In many cases, these designs are a product of utility: the more essentials you can roll into one, the fewer things you have to load into your car/kayak/backpack. In other cases, it's simply about novelty.
By our estimation, the new Universe tent from Tentsile is distinctly in the camp (har) of the latter. Why? Because it's also a freaking boat.
If you don't know Tentsile, they essentially wrote the book on floating “tree” tents: aka one- to three-person shelters that hang suspended between three or more trees that act as ballast points.
With the Universe, they've made the notion of floating a touch more literal. Universe here means universal, as in capable of being pitched across “three elements”: the air (like Tentsile's other tents), the ground (like traditional tents) or the water (like a few other tents have tried, though none as savvily as Tentsile).
It achieves this thanks to an inflatable floor that essentially turns into a paddleboard when pumped to 15 PSI. The tent-to-boat conversion process also requires removing some of the structural elements, so you're really getting more of a daytime sunshade than a overnighter.
As pointed out by GearJunkie, Universe will also be the UK brand's largest offering to date, capable of accomodating five adults for sleeping purposes or three on the water (the max load is 880 lbs., and the tent offers more than 100 square feet of floor space).
Tentsile has plans to release the Universe early next year, with prices starting at an admittedly steep $1,999.
Keep an eye on their website for updates.
Image via Tentsile