Looking for a way to get out and camp in nature more with the family – but aren't a fan of sleeping on the ground? This hanging tree tent is the perfect solution. It comes with tons of options to fit your group, providing comfortable sleeping and storage space as well as configurable sides to protect against the elements.
When we think of camping, we often envision traditional tents and car camping or RVs, but there is another option: a hanging tree tent. Hanging tree tents are suspended from trees and offer a unique experience that is perfect for families who want to get away from their busy schedules and enjoy nature. A hanging tree tent allows you to spend quality time with the ones you love, while giving them the opportunity to unplug and unwind in nature. It’s a refreshing change from ‘regular' camping!
Tentsile sent over their Safari Stingray Classic Camping Stack for us to get hands-on with the tree tent camping experience. It features two sleeping levels suspended above the ground. The Safari Stingray Tent is up top, the Trillium Giant 3-Person Hammock is below, and mesh walls called a “Double Bubble” connect the two for an insect-free enclosed space in-between.
How a Hanging Tree Tent Works
A hanging tree tent uses straps connected to three trees in a triangle formation to pull the tent material taut and provide a suspended hammock-style base with separate sleeping bays for each person. No need to worry about rolling into the middle as you do in a traditional hammock! You can pull sleeping bags up there and sleep in total comfort.
Constructed from heavy duty materials like nylon polyester for maximum weather-resistance and a low profile that's easy to store and transport, you can camp all over the place (as long as there are trees around) without worrying about sleeping on the ground.
How to Set Up a Hanging Tree Tent
Setting up a hanging tree tent requires three trees that form a triangle. When setting up a hanging tree tent, it's handy to have a ladder so you can reach high enough to strap each level up off the ground, with space to maneuver in between. I simply drove my Jeep up to the edge of each tree and stood on the bumper to get to the perfect height. The straps go around each tree and tighten using ratchets before connecting to the tent in the middle.
The Trillium hammock that serves as the lower level is ready to go once it's up, but the Safari Stingray will need its two included poles slipped through the channels on the mesh top to pop the tent cover up. The poles unfold and slip in just like a regular tent. Webbing ladders strap into the middle of each level for easy access. Included hatch covers easily attach to that center hatch to block cold air or prevent little kids from slipping out.
Tentsile Accessories and Options to Level-Up Your Tree Tent
Every hammock and tent model comes with underfloor storage nets to stash gear, which is a much appreciated detail! They all come with everything required for a complete setup, including tree protectors and hanging straps. Also included in our kit were two carry bags, one for the upper level tent and one for the lower level hammock.
We opted for the Safari Stingray tent as opposed to the classic, flagship Tentsile Stingray model because the Safari version is made from tougher, UV-resistant material, a stronger insect mesh top, and a heavyweight Dacron floor. With four kids, we tend to be HARD on our gear and always opt for more durable options when they're available. Having camped hundreds of times in the last decade, I was impressed with construction of the Safari Stingray! It'll definitely withstand the test of time and weather.
Included with our Safari Stingray Classic Camping Stack was a rainfly and three solid tent walls that can be used in place of the Double Bubble for greater protection from the wind or rain. The walls or Double Bubble fasten to the tent and hammock using bungee loops and hook points as opposed to a zipper.
That's a double-edged sword: a zipper attachment would provide better insect protection and roll-out prevention, but with the tension between two levels those might become a weak point in terms of rips and malfunctions. We were able to cinch the bungee loops down quite tight for secure protection. This design choice also makes the walls more versatile, with the ability to function as a hammock flysheet or makeshift bivi shelter in a pinch. They also come with pegs to secure them to the ground, if desired.
The setup also came with WaterGates, which are little rubber stoppers that go around the corner D-rings. They prevent water from seeping into the tent under the rain fly through overly-soaked straps in case you're ever in severe, ongoing rain.
