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Sometimes roughing it calls for
refined cocooning

By Mike Payne

The enjoyment and adventure of outdoor camping will always remain the same, but the way we do it is ever evolving. The gear and gadgets we use to explore the great outdoors have changed a lot over the years, with few transformations as pronounced as that of the modern tent. What was once a complicated mess of ropes-and-poles-and-canvas has become innovative and intuitive—even elegant. These five modern tents represent some of the most intriguing, well-designed pieces of camping gear available today. The perfect balance of form and function—just like the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe: With its available heated and cooled leather-appointed front seats, available second-row heated seats and a heated steering wheel, it’s already a veritable cocoon. All this plus its 94.7 cubic feet* of maximum cargo space and available power liftgate for simple loading and unloading make it the optimum vehicle for the ultimate camping trip.

The Cave by Heimplanet
One of the most innovative tents ever imagined. It’s easy to pitch: Just remove it from its bag and inflate the “diamond grid” inflatable frame. In seconds, the Cave is ready to be used, even without staked guy lines for security. It was created for quick-and-easy pitching for your average camper but built to withstand the rigors of adventure camping. For example, it’s been tested to withstand winds of up to 75 mph. And did I mention that it’s beautiful?

Cocoon Tree Tent
This may just be the dreamiest tent design I’ve ever encountered. It’s designed to be hoisted above the ground and balanced between a grouping of trees like an enclosed multi-person hammock. A large interior bed is housed within the spherical tent, providing safety, security and a cozy little place to enjoy the great outdoors. The Cocoon Tree Tent is a long-term solution, one that takes time (and friends) to pitch but is intended to stay in its place for a weekend, a month, a summer or more.

Kamp-Rite Bushtrekka Pop-Up Bike Tent
If you’re going deep into the wilderness on two wheels, this tent system is like a pop-up trailer for your bike. You can park your Tahoe at the trailhead, then take your mobile tent far off the beaten path. It’s designed to fit one camper plus 41 gallons of storage space for a long-distance adventure.

Tentsile Hammock Tent
If you love the idea of the Cocoon Tree Tent but want something that’s quick to pitch and break down, check out this hammock tent. The large version, the Tentsile Stingray Air, can support three adult campers and their gear a few feet above the ground. It might take some coordination to pitch, but it’s easy to break down and doesn’t occupy much space when packed. A modern tent with all the amenities, it offers the added enjoyment of suspended sleeping.

Crystal Bubble Portable Tent
How about something a little more avant-garde? The Crystal Bubble Portable Tent is a clear crystal dome with an entry space that’s similar to an igloo in form. It can be raised in many environments, providing clear views from within a weather-sealed enclosure. Sure, there might be concerns about privacy and durability, but the Crystal Bubble was built more for imaginative souls than for adventurous ones.

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Mike Payne is founder and publisher of TheCoolist.com, the web’s finely curated encyclopedia of cool. Mike’s interest in design, technology and the study of trends is part of his nature, having grown up in a family of automotive designers and visual artists in Detroit. When he’s not managing TheCoolist, Mike moonlights as a commercial photographer, photographing architecture and food for hotels, restaurants, architects and corporate clients

*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.