Unlike treehouses, temporary tree shelters can take many forms -- depending whether they are being used for, say, rainforest research or for leisure. Inspired by traditional zeppelin airships, the spherical, canvas-skinned Tree Tent is a low-impact shelter for forest living from British design firm Luminair. It looks like the wood-clad Free Spirit Sphere, but its lightweight frame and various options make it appear more comfortable than most (it can be heated and supplied with water too!).
Combining a team with experience in balloon and airship engineering, precision machining, fabrication and autosport engineering, the Luminair Tree Tent's hybrid airframe is made out of steam-bent green ash and lightweight, recyclable aluminum -- making it easy to transport and set up. The spherical shape helps with even load distribution and ensuring that rain slips off.
The skin is cotton canvas that has been hand-tailored, covering the 3-meter diameter structure that can fit two people inside with room to spare for storage, and options like a micro-woodstove, flue-mounted water heater, thermal liners or even a solar-powered battery pack and water storage tank that can both be hidden underneath the floor.
Luminair's Tree Tents can be rigged with specialized, extra-strong roping to suspend from the trees, or can be set up as a stand alone structure on adjustable stilts. According to the site, a standard frame, canvas cover and rigging start at £8000, or £6500 for the earthbound version. More details at Luminair's Tree Tent site.