The Tentsile Una is a compact, lightweight, one-person hammock tent that rivals the comfort of tents and hammocks in just about every way. Plus it looks super rad. So we had to try it out. Find out what we think of the tree tent in this Tentsile Una review.
We tested and reviewed the 2-person Tentsile Connect tree tent last summer and loved it, so we wanted to try out one of Tentsile’s other options: the UNA, a one-person tree tent. So read on or watch our thoroughly entertaining video review to find out what’s so special about it, how we liked it, and whether it’s worth the space in your gear closet.
The Tensile Una
The Una is Tentsile’s smallest, lightest, most packable “lay-flat” tree tent. It has a built-in zippered bug net, a rain fly, even a special sleeping pad pocket underneath to keep your sleeping pad in place.
There are three pockets inside: one on each corner by your head plus a removable pouch, and a gear net attached underneath for stowing bulky gear like backpacks.
It functions kind of like a hammock, but also kinda like a tent. It hangs above the ground like a hammock, except between three trees instead of two, so it lays flatter than a traditional hammock and offers a bit more elbow room…like a tent. Hence: tree tent!
It’s rated to hold up to 264 lbs, is designed for 4-season use, is comprised of mesh and nylon and measures 13.8 x 5.9 x 6.3 inches all packed up. As for the floor/sleeping surface, the long sides measure 9.5 feet and the head is 5.2 feet across. Inside, you have 1.7 feet of headroom at the tallest point.
You hang the Una using three included straps, which go around three trees. Ideally three healthy trees that form a tidy little triangle. We recommend checking out Tentsile’s tips for finding the perfect trees and triangle here, plus watching their setup videos if you’re looking for instructions. And trust us, you’re gonna need instructions. But here are the basics:
First, make sure the trees you’re using are alive, healthy and strong and at least 15” in diameter to ensure your body weight isn’t going to damage the trees or uproot them. Then wrap the straps around the trees. On the end your feet will be resting, tie the strap through the ring using a half windsor knot. Then on one of the other corners, slide the strap through the included weblock and pull it taut. On the last corner, slide the remaining strap through the ratchet and ratchet that sucker unil everything is good and tight.
Also hang it at least waist to rib-cage height, so, you know, your butt doesn’t scrape the ground when you get in.
Then slide the aluminum poles into their sheaths on the bug net and voila! Hammock tent! If you’re camping in cooler or rainy weather, you’ll probably also want to attach the included rain fly, which will keep you nice and dry and the wind off your pretty face.
There’s also a loop on top of the fly that Tentsile says you can attach another bungee cord to and tie off on an overhead branch, but we don’t usually recommend that sort of thing as you cab bring a tree branch crashing down on you in the middle of the night. So if you’re gonna do that to give yourself a smidge more separation between the fly and the mesh in rainy weather, make sure to use a super strong branch.
When it’s time to call it a night, don’t forget your sleeping pad in cooler temps because it’ll help with that pesky convective heat loss (aka cold butt syndrome). You can slide it in the special pocket underneath the Una designed for exactly this purpose, or, because the co-branded Klymit/Tentsile Sky-pad has non-slip grips on both sides, you can also just toss it in the hammock tent with you and lay right on top of it and it won’t go anywhere.
On that note, however, the Sky-pad is pretty much the only sleeping pad that will fit in the Una. Some hammock-specific sleeping pads might do, but rectangular pads are pretty much a no-goand the foot end of the tree tent is just too narrow. On the upside, the Skypad is insulated and those non-slip grips are pretty nice.
Then hop in! Don’t worry, even if it looks too high, all it takes is a little weight on the edge and you can lower it enough to pop right up in there. Then lay back, relax, and snooze away. Or open and tie up the mesh to create more of an open hammock experience.
Pros & Cons
Before we get into our full Tentsile Una review, here are a few quick pros and cons.
- Super comfy (no pressure points when sleeping)
- Lots of pockets
- Plenty of elbow room
- Stays dry in wet weather
- Great lounge surface
- 4-season tent
- Lays flatter than a conventional hammock
- Tensile plants 20 trees for every hammock sold
- Tricky setup the first time out
- Narrow straps could be wider to better protect trees
- Straps were fairly short, making finding trees trickier
- Awkward zipper placement
- Not ultralight for warm weather backpacking
Tentsile Una Review: What We thought
First of all, we were surprised right off the bat that the setup was actually quite different than with the Connect. And despite having a fair amount of experience setting up that hammock tent, we had a little trouble setting up the Una on our first time out with it. We consulted the manual that comes with the tent, but not gonna lie, the instructions weren’t great. The video tutorials on Tentsile’s website are a lot better, btw.
