Tent Meet Treehouse — Meet Airbnb?

Hammock camping is an emerging trend in Europe; Joe Gebbia imagines you could rent one.
Staff Writer

Courtesy, Tentsile

Tent meet treehouse. And you can take this hybrid anywhere, or at least anywhere there are trees.

Portable suspended tree tents, though not unknown in the U.S., are an emerging trend in Europe. Instead of pegging them to the ground, you — self evidently — hang them from a tree or three.

Some of the first were designed for tree-sitting social activists in Europe. Their Dutch designer, Dré Wapenaar, realized that his dew-dropped shaped tents, which were large enough to sleep four people not intent on going anywhere soon, might be popular with a recreational audience that just fancied sleeping up among the trees above stony or damp ground and the creepy-crawlies that might attract.

It is British treehouse architect Alex Shirley-Smith who is making a business out of hammock camping. Starting with “a triangular piece of fabric strung up with clothes pegs in an abandoned church” his company Tentsile sold its first commercial tree tent, the three-person Stingray, in September last year. This summer it added a second line, the lightweight two-person Connect, and opened a production factory in Shanghai.

Tree tents can be used in a range of situations from all-terrain camping to portable treehouse. But Joe Gebbia, one of the cofounders of Airbnb, was quick to spot another use. “Tensile (sic) makes a modern day, instant treehouse – or instant Airbnb. Pays itself off in the first reservation,” Gebbia writes on his blog.

Note: Tentsile tree tents are available in the U.S. from REI from $599.

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