About this project
Who we are:
Hello, thank you so much for viewing our project! We are Jared Burris and Jared Sandlin, AKA… “The Jareds." We first met in the 5th grade, and quickly became best friends. We grew up in small-town, Wisconsin, and over the course of the next 11 years, we competed on the same sports teams, chased girls together, attended the University of Wisconsin together, and worked together as Wilderness Guides in the “north woods.”
Sitting around in our dorm room one night, we were ranting about faults of the Outdoor Industry. These were problems that any casual outdoors enthusiast knows well:
- Sleeping bags are either a little too hot, or a little too cold; they are rarely “just right.”
- There is not a single affordable eco-friendly insulation on the market! Everything is either petroleum based, or goose-down filled (a byproduct of the mass-industrial food system).
- Outdoor enthusiasts are one of the biggest advocates of the natural world, however, the equipment is anything but… until now.
The Rama Llama:
At first, the task seemed daunting. The Outdoor Market has not had a significant change in its insulation for almost 30 years. As we searched for a natural insulation, it seemed as though everything had been tested. We researched everything we could think of:
•Down is unsustainable
•Plant fiber is much too coarse
•Arctic animals such as caribou, deer, or hares are much too rare
Finally, we stumbled across research that looked at the insulate capabilities of Llamas and Alpacas. A largely untapped and overlooked market could provide the future for natural insulation.
Llamas have one of the largest diameter hollow hairs in the world. This allows the fiber to retain warm air in their fleece, without relying on loft. They have been sustainably ranched by handlers in the Andean Mountains for over 4000 years. This idea is where the Rama Llama, and Deneb, were born.
We weren't sure at first if the idea would work! So, we bought a sleeping bag and filled 100% Llama fleece into it. We then tested it outside in 19 degree weather and normal sleeping wear... it worked wonderfully! Now knowing that Llama fleece worked, it was time to design and build our own shell system and create a unique blend of insulation with Llama as the main ingredient.
The sewing thing...
We spent the next few months learning how to sew, buying sewing equipment, and trying to perfect our sewing expertise. However, we quickly realized that we would need a professional to manufacture our products... because we were not any good at sewing.
We have since contacted a sleeping bag manufactory and created a strong personal connection. They have built every other prototype to date and we are glad to have them on as collaborators. With manufacturing set, we turned to designing the final insulation and sleeping bag features.
The Insulation: JakaTek™
Our trademarked JakaTek™ line is our patent-pending blend of Llama insulation and fabrics. JakaTek™ is the secret behind each of the Rama Llama's incredible qualities. JakaTek™ makes the Rama Llama™:
•Insulated with 50 Degree Comfort-Range
•Fire-Retardant (just in case)
Jaka means "edge" in the ancient Incan language. By combining centuries of testing with modern technologies, JakaTek™ promises to be the cutting edge of innovation for all of your insulation needs.
Qualities that will blow you away:
Because of the hollow construction of the Llama fiber, air becomes trapped in the hollow tubes. This air is heated by the body and the wool itself. Once heated, the hollow construction holds the air at body temperature, ensuring that you stay warm even if the temperature drops. We have personally tested these bags down to 20 degrees, but who knows how low it can go. This temperature rating will be officially EN13537 tested (industry-standard temperature rating) if the funds are raised.
Most sleeping bag statistics give you a lower limit, but they will never give you an upper limit. That's because they don't want you to know how small of a comfort range the bags actually have. Down and synthetics average 10-15 degrees of range. JakaTek™ allows the Rama Llama™ to boast a 50 degree range, the highest, by far, on the market.
The hollow construction of the fiber not only traps heat when cold, it also lets it out when it gets too hot! The fiber of the Llama evolved to help the Llama survive the drastic temperature swings of the Andean Mountains. This means that not only did the Llama have to survive bitter cold conditions at the tops of passes, but also couldn't overheat at the lowlands.
The fiber adjusts to the body temperature and reacts to heat distress… releasing heat when needed, and conserving it when necessary. It will reflect the body temperature of the user, usually hovering around 81 degrees.
