Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

Luminair Tree Tents offer pod-shaped luxury


November 23, 2012

The Tree Tent is a low-impact luxury tent, designed to be easily transported

The Tree Tent is a low-impact luxury tent, designed to be easily transported

Image Gallery (22 images)

Providing the obvious safety concerns can be addressed, suspending a tent off-ground seems a good idea: less creepy-crawlies and no need for dry, flat ground, for starters. It’s understandable then, that we've seen a few examples of the concept, with the Tensile, Cocoon Tree Pod, and even an entire resort dedicated to off-ground camping appearing in recent years. Luminair is the latest company to take a stab at it, producing a design which looks elegant, and even luxurious.

The Tree Tent is the product of three years' research and features a hybrid aluminum and steam-bent green ash frame, with a waterproof cotton canvas skin, which is available in natural, red, and olive green, serving to keep out the elements. The tent measures three meters (ten feet) in diameter, which Luminaire reckons is ample for two adults to live in comfort.

While we’re on the subject of comfort, the interior of the Tree Tent can include up to two side benches which fold to become single beds, and a thermal liner made from 100 percent wool is also offered for chillier climes. Beyond this, it can be further tricked out with options like an underfloor water storage tank and pump, an underfloor battery pack and solar charger, and a bio-fuel stove for heating, cooking, and boiling water.

The Tree Tent tent is rigged with Marlow Dyneema rope, and may be suspended from one large overhanging branch, or attached to up to four trees. The placement height appears to be dependent on preference and situation, but if the Tree Tent is placed up in the trees, it can be accessed via ladder.

Pod-shaped paradise doesn’t come cheap however, and a standard Tree Tent with rigging begins at £8,000 (almost US$13,000) plus taxes, with stove and solar-powered battery system coming to almost £1,000 ($1,600) extra, when combined.

Build time is estimated at around four to six weeks and if desired, the company will come and build your Tree Tent, for an additional fee.

Source: Luminaire via Inhabitat

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

6 weeks, $20,000+, sitting in a dark ball, have to climb up a ladder, (hauling firewood) with a wood stove inside?

How is this low impact when you have to scope out a site? You mean trim off branches, transport (on the back of a truck, spend 4-6weeks trampling around the site, to set this Horrible Monstrosity atop a pole (intentionally not shown) and balance it amongst several trees. With the battery pack & water tank, presumably supported by the central post, which is hollow so that the “ fold down toilet” has somewhere to send it’s bio degradable human compost.

Oh! wait is there a fridge, or even food storage, …..so you only eat boiled berries & fried nuts for the night….

Just sleep in the limo….

Bob Flint

Hey Bob, you got that right!

And even with a stabilizing pole and ropes attached it seems to me that you would run the risk of sloping your reconstituted lentil soup in windy weather. Let’s not mention motion sickness as you will probably be too busy topping nearby trees and trimming branches to allow the sunlight to reach your solar charger, never mind, they will probably grow back, eventually.

Now what about the dangers of this thing? Well missing the first step when exiting could be painful. A bio-fuel stove in a cotton bag can’t be good and if a Fire Ranger sees the smoke from your stove coming out of the tree tops… after the fire crews arrive you will have some explaining to do. Then there’s the risk of being shot at by someone who thinks that your glowing lights at night are an alien space craft hovering in the woods, or worse still, they might want to make first contact. What if there is a logging operation nearby, after paying out over 13k you could run the risk of having your luxury pod cut from under your feet.

Oh and I almost forgot about the threat from wildlife, remember that bears can climb trees and like berries! Even your nuts wouldn't be safe from hungry marauding squirrels who also live in the trees.

With all of the above said I think a suspended short term habitat is a great idea and has a lot going for it but maybe this “Luminair” is not the best option for ecologically minded people.


Facebook User

Ultralight, UV resistant Sil nylon would be superior to heavy cotton or wool, both of which bugs eat. Inflatable pillars would be lighter and easier on trees than wood and aluminum. Such pressure could also provide running water from a rainwater collection bladder. A cheap 12V solar powered intermittent compressor could keep the pressure up. You don't need wooden cots in a big hammock, either. Check out tarptent's website for an example of ultralight genius. Mr. Shires might even be open to collaboration.

