The viral plastic hammock is a dumb idea, and here’s why

“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote”} }”>

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education center with in-depth fitness, nutrition and adventure lessons and over 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ >”,”name”:”in -content-cta”,”type”:”link”}}”>Join Outside+ today.

Social media hacking video is a unique type of snake oil. As royalty-free muzak plays in the background, someone spends 30 seconds demonstrating how to make a difficult, impractical, or expensive thing easier or cheaper: cook a soufflé in your microwave! Make a chair out of pool noodles! Turn old Frisbees into shoes! The truth is, of course, that none of these hacks actually work; someone traded a real puff during a hard cut, and Frisbee shoes are unbearably painful after a dozen steps. It’s Internet Age MacGyver shit, cheap stage magic disguised as self-help.

I’m willing to bet a plastic tree tent would work, at least for a little while. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the latest “hack” video to go viral shows a camper laboriously constructing a sleeping platform by wrapping what looks like about a mile of cling film around four trees, then making the same above until creating a roof. Finally, she encases the whole thing in plastic wrap walls to create what is essentially a single-walled tent, suspended from the feet off the ground. It seems to hold her weight, at least for the few seconds she sits on it.

But just because something works in the strictest sense of the word doesn’t works. In middle school, my friends and I taped one of our classmates to the wall so much that he spent the last 20 minutes of class hanging from a pupa of duct tape, but I wouldn’t suggest you throw your chairs away. And the plastic tree tent has some problems.

Let’s eliminate the environmental impact first: this is a single-use tent made from a bunch of non-recyclable plastic. If I was determined to do that much unnecessary damage to the planet, I’d take out the middleman and strangle a porpoise.

I also hope you like being wet, because plastic wrap doesn’t breathe at all. The more you sweat – and you will sweat, because in addition to being a tent, this translucent abomination you have created is also a greenhouse – the wetter and wetter it will become. All that condensation is going to collect at the low point around your sleeping bag as soon as you lie down. As someone who has spent their fair share of nights sleeping under a space blanket, trust me: starting your day wiping sweat droplets off your bedding, tent floor, and yourself is no fun. .

Maybe you don’t care about being comfortable. Maybe you just want the lightest gear you can find. Well, I have news for you: this tent sucks too. During the video, we see the person building the tent going through at least a dozen commercial-size rolls of what appears to be industrial-strength plastic wrap. Depending on how much plastic was used to make the roof, that’s between 60 and 120 pounds of plastic wrap, which you’ll have to wrap up later (assuming you don’t just abandon it in the woods, ie ) . That’s up to 10 times the weight of the heaviest tents. It will also take you much more than 10x longer to cast.

But building a plastic film tent should be cheap, at least, right? Unfortunately, this brilliant life hack doesn’t even have that perk. According to our calculations on the back of the envelope, buying this heavy-duty plastic wrap on Amazon will set you back around $130. Considering you’ll probably have to rebuild it every night like some kind of oil-spinning spider, you’re looking at around $900 for a week of camping.

So let this be your lesson, dear reader, that advice on the Internet is not always good advice. A better plan: Invest in a dedicated tree tent. The Tentsile Flite is a 2-person, 10-pound tent that you can set up on three trees. At $399, it’ll set you back just under three times the price of this bizarre stunt, but on the other hand, you won’t have to toss it in the trash when you break camp.

Bryce K. Locke