People have been building mobile housing for thousands of years. Tipis, yurts and domes all represent particular design solutions that have evolved to solve the recurrent problems of making light weight, weather resistant, movable homes. Well, after 3 years of development, we are happy to report that us humans now have a radical new option in the nomadic structures department.....
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Maybe we're a little biased over here in West Wales but we really love this tent. Why? Because......
Its utterly unique, its portable, easy to set up and seriously robust.
But beyond all that, it is the only tent in the world that you can fully open and close in 3 seconds.
Now, just for Kickstarter backers we've created the Nano-Mollusc - a compact, lightweight version for expeditioners, campers and mountaineers that we can ship anywhere in the world. We've just got back from testing the prototype up in the Sierra Nevada of Southern Spain and it worked like a dream.
All the Nano technical specs are here and this is the pitch...
Both the Standard and Nano Mollusc can be used in the same positions. These pics show the big tent in its 3 main configurations.
So in either tent, when the sun comes out and everyone else starts to cook in their theirs, you simply un-clip (or un-zip) the base and open the canopy right up, just like the hood of a giganormous pram. Then, if the weather turns bad, in 3 seconds you can close the roof and be ready for whatever nature throws at you. Watch a meteor shower from your sleeping bag then close the tent when the show is over.....At a festival in the summer? You wont have to leave your domain to sunbathe....On an expedition or safari? Lie back and experience that dawn with a cup of coffee in your hand and your head on the pillow.....The options are endless because when the Mollusc is open, its as big as the universe!
We need funding to turn these prototype Mollusca into production tents so we have come up with a range of rewards for anyone who wants to help us realise the concept.
* Mollusc Altruist
For £1 plus we will not bother you with any kind of anything other than to say thanks very much for helping us do something that has never been done before.
* Mollusc Supporter
For £3 plus you can join our merry band of Mollusc supporters (AKA Molluscovites). You will get regular bimonthly emails to keep you updated as the project goes forward with the first one including a natty printable cut-out model of a Mollusc to put on your desk.....
* Mollusc T-Shirt
For £25 plus you get the benefits of being a Mollusc Supporter plus we'll send you your own Limited Edition Mollusc T shirt. Choice of 2 styles, view here. We will ask for your size and style in the post campaign survey and ship to you by airmail anywhere in the world (well, anywhere that gets post that is). If we reach our campaign target expect delivery in January 2016.
* Nano Mollusc Builder
For £100 plus you can join our community plus we will email you a complete set of Nano Mollusc plans including working drawings, photos and assembly instructions for every single component. With these plans, any halfway handy person can build their own version of this unique tent. All you will need is a domestic sewing machine and a standard set of tools such as hacksaw, power drill, angle grinder. Some people have asked us why we are doing something like this that could maybe hurt future orders. Well there are 2 answers. 1) We think this is such a great invention that we want everyone to have one and 2) As you read this, there are people out there copycatting the idea already so pretty soon expect to see a shoddy, sweatshop version of this tent for sale in your local camping shop. Over 3 years we have looked at the problem every which way and the reality is we simply don't have the resources to protect the idea so our approach is to share the design as widely as possible and aim, ourselves, for the quality/custom end of the market. Also, we dont really want our creativity to contribute to the Pacific Gyre - which is where most of that stuff ends up anyway. We will naturally also keep you updated with bimonthly emails detailing any improvements and refinements going forward and don't worry, you do get to have one of those cut-out model Molluscs as well. There is nothing built by human hand that can't be improved so once you've made your tent, send over the pics and let the rest of us know how we can make this thing better. We have no objection to you using these plans to market your own version of this tent - just give it a different name!
* Standard Mollusc Builder
For £200 plus you can join the community plus we will email you a complete set of Standard Mollusc plans including working drawings, photos and assembly instructions for every single component. Find lots of details of the tent here. To make it you will need standard metalworking tools such as pillar drill, shears, cut off saw etc and access to an industrial sewing machine and a welder plus you are going to have to be pretty damn handy or know people who are. You will also have to do a fair bit of problem solving in terms of sourcing materials and stuff like bending steel tube (we use our local polytunnel company) in your own location but with these plans and a bit of hard work, there is no reason why, in a couple of months you shouldn't be able to wow your friends with your own self-built Standard Mollusc. Again, we will naturally put you on our email list to keep you updated on any improvements and refinements going forward. You will get one of those cut-out model Molluscs and yes, we have no objection to you using these plans to market your own version of this tent or any other similar structure, if you wish. There are many other structures apart from tents that could benefit from the same pram-hood design because this system allows you turn the outdoors into the indoors and vice versa in 3 seconds.....
All we ask if you receive these plans is that you share your project pics with the rest of us so we can all benefit from your creativity.
