Not quite a hammock, not quite a tent, the Tentsile encases you (and a companion) in a suspended pod with the floor space and support of a tent bottom.
As new and innovative products in the world of outdoor gear continue to hit shelves, some become mainstays of the industry (Buffs) while others are just too “out there” to become essentials (glamping pods).
The Tentsile Tree Tent falls somewhere in between. It’s not practical or convenient enough to replace your current camping gear, but it’s too unique and fun to not try. We took it for a spin to see what this hanging tent is all about.
What To Expect
Designed for two people, the Flite is the company’s latest and lightest model, a descendant of the 2013 Stingray.
The first thing you need to know is that unlike a traditional hammock, Tentsile’s tree tents require three tie-on points. This means finding an ideal – or even acceptable – spot takes a bit more time.
The good news is that the Flite uses only one ratchet, whereas previous models had three, reducing the weight from 18 lbs. to a comparatively scant 7.4 lbs.
Overall, it took us 15 minutes (10 minutes on later setups) to find a decent spot and get it hung. Tear down took about seven minutes or so. We found the whole process went a lot more smoothly with two people.
How To Set Up Tentsile Flite
Tentsile offers a handy video to demonstrate the setup – it will definitely make your first go-around a lot easier. When securing the tent to the webbing and tree, be aware that the cow hitch will tighten with your weight in the tent. It’s not a big deal, but expect to spend some time loosening the knots before takedown.
Depending on the environs and conditions, you have three setup options: high hang, regular hang, or just pitch it on the ground if there are no trees.
If the weather is threatening, a high hang is useful, but less practical. It provides the bonus of an effective shelter beneath the tent for cooking or eating – great if it’s raining. However, it makes hoisting up into the tent a chore.
Tentsile ‘Filte’ Tree Tent Review
The Flite is a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. It’s cozy and has noticeably less headroom than any standard two-person tent, but it is much less cramped than a hammock with a bug net.
What we liked: The Flite is much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground like tent camping. And unlike other brand’s purported “two-person or double hammocks” the Flite actually has enough room for two people to sleep comfortably. There’s abundant floor space and just enough sag to be really cozy. While it was pleasant with one person, the tent felt way more balanced and comfortable with two people.
Though total setup took time, hanging the Tentsile was fun and leveling it – which we expected to be difficult – was easy to adjust and didn’t have to be perfect to work.
Once up, we found the rainfly remained tight through a decent Minnesota thunderstorm with high winds above 30 mph, and the interior remained dry.
What we didn’t like: While lying down in the Flite was nice, sitting up felt cramped. And despite the wide floor space, the Flite has no pockets or stash spots for any of your stuff. Whatever you bring into the tent needs its own corner, and items tend to slide around when entering or exiting.
This also means people inside the tent will bounce a bit when someone goes in or out – not a big problem unless you’re a very light sleeper.
Ultimately, the biggest drawback is its biggest selling point: the Flite requires three trees to go from tree hammock to tree tent. While a perfect triangle isn’t necessary, proper setup requires some work to find an appropriate triangular orientation.
Tentsile Flite Overall Impressions
It takes work, but the Flite is worth a try, especially if you’re car camping or only planning for a short hike to get to your campsite. It’s a perfect glamping accessory for the park, lake, or cabin, and it’s a sure conversation-starter with anyone else who catches a glimpse. And most (or least) importantly, it looks great in your Instagram photos.
The Flite probably won’t (and shouldn’t) replace your traditional tent or hammock. Though it’s a unique and fun gear addition for a true gear junkie who likes sleeping off the ground and has the budget ($350) for it.
–See full specs and purchase info here.