- Quechua Arpenaz
My daughter, Nora, spotted the treehouse from across the field. We were camping on California’s Sonoma Coast and the treehouse, a weathered wooden platform about the size of a two-person tent, sat perched in a giant oak not far from our campsite. “Treehouse!” she exclaimed, as she sprinted toward it. Within minutes, my rambunctious almost-3-year-old was climbing the rickety wooden ladder as I watched nervously from below. From the top of her new tree-dwelling castle, she announced, “I want a treehouse.”
So, a week later, my husband strung a rope between two pine trees in our backyard, then attached a bright orange, kid-sized tent that hovered a couple of feet off the ground. Instant treehouse. No hammer and nails. No splintering wood. No shaky ladders. Nora loved it, and she now spends a good stretch of each day bouncing, reading, snacking and lounging in her new fortress. Once, I thought she might even take a nap in there.
What is this mysterious treehouse that pops up in minutes? It’s called a TreePod, a small, teardrop-shaped tent made from sturdy, water-resistant nylon that hangs from a strong tree branch. It has a zip-up doorway to create a cocoon-like effect and two mesh-lined windows for peeking out at the world. It costs $300 and can be assembled in less than 30 minutes.
The TreePod is just one example of a new and growing market of so-called suspension tents—hanging, above-the-ground shelters like hammocks, car-rooftop-tents and tree tents. The coolest part? Campers around the country are discovering that these airborne tents aren’t just for novelty or fun. They also have a genuine purpose and surprising benefits over standard, down-in-the-dirt tents.
These creative, pop-up tents are more than just fun-looking—they also solve common camping dilemmas.
The TreePod is the invention of a guy named Ricardo Bottome, who has four daughters and wanted to find an easier to way to give his kids a backyard treehouse. He launched TreePodvia Kickstarter in late 2015. The idea has taken off: His company has doubled its sales in the last year and a half.
Bottome’s initial idea was to create a play structure, not so much a camping tent, but as soon as TreePod launched he started getting feedback from customers who asked, “When are you going to make a hanging tent big enough for adults to sleep in?”
So in spring 2018, TreePod will debut its first TreePod Camper, which will sleep two adults in a tent that hangs from a tree or attaches to a car hitch.
“This elevates your camping,” Bottome said. “It gives you a level surface to sleep on, so you don’t have to worry about water, rocks, bugs or uneven surfaces.”