Every once in a while, a product comes along that is just so cool, you can’t wait to test it out. For me, the tree tent line from Tentsile fit that bill. Honestly, these tents are so popular around the world, for a while, Tentsile has had a hard time keeping them in stock. I hear they have a new production plan now though, and it’s probably a great time to buy.
Tentsile tree tents are exactly what you think they are based on the name: tents that you hang in trees. They have a heavy-duty, trampoline-type base/bottom and standard tent material top and rain fly, and are strung in a trio of trees (or poles) with sturdy cords and a ratcheting system (if you have a slack line, you’ll be familiar).
I tried out the Connect Tree Tent from Tentsile, which is a two-person tent featuring an adjustable double hammock bed, full no-see-um mesh top and four fold away doors (with removable rain fly). You get two large interior pockets to stashing gear, and I really love that an additional strap on the outside can tighten lengthwise in the middle of the base, allowing for two sleeping ‘hammocks’ of space or one wide space, depending on what you want. The rain fly flaps can also be folded underneath the tent and hooked to each other for a full windbreak, or you can leave them if the weather is nice. It’s a pretty roomy two-person tent, with a floor area of 5 m.
The first time setting up the tree tent, there’s a pretty steep learning curve. The video below gives an idea.
It took us about 25 minutes to set it up the first time (Tentsile says it should take 15 minutes), but after that, it was easier. You always have to make sure you have three points with which to secure the tent, of course, and so far, we’ve always used trees. You can also use vehicles (trucks and cars) or poles and even high fences, I suppose. Are there places you can’t set it up? Of course, which is why tree tents are not for every occasion and situation.
What tree tents are great for: car camping situations in which you know you’ll have options for set up (plenty of trees, etc), and camping areas where being off the ground is a plus, whether due to uneven terrain, a crowded campsite, or both. It would also be great at festivals. We tested it during a group camping overnight, during which we were happy to not take up more ‘ground’ space. In the photo below, you can see that we set it up over another tent.
What tree tents are not great for: backpacking. We carried the tree tent into our campsite a few miles into the wilderness, but at a whooping 16 pounds, we would not want to carry it farther. Reserve it for car camping, when you know you have time for a fairly extensive set up experience.
The Connect tree tent is $450, which really isn’t much more than other quality two-person tents, and you’ll definitely win on the unique tenting front. Pick one up at Tentsile or look for them at a few box stores now.