Revolutionary 'Magic Tent' Combines Tent, Sleeping Bag and Pad in One
Camping is wonderful for many reasons, but it can be hard to appreciate the outdoors without a good night's sleep. One of the worst parts of camping (at least for me) is lugging and setting up all that gear—tent, sleeping bag, mat—just to get decent shut-eye on a cold night.
Thankfully, a group of Swiss scientists from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) came up with a genius solution for picky campers like me: the Polarmond tent.
This ultralight, (weighing just over 4 pounds) one-person tent or bivouac shelter consists of a waterproof-breathable outer skin, an inner sleep shell made of high-loft fleece and a cushioned sleeping pad.
Somehow, the product's components protect you from inclement weather such as wind and rain and can wick away excess interior moisture at the same time. Heck, it even looks comfortable (at least more comfortable than a sleeping bag).
What's particularly special about the product, as the company claims, it stays warm in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit using nothing more than the occupant's body heat. It appears that EMPA researchers Martin Camenzind and Matthew Morrissey were inspired by an astronaut's space suit to insulate the product.
If it gets too hot inside the tent, the interior temperature can be regulated by an zippered ventilation port. The same port can also be used to release excess moisture.
Not only that, the breathable inner membrane is like an all-encompassing blanket that draws moisture away, meaning the occupant won't get sweaty or cold from sweat. After waking up in the morning, the collected moisture can be shaken out.
Morrissey and Camenzind have appropriately nicknamed the Polarmond sleep system the "magic tent."
The sleep system won a Gold Award at Germany's Outdoor Show 2015 held last month.
“The All-in-One Sleeping System by Polarmond embraces research and development from the last 20 years,” the judges said. “Innovative and extremely functional.”
Polarmond CEO Walter Krummenacher said he is "very satisfied with our product" but adds that it is "not quite finished yet." The company says it is closing contracts with material suppliers and optimizing other details on the product. A multi-person design is also in the works.
Polarmond hopes the magic tent will hit the market by March 2016. The price has not yet been announced.
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By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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