If you’re looking for a proper tent, you’ll find a wealth of brands: REI, ALPS Mountaineering, The North Face, Tarptent. What you won’t get, though, is something strong enough to survive disasters.
Martin Zemitis is trying to change that. A former North Face product designer with 33 years in the outdoor equipment industry, Zemitis claims he has created the world’s strongest tent.
In 2010, Zemitis started SlingFin, an outdoors equipment company specializing in heavy-duty tents and accessories made with withstand high winds and harsh elements. SlingFin’s products are designed with a level of durability that’s often lacking in recreational tents in the $100-400 price range.
The company now sells seven tents, three of which have its proprietary WebTruss frame, an ultra-strong, aerodynamic set of interconnecting poles that provide the tent’s structure. The overlapping arches created by the WebTruss hold up the tent’s cover, which is hooked underneath.
The company credits the WebTruss for the tents’ resilience and ease of use — that’s what keeps it from blowing over in 60-mile-per-hour winds. All the poles are the same length, and the joints are protected by a sleeve of material that makes the tent less likely to come apart. Compare that to a regular tent, where all the poles are different lengths, and usually are constructed to be light over sturdy.
The design is also simple enough that campers can set up the tent in two minutes and 30 seconds.
CNBC’s Adventure Capitalists program did a field test of SlingFin’s CrossBow 2 tent. For maximum effect, the team set up two large fans near the area, both blowing at speeds of 50 mph. The structure proved resilient enough for show’s hosts to set it up in the high-speed winds.
Without that resilience, you’d be out of luck in strong weather. The show’s hosts also tried to set up a competitor tent, but had less luck — the poles and flaps were disassembled like an umbrella in a heavy storm.
If you’re a conscious backpacker that checks up on weather patterns, it’s unlikely you’d need a heavy duty tent that resists gale-force winds. CNBC notes that SlingFin is entering a tough tent market, since 90-95% of the market share goes to recreational tents.