Last weekend I had the chance to try out an interesting new tent. If you know anything about them though, the word tent doesn’t really describe it at all. I tried out the Tentsile Stingray Tree Tent. It’s a pretty awesome setup, that seems to be a cross between a hammock and a tent. First, let me tell you a little about my experience with it, then I’ll highlight some of the great features, and a few things that took some getting used to.
I took the tent out for a couple of nights with a friend into the foothills of Colorado on a turkey hunting trip (spoiler alert, the turkeys outsmarted us!). We finally got to our spot at about 2:00 in the afternoon, found three trees that we thought would work to set up the tent, and got to work. Then, we packed everything up and went somewhere else. Whoa, these tents are big!! The size of the bag that it comes in led me to believe it was going to be a lot smaller tent, and so the first group of trees that we picked weren’t even close to far enough apart.
About another 100 yards down the road, we found another group of trees that we thought would work well and laid the tent out on the ground again. We lined up all the ratchets to get it strapped up and went to work. I was a little nervous about how tight I could ratchet the tent down, and I did not tighten them down nearly well enough the first time. I climbed in and the thing just about hit the ground. Ok, I’ll try again. This time I ratcheted the thing down tight – I mean really tight. Ah, problem solved!
We threw some of our gear in the tent and headed out for a hunt that evening. We got back well after dark, but it was a pretty clear night and once we took the rain cover off, we could still see inside pretty well just from the moonlight. We got all of our things arranged and laid down for the night. I don’t think that we got all the straps perfectly level, by the end of the night we had both scooted to one corner of the tent, but all in all, it was a pretty comfortable night. The next day, after the morning hunt, I came back and decided I’d just lay down for ten minutes before we plotted out where to go for the evening. Two hours later I woke up feeling great!! I think that the next time I would use it, I would know a lot better what was needed to set it up, and it would go a lot quicker.
The Pros: Super light and small! We had two guys and gear to go hunting for a few days in a 2 door wrangler, so there isn’t much room for extra stuff. The tent was smaller than a traditional tent, and we didn’t need any camping mats! It was also a lot warmer than I thought it would be. Granted the temps were in the high 20’s overnight, but neither of us got even a little cold! Set up was really easy, and the bright orange straps made finding and keeping track of everything (even in the dark) a lot easier than I had expected.
The cons: After two nights in the Tentslie Stingray, there was really only one downside that I noticed. The tent seemed to move around quite a bit every time either one of us would move. The tent was comfortable enough that I would still have much preferred a little movement in this tent to sleeping on the ground (or a camp mat) in a traditional tent! While the tent was designed for three people, we only had two in it, and I’m not sure if there would have been more or less movement with three people in it, but there was certainly more than enough room to fit someone else in there!
All in all, the Tentsile Stingray Tree Tent is definitely on my list of things I want to get before going out camping with the family again this summer. It was a ton of fun, easy to set up, really comfortable, and didn’t take up much room in Jeep at all!
Written by Jeff Oetter
I am a Colorado native that grew up going fishing every chance I could. Now I’m a pastor, as well as a life long student! If I’m not working or studying you can find me and my family heading up to the mountains in our Jeep.
Let’s hear some of your thoughts in the comments! Have you tried a Tentsile before? Would you try one? Do you have a place in mind where you would put one up? Would you trade your tent for a tree tent?
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