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The Green Life: Form Meets Function: 4 Surprising Tent Designs

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July 29, 2013

Form Meets Function: 4 Surprising Tent Designs

Topeak BikamperWe put many things on our backs — responsibilities, packs, even entire sports teams. The last thing you need is your on-the-go home, your tent, to weigh you or the environment down. We've found four ingenious tent alternatives for your next outdoor adventure.

1. Topeak Bikamper

Those who eat, drink, and sleep biking can finally satisfy the last of the three with this one-person tent. Its inventiveness lies in its use of your bike's frame and front wheel in place of tent poles. The Bikamper rolled away in 2005 with both a IF Eurobike Award and a reddot design award for best of the best. Clocking in at a total weight of 3.59 lbs., you can carry it around and still have enough energy to gaze up and watch the starry night through one of its three mesh panels. MSRP: $229.95

JakPak2. JakPak

This one's about as basic as you can get. Why carry your shelter when you can wear it? Self-proclaimed as "the world's first all-in-one waterproof jacket, tent, and sleeping bag," the JakPak ranges in weight from 2 lbs. 13 oz. (Small) to 3 lbs. 3 oz. (X-Large). It makes up in features what it lacks in size; the tent/shelter detaches and can be used as a pack cover, depending on the weather, and the jacket has storm flaps over its zippers and pockets to keep moisture out. The JakPak even meets tent CPAI-84 flame retardant standards. You're in luck if it's music to your ears — you can listen to some by way of the jacket's iPod loop. Price: $199.99

  NEMO Meta 2P3. NEMO Meta 2P Tent

It only takes an hour or two tangled up in tent poles before you start to think they might have been purposefully designed with the adjective infuriating in mind. The NEMO Meta 2P Tent utilizes your trekking poles as support for the tent's frame, meaning a lighter load for your travels. Among its impressive features is an ability to roll back its vestibule doors during rainfall — or whatever elements get thrown your way — to maintain ventilation. Don't have much space to work with? No worries. Just fold it to its packed size of 5x7 inches and get back on the trail. Price: $399.95

Hennessy Hammock Expedition Zip4. Hennessy Hammock: Expedition Asym Zip

This best-selling hammock from Hennessy gets a lot of love from customers for a little weight (2 lbs. 9 oz. packed weight). Turns out it pays forward in environmental love; the hammock comes with complimentary "Tree Hugger" webbing straps designed to protect the barks of trees. Plus, Hennessy partners actively with the Leave No Trace Foundation, which teaches its followers "how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly," one of those ways being the reduction of campsite impact. Each Hennessy Hammock includes attached mosquito netting, a detachable rain fly, support ropes, and a stuff sack. Price: $169.95  

--JakPak image courtesy of Michelle Poole; Bikamper image courtesy of Eric Sakalowsky; NEMO Meta 2P image courtesy of Kate Ketschek; Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip image courtesy of James Hennessy

  Davis JonesDavis Jones is an editorial intern at Sierra. His love for the outdoors began when he stepped on a fish hook as a 12-year-old and cried, in a burst of epiphanic clarity, "I'm too young to die." He attends the University of San Diego and enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking, and other activities that more or less benefit the mosquito population.






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