We are two people who love camping, who prefer hammocks to sleeping on the ground. We’re known on Hammock Forums as Raftingtigger and Latherdome. One of us has slept nightly in a hammock at home for five years, and the other has pitched hammocks while trekking above the treeline, in desert canyons, and once underwater scuba diving. Stubborn and inventive, we’ve each come up with novel ways to hang hammocks when no trees are available.
We formed Tensa Outdoor when we saw that we could improve our stands by using the same materials, joining them into a modular system. The four-pole Tensa4 is the lightest and most compact hammock stand that works anywhere, even indoors on top of a twin bed. It packs easily in hand luggage or on a bike. Tensa2 is a one or two-pole stand that’s even smaller and lighter, backpack-friendly, and works wherever strong ground anchoring is feasible. Both work with tarps, and are compatible with full-size gathered-end and some bridge hammocks.
Our products make hammocks reliably usable, helping people everywhere rest and sleep in unmatched comfort while traveling, for leisure, or at home as a bed.
Our Tensa4 hammock stand came about from hammock hanging needs that go way beyond camping, but cover full-time hangers like me. I developed the stand to avoid ever needing to try to sleep in a bed again, such as when staying in hotels. I’ve succeeded, with Cheryl’s expert help, and Tensa Outdoor has come together to help others enjoy the same freedom.
The photo above shows a Tensa4 set up on a twin bed, one of two in a cramped motel room. The hammock is an insulated LaSiesta Colibri (no affiliation, just a simple cheap all-in-one). I was attending a wedding on the coast, 2 nights. The first night, I attempted to sleep in the bed. As usual I slept terribly, so spoiled have I become by a hammock as bed at home. This is not the first time I’ve set up a Tensa4 in a motel room, but the previous night may well represent the last time I ever attempt to do without. I’m free now.
This stand packs and sets up just about anywhere, well below carry-on luggage dimensions, with no need to clear a space, drive anchors into anything, tie to trees or posts well-spaced, or even create trip hazards. It is truly unique in these respects, and we’re thrilled to bring it to market.
I first camped in a hammock in 2006. I liked it better than a tent and pad, but that’s as far as it went then. I went back to my bed at home, and continued to toss and turn, and to suffer back and neck pains, as I had all my life. Then in 2010 I took an 11-day bikepacking trip down the Pacific coast with my hammock. The trip was life-changing in many ways, among the simplest of which is that after several nights, I noticed my back pains went away completely. I slept like a baby every night on that trip, with sweet lucid dreams of holding my body in the cup of my hand, my hand become the hammock, in an infinite recursion of older me to younger me, oversoul to little me. I feel well taken care of in a hammock, the caretakers being me, an unknown Pre-Columbian genius likely from the Caribbean, and the universe dynamically balancing tensile and gravitational forces, cool in summer and warm with quilts hung below the rest of the year.
There is something womblike and protective about a hammock missing in beds, profoundly regenerative, like reconnecting to some universal umbilicus. Yes, I often sleep on my side in fetal position in a hammock, which has now been almost every night for 5 years. I’m never going back to a bed if I can help it.
Hammocks for camping are becoming hugely popular, but a constant limiter of their adoption is the scarcity of suitable trees in some otherwise wonderful places to camp. What’s more, many places with trees prohibit hanging hammocks, for reasons good and bad. These facts make hammocks less reliable as bedding choices than tents and pads. Tensa Outdoor is about fixing this, letting people hang truly anywhere, inside or out, whether full time at home or on the go.
Now, if ever I’m hospitalized, do you think they’ll let me set up in the ward, so I can rest?
I’m on the road testing the Tensa4 hammock stand, camping, and visiting Cheryl at the Tensa factory (kitchen table and toolshed) in Woodland. Did you know you can now pre-order the stand? Yes. See the Shop page.
Tethered to the door hinge. Guyline forces seldom exceed 40lbs, not bearing the weight of the occupant, just managing balance of the 2-footed stand.
How to survive skeezy motel bedding, pt. 2
How to survive skeezy motel bedding
Willow Creek hot spring
Lots of room
Trial setup on the Alvord Desert playa. Too windy and threat of lightning, mud.