Campers Set their “Sites” High—With Treepees

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s a … a campsite?

As one adventure-type-y person said to another adventure-type-y person, when it comes finding your camping chi, it all comes down to finding the perfect campsite, my friend.

And with fall just around the corner (or, after Indian summer for us, Southern Californians), a slew of eager folks will be scoping out their ideal camping retreats from Yosemite to Big Sur. But what if there was a way to beat the crowds, avoid those reservation prices and maybe not have to bother with clearing foliage/rocks for a site? Well, camper friends, we wanna share how you can take your camping to a whole other level—literally. In fact, finding your camping chi could be as close as the nearest tree branch.

This type of tenting is being called everything from a treepee, tree-tent, portaledge, to tree camping. Thanks to some leading green, innovative designers like Dré Wapenaar and Alex Shirley-Smith, campers are getting the opportunity to tent it up in the trees—Swiss Family Robinson style—sans the colonial garb, of course.

The Dutch-based designer Wapenaar originally created his drewdop tents for activists fighting the destruction of forests in Great Britain (read: gnarly enough to crush any terrain), but people soon discovered these sleek “activist” tents actually made terrific camping tents. Dewdrop tents hang from a tree’s branches and can comfortably fit a family of four.

“The Treetents would provide a comfortable place for them to stay during their habitation of the forest and prevent the trees from being cut down,” according to Wapenaar on his site. “Tents are composed of a steel frame wrapped in canvas and measure thirteen feet tall with a 9 foot diameter. The interior is outfitted with a roomy hardwood sleeping platform and a round mattress roomy enough for two adults and two children.”

Try hanging in a more stabilized limbo with Timothy Steiner’s family-run Treez Tree Tents, offered in the Alpha and the Flying Bivy designs.

Lastly, another great tree-tent design comes courtesy of architect and treehouse designer Shirley-Smith and his creation, Tentsile, a tent-hammock hybrid structure. The Tentsile is set up by being suspended between trees. It comes in three sizes that can accommodate two to eight people.

Whether hanging your tent off the side of a cliff (like these guys) or from a sturdy oak, just be sure you don’t start sleepwalking—that could be a ruder awakening than that time you woke up with a Bear breathing in your face (yep, true story).

We have a full range of hiking shoes for men and women along with the new Lifty collection for keeping your feet warm this winter.

—by Sarah McClure, photos courtesy of Tentsile and Z33 Art Centre

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