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Solar-Powered Tent: Modern Comforts for the Happy Camper

Stay cool, well lit, and charged up with a solar-powered camping experience!

We went camping last August. To my malaise, it turns out my hair doesn’t get that beachy, salty look in the middle of the Everglades in South Florida. Who knew? The people a couple hundred feet south of us knew, that’s who!

It was late evening and the lightning bugs were dancing above the swampy sawgrass to the west. Suddenly, I heard an all too familiar sound … a blow dryer. Sweet six-ounce lord and savior! The tent to the south had some sort of power system. It was far too quiet to be a generator, unless the motor sounded like a bad acoustic version of Creedence Clearwater Revival. But that’s a whole other story.

What they had was a solar-powered tent. Or, so we found out the following morning…

Even though many swear by the tranquility of camping without the distractions of our daily bombardment of digital gadgets and fluorescent lighting, it’s not an ubiquitous preference. Personally, the lack of modern comforts has kept me from enjoying other aspects of the outdoors on several occasions. After that morning in the southern swamp, the answer was revealed.

Solar-powered tents are nothing new, but lately they have experienced a significant renaissance as our dependence on power has deepened. They used to be clunky, unreliable, and quite expensive. But today, they are light, portable, and cost-effective options.

Solar panels used in homes have evolved to such a refined degree that the technology easily transfers to the solar-powered tent we know today. Consider the concept tent by Kaleidoscope and Orange Communications.

Photo: Orange

The basics…

The threads on the solar-powered tent are specially coated with solar collection substances. They are woven into the fabric and become a part of what would appear to be any ol’ tent. Designers no longer have to make space for clunky and unaesthetic solar panels. Furthermore, they have three directional guides that help the energy flow continue throughout the day, no matter which direction the sun finds itself in relation to the tent position. This efficiency is priceless and neat, eh?

Photo: Orange

Another tent available right now is the Woods Solar-Powered EZ-Tent, which has a 7-inch solar panel on the top of the tent’s hub with 4-6 hours of direct light yielding 2-4 hours of tent light. We’ll talk about lights a bit later!

And if you’re more of an outlet type of person, there’s the N!ergy Tent.

“Maybe they’re a bit smarter than the average bear — they know that people want their s’more and eat it too, they want electricity on the campground and in the tent in the form of three 12-volt outlets. Glamping is going mainstream,” says Justin Glow of Gadling.

The Controls

Like most of our gadgets these days, the solar-powered tent has evolved wirelessly! The concept tent’s most amazing feature is arguably its control hub that gives us campers the freedom to choose the amount of collection and where the generated energy flows. Not to bury the hatchet here but, yes … It has Wi-Fi. Honestly though, the breathtaking element has to be the LCD display touchscreen. Imagine a starship in a sci-fi movie.

Photo: Orange

But that’s not all, the control hub can power portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets with an easy-to-use and wire-free power pouch. If you’re wondering what we mean by wire-free charging, you’ll be amazed at the future tech this tent reaches. A magnetic field is created around the devices that puts the power directly into the battery. Why go home at all?

Is it getting cold in here?

Nope! If you’ve ever slept out in the cold wilderness, this will definitely make your night. The previously mentioned central hub has unmitigated power over the internal heating system. The control hub takes over an element that lays within the ground sheets of the tent. This gives the floor a nice warm feeling and naturally forms a comfortable heating environment. Oh, and don’t worry about fiddling with a thermostat, it can begin the process once the temperature falls under a certain level. A millennial would say, that’s hot.

Check out the concept tent promo video…

Can’t find the tent?

Let’s talk about the glow. Tents are used for a lot more than camping out in the wild. Festivals such as Woodstock, Burning Man, and Coachella have a strong hold on the cultural zeitgeist. These events frequently involve the use of tents for multiple day ticket holders. What this means is that there will be an ocean of tents near the concert grounds. Well, the concept tent has glo-cation technology! Find your home away from home, easily, with a simple text message. Your tent will receive the message and conjure a glow that will give you a distinctive advantage in finding your way back.

Photo: Orange

Where to get one, like now…

These tents might have come up in concept magazines and design issues in the past, but today, you can actually acquire one. For example, the Woods Solar-Powered EZ-Tent that comes in either 4-person ($206) or 6-person models ($250) can be purchased at online retailers.