Cats love it, chihuahuas tolerate it, and REI shoppers can’t get enough of it. Tiny Tents’ lone product — the 2.25-square-foot Tiny Tent — might be the co-op’s fastest-selling tent ever. But … why?
As head-scratchers go, this one’s a doozy. Less than one month after the Tiny Tent hit REI shelves, the Co-op’s entire inventory of the 12-inch-tall, totally real tent sold out. Not just that, but buyers’ reviews make the 9.5-ounce, basically useless shelter one of the highest-rated as well.
“Sometimes I worry we spoil the cats, seeing them in our new fully functional cat-sized tent,” Maragee wrote in her five-star review on REI’s site. “They prefer the tent with the window zippers undone so they can look out from inside. Can’t believe you can actually do that. Best $20 I’ve ever spent.”
And it bears repeating: This is a 100-percent real and, judging by the specs, functional tent. It sports a (totes adorbs) rainfly, zippered windows with tie-backs, front and rear doors, nylon poles, teeny-weeny interior stash pockets, and “stargazer” roof with weatherproof tarpaulin floor.
Tiny Tent Sells Out at REI
If you’re puzzled about how this sold out, you’re not alone. The brainchild of Chris Clearman, Matador Packable Adventure Gear founder and CEO, Tiny Tents originally launched — and failed — on Kickstarter in 2016. But Clearman remained undaunted. He says he loved the tiny display tents as a kid and always wanted one. So he pressed on. And here we are, much to his — and our — surprise.
“If you’re wondering, ‘What is this — a tent for ants?’, you’re not wrong,” Clearman said. “While this began as a novelty concept, it has evolved much faster than we envisioned. We believe the Tiny Tent to currently be the fastest-selling tent in America.”
Even REI got in on the craze. Responding to customer questions online, the brand went full send on a pun-riddled product rundown:
Speaking pawsitively on the behalf of cats, we have been purrvy that a closed cell foam sleeping pad would be purr-fect as the claws can sink into the foam and not lose air. Unfortunately, as of right meow we do not sell such an item.
Not to be outdone, one REI customer went so far as to offer up a full ultralight product review. And it is spectacular:
Overall this tent is an excellent model and highly recommended especially if you’re trying to break into the ultralight category without breaking the bank; at only $20, this setup has by far the best value of any tent I’ve used, and it’s packed size makes it easy to throw into a daypack for use as an emergency shelter.
The decision to use a burlier ripstop nylon fabric for the walls is strange for a tent in this weight category, yet gives the owner peace of mind durability-wise while still maintaining an incredibly competitive weight of 9.5 ounces, almost 40% lighter than Big Agnes’ Fly Creek Carbon 2, previously the lightest semi-freestanding tent on the market.
The Tiny Tent launched at the beginning of this month, and REI’s stock is already gone. But fret not, crazy cat people — you can still order a Tiny Tent direct from the brand’s site. It costs just $20 and apparently makes four-legged friends pretty happy.
And even if you don’t own a pet, you can still enjoy the fun and read the full product reviews on REI’s site here.