When it comes to last-minute camping, the least of your worries should be setting up a tent, or worse, forgetting it at home. That's where Treeline Outdoors and their rooftop Tamarack Constellation tent come in, proving setting up camp and taking it down is a cinch, and, what's better — you'll have a solid night of sleep, too.
At 97 pounds, the Tamarack Constellation is sturdy enough that it won't blow over during a heavy storm, but it's still light enough to store on an average roof rack for long periods of time (you don't need a huge truck or SUV to haul this one). The tent requires 37 inches of roof rack, which means it can be clamped onto your Subaru's Thule. Once the tent is mounted on top of your car — where it can conveniently fold into a weather-protected block that stays on your roof — all you have to do is unclip the quick releases, peel off the weather-protective tent cover, and flip open the hinged aluminum honeycomb base to open the waterproof canvas dome. Metal rods from the stake bag hook into grommets on the fly’s eyebrow awnings. And an adjustable aluminum ladder flips down from the covered hanging vestibule. Inside, the spacious tent houses a cloth-covered memory foam-like mattress — no more sleeping on camping mats.
On an 85-degree Vermont summer night with 85 percent humidity, we were as cool and comfortable as we could have been, thanks to the cross breeze coming through the tent's windows. We kept the fly on as skies were threatening. By morning, it was pouring with heavy winds, but the tent felt secure, and we remained dry inside. Out of all of the tent's features, what really surprised us was how different it was to sleep up high, out of the dirt and in the fresh air with a bird’s eye view. Our days in the Tamarack Constellation may have spoiled us forever. And even self-proclaimed non-camping friends who refuse to sleep in a tent were willing to try it.
The Tamarack Constellation is UV-resistant, mold- and mildew-proof, and also fire safe. Frost-proof PVC and rainfly skylights make it perfect for stargazing and waking up to watch the sun rise even in seasons when the temperatures drop. It's not designed to withstand heavy snowfall, but we'd still sleep in it when there's frost on the ground.
[$2,191; available to pre-order at treelineoutdoors.com]
Andy Best, iamtorch.com