We had a little trouble getting the levels right when the ground was terribly uneven, leaving the mesh net sagging a bit when we climbed in. Now, there are tags that are meant to help you with that, but they were only moderately useful at best. The next time we set it up, after we watched a few videos on Tentsile’s website, setup went a lot smoother, so it’s apparently just something that will come easier with practice. So no big deal there.
We found the zipper placement, which runs straight down the middle on the top of the mesh, kind of odd. When you unzip it, the mesh just sort of collapses on top of you. It’s the sort of thing you’d eventually get used to, it was just something we thought was weird.
I was also a bit concerned about the width of the straps that go around the trees. They’re only about 1” wide, which is the absolute thinnest straps should be when you wrap them around a tree if your goal is to protect the bark and the delicate cambium layer underneath. And it should always be your goal to protect the bark and the cambium layer underneath. You can purchase tree protector wraps separately, but that kinda defeats the purpose of the Una being a small, packable sleep system. In any case, we would have liked to see slightly wider straps–say, an inch and a half–and better setup instructions in the kit.
Setup aside, while the Una definitely packs up into a nice tight little package, no bigger than our two-person Big Agnes Tiger Wall, in fact, it is not super light. Tentsile may advertise it as a backpacking tent, but to be honest, it’s a bit on the heavy side at just under 4.5 lbs for a one-person setup. But if you don’t mind a little extra weight for a comfy place to sleep, it’s not that heavy! Especially if you’re using it as a four-season tent.
But it is very comfortable! You’re off the hard ground like in a hammock, which means there’s little to no pressure on your back and shoulders and hips and what not like there would be if you were sleeping on the ground in a tent. But you have more space to move around, change, and store things than you do in a conventional hammock, which is what many people like about tents. That, and the ability to sleep in a flat-is position, which is more familiar as it’s how you probably sleep at home.
And there was a fair amount of storage space inside the Una. corner pockets proved useful and I was even able to shove a few things down in the tail end by my feet. Bulkier items I stashed in the mesh pocket underneath the tent and plenty else could be clipped to the straps outside via carabiners.
There wasn’t a lot of vertical headspace, though. In most tents and hammocks, you can sit up to sort yourself and your stuff, but even as small as I am, there wasn’t much room to do much other than prop myself on my elbows before my head hit the mesh netting.
Once comfortably sorted, though, the UNA was as comfortable as I expected. I slept comfortably and cozily in cool fall temps and felt entirely protected from the elements with the rain fly on. I did appreciate being able to stretch my arms out and splay all over the place, back, side, stomach, which you can’t usually do in a traditional hammock. I slept well.
Extra plus: when you’re camping in a rainstorm, sleeping off the ground is the way to go! No chance your hammock is gonna get flooded like a tent might if you set it up in the wrong place!
As for the most common setup question: What do you do if there are no trees where you’re camping? Well, it’s wise to do some research before you go to see if that will be an issue (like in desert situations), but Tentsile also sells a ground conversion kit so you can pitch the Una as more of a tent than a hammock if there aren’t any big strong trees nearby.
The Sustainability Aspect
Unfortunately, Tentsile isn’t using recycled materials to make most of their products and they’re not a carbon neutral company, but they are members of 1% For the Planet and the European Outdoor Conservation Association and offset all business travel, which is a plus. But their biggest contribution to the planet is the 20 trees they plant for every hammock they sell.
They also encourage customers to return damaged items to Tentsile where those products can be repaired if possible or repurposed and recycled if not. They even sell repaired “pre-loved” gear and encourage customers to send products that have truly reached the end of their useable life to partner programs that will create a line of upcycled accessories out of old Tentsile products (find out more here). Those customers will even get a 20% off coupon for doing so.
The Tensile Una is super comfy, compact, and just plain fun (and lets not forget about the importance of fun in the outdoors)! Solo campers who find sleeping on the ground uncomfortable, but who don’t really like hammocks either, who want something versatile and compact for lounging and camping are especially going to love it. If, on the other hand, you crave a little more headspace or are a die-hard ultralight backpacker, the UNA may not be your best choice. But for car camping, the Una is a winner all the way.
What do you think? Would you try out the Una? Do you prefer tents or hammocks? Let us know in the comments below!
Then find the Tentsile Una here. Now go sleep in some trees and wander on!
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Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com