One of the Most Versatile New Tents Is from a Brand You've Never Heard Of

The French company Qaou built six different uses into its new tent, the Beluga, without hiking up its price.

a white tent with a half open door

Choosing a tent is often an exercise in compromise. Do you want a tent that has a spacious interior, or one that's lightweight? A tent that's durable enough to pitch without a footprint underneath, or one that's lightweight? (Weight is pretty much always what you sacrifice.) However, that's not the case with the Beluga, a new tent from the French brand Qaou built on a foundation of versatility.

As opposed to tents that you can set up one of two ways — with the rainfly or without it — Qaou bills the Beluga as a six-in-one shelter. Campers can set it up as a tent, a tent with an awning, an unenclosed shelter, a tarp, a hammock, or a covered hammock. Tent-hammock hybrids aren't new, but the Beluga achieves that versatility more directly than any we've seen. With some extra loops and cord, the tent's rainfly can become a hammock, tarp or shelter, thus enabling all of the Beluga's formats.

Qaou achieved this feat without increasing the tent's weight, either — it comes in at just over four pounds, pretty standard for many two-person backpacking tents. (Its practical weight is dependent on how you set it up; bring just a hammock, and you're looking at 1.1 pounds, but the full deluxe setup is 5.3.) Given that the Beluga starts at $168 during its ongoing Kickstarter campaign, it's hard to find any compromise here.

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