Finding The Right Trees for Your Tree Tent
Tentsile invented Tree Tents so that you can expand your appreciation of trees. You can now camp connected to them, feel their strength, their bark, their moving limbs and know that they are alive. You can do all this with a treehouse that pops up right out of a bag and sets up in no time at all. Camping will never be the same once you have perfected your ability to set up a Tentsile Tree Tent properly—you’ll never choose to camp in a ground tent again!
First, though, you’ll need to get to grips with some basic information that will help you stay safe, comfortable and mosquito-free. The first rule is to make sure that the trees you intend to anchor to are healthy and strong. Visual signs on this are easy to spot. No leaves? Usually, this would indicate a dead tree—do not use! Also, signs of decay, including fungus and mushrooms growing from the trunk, are a clear sign of rotting wood and should be avoided. If in doubt, choose another tree.
Ground conditions are also important. A healthy tree may not always be rooted in firm ground. Sandy substrates are common and will not hold a tree steady if a lateral side load is applied to it. Make sure that your trees are fully rooted in good ground, and that the tree is strong enough to take the load! We recommend that the tree trunk should be no less than 12”/30 cm in diameter—this is a good, strong tree.
Any three trees will work as long as the angle between each of them is less than 90 degrees. That means no right angles! And if you need to use a right angle, you will need to come right up to the tree trunk on that one; we would suggest using the ‘tail’ of the tree tent for this. You will also need to use a slightly different set-up for your ratchet if you are this close to the tree. We call this a basket loop!
Alignment is key for a good night’s sleep. The closer you are to getting the under-floor straps and orange straps to line up perfectly, the tighter the tent or hammock will be and the better it will feel. There is a six to seven-degree margin of tolerance, but the closer you can get to straight, the better it will feel when you get inside.If you cannot find three trees that work, then you may have to improvise, and that’s ok! Tentsile camping gear is made to be infinitely versatile, you just need to use some common sense and possibly a fourth ratchet and strap to pull one of the main straps into alignment. We have videos on how to do this and also how to increase the length of a strap to reach a tree that is at a better angle for your set-up.
Lengthening the straps is ok, but you want to use a carabiner to do it or else you may never get them free of each other again. We have seen straps fused together by the forces needed to set up a Tree Tent, and it isn’t fun! Also, if the distance is too great, we would recommend using a five-ton ratchet and a 2”/50mm strap. The longer the strap, the more it stretches, but the wider the strap, the less it stretches.
You cannot over-tighten your straps. Do not worry, the product will not break! However, it will stretch (especially when it is new), as the fabric fibres need to set into place. Set it up, jump in and get out to re-tighten. You may want to do this several times over the course of a camping trip, just like you may want to put some extra air into your bicycle tires or oil in your engine. It makes everything work much better.
As you may have already guessed, the trees do have to be in a perfect triangle. The tent will want to find its point of equality between the three anchor points, so you use the strap length to allow for this. Just like a spider’s web which always uses three anchoring points to make a perfect spiral web, some of those anchoring lines can be much longer than others, but it always makes a perfect web!
Damaging the trees is obviously something to try and avoid because we love trees and founded this company to help protect and save them. Our straps are wide, and our Tree Protector Wraps are even wider. This spreads the load on the surface of the tree trunk so that the vertical transportation nutrition just under the bark is left unaffected. We do, however, recommend that all tents be taken down at least once every three months and moved up or down the trunk by 6-8”/15-20cm so that one area is not stressed too much. It is also a good opportunity to carry out a safety check on all product components for signs of wear and tear.
In case you cannot find trees, we released a range of Ground Conversion Kits in 2021 so that you can now set up each of our Tree Tents on the ground, too! These kits include everything you need to get your tent up in a more conventional way when you find a location where trees are scarce. We also have an Aluminium Stand that will fit your three-person Tree Tents and Hammocks (made to order). Some people have come up with ingenious ways to use their car tow bar as a third tree!
For those that want to create a permanent Tentsile placement in their yard, we also have advice on how to set poles into the ground. We recommend telegraph poles (10-14”/25-30cm diameter), set in a hole and concreted in at a depth of 5ft/1.4m. This will give you a sturdy anchoring point up to a height of 4ft/1.2m, off the ground.
We have solutions for all eventualities, all locations and all uses. We aim to help you get the most out of your Tentsile products wherever you are and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you in the trees!