10 Futuristic Tents, Campers and Lodging Services for the Outdoorsman of Tomorrow

    Part of the allure of camping is getting out into the wilderness to find what there is to discover. Although “roughing it” is the foundation of camping and hiking, the industry seems to be inching closer and closer to bridging the gap between technology, comfort and the traditional outdoors experience. Check out some of the high-tech and high-class gear below to gain an insight into how the great outdoors may be changing very soon.

    1. The Inflatable Tent, No Poles Necessary

    Aluminum poles are so 2012. In the future, we will use resources already available to us to pitch our tents in the outdoors – like air. Colorado-based Kelty, which already makes an assortment of quality tents, is releasing its newest experimental design, the Airpitch Tent in spring 2013. Where poles would traditionally go, an air-pump fills “airbeams” that keep the tent upright and taut. The rainfly is built in and the tent is secured to the ground by a series of strings attached at prime positions on the tent held to the ground by stakes.


    2. The Infinitely Extendable Tent

    Perfect for families of 20! Japanese company Logos Outdoors designed the Decagon Link Station, a chain of tents that connect together to form one giant, corridor-like tent, in any combination you desire. From one central tent, the large N600-J unit, five tents on either side can be attached and extended until your heart’s, or wallet’s, content. In theory, there is no limit to how many tents can be attached.

    Logos Outdoors Decagon Link Station. Image: Logos Outdoors

    3. Mobile Lodging Service Brings the Tent to You

    Everyone is all about services these days and Shelter Co., a pop-up lodging service, is like the camping equivalent to hunting outfitters and fishing guides. The company will bring the tent, bathrooms and furniture to you. All you have to do is choose the outdoorsy location and dish out the dough. The company provides fully-furnished European style canvas tents, then you choose the amenities. Shelter Co. says its perfect for group camping trips, weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, and music festivals without leaving behind the comfort of home.

    Shelter Co. tent service. Image copyright Allan Zepeda/Shelter Co. reused with permission.

    4. A Safe Bubble in the Middle of Nature

    The Attrap’Rêves hotel just outside of Paris in France questions the traditional meaning of the word “hotel room.” Does it have to be in a high-rise building surrounded by concrete walls with only windows on one to three sides? Why not make the entire room the window? And so, French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas’s bubble tree hotel was born. The hotel offers a small bubble room strategically placed in beautiful natural sites with any of the following amenities (based on price): fully-furnished bubbles, meals, telescopes with sky charts, an outdoor jacuzzi, champagne service and more. The bubbles have a 360 degree clear window to allow for star-gazing. EAch bubble is held up only by air which is cycled regularly to refresh the air, while reducing condensation at the same time. Jake Gyllenhaal never had it this good in Bubble Boy.

    5. Car, Kitchen, Tent, Bed

    You thought you had it all when the RV first hit the market, but designers are eager to downsize while keeping the same amenities. The Yatoo Camper can combine 160 vehicle models with pop-up tents that make use of the car’s interior. A tent unfolds and attaches to the back of the car (one where the trunk opens into the interior of the car), and the backseat becomes part of the tent. There is enough space to stand upright and walk in the tent, while a flat area unfolds in the backseat to make comfortable sleeping space. A kitchenette powered by your car is included in the camping kit.

    Don’t mind that the video below is in French, check it out to see how the set-up works.


    6. Portable Trailer and On-site Hut

    The Teal Camper assembles like puzzle pieces with numerous combinations for a variety of uses. Specially-designed pieces can be made into a portable camper towed by a car, or it can be assembled as a hut in a stationary location. All that is necessary to transport it is a trailer bed, but the panels that disassemble can be thrown into the back of the truck and assembled into a hut on the spot. It’s made of foam-insulated polyethylene panels and all you need is a screwdriver to seal the deal. It’s lighter and less expensive than its alternative, the Cricket Camper.


    7. The Cricket Camper

    The Cricket is mostly known for the engineer that designed it, Garrett Finney, a NASA engineer who worked on habitation modules for the International Space Station. Finney transferred his skills to an invention of his own, the Cricket Trailer for exploration in the troposphere. It’s an outdoor living space customizable to a family’s needs. Think of it as a cross between a trailer, RV and tent. The beauty of the design is in its multifunctionality. For example, the sitting area centered around a dinner table becomes a queen-size sleeping bed when a user exchanges a shorter leg for the table. Solar panels power the kitchen and LED lights within. Space has also been reserved for a porta-potty, storage and more.

    8. All-terrain Backcountry Camper

    The technology of this all-terrain RV lets two people take camping comfort deeper into unexplored places. A pop-up camper is bolted to the back of a Jeep to create the Action Camper. It’s meant for rough rides deep into the backcountry, but without losing the comforts of cooking, a bathroom, soft sleeping surfaces and heavy duty protection from wild animals. It’s perfect for two rugged, but sensible travelers. You can really clock a lot of cross-country miles with better fuel-economy than an RV. A portable toilet is onboard, a sink with running water functions and the interior roof can expand to allow for ample air flow. Enter and exit the camper either from the front into the driver’s seat, or through the back, straight into the wild.

    Jeep Action Camper. Image copyright Thaler Design

    9. Affordable Car Attachment for the Long Haul

    The makers of this attachable tent admit themselves that this isn’t meant solely for camping, but it’s a cheap attachment (under $100) that allows for you to stretch out in the back of your Prius (or Honda Insight) on a long road trip or cross-state hunting trip. Buying a car with great fuel-economy seems to be cancelled out when you include the cost of accommodation on a cross-country trip. Therefore, the Habitents was born. The Habitents attaches in minutes to the back of two specific car models for protection from bugs and weather when you want to stretch out with the hatch open. With the addition of four storage containers stored on the floor behind the two front seats, a sleeping area large enough for two people opens up.


    10. Self-sustainable Concept Leav Tent

    This product that is called a tent isn’t really a tent. It’s a lavish outdoor living station that can be built far from a power grid since a solar-panel roof powers all consumer electronics and heats water. Within the small, stationary Leav Tent is enough space for a kitchen, toilet, two bedrooms, a common room and dining room. It’s essentially the ideal getaway far from home, but not far at all from home living.

    The Leav Tent. Image courtesy Benjamin Charles

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