There are plenty of multi-purpose pieces of outdoor gear from camp stoves that can charge phones to water filters that can be used as trekking poles. Then there’s Qaou. This tent is like the Swiss army knife of outdoor gear.
Imagine, a delightful sleep in a beautiful tent, the next morning that same tent becomes an awning for breakfast outdoors during a light rain, when the rain clears and the sun comes out, you can string it between two trees and use it as a hammock. You get the idea.
Qaou is a modular tent system designed by a quirky team of outdoors enthusiasts in France that have managed to create an environmentally friendly product that has six different functions. And the latest model, the Beluga ($305), arrived in Canada on July 15 just in time for camping season.
Check out the origin story of Beluga at the video link below
Nicolas Rodet is the French entrepreneur behind Qaou. An avid hiker, who enjoys overnights under the starry sky, Rodet was inspired to develop a multifunctional tent after one particularly harrowing trek to a campsite with only one tree for his hammock. Cue the light bulb.
Rodet got in touch with his son Antonin, a graphic designer, and together they developed a tent and founded Qaou. But it isn’t just a tent, it is also a hammock, a tarp, an awning, a shelter, and a cocoon. And that’s just the beginning.
“We wanted to create not only a tent, but a piece of gear that could accompany us in all our outdoor activities: whether you need a tarp on your boat, or a shelter to protect your kids from the sun, or a hammock to take a good nap after a nice trek… or a very technical, light-weighted high-quality tent for trekkers,” says Antonin Rodet.
Over the last few years, since 2016, the company has been refining and improving the product until they hit upon Beluga, and took it to Kickstarter where it received 200 per cent funding in two days.
The dome tent comes with two rain flys, and from this base comes a variety of options including, of course, camping with one rain fly over the tent and another over the entryway. These rain flys allow Qaou to offer a myriad of configurations. There is even an option of lining up numerous Qaou tents to make a super-structure.
But, it isn’t just an ingenious bit of gear, it is also one that boasts a serious sustainable and environmental ethic.
“That’s an essential point for us. In a way, this should be the case for any manufactured product, shouldn’t it?” says Rodet. “We want to develop not only eco-friendly goods, but sustainable items that will help people to connect with nature again and enjoy outdoor activities.”
For example, the tent fabric is made out of recycled plastic bottles — about 125 each. There are no fabric dyes, every Qaou tent is completely white. The aluminum poles are eco-friendly, and they don’t ship by plane only by, well, ship.
“Enjoying outdoor activities is great, but enjoying them in a sustainable way is better,” says Rodet.