Published on February 9th, 2015 | by Greg0
Tentsile Stingray Tree Tent: A Portable Tree House
It’s a sad fact that living in New York City can mean being a bit withdrawn from nature- separated and a little apart from the great outdoors. There are plenty of parks, but you can’t really camp in them… and plenty of trees but it’s not a good idea to hang up hammocks. Of course, it’s winter and the blizzard conditions and freezing cold don’t help put us in a camping mood. But we’ve been testing out some gear as we prepare for Spring, largely indoors but with a bit of time outside to see how wind and some precipitation would affect it.
The Tentsile Stingray is a tree tent in the same way that a Humvee is a car. You might think that hammocks are a simple way to enjoy some time at the beach, a bit of netting strung up between a pair of trees. But they can be much, much more- in fact, properly setup and suspended, this guy can hold three adults and is rated to support up to a total of 880 pounds. Included are heavy-duty straps with ratchet buckles, so you just need to find three pretty big trees or columns (at least 10 inches in diameter), adjust the tension and suspend your tent around four feet above the ground. It takes a while at first, but of course is much faster with three people, and there are only two poles. And you’ll need to find a sparsely-populated forest with some open spaces, conditions you might not be able to locate everywhere. We’ve seen other hammocks before, but nothing like this.
It’s pretty hefty for a tent- at 19 pounds, it’s definitely meant for car camping rather than carrying on a hike. But it’s fun- you don’t need to worry about rocky or uneven ground, so you can setup even in hilly or wet areas. There’s a rainfly for inclement weather, and unlike a regular tent, your hammock serves as easy cover over your gear, protecting bags, pets and even bikes. One of the best things about being elevated- no worries about squirrels or snakes, and far fewer encounters with insects and other unwanted visitors. The Stingray can in fact be pitched on dry ground as well. Either way, the views are unbeatable, as the fine mesh allows wide open sight lines with nothing to block the stars, and that means the ventilation is great too. On the flipside, it’s not naturally well-insulated. There’s not a ton of headspace inside- you’re not really going to be standing- but it can be surprisingly steady and comfortable. The only real trick is getting in, a sort of pull-up crawl that’s a bit awkward but kind of fun.
The fly is available in a variety of colors including camo and orange (ours was a nice forest green), but the floors will always be bright green. The Stingray is basically a treehouse in a box, and the materials feel durable- every stitch was well-sewn, and everything is made to hold up under some serious forces. You might not be an Ewok, but now you can pretend, and kids will love it. So will everyone else who passes by- your tent will quickly be the most popular site around. It’s not cheap, but it is sturdy, and it’s our new favorite camping companion- one we can’t wait to take out for some warm summer nights. The Tentsile Stingray is available now, directly, for around $675.