Pods Land As U.S. Braces For ‘Social Camping’

Interconnecting tent compartments that can be arranged in numerous layouts and look like a moon base have been such a hit in the U.K. they’re targeting Americans with a message that “social camping” is the future.

inside pod tent

Unveiled to the delight of Brits in 2013, Pod Tents was overwhelmed by global demand for its modular camp accessory after one owner posted a short video of his family lounging in the plush domed surrounds.

Pods hinge on the concept of “social camping” in which removable hallway tunnels connect your pod with the neighboring campsite.

Pod Tent

The Pods also feature zip-open compartments within each dwelling that serve as dividers for individual rooms and privacy. The four-to-eight person dwellings can be laid out in numerous configurations – like Mr. Potato Head.

This year the company is updating its site with offerings in U.S. dollars, beefier web servers, and its all-new Elite line of community camping homes.

Elite Pods advertise small upgrades on basic functions of the classic pods: enhanced UV protection, lighter weight, and improved durability.

What do we think? Well, it’s great, unless you enjoy camping, which in our definition generally also involves “socializing,” although mostly outside the confines of your tent, also known as “outside.”

pod tent rooms

But while they seem to solve a non-existent problem (do you really need to “connect” tents?), the design is interesting and could have some applications outside the recreational campground setting.

These pod tents are huge, and in no way designed to be carried more than a few feet out of your car. The small “Mini” model stretches over seven feet in the air and 12 feet wide. The larger “Maxi” version towers almost nine feet high and squats 16 feet in diameter.

The Mini weighs in at a stout 28 lbs. The Maxi imposes a massive 50-pound burden. Additionally, erecting a Pod takes 25 minutes by the company’s estimates, which probably means the average joe could have it up in an hour.

For the same trouble, similar amenities and half the time, you could just as easily stay at a nearby Motel 6.

pod tents connected

But if the glamping trend continues to take hold – and according to the increasing demand for Pods, it will – these could become a popular feature on campgrounds. It will likely also be a hit at music festivals, where communal living and discreet tent rooms are in higher demand than say, Yellowstone.

The Elite models are on presale now on the Pod Tent website, retailing between $600 and $850.

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Adam Ruggiero
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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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