Tree-hanging tent provides above-ground shelter


March 8, 2012

This strange looking tree shelter was created by a team of British designers to provide portable habitation for campers

This strange looking tree shelter was created by a team of British designers to provide portable habitation for campers

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This strange looking tree shelter was created by a team of British designers, to provide portable habitation for campers while also minimizing material usage. Dubbed Tentsile, the shelter is a dangling tent that offers similar comfort to a hammock and can be used in a number of environments. The portable shelter employs tension forces to provide a suspended habitat that is protected from wildlife, including insects and snakes, while at the same time providing a secure shelter from the elements. The tent is easy to assemble and can be suspended up high in the tree tops or slightly hovering over ground level.

The Tentsile features a collapsible frame with webbing straps and infill panels that are made from fire-retardant, UV- and water-resistant polyester fabric. The frame's tension is maintained by elongated sections at each of the three high-level anchor points. By utilizing this three-dimensional force, the shelter reportedly offers stable, adaptable and lightweight accommodation for campers.

The unique inverted pyramid shape creates an elevated position that offers protection from floods, sand storms, earth tremors and wet or cold ground, while leaving a minimal footprint behind. Since the Tentsile tent is suspended above ground level, there is no need to clear areas of dense foliage and it can easily be erected over waterlogged ground, desert sands or rocky landscapes. A simple rope ladder allows easy access to and from the tent and ensures that no unwanted "visitors" will be making their way in during the night.

Tentsile is available in three different sizes, catering to 5, 8 or 12 occupants. Besides their use in camping, the tents could also conceivably serve as low-cost emergency accommodations or wildlife safari lodgings, or could even see military use ... but with that being said, Tentsile may also be the easiest treehouse a dad could set up for the kids in the backyard!

The company has yet to publish the prices of these hovering habitats, but inquiries can be made on its website.

Source: Tentsile via Treehugger

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

That could work really well up until the point where it kills you dead.

Jon A.

I never liked camping in amongst lions, bears, wolves, cape buffalo, hippos, elephants......

There is a great reason why monkeys live in tree tops - in case you have forgotten.

Mr Stiffy

I'll camp decently with a toilet and diesel engine.


Looks pretty awesome. Reminds me of jungle hammocks and cliff hanger bivouacs.

Putting it up that high, getting in and out seems a bit dangerous. Even a foot or two above the ground is enough to keep out the creepy crawly critters though, which is nice.

Joshua Frazer

it rather assumes you have three large trees arranged in a perfect triangle or the appropriate size.


@ Joshua Frazer

Putting it up that high, getting in and out seems a bit dangerous.


@Jon A.

That could work really well up until the point where it kills you dead.

I have a bed that has a meter of clearance under it, cause I live in a flood prone area - AND I used to use a 4 legged steel stackable type of chair to climb into it....

That was NOT really OK , and one day when alighting from it, the probing foot, found the corner of the chair instead of the center, and as I put my weight on it - from a bit of an angle and over the chair went and down I came - fortunately there was the concrete floor to break my fall as well as the friction effect of dragging the blankets and all off the bed with me.

I had a rather nice ex cathaholic glass fronted picture frame laying on the floor to soften the impact and the glass made a 6" long skin graft off my ass as well.......

So that was the day I stopped kidding myself about defiencies in design and make a proper stepped and locked on stair set.

As far as that tent goes - just looking at that picture of the woman getting in or out of it and I thought - Yeah these guys ARE right - it's a death trap.

Fall out break your neck etc...

On things like that you REALLY must have is a secure platform to stand on before you climb out AND you really must have "Hand ropes" (fiber version of hand rails) as well as the rope rung ladder.

With this set up - all it takes in ONE mistake and it's a broken neck or other serious injury....

This "fall out vaginal style" entrance / exit and the teeny little rung ladder is just asking for a fatality.

You people who designed this tent - I hope you read this - but your either going to make it so easy to either kill themselves OR sue you out of existance....

You MUST, I repeat MUST redesign the death trap door and rope ladder design.

Other than that - it's quite good.

Mr Stiffy

@Mr Stiffy

I have no idea where which continent in the world you might be trying to camp if you are worried about all those animals, unless you tried camping in your local zoo! Thats like americans being worried about getting eaten by Tigers while on "Safari" in Africa and then booking into 5 Star game lodges here. Cracks me up every time.