* Nano Mollusc Builder plus Course
For £300 plus we will give you all the benefits of Mollusc Builder plus you will be eligible to attend a 1-day Nano Mollusc Building Course at our West Wales workshop (UK Postcode SA48, 2.5hrs drive from Bristol airport). Here we will personally guide you, hands-on, through all the most difficult parts of the construction and assembly process, we'll give you the contact info for all UK materials suppliers and show you all the tricks we've learnt over the last 3 years to enable you to really hit the ground running when it comes to making your own tent. Accommodation and travel costs not included but we will recommend good local places to stay over, give you directions and feed you well on the day. Date: 13th February '16
* Standard Mollusc Builder plus Course
For £350 plus we will give you all the benefits of the Standard Mollusc Builder plus you will be eligible to attend a 1 day Standard Mollusc Building Course at our West Wales workshop (UK Postcode SA48, 2.5hrs drive from Bristol airport). This course is for people who know the difference between a pan head and a countersunk screw. Again, here we will personally guide you, hands-on, through all the most difficult parts of the construction and assembly process of the bigger tent, we'll give you the contact info for all our UK materials suppliers and show you all the tricks we've learnt over the last 3 years to enable you to really hit the ground running when it comes to making your own tent/greenhouse/pool cover/observatory etc. Accommodation and travel costs not included but we we will recommend good local places to stay over, give you directions and feed you well on the day. Date: February 27th '16
* Nano Mollusc - Get One
For £1750 (a 12.5% discount on our standard web price) we will personally hand make you a Nano Mollusc and ship it to you anywhere in the world by airmail courier. We don't farm production out to anyone else. We do everything ourselves in our own workshop. We source all materials as sustainably as possible and pay our workers a decent wage. I am 57, my time is too precious for me to want to contribute to the mountains of cheap disposable junk out there. Other people will be doing that better with this design shortly and if you've read this far you know where most of that stuff ends up. The cost reflects the build quality, attention to detail. and the R and D. We have identified a few refinements that need to be made to the prototype and these will be incorporated in the production Nano (including controllable ventilation ports, higher tenacity pegs, improved door zip system and storm guys) but the dimensions, design, colour and base materials will not change. If the project goes ahead we will start tent making mid-January 2016 and these rewards will ship mid-March 2016 at the latest. Most destinations will be reached within 1 week of despatch.
Limited to 8 tents.
* Nano Mollusc - Get the First One
For £2,000 you can be the first in the world to have this tent. All the above applies but (assuming again that this campaign reaches its target) this one ships out late January so will be with you early February 2016 at the latest.
Limited to 1 tent
* Nano Mollusc - Get Two
For £3,000 you can get 2 Mollusc Nano tents. "His and Hers'? 'Twins'? All the standard stuff above for getting 1 tent applies but you get £500 off and priority fulfilment. Expect delivery mid-February 2016.
The Standard Mollusc is too big and costly to offer as a complete package via Kickstarter. Just shipping it to the US by air would cost £2,000 so that's why we developed the smaller version. If you don't want to use the plans to make your own you'll have to wait until we have finished fulfilling all our Kickstarter rewards (March 2016). Check the Mollusc Tents website for our post Kickstarter order availability and get the Standard Mollusc specs here.
Some images of the Standard Mollusc components...
...to this (and it only took 3 years).
Applause sound effects courtesy of Mike Koenig/SoundBible.com
Risks and challenges
"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" (Von Moltke)
What he meant was, have a plan but don't be under the illusion that reality wont intervene to mess it up. So with that in mind we have given a lot of thought to risk reduction. After 3 years of trial and error, field testing, problem solving, false summits and any number of abortive side missions we are confident that we have ironed out the major technical challenges on both tents but nevertheless a prototype is not the same as a production model..... All I can say is that, as with the development phase, issues will arise and as they do so they will be dealt with.
Every reward offered is either something that we have made before (the tents) or something that we have already largely completed (the plans) or something that we will not find difficult (the courses) and we have given ourselves plenty of time and we have identified a wide choice of materials suppliers. All Kickstarter rewards will be processed and priority fulfilled before we accept any orders from any other sources..
When you bring a unique product like this to market it is inevitable that people will try to copy it. If the likes of Apple and Samsung can't adequately protect or patent their new products what chance has a single freelance inventor in the Welsh mountains? So after considering everything we have decided to launch it more as an 'Open Source' project here. Our aim is to circumvent the threat of copycat production by actively sharing the design. By creating a Mollusc community we hope to spread this radical idea and ultimately to benefit ourselves from everyone's learning...
Time will tell if this is a wise choice but either way I don't think Helmuth Von Moltke (The Elder) will be turning in his grave on this project...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)