Tentsile design and create tents that can be suspended over the ground, using the versatility of a hammock yet embracing the practicalities that most standard tents can offer. Their tents can be pitched over rocky, wet or uneven ground opening up options for a more comfortable night’s sleep whether you are up a mountain or escaping insects from the rainforest floor. The tents work on the basis that a set of sturdy straps are attached to 3 anchor points (usually a tree) using a ratchet mechanism. When set up is complete the tents are capable of holding up to 400kg whilst providing a safe and unique way of enjoying the outdoors!
We were really pleased to be given the opportunity to test out the Tentsile Connect. The Connect is a two person hammock bed ideal for off the beaten track adventures or overnight hikes tackling uneven terrain. As it happens, whilst we have a young family in tow we don’t actually get out for too many ‘extreme’ adventures these days….but that didn’t stop us taking it out to the local woods and putting the tent through its paces!
The Set up
The Connect comes with a set of easy to follow instructions. After taking a few minutes to read through these the concept of erecting the tent seemed straight forward and logical. The inner / main hammock section of the tent is laid out in between 3 significant anchors points. Locating a suitable pitch is really important. During this process you are looking for 2 keys things, the size of the anchor points and their distance apart. Ideally the trees will be 40cm in diameter with each tree at a distance of between 4-10m apart and no greater angle than 90 degrees. It sounds complicated, but once you know what you’re looking for good pitch sites become obvious. However, we did decide to change one of our initial anchor points which was under this suggested size as the whole tree showed strain when we climbed into the tent. It’s crucial not to compromise on the size of the anchors points.
The hammock is then suspended by a strap and ratchet mechanism. Again this is a process that once you get your head around it is incredibly simple and quick to set up. Ideally the Connect should be laid out in the space between your chosen anchors points – not all terrains will allow for this but this would be the ideal. The straps fit through the D-rings on the 3 corners of the tents and are fed around the body of your 3 chosen anchors points. Once attached you’ll need to check that the Connect remains central before tightening the ratchets and securing the now suspended body of the tent. It’s likely that you’ll need to play around a bit with the tension to ensure the tent feels balanced. This will involve hopping in and out of the tent a few times and getting a feel for how it might feel over night. The fly sheet just fits over the top making the Connect waterproof and wind resistant. Even our first attempt of setting up took less than 30 minutes. With practise I believe setting the Connect up should take about 15 minutes.
What it’s like
The Tentsile Connect is certainly impressive. As you can see from the photos our children loved exploring and bouncing about on the suspended hammock. Internally there is a lot more space than I had imagined allowing two adults plenty of space as well as carefully placed pockets and pouches for belongings. I’ve got admit that the Tentsile range doesn’t suit our current situation with a young family…however in years gone by when I was travelling I would have loved a piece of kit like this. It certainly serves a unique purpose for the more adventurous camper.
Not only do I love the concept of Tentsile…their ethos is equally appealing….as their business is dependent on the survival of trees Tentsile plant 18 trees for every tent sold. I honestly can’t say enough positive things about the Connect..the only thing is you really need to consider whether this is the right tent for you. With the Connect currently selling for £445 it’s a big investment as far as 2-man tents go. If you are an adventurous soul who roams off the beaten track or loves to hike in the woods, forest or even rainforest and loves outstanding gear then this is the tent for you.
Good things: Unique, looks great, easy to assemble, great for uneven terrain, hard wearing, environmental ethos, compact, comfortable, spacious.
Not so great: Expensive, the ratchets make it heavy to carry.
Disclosure: We were lent the Tentsile Connect for a period of time for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.