From a neat idea and two successful Kickstarter campaigns sprung a design journey that would throw Ryan and Mike into the business side of gear and provide a unique and complex educational journey through fundraising, marketing, manufacturing, business leadership, patents and following your dreams.
Alpine Hammock makes a unique hybrid shelter for camping, climbing and adventuring. It is a cross between a lightweight 1-person bivouac “bivy” sack and an all-in-one hammock shelter. Ryan and friend Mike Brown formed the company after a successful Kickstarter campaign proved there was market interest beyond their own curiosity.
The Alpine Hammock shelter is currently in use in over 22 countries and across 100+ users. The design has been praised for its simple and intuitive design — it sets up on the ground from the same two points as when hung as a hammock — and its versatility to protect and keep users comfortable in a wide spectrum of places, from the glaciers at the foot of Denali to the mosquito ridden Everglades.
Kickstarter provided a diverse and engaged user population on which to test and develop the design. Early Kickstarter Beta testers discovered that ventilation was a key problem, so the entire shelter was redesigned before the main Kickstarter reward hammock was delivered. Crosswise ventilation was added above the user’s face and on either hammock end to help expel problematic condensation from breath and the body. The suspension was improved to allow quick, auto-locking adjustments which increased safety and ease of setup.
Legal intellectual property hurdles prompted Alpine Hammock to return to Kickstarter for a second fundraising campaign to redesign the shelter. Intrigued adventurers from around the globe again backed our product and it is currently moving to production. The imposed design constraints seemed daunting however the challenge brought new features to the Alpine Hammock, including quicker setup and a free standing pole assembly that allows the shelter to be used on the ground without the use of stakes or tie outs. Future plans include streamlining production and materials sourcing, and exposing our brand to a wider customer base.