Tents have come a long way since the first canvas affairs propped up by sticks and string. In combat situations, Army soldiers are expected to endure the roughest of living conditions, but new developments in tent technology sound nicer than most apartments. Or at least more energy efficient.
The US Army is currently testing a new design of energy saving camps that can reduce energy and resource consumption by 35 to 75 percent over traditional canvas set-ups. Although they’re still called tents, they look almost nothing like what you slept in on your last camping trip.
Last year, we reported that the Army was testing tents equipped with flexible solar panels. This new development seems to be an improvement on that initial idea, as the next gen tents feature LED lighting, motion-detecting switches, low-water efficient laundry systems, low-water latrines and shower heads, waterless urinals, rain water collection systems, shower water reuse systems and highly-efficient generator micro grids, the Army says.
Unlike the tents we’re familiar with, these new Army shelters are ridged-sided boxes that resemble shipping containers. The containers are made material lightweight enough that one soldier can lift a 20-foot wall section, reports Energy Manager Today. This alteration means the new shelters have an insulation R-Value of approximately 12, compared to four for tents. Like its predecessor the new tents will also incorporate a solar shading canopy for energy generation.
The Army hopes that by drastically reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a camp, the number of life-threatening war zone convoys carrying fuel and water can be also be reduced.
Current test sites include Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Bliss, Texas. Two more test camps are to be set up at Fort Devens, Mass., and one in Australia. Small camps could be deployed in Afghanistan by this summer, the Army says.