Hello Kickstarter! It's exciting to be back!
With your help two years ago we raised over $42,000 to bring the Alpine Hammock from a bed sheet prototype to the world’s first one person shelter that can be hung as a hammock or set up on the ground as a bivy sack.
This spring we were selling the Alpine Hammock through our website when we were sued by Clark Jungle Hammocks, who was recently awarded a patent on a Dynamic Hammock Spreader Apparatus. We decided that redesigning our pole system would be the quickest and least expensive solution to legally build and distribute the Alpine Hammock. The new design with its static pole system will provide a roomier hammock experience while preserving the comfort, performance and usability that define the Alpine Hammock. We thrive on seeing the Alpine Hammock in the packs of users on sunny beaches to snow blasted summits. True to our roots, we are reaching out to the Kickstarter community once again for your support to keep the Alpine Hammock out of the courtroom and on your adventures!
Description of the patent infringement
We need your help to fund a redesign and modification so as to no longer infringe the patent held by Clark. We feel this is attainable and realistic without sacrificing the light weight and ease of use that has come to define the Alpine Hammock. In addition to redesigning the pole, the rest of the shelter will get design attention to reduce fabric wrinkling and create a smoother hammock camping experience.
If you’re interested in the details of Clark's patent on a "Dynamic Hammock Spreader Apparatus", you can read the patent online here:
The Alpine Hammock has been upgraded since our original Kickstarter version.
- Suspension: More adjustable, lighter weight and quicker setup. Hardware by DutchWare Gear, hammock suspension superheroes!
- Fabric: More waterproof eVent fabric is still breathable. Improved patterns reduce water pooling.
- Vents: Bigger vent covers to keep out nasty weather
- Zippers: Lighter weight and still full-zip
- Storage: Hammock specific “bishop bag” stuff sack
We are at a place where, with funds, we can confidently build quality, high-performing Alpine Hammocks.
What user's are saying
"The over all quality and build of the hammock is impressive. After a long month of constant everyday use as a bivy and a hammock, there's no signs of wear whatsoever. They look and work just as great as the day we got them." -- Ethan Wiggans, AT Thruhiker
"It’s simple, light and versatile. I no longer have to agonize over what shelter to bring with me. " -- Ultralite Hiker
"It adds flexibility to my longer day hikes, both as an emergency shelter and a means of relaxing." -- Weekend Warrior
"I've tested and used this and it absolutely ROCKS ! It's super light, quick and easy to set up." -- John White
"Whether forced by terrain or local regulations, the option of using the same shelter system for all situations is awesome" -- Zachary Cipolleta
"The outdoor and military communities have been waiting for something like this" -- U.S. Navy SEAL Chief
Advantages over our previous Kickstarter project
We were self admitted newbies when we sought to bring the first Alpine Hammock to market. While we made numerous first-timer errors and oversights, we also networked with industry professionals who have provided guidance and mentorship throughout the process. We come to Kickstarter this time with more experience, direction, connections and clarity of design. We know how to make Alpine Hammocks, we just don’t have the funds to tweak the design into a form that does not conflict with existing patents and products.
Description of associated costs
We are reaching out to Kickstarter because of the costs and time associated with any product modification. Markers (fabric patterns) need to be adjusted, the assembly instructions re-taught to sewers and the revised product effectively tested for safety and performance. These are all aspects of design and production that we have worked on in the last iteration of the Alpine Hammock, and are well prepared to tackle once again.
- Redesign $2000 - This covers materials with which to prototype, shipping, sample making and the documentation for manufacturing of the revised product
- Re-Tooling $1000 - Some pieces will now need to be custom fabricated, and this involves new templates and manufacturing processes.
- Production $10,000 - This figure comes from the minimum number of shelters we can produce in a single production run. Product cost and especially product quality are directly tied to quantity as sewers grow quicker and more consistent with repetition.
- Legal Consultation $5000 - This is the quoted cost of involving our current lawyers in the final stages of the redesign to evaluate points of conflict between our product and the competitor’s patent. While alone it does not protect us from future litigation, it can help inform design decisions so as to avoid any foreseeable conflict as much as possible.
- Promotion and Fees $2000 - This covers our tax and Kickstarter costs. Anything leftover will be used towards our presence at the Outdoor Retailers show in Utah, the world’s largest meetup of outdoor gear companies. The connections at the OR conference can translate into improved product quality and a cheaper Alpine Hammock. With increased brand recognition and the potential for third party distribution, the Alpine Hammock can be made available to a wider audience and secure it's foothold in the market as a unique shelter solution.
Overall, these costs are low compared with many similar projects. This is in part because of our breadth of in-house skills. Our close proximity to our NC based manufacturing location allows tight production oversight and quick, dynamic problem solving.
Show off how the Alpine Hammock isn't phased by changing weather and seasons with the "I HEART hammock season" shirts! If you'd like a hammock and a shirt be sure to specify your T-shirt size when you pledge for a hammock.
With a successful campaign, we are confident that we can again return to being self sufficient as a business and continue to distribute our unique product. We offer a heartfelt thanks as we deal with these road bumps and wish you the best on your next adventure!
Ryan Stolp & Mike Brown
Risks and challenges
We learned a TON from producing the Alpine Hammock for the last 2 years. The most reliable thread through that time has been that problems will always come up. Some of our most common problems from before are outlined below:
Materials Sourcing - Minimum quantities of quality fabrics are hard to find as a small business with limited means. We worked creatively with mills to find and use over-runs of high end fabrics that were produced for other larger clients. While it limits our color selection, it does give us access to great materials
Production - We experienced this steep learning curve producing our Kickstart reward hammocks last year. This time around, we have a working report with all of our sewers, and have learned the best methods to communicate production process and design specs. Ryan's close proximity to the production facility allows an on-call, hands-on approach to problem solving.
ReTooling - While the Alpine Hammock is relatively simple and off-the-shelf with regard to hardware, the pole redesign may require more custom elements. Our timeline reflects an estimate of the time involved in re-tooling and delivering custom components.
Legal Redesign - While the 5K outlined in our funding goal should cover the evaluation of our redesign, it is possible additional work will be required. Secondary revisions based on input from lawyers could delay production and delivery times. That said, our production schedule reflects this timeline, and is much more conservative than that from our first Kickstarter.
Is there something we're missing? Drop us a line. We'd love to hear about something we may have missed and address any concerns you may have as a backer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)