NEMO Polar Pod

Heading to the polar regions for some exploration next year? Well, me neither. But a new four-person tent from New Hampshire’s NEMO Equipment Inc., the Isopod, has some neat new tech that could interest anyone camping in the dead-cold of a winter anywhere. To the point, the Isopod tent uses a fabric described as a “space blanket that breathes.” The company says the design is the culmination of a multiyear experience in designing shelters for extreme conditions that began in 2002 with work for NASA on inflatable architectures for lunar exploration.

The Isopod’s special tent fabric, called “OSMO EX,” is made just for NEMO and has the quality of being an “air-permeable reflective insulation” material. In other words, it is a metalized fabric made to reflect radiant heat yet also breathe. Further, the tent has white nylon windows to allow sunlight to pass through, and the sun’s heat will then be absorbed by the floor fabric to help squeeze out every drop of radiant warmth, the company cites.

NEMO Equipment’s Isopod tent

The Isopod is a double-wall, freestanding tent, and in extreme weather a polar explorer can set up the outer shell first and then get inside that shell and attach the inner tent body and floor to complete the setup. Made for hauling on snowmobiles or via dogsled, the Isopod ain’t ultralight. Its packaged weight is 25.9 pounds, and with that you get about 80 square feet of space inside.

A final cool point: To battle harsh polar gales, the Isopod has more than 50 guy-out points, 10 primary ground anchors, and comes with 100 feet of guy line and aluminum snow stakes to ensure the tent will stay put on the polar snow.

The tent, a specialty product, will be available next spring for a whopping $3,400. Expeditioners, start searching for that grant money now.

—Stephen Regenold