While the North Face draws some scorn from some in the outdoor community (I’ll admit, me included) because of their pervasiveness at the mall and the local high school these days, you have to admit: they do have a way with their design. Ã‚ And clearly, they do make quality products.
One in particular caught my eye recently. The North Face Docking Station. It sounds like it belongs in outer space, and with the customizability behind it, you might think it was designed by a future society.
I’m perpetually on the hunt for quality family camping shelters. I don’t really have a family to put in them yet, but I know I will some day and I want to BE PREPARED for that day. Clearly I like the comfort they afford too. And the problem you often run into is, how big, how many people, what if my family grows, what if we invite friends?
The Docking Station appears to answer those questions.
It’s essentially what it says…a docking station. A central hub shelter that other shelters attach to. And that’s where its function makes sense.
Your first family tent might be for 4 people. But then you have 4 and it gets crowded. So you have to buy a new tent and upgrade to a 6 person. That’s fine, but maybe you get a few dogs and feel the need to go to an 8 person. But what about when some of the family is gone and an 8 person tent seems overkill? What happens when your kids grow older and you want a little privacy in the tent?
The Docking station allows you buy 2 and 4 person pods to attach to the central hub on 3 of the 4 sides. So you could attach simply a 2 person hub to one side and have an appropriately sized tent attached to a sizable shelter. When your family expands, buy a 4 person pod and use that. Friends come along? Bring your already owned 2 person pod. The family expands again or the kids grow up? Buy another 2 person pod for the kids. Now you can sleep anywhere from 2 to 8 in 3 separate sleeping areas.
What a great idea. No need for an extra shelter even for the picnic table.
The only downfall is the prohibitive pricing. The Docking Station runs $429, with the 2 person pod running $119, and the 4 person pod running $159. You can also get a mesh screen for the Station, turning it into a bug-free screened in porch for your tent. That runs $149.