Meet Ryan and Mike
Ryan and Mike met in college through the Tufts Mountain Club and eventually both became members of a Boston-based ice climbing group called VICE: Vertical Ice Climbing Enthusiasts. It wasn't until after college that they built the Alpine Hammock with the help of some friends, they built their first functional prototype. There's a lot of history leading up to this project but we'll include that in another project update. For now we thought it would be good to introduce Ryan and Mike and give them a chance to tell you a little about themselves:
Meet Ryan Stolp:
In the past two years, I’ve thought a lot about backpacks. My first backpack (and sewing project) was an expedition pack designed for mountaineers. The focus of the harness system was on balance and range of motion, both of which I quantitatively evaluated during my Senior Design Project in a usability and ergonomics lab. After it was all said and done, I climbed with it but my custom hip belt design didn't perform as well as I had hoped.
I learned a lot from that project, everything from human subject testing to what tension (and lack of tension) does on a sewing machine. Moving on, my next project was an ice climbing backpack. The final pack has a unique framesheet setup which manages bulges in loads, and keeps a tight center of gravity while being easily accessible while wearing winter gloves. I was lucky to inherit an 80’s wind surfing sail, which was a new and different fabric to work with. Also, the colors are sweet! It was definitely an improvement over my first backpack project and it continues to be my #1 ice climbing rig.
In late 2011, I decided to hike the AT with an old friend. ‘Hurray!’ I thought, an excuse to make more gear. I spent a lot of time thinking about my ‘system’ on the trail to drop items and cut weight. All of this funneled into my AT pack design. The focus was on durability (it needed to go 2200 miles!), waterproofness, and comfort. After 700 miles of abuse the pack has shown little wear and has served me well. Living out of that pack has been a great experience as the inventor, manufacturer and user, and even better for refining the design.
I hope you dig our newest project, the Alpine Hammock and that you share it with all of your friends. Without Kickstarter it might take years to bring the Alpine Hammock to the market so we're excited for you to help us take it to the next level.
Meet Mike Brown:
Hey Everyone! We're super excited to be sharing this project with you and we hope that some day you'll have your own Alpine Hammock to adventure with.
I was born and raised in rural Maine and then educated and employed in downtown Boston. I studied Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University and finished my undergraduate and masters degrees in five years, receiving a competitive fellowship for my research. Through various job opportunities I gained a wide range of engineering experience from surgical instrument design, to acoustic guitar building, to stem cell research, to writing business plans.
While in graduate school at Tufts studying Engineering Management (think MBA but with engineering classes) I got my first taste of the startup world. With two of my classmates I wrote a business plan for some technology we were working on in the biomedical labs. I'll spare you the medical details but ever since then I've been plagued with the mind of an entrepreneur, always trying to find new ways of doing things and asking, "What if?"and "Why not?". With that business plan, we won the Tufts 100K Business Plan Competition, we became members of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, the Kairos Society for International College Entrepreneurs, and we were a finalist in the global startup accelerator, MassChallenge.
It was at MassChallenge that we realized our technology wasn't ready for primetime. It was a tough pill to swallow but we took what we learned from our mentors in the startup world and decided to all move on to other projects. Come to think of it, I always had this idea for a cool new hammock design...
Mike in the Outdoors:
I'm not a big wall rock climber, I don't run ultramarathons, and I can hardly swim to save my life, but there's one thing that is for sure and it's that I spend all of my free time outside. I'm either hiking, running, biking, climbing or training for wacky races like Ragnar (3 years and counting), the Snowshoe Half/Full Marathon (4 years and counting) or Spartan Races (Spartan Beast #2 coming up!). In 2010 I ran the Boston Marathon and shortly thereafter I finished hiking the 48 4,000 footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I love spending time in the New England woods, especially in the winter. I've made countless trips to Mt. Katahdin in Maine with my most trip being in February.
These days I'm working as a mechanical engineer in the greater Boston area designing prototype equipment used in food science research. While I'm currently working for "The Man" in greater Boston, my real passion is with the outdoors. I'm excited about the Alpine Hammock because it has been a great way to combine my engineering design experience with my love for the adventure.
Ryan and I have a very complementary set of skills and there's been nothing but excitement working on this project with him. I think our combination of entrepreneurial spirit and technical engineering skills make us a great team to tackle a project as challenging as the Alpine Hammock. We're excited to accomplish something bigger than ourselves but we need the Kickstarter community to help us. So tell your friends, family, colleagues, and outdoor gear nerds about our project so we can bring the Alpine Hammock to life.
seconds to go
Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
Alpine Shout-out: You'll get a HUGE thanks from us via Facebook, Twitter, and Email. We really appreciate your help, every dollar counts!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or moreYou selected
Alpine Supporter: You'll get the above shout-out as well as a Postcard with a picture of us on an adventure using the Alpine Hammock. You're pledge is really helping us to have fun and hang safe in the backcountry.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $35 or moreYou selected
Alpine Enthusiast: You'll get the above plus a vacuum insulated bottle with our logo on it. We never leave home without a mug of tea so have fun with your first ever piece of Alpine Hammock swag. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $45 or moreYou selected
Alpine Performer: You'll be sporting our Performance Tech T-Shirt (read: synthetic and moisture wicking) with our new logo. Wear it around town or in the mountains, either way it'll keep you dry. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $80 or moreYou selected
Alpine Explorer: You'll get the above plus a Performance Tech T-Shirt with our logo. We wouldn't wear cotton while exploring the outdoors so neither should you. Be the first to rep the Alpine Hammock on your back and wear it proudly. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or moreYou selected
Alpine Lead User: You'll receive the Production-Ready Version Alpine Hammock and be among the first in the world to use one in the backcountry. This reward does not include the bottle or the shirt, just the shelter itself. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $400 or moreYou selected
Alpine Lead User Plus: You'll receive the Production Version Alpine Hammock and as a plus you'll also receive the bottle and the shirt. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $600 or moreYou selected
10 backers All gone!
Alpha Gear Tester: You'll receive our alpha prototype meant for gear testing meaning you'll guaranteed to be the first to get an Alpine Hammock. We want your feedback so our production version can be even better with your input. When you complete our gear review form, we'll then send you the Production Alpine Hammock when it's ready to go and you can keep the Alpha Prototype as well. The bottle and shirt are not included. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $800 or moreYou selected
Alpine Guide: You'll receive 2 Production Version Alpine Hammocks, 2 bottles, and 2 shirts. You're a backcountry leader who frequently takes people with you on trips. Enjoy the additional Alpine Hammock and take a friend with you. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
Alpine Extremist: You'll receive 4 Production Version Alpine Hammocks along with 2 bottles, and 2 shirts. But wait, that's not all, we'll also take you on a 2-day guided trip anywhere in New England. (Add $15 for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,800 or moreYou selected
Alpine Angel: You'll receive 10 Production Version Alpine Hammocks so you can be the first to stock up (and/or sell) the Alpine Hammock. We'll also throw in a bottle and a shirt so you can rep our gear in the outdoors. (Add $15 per Alpine Hammock for international shipping outside the U.S.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
Alpine God: You are truly a legend in our eyes and we'll be forever grateful for your support. We'll send you 2 Production Version Alpine Hammocks with your name or favorite phrase embroidered on the rainfly. We'll also include 2 bottles, 2 shirts, and a 2-day Guided Trip in New England. If there's anything else we can do to improve your Alpine Hammock experience please let us know and we can likely work something out.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)