Monday, March 19, 2012

Wish Lust: Tent - Tentsile

It's not often I come across a piece of gear so unique that I can honestly say I've never seen anything like it. this certainly is an example. I've seen canopies on hammocks before. I've seen no-pole tents. Multi-person suspended tree platforms and suspended shelters, but never all at once and never do well thought out and realized. This has it all. It is the and it is simply amazing.

The basis is fairly simple, take a modern tent, and suspend it in the air to give a stable and raised camp site. Tentsile offer three designs; the Type A, a single triangular shape built for 1-2 people, the Type B, which features three radial triangular arms centering on a d12 looking hub, for 3-4 people, and the Type C which is a scaled-up Type B, for 5-8 people.

All of these tents are constructed from several different materials, all the sheet materials are fire retardant and UV resistant treated, and the components are as follows: 2 Ounce silicon coated nylon Rip-Stop fly sheet, 4 Ounce silicon coated nylon Lower sheet, 6 Ounce PU coated texurised nylon Hammocks Mesh bed flooring. The body of the structures are made up of
a 35mm webbing strap skeleton 30mm and the different models feature a sparse number aluminium central poles and battens for some internal structure. The Type B Tentsile’s skeleton is made from webbing straps is rated at a breaking strength of 5 tonnes and is configured to take the weight of four adults and their luggage, or 500 kg (1,100 lbs).

How does it all work? Well, the product pamphlet states that Tentsile can currently be set up where there are 3 anchoring locations at high level. Each radial wing ends in a hook which is coupled to a tentioning cord and ratchet. Once the three cords have been ratchedted tight, a fourth cord is coupled to a groud anchor and ratcheted downwards, creating a tension space. This is just the kind of tree climbing fun time that is right up my alley. The brochure goes on to suggest that anchoring points can be found in both rural and urban contexts. Trees make an ideal post for attachement but a simple loop plate fitting can be attached to the side of any building and even vehicles can provide the necessary fixing locations.

There are obvious reasons to get up off the ground in some situations; flood prone areas (like those seen in Moulamein, NSW for Confest New Years, 2011), where there are critters on the ground who might find you tasty (Lions, Tigers, Bears, oh my!) and where being in a high-hide has observational advantages. (not for use in T-Rex prone areas. ) I've lived and been out adventuring in some places we're there are indeed critters who would come into your tent and eat you, and have also found myself camped in a wet and marshy spot, and also on some pretty cold ground. I can see some real practical advantages to camping up off the ground, as well as it being a fully awesome concept.

Obviously all this high end design comes at a cost. These tents are bespoke technology, they are hand made, and in order to do what they do, by necessity very highly engineered. I don't usually go into the costs of things I review, but looking around on their website, associated Facebook page and the like, I saw time and again the question of interested parties. "How much do they cost?" This being information that you can only get by asking, I thought I would post it to save you the trouble. The TypeA is listed as USD$2900, the TypeB as USD$8620 and the TypeC as a whopping $11800.

Pretty much a dream killer for me, but I have great hope that the idea will take off, after these folks get a lot of good press and cash, and the manufacture process will speed up, dropping costs to a level where those of us without personal mini-subs can pick one up. I fully expect to see these featured in a blockbuster Hollywood hit sometime soon, they are simply amazing. I will be strongly thinking about my own options for setting something like this up. Till then, I'll dream the dream. And prepare.

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