Tentsile Flite Tree Tent – 7.4lbs / 3.5kg, $350
Not quite a hammock and not quite a tent, the Tentsile Flite is a novel design that blends the convenience and excitement of both. An avid hammock sleeper, I was pretty stoked at the opportunity to try out this Instafamous “tree tent” and intrigued by it’s unique, “glampy” (glamor + camping) design. I took the Flite, Tentsile’s most lightweight tree tent, on a few trips spanning July and August and wasn’t disappointed.
The Flite is Tentsile’s latest and most minimal model with innovative improvements from the original three-person Stingray. With just one ratchet strap instead of three to save on weight, the Flite is more convenient for backpackers and wilderness adventurers in comparison to Tentsile’s other tree tents. At 7.4lbs, however, the Flite is hardly weight-friendly as it is still heavier than most backpacking tents. It’s fun enough to be worth taking on shorter and more casual trips, but as an ounce-pincher myself (hence why I switched to hammocks in the first place), I wouldn’t pack this on serious backcountry adventures.
Tentsile has a great video demonstrating how to set up the Flite (https://vimeo.com/144789162) that’s worth checking out before you take it out. Stupidly enough I didn’t, but luckily there were a rudimentary set of instructions on a flap inside of the Flite’s stuff sack as well so it wasn’t the end of the world. Not quite knowing what I was doing did make my first set up a bit tricky, but after some practice I’ve gotten to where I can set up in less than 10 minutes. Creating a level surface with three, unequally distanced anchors can be a challenge so it usually takes me a few attempts crawling in and out of the Flite to get it right. By trial and error, it does get easier each time though.
The Flite anchors to three points using tensile forces, much like a slackline, to uphold a taut triangle-based platform with the flat lay floor space of a tent. Although the layout of the three points doesn’t have to be exact, this can make it more difficult to find a spot to set up than a normal hammock. I found that closer anchor points made for a much more comfortable sling so despite how cool it might look to be stretched out across the entire forest, I’d recommend the sacrifice.
The Flite provides great off-ground space to organize stuff while setting or packing up.
Sleeping double in a hammock is a tricky market but with an adjustable center line, the Flite creates two hammock-like spaces for suspended outdoor living without caving in towards one another…as much. The Flite advertises to sleep double, but even two average-sized humans are going to have a hard time staying comfortable overnight. The short triangle layout of the Flite leaves little foot room for two people and you’re definitely not going to fit two sleeping pads side by side. I decided pretty early that I wasn’t going to share my space and although that might sound lonely, it was actually awesome. The Flite might be too small for most people to sleep two, but it has a lot of room for an average-sized person like myself to sleep alone. I slept on my side, my back, my stomach and could kick my leg out of my bag or stretch my arms in any direction. If I had wanted to I probably could have done some yoga, too. As much as I love my usual hammock, this freedom to move around while still being suspended midair was luxurious.
It’s not flawless and won’t replace your current gear, but the Flite tree tent is fun enough to try if you have the budget for it. Treat yo’self.
[This posting has been backdated to its original publication by TrekTechBlog.com. Some contents may be modified or updated from the original article]