Last Updated on 07/03/2022
Tentsile UNA Tree Tent Review
In 1983, after being inspired by Return of the Jedi, Alex Shirley-Smith came up with an idea that would eventually become Tentsile. With the aim to combat deforestation, Shirley-Smith thought, “our forests would only survive if trees had a value to us humans,” according to Tentsile’s website. In retaliation against deforestation, Shirley-Smith brought a whole new vision to outdoor recreation through the design of Tentsile’s many “tree tents”.
Today, Tentsile’s innovation is taking the globe by storm, going so far as to team up with EdenProjects.org. Eden Projects, “aims to reduce extreme poverty and restore healthy forests in Haiti, Madagascar, and Nepal by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees.” Not only has Tentsile conquered gear shops across the globe, they’re also combatting Armageddon by rebuilding our forests. Curious about the fuss, I decided to take the TENTSILE UNA out for a spin in Colorado’s wilderness.
- Weight: 6.29 lbs fully loaded / 5.5 lbs hand-tensioned only
- Capacity: 330 lbs
- Height: 6’
- Packed Size: 11 x 8 x 8 in
- Trip Length: Overnight
- Suggested Use: Camping
- Tentsile plants trees for every tent purchased
- One-year warranty
- Large internal pockets
- Fold away door
Tentsile UNA Overview
Operating like a sturdy hammock, the Tentsile UNA offers all of the conveniences of tent camping without forcing you to be on the ground. Becoming a tree-dweller allows you to put some space between you and flooding or uneven ground. But Tentsile also provides a sturdy structure for you to pass your time; The triangular shape of the UNA makes the shelter really stable so you won’t swing while you’re re-situating. If, however, you are unable to find trees in the right formation, you can also set this product up like a classic tent.
- Set up is pretty straightforward
- Cost effective shelter
- Unlike anything else on the market
- A little bit on the heavy side
- Flimsy pole
- Requires three trees to be spaced out evenly, which limits your setup options.
Tentsile UNA Fitting
If you’re pretty lanky, this might not be the right product for you. The UNA is not recommended for 6’ or taller individuals. As a 5’7, 135 lb woman, I feel comfortable with the amount of space that the UNA provides. I wouldn’t sleep with my gear, but the weight limitations allow you to hang it from your Tentsile, if desired.
Is the Tentsile Una Shelter Reliable?
The materials seem to be dependable. But I don’t think it’ll take long to bend the pole out of shape. And Tentsile doesn’t provide spare casings for the poles in case it fails on you. That’s not enough to deter me from camping with an UNA, but I’ll probably also bring a repair kit.
How does this product breathe? Offering a detachable rainfly, the UNA is as breathable as you’d like it to be.
I tested the Tentsile UNA in Colorado’s backcountry and was overall satisfied. Setup time wasn’t terribly extensive, but it did take longer to pitch than a standard tent. The ratchet took me a while to become acquainted with, but the rest of the pieces were easy to set up. The UNA performed well in windy conditions. My initial observations make me think it’ll also do fine in torrential downpours.
What Do Other Reviewers Think?
Amazon reviewers gave the UNA a 4.6-star rating, praising the ease of setup. Two reviewers noted that they’d prefer a larger rainfly, commenting that the size of the fly is about the size of the body. This could create issues if you combine wind and rain.
How Does the Tentsile Una Stand up To Competitive Camping Shelters?
The cool thing about Tentsile products is that there aren’t many products that compete with it. The UNA is unlike most other shelters on the planet. The rest of the world produces either tents or hammocks but Tentsile does both, which makes comparing them difficult. I made the following comparisons based off of shelter similarities. Although these shelters are all unique in their own right, they’re all essentially “tree tents”.
Lawson Hammock’s Blue Ridge Camping Hammock: $199 / 4.25 lbs (two hanging points)
- Able to use suspended or on the ground
- Packed size: 22 in x 6 in
Crazy Crib Lex With Tarp: $198.50 / 4.6 lbs (two hanging points)
- This shelter leans more on the hammock side than tent side.
- Packed size: 18 in x 8 in x 3 in
- Doesn’t come seam-sealed
The Blue Ridge Camping Hammock and Crazy Crib Lex weigh a little bit less than the UNA. But they all essentially cost the same. The Tentsile UNA is the only product I’ve been able to find that has three points of tension. The extra webbing and tension points add additional weight to the shelter but also make it significantly more stable than competitive tree tents.
How to Make Sure You Pick the Right Shelter
Picking the right shelter can be tricky. It’s important to consider a number of variables before you make your selection: Where are you going? Will there be a lot of trees? Do you sleep cold? Are you backpacking or casual camping? If you’re looking to backpack hundreds of miles with the shelter of your choosing, the Tentsile UNA might be a little heavy for you. However, if you’re looking for a casual camping shelter that’s also versatile, the UNA might be a good choice. I would be most likely to use the UNA for a camping trips during which trees would be plentiful.
Note: Campers who hammock generally use under quilts. The same logic applies to the Tentsile UNA. You’ll want a comfortable barrier between you and the floor of your Tentsile.
Final Thoughts About the Tentsile Una Camping Shelter
Tentsile has a really unique take on camping that’s evident in the design of their products. The UNA’s ease of setup and sturdiness make it a great product for camping. But even more than its uniqueness, Tentsile’s mission to combat deforestation is a worthy cause to support. Due to the weight, I probably won’t take this shelter backpacking any time soon. But casual campers should definitely check this product out.
How much is it?
Tentsile UNA Review Pictures