Once in a while something interesting comes along in the world of outdoor gear design that lets us all know some people out there are thinking.

Take the world of tents, for example. Originally, outdoor gear was simply military surplus, but the rise in popularity for backpacking gave way to some innovations, maybe most recently with the dome tent and other smaller designs, but generally tents have remained similar for decades.

Now, a designer in the United Kingdom has taken a cue from nature, and maybe a bit from baby buggy design, to come up with a tent that converts very rapidly from total shelter to relaxing canopy. 

The Mollusc tent has a flip-top construction, supported by an adjustable outer frame that allows for quick modifications. The concept of switching between a fully enclosed shelter and open sunshade is valuable in any outdoor adventure setting, but the product remains

Less than an expedition-level backpacking tent.  Still, the introduction of the design could give way to others, and soon we may all be taking such tents along on out adventures.

Right now, the tent costs $600, which can be a bit stiff, maybe even for early adopters, but a Kickstarter campaign seeks to move the company to mass production. People who pledge $2,200 will get a custom made three-person nano model.

On one level, it’s a cool tent and support for a new company. On another, you could buy a three-person dome tent and a camping canopy or sun tent for a fraction of that cost. But that should not be the point.

The point is that a new design could change our experience outside. Mass-production could be the answer. For the meantime, the pricey but fabulous design could be the domain of “glampers” who like to rough it in refinery.

Photo credit: Mollusctents.com