Self-Contained/Solar-Powered Tent

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Behold the portable cooling oasis! If you were at the Primal Quest Adventure Race or Interbike Demo Days this year, you may have seen these odd gargantuan solar-power tents, which are made by Scott Gibson and Wingnut/New Sun Productions of Highland, New York.

The tent, which is a self-contained cooling shelter powered by solar paneling on the roof, has a built-in air-conditioning unit. It can be set up in the desert—as it was at Primal Quest and Interbike—to provide an instant oasis, no external power required.

The New Sun tent has a 6×9-foot frame and provides about 54 square feet of living space. The tent, panels and cooler unit weigh about 140 pounds together and fold up into two packages: The tent and panels folded up measures about 1×2 x 4 feet; the swamp cooler/air-conditioner unit measures about 2×2 x 2 feet.

Gibson says the next generation of this tent, available in April, will be transportable on a bike trailer, though at 140 pounds an electric bike or motorbike will likely need to be utilized. Future plans include the development of a system that uses the DC motor from the air-conditioning fan to power the trailer while in transport.

Future versions of the tent, Gibson says, may allow desert mountain bikers to ride into the scorching heat with a cooling shelter in tow.

The Generation 2 New Sun tent costs $5,000 and is targeted at guiding companies and athletics-events directors with races and events in high-heat locations.

Click here to link to the Wingnut/New Sun Productions site.

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.