The TreePod, a hanging treehouse, allows you to create a "hideout" wherever you go. No hammer and nails needed, and you can stowe it away when you're done.
Rethink:Rural and our parent company, Raydient Places + Properties, are here to connect people with the rich, beautiful world that awaits when you step outside, enjoy the fresh air and take some time to play.
So when we made plans to have a booth featuring our rural real estate services company at the 2016 Sunbelt Ag Expo, which took place Oct. 18-20 in Moultrie, Georgia, we wanted to give away an item that fit that passion.
Enter the TreePod, a fun, portable hideout that’s somewhere between a hammock, a treehouse and a tent. Made from a strong UV- and water-resistant vinyl material with an aluminum frame, it is designed to hang from a tree or from a specially-made stand that suspends it in the air. Measuring 5 feet across, it can support up to 400 lbs.
We interviewed TreePod’s marketing and events director, Jaime Pletcher, about the trendy new outdoor gadget.
Q: How did TreePod begin?
TreePod: The CEO of TreePod, Ricardo Bottome, Cand his brother were on vacation with their families at the beach. The kids were looking for a place to hang out, and they thought, “Wouldn't it be great if there were portable treehouses so the kids could always have their own space?” The idea was born and evolved from there.
Q: What inspired TreePod's inventors to make it? How did they know there would be such a draw to have a product like this?
TreePod: They understood that having an area to lounge or play outside is desirable for most families, but traditional treehouses are difficult to build, not always feasible, expensive and they are there forever. They thought if they could make it easy and removable it would solve a problem and create a natural draw for families.
This pretty blue TreePod and stand will be on display for you to sit in - and enter to win - in our booth at the Sunbelt Ag Expo Oct. 18-20 in Moultrie, Georgia.
Q: How long has it been on the market?
TreePod: Since April 2015
Q: Do you have any favorite stories or examples to share about how people have used it thus far?
TreePod: We suspect most people have used in backyards, but we have seen TreePods at music festivals, campsites, beaches and at a few celebrity homes already. One of the most interesting things we've heard from users is that it is wonderful for autistic children. It allows them a safe space of their own on trips to a park or other public place that would normally be very stressful and offer no escape.
Q: Are you finding it's more often used by kids, adults, or is it a pretty even split?
TreePod: Families are the main users with a few kids or an adult with a child. Adults can certainly use it as a shady spot, but it's not large enough to lay down. We're working on a larger model for adult camping we're hoping to introduce next year.
Q: One thing we love about TreePod is that - just like Rethink:Rural - you all are talking about the need for kids to take a break from electronics and enjoy the fun of being outside and in nature. Is that a part of your company’s mission?
TreePod: Yes, the company values outdoor play and experiences and hopes the product does encourage more time spent outside. Slackline Industries is our sister company which manufactures slacklines, another product for outdoor exercise and play.
Q: We understand you're also donating a tree to be planted for every Treepod purchased. Can you tell us a little more about that?
TreePod: Yes, we partnered with Trees For the Future right from the beginning as preserving outdoor spaces is another company value. We felt that since we are encouraging people to be outside and use the trees it was a natural fit to plant a new tree with the same action.
Q: If someone isn't lucky enough to win the TreePod we're giving away, where can they find a TreePod to purchase for themselves?
TreePod: Gander Mountain stores, Amazon.com or our website, www.mytreepod.com, are the most popular places to purchase a TreePod.
Q: Where is your company headquartered, and where TreePods made?
TreePod: Our offices are in Boulder, Colorado, where our sales, marketing, design and customer service teams are located. The TreePods are made in the Philippines, where many quality textiles and tents are manufactured.
Q: Can you give us any "scoop" on what's next for the company? Any spinoff products or additional accessories coming in the future?
TreePod: Yes, we're working on larger TreePods designed for camping as well as mounting accessories to enable hanging a TreePod in almost any location. We're hoping to have these new products available by March-April of next year.
Q: Anything else you want people to know about TreePod?
TreePod: It's a great addition to any backyard or car-camping style adventure. It's such a simple idea that easily creates a personal space anywhere.
All photos courtesy of TreePod.