Ross Nicholson

If you want luxury get a good rv. if you want camping get a good regular type of tent and actually rough it.

Doug Doyle

Thanks for the comments and feedback - we do genuinely welcome good, and bad, criticism as it only serves to help us make what we do better and i'd like to be able to explain a few details in reply... Firstly - a bit of Chinese whispers involved to some degree with some wording in the article... We try to work to make sure press stories get the right information across though as many of the online publications create stories from others some changes do result. I'll start from the top... 6 weeks is our lead time to supply... this is mainly due to the nature and manufacture of the tent frame. We use green ash for the main outer frame which is steam bent to shape. The seasoning of the ash is vital- we have to work 2 weeks after felling, process takes appox. 2-3 days to cut, plane and bend then we need another two to three weeks for the wood to properly dry and be ready to use in the frame. During this time the aluminium components are milled and fabric sewn. We're not a big company - (just me and the cat) so do not hold large stocks of tents. The term 'LUXURY' is one created by the author, we like to think we offer a comfortable, basic space to enjoy the forest in - not luxury in respect to a 5 star hotel room or nice RV by any means I agree. Ultralight nylon would indeed be a solution though not an environmental one form our standpoint... Nylon polymers are made from coal derivatives, is energy and water intensive and in nylon's manufacture it produces nitrous oxide , a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. We've found the 100% cotton canvas is best from a UV stability/longevity point of view and when used alone or in conjunction with wool liners is breathable, long lasting and more importantly, sustainable solution. Generally, the Tree Tent has been designed in the UK and aimed at the UK and european market - our main focus is to offer space to campsites etc. for guests to stay in and enjoy the woodland they may have without having to nail or bolt anything to the trees or disrupt the important ground flora and fauna. It would be supported by a small infrastructure of a composting toilet, and outside space for cooking/sitting etc just as any tent would. The additional accessories such as the battery pack and water tank would be to offer somewhere to charge your phone and run some interior LED lights and offer a small amount of running water for drinking. A solar panel sited in a suitable location or a micro water or wind turbine would be used to recharge. Water is replenished via a portable tub. The woodstove is a small affair... simply to add a bit of heat to colder nights and to enable warming some water or food. It would not really entail hauling large amounts of firewood into the tent, just a few twigs and logs... Canvas if fire retarded and wool liners are naturally proof and self extingusing. Yes, there are always issues with stoves/fires but these have been used in tents for years and when handled with some common sense are perfectly safe. Obviously in places outside of the UK where fire laws are different the stove would not be an option. The central pole, as described, is purely the backbone of the internal structure and does not support the tent from the ground by any means. The Tent is purely suspended and can be accessed in a number of ways from a simple ladder to more elaborate ropebridges and platforms or even with a simple rope and assender if you are that way inclined. The aluminium is used to make an efficient structure i.e. one thatsupports human weight and stresses from rigging and trees and to lessen the need for larger, wooden structural members thus keeping weight to a minimum. We dont try to hide the internal pole... it is quite evident in the other photos in this feature and explained clearly on our website www.treetents.co.uk Pricing obviously is higher than a normal tent - though a good quality yurt or tipi will set you back a tidy sum these days - obviously our aluminium structuring and safety principles add to the final cost of the tent though our margins are not high. Accessories such as the wood stove, batteries, solar panels are good quality items and do not come cheap anywhere but you don't have to purchase these to enjoy the tent. The Tentsile tarp tent is indeed a great lightweight design but not something that is accessable to everybody. Those requiring a more stable platform, somewhere to sit and eat and work from and that doesnt harm the Tree or it's surroundings etc can find that in our Tree Tent and this is where the design aims to be - somewhere between a lighter weight hammock and more permanent tree house. I would mention the Tentsile tarp tents mentioned come in at about £500 under the price of our Tree Tent so you seem to get a lot more for your money with our design? Lastly - bears... we don't have those in the UK and for those camping in the woods where there are bears then this may just be a little safer... obviously, as you would under normal circumstances with bears, food should be kept and stored off camp. Please do offer any other comments or suggestions - i'll be more than happy to take any on board or correct those that might have the wrong idea about or products... Kind regards, Luminair! :)

Jason Thawley
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles