Our Favorite Space-Age Tent

Falling hard for a futuristic shelter

The Heimplanet Nias is both cleverly adaptable and decidedly simple to pitch. (Inga Hendrickson)

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When it comes to gear, I prize versatility above all else. A running shoe that performs just as well on roads as it does on trails and still looks good with jeans? I’m all over it.

But I also believe that equipment shouldn’t be overbuilt. Which makes me the last guy you’d expect to go gaga for a German-made tent that looks like it was designed for a mission to Mars. Yet the Heimplanet Nias (from $1,200) turns out to be both cleverly adaptable and decidedly simple to pitch. A single baffled tube forms a sort of girder system: inflate it with a hand pump and you’re just about done. The Nias can be split into two 38-square-foot rooms connected by a tunnel-like vestibule; if you’re traveling with more stuff than friends, remove the floor and walls of one of them for covered storage.

Buck Rogers styling be damned, I think I’m in love. 

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