Camping is great as it gives you total freedom to pitch a tent almost anywhere. Although as 70% of the earth is water, we’ve actually been pretty restricted up until now. Not any more because the Shoal tent – the first of its kind – is an inflatable, floating raft that lets you sleep on the water and have the best/most anxious sleep of your life (depending on your disposition). Its manufacturer Smith Fly suggests you ‘camp on your favourite farm pond, salt water flat, spring creek or eddie on your favorite river’. I think that gives it away that the company is American – if it was English your options would likely be ‘anchor down on your favourite puddle, polluted river or dodgy canal’.
There are no poles in this bad boy. It’s totally inflatable, so fingers crossed you don’t get any punctures, although the raft body has three air chambers, two in the lower tube and one in the structure, which is reassuring. It also comes with a patch kit and manual foot pump. The raft can withstand high winds when inflated (thank god) and the fabric is waterproof and sealed with heavy duty zips. The floor is a six inch thick drop stitched high pressure floor that doubles as your air mattress, so all you need is a sleeping bag, or duvet and pillows if you’re feeling super fancy/your car’s nearby. The tent is eight foot by eight foot (from the outside) and standing room is up to 6’3″ in the middle.
My favourite part of the product’s description is: ‘The tent topper sides all attach and detach using heavy duty hook and loop for the ability to use just the top and get in and out easily through the sides if the need arises suddenly.’ ‘If the need arises suddenly.’ Oh god. So basically, should a croc suddenly start bashing your bum in the night, you can get out from any angle. WINNER!