Gear Innovation: New Tents, Stick-lets, and Cricket Flour Bars

Gear Innovation is a series of posts that I put out after I have gathered together a few unique products that I think are changing the way we enjoy the great outdoors. I am not paid for any of these links. I have not even tried any of these products. They are gear that I think is worth exploring and supporting because if there had been no innovation we would still be sleeping in cotton tents and carrying enormous backpacks.

In this installment I am going to explore a new way to sleep in the woods that will make camping even more fun. While you’re out there you’ll learn about playing with sticks and maybe eat some bars with a hidden creepy ingredient.


Tree Tents or Spider Webs?


Look out! Camping is about to get a face lift with this new type of tent. They appeal to the kid in me, although what about getting dirty and sleeping under the stars doesn’t bring forgotten wonder?

photo from

photo from

These tents are called Tree Tents and have been compared to both tree houses and spider webs. They are like hammocks but offer a flatter, and more stable experience above the ground. They also offer the option for more than one or two people to sleep, which before now, hammocks have not been able to do.

Tentsile Tree Tents are a brand that offers tents that seem good for car camping or an awesome campsite in your backyard. As seen in a video review of the tent by DyerTimes, it can even support hammocks hung below it or be pitched on the ground if there are no large trees around. I love the screw-in stakes. They will keep your hands from being chewed up by the edges of the metal ones. It also comes with two full rain fly options, not the half size usually seen on car camping tents.

One drawback I can see is the use of ratchets to hoist the hammock up. Having used these on the ranch many times to get a load of hay stable on a truck, they are difficult to get started and can tangle up and get stuck easily if you work too fast.

If you want something better for backpacking although they are still a little heavy for me, check out Treez Tree Tents. Based in Vermont, the tents are mostly handmade right here in the US by people who actually use the products. They even offer a bivy called the Scout Trooper with a silnylon rainfly at 4.5lbs for less than $350. For two or more people there are other options as well.

One of my favorite features of both Tentsile Tents and Treez Tree Tents is that they are attached to trees with nice wide straps. This saves the resource that brings us so much joy from damage.



Who doesn’t want to see their kids playing and laughing outside instead of sitting in front of the TV? What if they have to be pushed a little? What if they need a little help to remember what is so fun about sticks and dirt?

Stick-lets are these great little silicon connectors to help kids connect sticks together to make anything they can imagine: tepees, forts, pinwheels.

Check out the video here.





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Bugs are eaten all over the world. Caterpillars, grubs, grasshoppers! They are rich in protein and abundant. Last summer, I wrote about my experience eating smoked cicadas. I was lucky enough to be invited to the home of Bun Lai, the sushi chef at Miya Sushi in New Haven CT where he served his guests quite a feast. They were crunchy and tasted like pepperoni. Even Cap’n J liked them.

If you can’t stomach the idea of putting a crunchy, roasted bug in your mouth, consider something made with cricket flour as an introduction. One of the best options, even if you eat paleo, are Exo bars. The Cocao Nut is a simple recipe without legumes and sweetened with honey. The Thai Bars from Chapul are also a good option, made with cashews, coconut, ginger, and lime.

If you are extra brave, try making this chocolate chip cookie recipe using this gluten free cricket flour blend from Bitty foods.

I haven’t tried any of them yet but I am looking forward to it and will share my experience with you soon.

If you have had experience with any of these products please leave a comment below and let us know how you liked it. All feedback is greatly appreciated. If you have suggestions for future Gear Innovation posts use the contact form to get in touch with me. I love to hear about your favorite gear. If you enjoyed this post check out our last Gear Innovation: Dry feathers, UV light and New packs. Thanks for visiting! -Znara

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