Gotta go, I have to run away now (in my loin cloth) form the Lion that is fast approaching!


excelent long stay hunting blind!


"desert sands or rocky landscapes"

...How often do they have trees capable of supporting such a thing?

I didn't think ground critters like snakes were a problem, so long as the doors could be sealed with zips and velcro and such.

Von Meerman

Makes camping seem even less appealing than normal! Although if you were camping in wetlands this could help.

Carlos Grados

That thing seems pretty ridiculous to me. It looks like they screwed an eye hook into the one tree (very environmental). Since this thing is pretty nutty then I've got a better way of levitating it. Hang it from a zeppelin or hot air balloon. I'm surprised that somebody hasn't made a giant dirigible that is a hotel for the skys. Takes on folks and then slowly travels at 10,000 to 20,000 feet or higher while the passengers enjoy the trip. Restaurant and rooms. Instead of going on some ocean going ship, why not a giant dirigible. 7 days to a week or two trips. It would be booked years in advance.


A friend of mine had a combination sleeping back and hammock (this was decades ago). It only held one person, and he never hiked above tree line. He only needed to suspend the apparatus a short distance above ground to eliminate the need for a ground cloth or padding, and to take advantage of the insulation on the bottom of the bag. Inclement weather was dealt with by deploying a waterproof nylon "sock" over the entire affair. The entire unit was lightweight and quite portable. Of course, he couldn't have 10 friends over for a spot of tea and a rousing game of whist. Pity.

Bruce H. Anderson
I used to have a jungle hammock that was superior. It had a roof, good mosquito netting and it had an overhang that let you get ventilation even during most rain storms. If need you could close the overhangs. Rattlesnakes and serious issues with wild boar do not hold a candle to what heat and mosquitoes can do to you in south Florida. Getting off the ground keeps you much cooler. This thing worked better than any tent I have ever seen. They are probably still available. By the way wild pigs are a real threat and often encountered these days. Jim Sadler

At 5 to 45 kilograms, this is too heavy for backpacking. However, such tents could be used to replace as needed the Appalachian train shelters and lean-to's, provided they were sturdy enough. The OCT and PCT would be other places where this sort of shelter could be useful, too. If it got too soiled, the tent could be burned on site and replaced with another one!

Ross Nicholson

I personally think this is a very good idea (though I admit as someone that is older, out of shape, and suffers from extreme acrophobia, the entrance/exit scares give me pause).

I hope it does have netted venting. It would be much cooler in humid areas.

As to environmental impact, even if you must drive connection into a tree that is far less harmful than clearing an area. To make it even more environmentally safe, use a 4 ply 2 inch wide nylon sling strap that wraps around a tree and then is connected to a ratchet strap which is connected to one of the 3 trangular ends. This would allow for 4.5+ tons of weight, odd tree positioning (you just have the strap longer to reach the trees that suit your purposes) and easy creation of necessary tension to hold the tent and people at the proper height. So no environmental impact except for men tromping through the woods.

I can think of 3 uses just off hand. I am sure with time I could come up with more.

Emergency gear especially for small charter planes. It looks like it probably has low weight and would take up little space when not in use. You may ask "Why have it on the plane, it will not crash?" to that I must respond, "Why have a life preserver on a boat, it will not sink?"

Hunting in the woods. I have extended family member that if it were not for the economic requirements to have a job to pay bills, if only to keep their homes, would probably only return to civilization when they needed to purchase more lead and gunpowder (they make their own ammuntion as reloads). You are high, you are dry, you are safe from the varmits.

Camping especially excursion type camping. Did you look at the pictures? It has poles available making it possible to be set up anywhere. This does beg the questions though, "How much do the poles weigh?" and "Can they be broken down into managable size and weights?".

All in all, it seems like something I would consider purchasing for those extended family members I mentioned. Oh and I think all my family members, including the extended, are very much into respecting the environment.


I like the idea with couple reservations.

Firstly, you need to find 3 trees to hang it to. Being a hammock hanger, I sometimes find it hard to find two trees. I do know one perfect spot for this, 3 oak trees in perfect triangle next to a river in my secret spot. Once I had 3 hammocks there as I had two guests traveling with me.

