There are more options for tents, tiny houses, and other sustainable structures than ever, but the Autonomous Tent Co.’s Cocoon and Tipi semi-permanent shelters represent new aesthetic and functional heights. They also “leave without a trace”—of both footprint and, likely, of any cash in your bank account.
These luxury designs were headlined by legendary architect Harry Gesner, whose work inspired the Sydney Opera House, giving it enough polish to make an excellent option for dining halls, guest suites, studios, hunting and fishing lodges.
Autonomous Tents provide portability without going completely off the grid. They offer the option to hook up to existing electricity, gas, and water lines. A solar array can be included to power lights and heat water—the water is also filtered before being dumped. Sustainability was a guiding principle of Gesner’s designs, and these easy-to-assemble tents leave a much smaller carbon footprint than an outdoor pavilion. They even offer a smaller wooden foundation for customers who are looking to reduce waste.
Because of all the variables involved, the makers emphasize a customized approach for each Autonomous Tent they deliver. Depending on how far removed you are, how large you want the foundation to be, and how much integration you’re looking for, prices can range. What are those price ranges, you ask?
Cocoon units typically go for $100,000. The Tipi unit is $200,000.
The Tipi unit comes with 4 separate compartments, forming a cross-shaped floor plan—approximately 1,000 square feet. The Cocoon is approximately 700 square feet. If you want to get a full “glamping”-in-a-tepee experience, you can even install a propane, wood burning, or solid fuel stove inside your tent.
Autonomous Tents are made out of a mildew, rot, and pest-resistant fabric, which is both light-weight and collapsible. The foundation is connected to steel tubing, keeping the structure grounded, so that it can stand up to 90 mph hurricane winds and heavy snow loads.
If you’re not willing to drop 100 G’s on a tent (what’s wrong with you?!), there are still plenty of economical options in the smart tent market—tents your Cub Scout Leader could have only dreamed of.
Tents like the Inti 2, a versatile tent that easily transforms into three lightweight shapes. It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Tipi.
If you’re looking for a Tent 2.0, there’s the Heimplanet “Cave” inflatable model. It inflates automatically into a 2-person tent, no assembly required, and is lightweight enough to carry. They come with roll cage bars to protect from falling debris. Prices range from $500 to $6,500 for a larger model (currently out of stock at the time of writing).
Still, 2 people? The Tipi can fit a banquet. If you’re looking for something bigger, you might be in the market for an inflatable bubble tent, made from fire-retardant PVC and oxford cloth. There are several brands available in the $1,000-2,000 range, and some can be connected to form a network of interlocking rooms. No foundation required.
Autonomous Tents, for now, will be reserved primarily for commercial applications. The few fabulously wealthy people with L.L. Bean fetishes will also take notice—a small-but-valuable demographic. If you are in the market to order, they deliver via a semi-trailer to any location in the US or Canada. They can also ship internationally for a premium. As if anyone buying one of these is going to notice that…
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