The Bottom Line: I regard my Treepod Cabana much the same as I would an especially beautiful but distantly remote campground: The whole event seems super- and maybe even laughably laborious to the point of not seeming worth it, but the next day when the work-intensive part is behind you, the uniqueness of the situation creates some pretty worthwhile memories. In my interactions, Treepod also has quick and responsive customer service and seemed very interested in communicating with and helping me. It should also be noted that the negatives of transporting and setting up this cabana would most likely be significantly reduced with the smaller models.
Treepod offers an assortment of hanging tents in various sizes with models known as either loungers or cabanas. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 to raise funding for its original models. Since then, models have evolved in materials, size and shape. Treepod Loungers have a solid fabric wall of breathable cotton canvas, while the Cabanas have a see-through silver mesh wall allowing for panoramic views from inside with a slight opaqueness in the solid mesh. Both styles are offered in 4-foot, 5-foot and 6-foot diameters.
Included in the box for each model is the pod, a quick link carabiner and rope for hanging, the metal frame pieces, and a carrying bag.
Treepod admits to taking inspiration from the Magis Spun chair (which is worth a quick internet search) and adapting it for portability and an outdoor environment. What they both have in common are a uniquely-formed lounging environments that are fun by the very nature of their design. The Treepod 6-foot Cabana is made for picturesque afternoons spent outdoors, and it is unique enough to make for some photoworthy moments while comfortable enough to provide for some idyllic naps.
Our goal was to buy a Treepod large enough to lay a couple of sleeping bags out and camp inside rather than just using it for day lounging. To this end, we bought the largest size offered, 6 feet in diameter, which is covered in this review.
First off, our Treepod is both heavy and bulky. This is not an easy carry and not a quick set up. The top and bottom are a thick canvas, the sides are a fabric mesh. So while this definitely will not be joining us on any outings that require a hike in to the campsite, the sturdy materials do a good job of supporting the weight of two average-sized adults (Treepod notes a carrying capacity of up to 500 pounds).
Details worth mentioning about this are, first of all, the need to get near enough to where you're planning on hanging it using a vehicle to minimize carrying it over a distance. Even in the carrying case that was included, the weight began shredding the fabric where the handle is stitched in, which forced us carry the whole thing by the handle as delicately as possible or lug it like a stack of firewood across our chests. Second, the wide diameter of our model requires finding a tree with a sturdy horizontal branch so as not to scrape the roof when hanging (I assume this is less important with the 4-foot and 5-foot diameter models, where a more diagonal branch will suffice). The amount of space required vertically is also a consideration; at 5 feet 9 inches, I find myself still too short to stretch to the height the carabiner must be at for the Treepod not to hit the ground. You'll have to clip the carabiner into a rope, and then pull that rope to raise the Treepod further off the ground before tying it in place. In my experience, it seems finding a suitable tree to hang it from may end up taking the most amount of time. Once we found suitable tree branches, the set-up time itself moved faster, taking maybe 20 minutes. Of that set-up time, most was spent climbing the tree to raise the whole Treepod incrementally as we assembled it.
Spreading the roof and floor canopies requires assembling a series of arcing metal poles, and the ends fit inside one another one at a time while pushing the growing arc through a tube in the canvas. The poles then zip into place so that the material stands sturdily against the heavy tension of the poles. This is also not a quick process. In a tent complex enough to require a workflow, ours looks something like this:
Lastly, the bottom of the Treepod slants down toward the mesh opening. This is great for sitting up with your legs dangling out, as it makes it easier to move in and out, though the balance takes some getting used to when sleeping inside the Treepod. Using it as a tent to sleep inside, with it hanging freely, definitely takes some adjustments for balance and movement inside, and don't expect to come and go in the middle of the night without some serious shifting and waking up your partner. All in all, though, the adjustments are all pretty minor and aren't much of an inconvenience once you're used to it.
Taking down and packing up the Treepod is a much quicker ordeal, taking about 10 minutes in all.
On the plus side, the hanging design is a unique way to get off the ground and sway with the movement of the wind in the tree canopy. The slight spinning and rocking motion from not being anchored to the ground will make it hard not to take a nap inside this thing.
Treepod offers accessories such as a metal stand that would make searching for an acceptable tree or overhang unnecessary, and could make the Treepod a permanent fixture in your yard. They also offer a flat storage case that allows for storage without having to disassemble the metal poles. This is seemingly a huge time-saver, though it seems like it would make transporting it anywhere in a car very inconvenient. The accessory we got was the mesh bug net, which sticks with magnets over the mesh opening and has worked great in keeping the mosquitos out!
Don't let all this talk of the bulky non-portability convince you this isn't worth it. If you're willing to take the time to transport it and set it up, there is no feeling like stretching out across the taut canvas bottom, gently swaying in the wind as the sunlight warms you through the see-through mesh walls. I can imagine this being ideal for adults or children if there is a spot in your yard that is ideal for hanging it. I imagine smaller sizes would be both more portable and easier and quicker to set up. The Treepod 6-foot Cabana is spacious and durable. It's only if your primary desire is convenience, or to put it up and take it down regularly, that you should just be aware of what you're in for.