If you love the great outdoors but don’t love setting up tents, your idea of a great home away from home might look more like a camper van. But what if you don’t have the budget for that considerable expense? Perhaps an “instant” tent like this fun inflatable option can offer a nice middle ground. Not only does this inflatable tent by Liu Yibei of Air Architecture practically erect itself, it’s shaped like an archetypal gabled house for that comforting feeling of home, no matter where you may roam.
Made of waterproof and fire-resistant fabric in bright white, the tent is made to stand out. During the day, it looks like a small cabin vividly visible against a backdrop of dark woods. At night, when it’s illuminated from the inside, it glows like a lantern. So whether you’re heading off on a hike or just trying to pee at 3 a.m., you’ll always be able to find your way back to your cozy nest. Yibei describes it as a “cloud,” as if you pulled a wisp of a shelter down from the sky and set it down in your ideal camping spot.
The inflatable tent boasts a simple shape with a triangular roof and rectangular body. Made of 210D Oxford polyester with polyurethane coating on the fabric and seams, it’s durable enough to use in most weather conditions, including rain. Instead of unwieldy and annoying poles, the tent is held up by its airframe made of flexible, flat-pack TPU pipes that expand to 120 millimeters when inflated. The frame is designed to mimic the columns and beams of an actual stick-framed house. The tent also expands to an impressive 8 feet by 7 feet with a much higher ceiling than you’d normally get in a traditional tent, making it feel even more like a hut or cabin.
The best part of all might just be the tent’s many generously-sized windows. One giant window on each side can be opened to the fresh air, with insect screens to protect you from bugs, of course. The tent even has two huge skylights for stargazing after dark. The result is a space that feels fully connected to your outdoor setting while maintaining protection from the elements. The large size also means you can stand up to change in private, or set up a table and chairs to dine indoors in inclement weather.
Yibei explains that “when you enter the cozy white space, the ceiling is high and the room wrapped in white fabric is very bright. Opening windows on all sides connects the inside and outside, blurring the boundaries. In the forest, you can just hear the trees blowing in the wind, the chirping of birds, and the smell of wood and earth. The sound of the waves and the scent of the tide create a pleasant time on the beach. When it gets dark, close the windows and turn on the lights, and you’ll be able to relax in the comfort of your own warm home.”
The Air Architecture inflatable tent comes in a portable carry bag and can be inflated with any standard battery-powered air pump. The one downside may be that it takes a full eight minutes to fully inflate, which could drain the battery quickly. It’s also likely that the tent will slowly start to sag after a while if you set it up for a long trip, but if that happens, all it takes is a quick top-off of air through the tent’s valve.
Alas, if you’re chomping at the bit to hit “add to cart,” the tent is currently only available in Japan at Tsutaya Home Appliances+, so it might be a little hard to get your hands on in other countries.