The nomad hotel / the small alachigh

We have gone back down to Italy to do some work on our new land and to do some of our non profit work for the heartland association. In between all the Italian mountain madness, endless lunches, voyages to abandoned villages and so many meetings, we also finalised our smaller alachigh concept tent.

We are making this tent for an amazing guy called Andrea from the mountain village of Palena, who runs reenactment and historical events in costume. Over 5 years now we have developed an amazing idea, for a nomadic hotel, a new horizon in sustainable tourism, directed for rewilding and safari projects, but one that suits his ideas and work, and is prefect means to explore Italy’s secret region of Abruzzo, one of the wildest mountains regions in Europe.

Like our larger Alachigh concept tent this one relies on a rib and connector system, a welded stainless steel wheel, and bottom brackets. Arguably the bottom wooden ring could have been avoided if this tent was to be pitched on a deck, but because we want it to be put up at the end of a day journey at some of the most remote high meadows of Abruzzo, the bottom ring was needed.

You can see the bottom brackets better in this picture below. Its also a little clearer how the bolts work to hold the bottom ring tension, and to lock the rib.

We have set up a new company concept top deal with these new tents, as part of our work to make sure some nomadic tent forms would not get extinct, and like we said the Alachigh which is arguably the best looking nomadic tent in existence, has always too little attention in the west, whilst thousands of yurts were made or imported into Europe there are maybe ten to fifteen examples of Alachighs made, to fight this we have come up with a dedicated concept which we are now turning into the Alachigh company . I argue that whilst we are already building this new company, and looking for someone who may want to buy it as a stand alone business, I also wanted to explore new tourism angles.

I have spent days on end talking with Andrea on how we can create this nomadic hotel, and our 7m Alachigh model was the perfect tent in my mind. It takes one person to set up, the wheel could be lifted with one hand, the 4.5m ribs weigh very little, and can be transported on a roof rack of any 4×4 to the remote locations we see it pitched on. The idea for this new hotel, is to have groups travelling in remote areas, arriving at a secluded location, one that celebrates the best nature a region has, but at the same time I wanted it to take people into contextual tourism, exploring a region in a new way. Andrea has given me endless ideas, in fact it is hard to stop him sometimes, and focus on an end product as he seems to drift into fantasy. But the idea of historical context of a people in a given area, like the Samnites of Abruzzo as a way to explore indigenous culture as a new type of ecological tourism is something that I am really inspired by.

We aim to combine mountain journeys, with archeo foods, taking people into the wildest locations yet arriving at a tribal encampment, with hosts dressed in tribal clothing. Rewilding projects are now popping up like mushrooms after the rain, those are mostly efforts by larger bodies and estates, sometimes when traditional farming is abandoned, what we feel is missing out of most of those is the human element, a way those can turn into rural living schools, and so from a bespoke tourism point of view, teaching people how indigenous groups lived in a given territory, and allowing them to explore low impact and natural connection, travelling not only to a location but into another time is to me the highest form of innovation for ecological tourism.

I was going to end making this tent with the same door design that we used for our larger 10m Alachigh tent, but that morning Andrea again came to examine how I was getting along. He looked at the door I fabricated that morning and decided he did not like it at all.

He just came back from a large gathering of lord of the rings type festival, his mind full of elves and hobbits, he insisted we must be more artistic in our design, so we went for a double curvature on the door poles too.

This was a little of a nightmare to get right because of all the welded angels, plus it created a little pooling issue on top of the door, which we decided to deal with by using three arches on the porch/door.

All in all the tent took quite an interesting shape, even if I had to spend a few more mornings welding brackets at weird angles, it proved the point that the rib and bracket design could in fact accommodate and given shape which is its beauty and the design concept behind bringing those tents back. We replaced both the tension bands and the need for a central anchoring with this new system. I think a little more perfection of the angels top play between the various tensions could be perfected, but this would come with new trial. It is hard to strike a balance between new design and what the market is already used to. We are committed to bringing a higher level of tent design back into the centre of the tourism industry. Contact us to discuss these new tents, or if you also have an urge to create a new type of tourism experience.

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