New style-savvy new tents that put the “fun” in a functional structure.

Share story

Whether they’re providing cozy shelter from the elements outdoors or top-secret privacy in the playroom, a number of style-savvy new tents put the “fun” in a functional structure.

Some, with creative patterns and high-tech features, are more suited to fair-weather outdoor activities like park picnics or music festivals. But many are engineered for the rigors of serious camping.

Field Candy sells tents with personality. One looks like a giant wedge of juicy watermelon. Another resembles the splayed-out pages of a hardcover book. Faux brick or wood tents fool the eye, and so does one with a lush lawn photo-printed on it. Flags from various countries are featured on others. You can imagine yourself hunkered down on the side of the Matterhorn in a tent printed with a realistic image of the Swiss Alps.

Camping with a crowd? Consider the Firebox London Underground Tube tent, which sleeps 16. A smaller gang could snuggle up in the VW Bus tent, a full-size replica of Volkswagen’s iconic camper van.

The 130-pound Cocoon Tree is sure to catch the attention of passersby. Resembling an alien spacecraft, it consists of a spherical aluminum frame covered with waterproof fabric, and the interior is equipped with a king-size mattress. All you need is a few strong trees for anchoring, using the supplied ropes and nets. Or if you’re tree-challenged, use the four stabilizing feet included to place the Cocoon on solid ground. The tent sleeps four.

Cocoon Tree, about $7,420 at cocoontree.com
Cocoon Tree, about $7,420 at cocoontree.com

Tentsile, a tent maker in London, has a model called the Stingray that you can suspend in the trees. Intended for camping where ground conditions are inhospitable, the Stingray can also be suspended between boulders, vehicles or other large, stationary anchors. You can enter it through the front door or through a floor vent.

Fjallraven’s Abisko three-season tent sleeps two and features an inner tent surrounded by vestibules that can be rolled up out of the way. The inner tent is made of mesh fabric and the flysheet has vents, making the tent a good one for hot weather camping.

Big Agnes, an outfitter in Steamboat Springs, Colo., offers a wide range of tents for everything from base camping to trail hiking. Its mtnGLO tent-light system adds LED lights to the tent fabric, eliminating the need for a headlamp or lantern inside. A collaboration with Burton adds fun prints to a range of styles.

And kids can have summer fun indoors all year with one of the many teepee-style tents available at retailers such as Land of Nod, Target and Pottery Barn. Many feature chic prints that blend with lots of décor styles.