World Building: Camping in the Future

Writers – you can’t take them anywhere, really. At some point – no matter how much fun they might be having – their eyes start to glaze over and when you ask them where they’ve gone, they just mumble something about thinking.

This happened to me when camping this weekend. We had a very rainy day, our campsite flooded and once the rain was over, we had to move campsites so that we weren’t camped in the middle of a buggy marsh. As we were setting up in our new spot, I did it – my eyes glazed over – and though I continued to work with my hands my mind was solid gone.

I had started thinking about a particular novel I’ve been trying to flesh out in my head before I start writing it. In this story the main character is responsible for the well-being of a once diseased planet which is now starting to come back to life. As he flits about the planet, checking on the health of certain bio-systems, my main character needs to make camp wherever he goes. My mind had disappeared into the realm of inventing high tech camping gear for my dude.

Here’s what I came up with: his tent puts itself up with just a touch on a remote. It’s completely watertight. Rain falling on the tent is steered into a water catchment system, which immediately treats the water, making it potable. The tent has a built-in heating, lighting and cooling system. It emanates a high frequency sound that serves as a deterrent to all flying and biting insects, as well as carnivorous and scavenger animals.  The tent is solar-powered and needs no other external power source in order to operate. He can communicate with the tent from far away, instructing it to warm up, cool down, set up the cozy sleeping nook or even get dinner started.

When I got home from the camping trip I started looking up high tech camping gear and wouldn’t you know it – “my” fabulous tent is almost a reality. Ain’t it pretty?



  1. […] World Building: Camping in the Future […]

  2. *wry smile* this happens to me way too often — I think I’m inventing something impossible and it turns out to already exist!

    Glad you survived camping — which is NOT my favourite activity!

    1. I love camping – except when it rains. Which it has on our two last camping trips.

  3. My husband recently asked if I thought it’s getting harder to be aSF writer because all these seemingly futuristic items are already a reality, or darn near close. I had to agree that it was challenging.

    I, for one, would go camping much more often if I had that tent. Especially the “start dinner” part!

    Great post, Diane 🙂

    1. And then there are the things we will inevitably get wrong. I read this Heinlein novel once. It was stuffed with amazing futuristic concepts and inventions. But everyone was still listening to music on cassette tapes!

      1. Or the British sci-fi series RED DWARF. Written in the 1980’s, but taking place in the 22nd century when humans have colonized Mars, Saturn, & Jupiter, and set on a 6 mile-wide starship with FTL drives and artificial gravity, but the main character still uses a film camera.

  4. WOW what a tent. That is so cool. My theory is if you like the comforts of home stay there. Camping is a great way to get in touch with our land and what it has to offer. Yes a tent with some comforts is great, but also needed to be light weight and easy to pop up. I think if these tents come on the market I still would be interested in seeing it.

    1. It sure is a cool tent, Jane. Not sure if i want to pack those solar panels on my back and hike into the wilderness, though. I’d prefer arriving by spaceship *grin*

  5. If I had access to a tent like that, I might actually be willing to go camping. 😉

    I love how we can take our own experiences and spin them out to resolve issues in our stories, though.

    1. I would really, really like the insect deterrent thing. I hate smelling like bug spray.

      1. The bugs & bug spray are my biggest deterrents from camping. We have biting flies around us and they HURT. If I could camp without worrying about those nasty things, we’d manage to go more frequently.

        I love that tent. *want*

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