Another concern is shaking when one or more persons move or roll over when sleeping. I have used my van as another tree , for my hammock, while my guest is sleeping inside. So me turning inside the hammock shakes the van.

Henry Van Campa

I live in Maine and I can think of quite a few places that tent could be used. Plenty of trees here could support that. And if you're not from Maine than you've probably never worried about encountering a black bear. Not so fun. And not so much hiding from animals, but you would stay dry. Even in the hottest conditions in the summer in Maine you can wake up to a very damp or downright wet ground. And should it rain at night, you don't have to worry about water running through or into your tent should it go over your bottom tarp. I've always loved hammocks and tree houses so I think it would be awesome to have.

Wil Whalen

Do they really expect campers to carry ladders to hang this thing in the trees? Fasteners in bedded in the trees? Not allowed on public lands.

I would suggest commercial cargo strap binders be added, with a cinch loop on one end to cinch around any tree in the right location/ range, and a commercial ratchetstrap tentioner be used to take up the slack. it would allow for uneven tree placement, No tree fasteners, and no need to try and remove them when you stop camping. Straps could be put in place with a thrown weighted line. (just like I do with a high limb cutter) A cord attached to the cinch loop would allow for removal when you're done, from the ground with ease.


To all the people saying you need 3 perfectly placed trees to set this thing up. You did not look at all of the other photos, many of which show an upside-down tripod that looks like it comes with the tent for you to suspend it in places without trees.

To all of the people saying this thing is a death trap. I entirely agree with you. On most camping trip I go on, there is usually a large amount of alcohol consumed right before going to bed. It would be very dangerous climbing in to one of these things while inebriated. And lets not forget what happens to beer shortly after you drink it.. Imagine waking up half-drunk in this thing with a strong urge to urinate. Not going to happen.

In order for this thing to be safe there would have to be a much more stable ladder. A set of stairs would be ideal. It might even be possible to have a set of stairs suspended from the tent and anchored to the ground. The whole point of this thing is to provide a -safe- shelter with minimal material usage. Setting up scaffolding for a more stable entrance would defeat the entire purpose.

Like many people stated; You would have to be camped out in some pretty serious wilderness if you're worried about lions climbing in to bed with you. Most places you can camp at are frequently visited by humans and mostly avoided by predators.

It might be reasonable to go the extra mile and set this thing up if you're camping in an area populated by nuisance bears, or if you're deep in the amazonian jungle where the ground is coated by poisonous insects.

Even if this idea doesn't see much commercial success it's great that people are thinking outside of the box. The concepts used in this design may be further developed and see some actual usefulness in the future.

Kevin Hyatt

@Kevin Hyatt , It could be easily fitted with an emergency exit tube slide for beer removal, just like they have for fire exit from upper floors., but climbing IN drunk would still be a problem. It needs a fall arrest system like hunters use when going up a tree. If you fall, you only fall about a foot before the sliding tether lock stops you.


I'm loving all the comments about "Oh, you need three trees to hang this from, how are you supposed to find three trees in the exact right places..."

Did you not see the other photos that CLEARLY show this tent being used on a beach via a support frame?

This thing is, quite frankly, spectacular.

Nicholas Scarpinato

I don't know what Mr Stiffy's problem is with the design of the tent and about it being a death trap, but I personally feel that is a great idea.. I have been waiting for someone to make something like this for a long time, if you have a problem with heights then don't buy the tent, but I always felt safer off the ground.. When I set up my jungle tents in the woods I stock them one over the other, and have to climb the tree then swing into the hammock just to lay in it, plus only 1 person fits in a jungle hammock. When the put a price on this tent I will buy it in a heart beat, of course I will put my own little touch on it as far as making the polyester top into a canvas top for a better water resistance. But as long as the strap is fastened to the bottom which supports the most weight then I feel it would be perfectly safe, ROOP LADDER, or OFF THE GROUND 10+ft.. All in all in can't wait for this thing to come on the market, and neither would any other person who uses hammocks and wants it for a survival use.. :-)

Joseph Bauman

Where can I purchase 1of these tents?!!!

Ashley Cleveland
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