By Cat DiStasio / Inhabitat
eople often go camping to escape the modern world, but a little technology can make a good vacation even better. The tents of the future set up in a snap, protect campers from lightning strikes and incorporatesolar panels so you can keep your cellphone charged. Some even allow you to sleep high off the ground in a suspended treehouse. Read on for a look at six high-tech tents that offer a temporary oasis away from home.
Fiddling and fighting with tent poles is the bane of every camper’s existence, so one tent maker did away with them entirely. Well, almost. Instead of using stiff aluminum poles threaded with elastic, Heimplanet introduced the Wedge, a two-person inflatable tent that pops up in a snap. An exoskeleton of tubes holds up the tent body once you’ve inflated it using the included air pump. Although it’s not an ultra-lightweight backpacking tent, the Wedge has a certain appeal for those who just can’t bear the thought of tangling with another tent pole.
Tentstile Tree Tent Camping on the ground is cool, but tree tents bring the experience to a whole new level. Tentsile’s hammock-style shelters allow you to sleep high up in the trees. Thanks to its unique suspended design, the hybrid tent has room for three campers to hang out in almost any terrain — provided there are trees to support the lines. A cool rope ladder hangs down from the doorway to the ground, allowing access like a treehouse fort. There’s even enough space on the tent door for a “No Boys Allowed” sign.
Solar-Powered Bang Bang Party Tent For diehard festival-goers, this tent is a game changer. Bang Bang Tents, the brainchild of a former MTV presenter, released a tent that harnesses the power of the sun to generate enough electricity to run a few lights and speakers, as well as charge small devices. The four-person tent comes in six unique patterns, ranging from the nature-inspired to the party-centric (jelly bean decor, anyone?). Solar panels affixed to the tent’s rooftop trickle charge a lithium battery with USB outlets, charging your smartphone so you can concentrate on rocking out.
Lightning-Proof Bolt Tent Finding a sweet camping spot in the summer can be as challenging as getting lightning to strike twice, but for those concerned about getting caught in a storm, a lightning-proof tent is the way to go. Finnish designer Kama Jania was inspired to create a tent that could withstand a lightning strike — even if the odds of that happening are super slim. Jania’s line of Bolt tents incorporate a unique grounding device that captures electricity from lightning and channels it away from the people inside.
360-Degree Oasis Dome Tent The most elegant tent in our roundup is a camping oasis like no other. Lithuanian designer Vytautas Puzeras created the dome-shaped Oasis to fulfill the wildest dreams of “glampers” everywhere. If you pull back the curtains, the transparent walls of the dome offer a 360-degree view, barely separating nature outside from the protected space inside. Even with the curtains closed, the shelter invites campers to gaze up at the stars through its see-through ceiling. The portable structure collapses for easy relocation with a small truck or large car, but we suspect you’d want to leave it up for as long as possible to enjoy the amazing views.
Tents come in all sizes, from tiny solo shelters to multi-room cabins large enough to sleep entire families. Your camping party’s size may vary from trip to trip, but it’s not practical to own a tent in every size. The solution? M2C Innovation’s modular POD tents, which can be scaled to create a shelter of virtually any size. The POD design makes it possible to connect two or more “rooms,” creating a tent mansion if you so choose. With a setup like this, you can set up enough sleeping space for as many people as you can convince to go camping with you.