this year.

Check it out in the video below.

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