Because of the natural hollow construction, Jakatek™ insulation has the same effect as a straw, sucking moisture up its tubes through evaporation, speeding any drying process. The Llama fiber in the Jakatek™ keeps you dry, warm, and comfortable. And because the Rama Llama doesn't rely on loft to insulate, you will stay warm even when wet.
BONUS: The Rama Llama™ is also 100% hypoallergenic, flame-retardant, and can compress down to the size of any similar down bag.
The Rama Llama™ itself:
The insulation may be what is revolutionary, but we at Deneb Outdoors know that a sleeping bag is also the shell and features of the bag itself. That is why we have designed our prototypes with fabrics and features that allow it to compete, and even outcompete, with every other shell systems out there.
The Llamazing Features:
We have designed the shell to play to the strengths of the Jakatek™ insulation. To aid in the wicking and water resistance of the insulation, we will be utilizing Olefin fabric for the inside lining. This will add incredible wicking and comfort against the skin.
To continue Deneb's eco-friendly commitment, we will be using Triexta fabric. Triexta applies a revolutionary new technique that uses plant material and microorganisms to produce a soft, warm, durable, and water-resistant fabric that we will use as the outer shell for the sleeping bag.
Best part: Triexta produces 63% less greenhouse gases than any other shell material on the market.
A variety of colors will also be available!
Most people do not think about where their insulate gear and apparel comes from. We at Deneb Outdoors encourage you to! The insulation that is used today comes from 2 major sources:
- Duck and Goose Down
- Synthetic petroleum polymers
Down insulation is a byproduct of vast industrial farms that raise ducks and geese for the food market. These ducks and geese are processed for food consumption and their down feathers are sold. The methods used to process the poultry require massive amounts of energy and release huge amounts of pollution; none of which is good for the environment.
Synthetic insulation is made from petroleum oil that is chemically altered into long strands of fibers. We all know the sight of billowing plumes of pollution coming from factories and industrial plants. These are the same sights you would see during the production of synthetic insulations. It is nothing close to eco-friendly or sustainable.
Harvesting Llama fleece does not require any harm to the animal, uses zero fossil fuels, and is sustainably done so that the fleece may be gathered the following year. This is the best eco-friendly solution the outdoor industry has ever seen, help us bring "eco-friendly" to the outdoor lovers.
Not only does the Llama fleece not use petroleum in its processing, but the use of Llama fleece helps support local communities in the Andean Mountains. Many of which have been raising llamas for hundreds of years.
The fleece that Deneb Outdoors uses is fair-trade and socially responsible. There are hundreds of small ranches that raise Llamas for a livelihood, living a traditional and sustainable lifestyle. When you support Deneb Outdoors, you not only support a sustainable product, but also sustainable communities.
- April: Finish the design process and continue prototyping
- May: Send out the JakaTek™ insulation from its blending site in South America
- June: Complete manufacturing of the sleeping bags and perform multiple EN testing phases.
- July and August: Finalize the bags so that performance is optimal and all the ducks are in a row
- September: Distribution!!! The bags arrive at your doorstep ready for your next big adventure!
So… What helps you sleep at night?
We hope that with your help we can bring this product, and business, to the market! Thank you so much for all of the support, we hope that the first Deneb Outdoor product blows you away.
Contributions: A special thanks to those whom added a little extra to the video and pictures!
Videography: Alex Horner and Jared Burris
Music: Steve Horner
Graphics: Alex Anderson
Risks and challenges
We work with many manufacturers and suppliers around the world! This is a wonderful thing because so many people and cultures are involved in this project. However, the more people there are, the more potential for delay or miscommunication. We have very personal connections with many of our collaborators which gives us a direct line of communication. This allows us to work closely and oversee the production of your sleeping bags!
In addition, the sleeping bag design must be altered due to the nature of the natural fibers. This will require new techniques from our manufacturer, but will result in a higher quality product. EN testing will also be performed. The temperature ratings given are all our own subjective ratings of what we personally have tested the bag at. We will update you on all the going-ons of the business and the Rama Llama!
Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to us!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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