If you DO have babies or toddlers and are concerned about roll-out, I would recommend keeping them in the Safari Stingray tent level. It's actually sold separately from the camping stack system, if you'd like to start small and work your way up! The Stingray has strong mesh sides that are permanently sewn to the tent bottom. The only potential roll-out points other than the easily-covered hatch would be the doors, which can be securely zippered shut.
Mattresses, Drink Holders, Etc
Other cool add-on options include a drink holder in place of the hatch cover, conversion kits to use the tents directly on-ground, roof kits to convert Tentsile hammocks into a fully-functional tent, hanging mesh pockets to add more storage, extendable poles to raise rainfly wings or create an awning entrance, inflatable air mattresses, and more.
Advantages of a Hanging Tree Tent
Advantages of a hanging tree tent include portability, nearly infinite configuration options, and the fun of being up in a canopy! The tent can be set up in less than 10 minutes, so you'll have more time to spend with the ones you love.
Tentsile tents come in a wide array of sizes to fit any group. They have multiple options for 1-person, 2-person, and 3-person tents. Their Trilogy 6-person super tent makes use of three, 2-person tents connected with a huge dome centerpiece in the middle. They even have a mind-blowing, fully-encloseable 5-person tent that can be setup on the ground, in the air, or FLOATING on water.
I often find that various company's definition of “2-person,” “3-person,” etc doesn't exactly jive with MY understanding of how many people can fit in any given space. That isn't the case with Tentsile at all. The Stingray, which they've designated as a 3-person tent, has clearly defined spaces for 3 large people to fit. My four kids and I easily cozied up in it with plenty of room to spare.
Nate is 6'4″ / 300-something pounds and while he didn't want to put his body weight on the upper level above the children, he had a great time hanging out on the lower level 3-person Trillium hammock. Both levels stood up very well to the kids bouncing and crawling in and out and up and down.
My favorite thing about Tentsile tree tents in particular is the brand's accessibility and numerous configuration options. You can start with a basic, one-level tent or hammock and add as many levels as you would like later on. For our large family, I personally like the simplicity of setup on the Stingray and the ability to add more levels below.
Growing families may also want to consider the standard or Safari version of the Connect 2-Person Tree Tent as a starting point since it can later be added onto to form the Trilogy 6-Person Super Tree Tent.
Tentsile is family-owned, with many installation videos featuring the owner himself. Their team is extremely responsive to customers in the review section of their website and on social media. Our family has seen quite a few backcountry gear outfitters drop the ball on customer service, so it's incredibly refreshing to see customers raving about the speed and efficacy of Tentsile's team.
Disadvantages of a Hanging Tree Tent
Tent preference all comes down to personal camping style and portability needs. This obviously isn't a lightweight backpacker's dream tent, but it would be a fantastic fit for kayak or car camping. It's very feasible for one person to setup by themselves, although the need to hang straps high could be an issue for some people.
Disadvantages of a hanging tree tent are few, but worth noting. First, you'll need three trees that form a triangle to suspend the tent from. That'll be tricky if you're in a desert climate! It doesn't need to be a perfect triangle: all angles simply need to be less than 90 degrees. The maximum distance of the tent from any given tree is only limited by strap length, and Tentsile sells extra ratchet straps if you need more room to work with.
Getting in and out
Sweeping out a hanging tree tent is a bit more difficult than a tent with a solid ground, so you'll probably want campers to take their shoes off every time they enter. Compared to other camping options such as an RV or a ground tent with a foyer space, that can get tedious.
I plan to add the ground conversion kit floor so that campers will have a comfortable space to sit and lounge or converse with people already in the tent, without the need to remove shoes immediately. Sort of like a mud room for the tree tent! That's a concept we've also used in our rooftop tent camping trailer, when we added an annex that encloses the ladder. Honestly, throwing a tarp on the ground would get the job done in mild weather.
Did you always dream of having a tree house as a kid? Now's your chance. If you're ready to get out there, don't miss our tips on how to plan a camping trip. A camping hammock or hanging tree tent will give you plenty of extra space to relax and unwind. Just remember to pack all your essentials before setting off into the wilderness!
Would you ever camp in a hanging tree tent?