Want to take camping to a higher level? Tentsile, a UK company has developed a novel treehouse tent that is bound to attract attention. Slung between three trees, and hanging a yard or two off the ground, this two-person tent feels like something between a shelter, a hammock, and a fine solution for smuggling chocolate into your sleeping bag without worrying about prowling bears.
While wild animals may not be the biggest concern for campers in the Levante area (countries like Israel, Lebanon and Syria) wild bears are still endemic to Iran, and countries like Turkey.
The Tentsile tent for obvious reasons will not work well in desert locations, but is ideal for a novel camp in forests or jungles anywhere. It reminds me of my travelling days to Turkey. I spent two months there one fall, and about 5 days at a treehouse camp in the south.
In the photos below, you can see how it works in Jaffa, Israel where I have installed it between two palm trees and a large jacaranda. My daughter is the model. The pictures show how the tent looks from delivery, all the way to set up. I’ve included an aerial photo as well from the roof of my house.
The Tentsile package arrives by courier:
This two-person tent by Tentsile, called Connect, does just what its name implies. If you and your two friends each buy one you can connect them in a triad forming a larger triangle.
Setting up the Tentsile suspension system between the palms:
Setting up the tent is quite easy, and handily there is a sewn-in instructions page with pictures that are easy to follow. I was missing instructions on how to use the winches to secure the tent to the trees, but after some trial and error and hanging on to the tent with my test weight I figured it out. I had four palm trees I could have worked with, but there was a better triangulation made with a jacaranda tree in the front yard to the side of the house.
An additional fly, not pictured here, will also come in handy during the rainy winter season in the Middle East. It has just started to rain.
Without the fly, the tent looks very unique. It’s definitely a showstopper. With the fly it looks like a strange large spider strung inside the trees.
Here is the Tentsile tent set up at our house in Jaffa
As someone who has been camping since the age of zero, and buying and setting up tents in the wild forests of Canada, all the way to the jungles of south America and the deserts of the Middle East, this is what I can say about those interested in buying this tent after trying it out:
What I love about the Tentsile Connect
First thing, the egoist in me loves how it looks. You’ll definitely catch a lot of attention with this beauty. Wanted or unwanted. This could be a great solution for art and music festivals where you have to find your tent in a sea of other similar looking tents. The tent could provoke unwanted attention, so be prepared that people might be inclined to tickle your bottom while they walk by.
Hanging out with my daughter in the Tentsile tent:
Again, this is a plus or minus depending on the situation.
If I were a teen or in my early 20s, my inner attention seeker would love to have this in my backpacking tool kit. Coming in at 7.5 kilos, it’s not the lightest 2-man tent in the forest, but worth lugging around on canoe trips or backpacking when not a lot of hiking is involved. Or give it to your boyfriend to carry! He he.
Aerial view of Tentsile from my roof:
If you set it up high enough (you can buy a portable ladder for climbing in), and the space below it forms an instant covering against sun and rain.
In cold climates, using this tent may let you forego using a ground sheet or thermal insulating on the bottom. You’d have to try it out first in cold climates for conformation.
No bottom touching the ground means no leakage when it rains, and the tent preserves vegetation below it. You can quite literally set your tent up above flowerbeds or above a river. Imagine that?
Extra fly material can be draped to form extra canopy.
While I haven’t slept overnight in it yet, the tent cradled me as though I were sleeping in a hammock, a position supposedly good for blood circulation.
In countries where wild animals are a concern, this tent will definitely give you peace of mind, unless you are using it where monkeys, sloths and snakes are endemic. In this case the zippered flies should offer you enough protection.
The design is very sleek and sexy.
Shortcomings of the Tentsile
The tent is obviously very well designed and constructed, and the designers considered the mass issue of a hanging tent that can hold up to 600 kilos. The zippers however seem very delicate. I would consider using them sparingly, and only the ones on the side of the tent, and while one’s weight is centred just so. The zippers do look like they would be easy to replace, if needed.
If you like to toss and turn and zip two sleeping bags together for a snuggle on cold nights then this tent might not be for you. The Connect is made with two distinct sleeping cells, with a seam between them running in the middle.
The weight issue, mainly due to the winches that keep the tent secure to the trees, might be a misgiving for the campers in us who need to pack light for long-haul trips. And relying on trees to connect with may not be a luxury for everyone in every country all the time.
If you sleep lightly, sharing this tent my be a problem if your partner moves a lot at night. The feeling is much the same as sharing a waterbed.
The instructions say not to hang the tent above sharp objects and not higher than 1.5 meters off the ground for safety considerations. Or what would happen if lighting strikes?
The only other shortcoming I see would be privacy issues: if you are using this tent in a public or semi-public space like a camp ground and want to get romantic with your partner. If the tent’s a rocking, don’t come a knocking, we used to say back in the good old days. But this tent would be swinging. Again, it all depends on one’s outlook to these sorts of things.
I personally was very afraid of the so-called hermits that are thought to live throughout Canada’s wild and vast national parks. These are people who go into the park and never come out. Thinking a hermit might be underneath me while I sleep, however unlikely, might affect my peace of mind. A window on the bottom of the tent, like a glass bottom boat might solve the problem or make it even freakier. This fear is canceled out by the fact that no bears would be able to claw open the tent looking for my M&Ms.
Sum up: the Tentsile is a good #2 “alternative” tent for an Alpha male or female outdoorsy sort who wants a little attention, and another way to camp in a little unconventional way. It’s also a great day tent for outings with the family to the forest where you want a space to have a bug free, possibly toddler-free nap, high up in the trees with the wind blowing and the bugs out of your nose. It’s made well and if cared for could last a long time. It would be a great gift item due to its novelty and usefulness.
I love this tent and am looking forward to using it.
Buy your own Tentsile here on the Tentsile website. The tent costs about $500 and it ships for an extra $70, by courier. Accessories like the ladder are extra.