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The Alpine Hammock is the first ever alpine-style hammock: it's fast, it's light and it can protect you in all your outdoor adventures. Read more

362
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$42,915
pledged of $40,000 goal
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 30, 2012.

The Alpine Hammock is the first ever alpine-style hammock: it's fast, it's light and it can protect you in all your outdoor adventures.

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Patent Lawsuit - Keeping the Alpine Hammock Alive

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The Alpine Hammock came from an idea that people should be able to use their hammocks in any terrain or weather condition in the world. So we created an all-terrain, weatherproof shelter that you can use on the ground as a bivy-sack or in the trees suspended as a hammock.  Whether you're camping in a forest or pushing for the summit above tree-line, you can use the Alpine Hammock shelter to achieve your outdoor pursuits.

With your help we have done two years of R&D, raised $42,915 on Kickstarter, and tested our design in 22 states and 17 countries with Navy SEALs, professional athletes, friends, and family alike. Ultimately, we feel that we have created an awesome product for the outdoor community and in January 2014 we opened our doors to the public so everyone could enjoy the Alpine Hammock.  

However, three months after hitting the market, we were faced with a patent infringement lawsuit from another hammock manufacturer, Clark Outdoor Products. The details of this lawsuit are public record and can be found HERE.

Without the funds to properly defend ourselves in this lawsuit, we are temporarily closing our doors. We have consulted with patent attorneys here in Boston and have decided that it is more productive and cost-effective for us to redesign our product instead of entering into patent litigation. A lawsuit of this type can last several years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Therefore, our ultimate goal is to redesign the Alpine Hammock and hit the market with an even better product as a result.

We plan to do a 2nd Kickstarter campaign in the near future to fund a redesign of the Alpine Hammock shelter. If you are interested in hearing more about the new campaign, please send us your email by clicking HERE.

We can’t thank you enough for your continued support and infectious enthusiasm as we try to keep this product alive.

Happy Trails,

Mike and Ryan

Finished Domestic Shipping!

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Great news! After a year of gear testing with more than a dozen gear testers, we have finally shipped out Alpine Hammocks to our domestic backers. This means we made 56 shipments that were sent to 22 different states across the country. We had delays along the way but we learned a ton and ultimately produced a product that was in line with the vision of the project. One of our supporters Ian just got back from a trip to Iceland where he spent the night on the side of a volcano:

Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland 2013
Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland 2013

We’re excited to be bringing hammocks to places they’ve never been before and we can’t thank you enough for your contributions. If you haven’t already Liked us on Facebook or Followed us on Twitter please do so and help us spread the word! 

Thanks again to everyone who supported us from the beginning, especially those who waited so patiently for their Alpine Hammocks. Also, as a teaser, stay tuned for a Military-Edition coming to Kickstarter this spring! 

For those of you thinking of running a Kickstarter campaign in the future we have a few pieces of advice: 

• Get an Accountant on day one to help you with your taxes. We lost money by trying to file taxes on our own through an online tax-prep service. The accountant that we ultimately worked with was worth every dollar. Make sure to budget accountant fees into your campaign costs. 

Understand Shipment Costs. As a project creator you are responsible for covering shipping to your backers. This is especially important when shipping internationally. As an example it will cost us almost $200 to ship an Alpine Hammock to Israel when we budgeted for much less than that. This is part of the reason why our international shipments have been delayed. 

• Have a solid manufacturing partner lined up ahead of time. We received quotes from multiple shelter manufacturers prior to Kickstarter but after successfully raising the money we changed manufacturing partners twice due to low quality, poor communication, and inattention to detail. This resulted in months of delays and increasing costs as we went back and forth on contract negotiations, educating them on our design, and dealing with errors associated with sewers getting used to new manufacturing processes. Our third and final partner is an all-star and we are psyched to still be manufacturing in the United States. 

We have grown tremendously as a result of this project and we are fortunate to have had this opportunity.  Thanks!

Now stop reading your email and GO OUTSIDE!

Mike and Ryan

Manufacturing Has Started!

Great news!  Our first Alpine Hammock just rolled off the manufacturing line yesterday!  After a year of testing, refinement, and patience, we're starting to produce one of the coolest shelters out there.  We can't wait to see them out on the trail.  

For the 72 backers who pledged for an Alpine Hammock, we'll be making them in weekly batches and mailing them out at the end of each week.  We expect this to take about 4 weeks while we work streamline our manufacturing process.  You'll get an email when your hammock ships that will include a shipment tracking number so you'll know EXACTLY when to expect it in the mail.

Our manufacturing partner is based in the United States and has many years of experience in large military textile contracts.  Recently, they have refocused their efforts to start working more with startups like Alpine Hammock to help get companies like ours off the ground and to keep manufacturing in the U.S.  Additionally, we partnered with the North Carolina State University College of Textiles to do the fabric cutting in their laboratories.  This has helped us to avoid large up front capital costs while we are still in the startup phase of our business.  We also partnered with local printing shops to print our logo on the rainfly and to print up warning labels.  We are very proud to have these shelters made in the USA and we can't wait to share them with you.  

Here are some pictures of the process to cut over 1,000 yards of fabric:

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The Long-Awaited Manufacturing Update

Hello Patient Backers!

It's been over two months since we have sent out an update and for that we'd like to apologize. It's been even longer since we've commented on our efforts toward manufacturing the Alpine Hammock.  Before we get into those details, we have had some exciting updates to our personal lives: Ryan just crushed a First Ascent of a 5000m peak in Kyrgyzstan and Mike quit his busy day job and is working on Alpine Hammock full-time.  We are making moves in our personal and professional lives so we can better bring the Alpine Hammock to life.  Also, we just had manufacturing samples made that we demoed at Outdoor Retailer, the world's largest tradeshow for outdoor companies.  The shelter was very well received from retailers, designers, and athletes alike.  The only recurring question was "When can we get one?"

Now, what everyone has been waiting for... an update on manufacturing.

January 2013:

In January, we had our Kickstarter prototypes shipped out to 12 gear-testers from 12 different states.  Compared to our estimated delivery timeline this was two months delayed, mostly due to miscommunications between us and the custom gear shop we were working with to produce the prototypes.  This delay taught us that our manufacturing directions needed to be more explicit and that agreements should be done in writing with very clear deliverables and timelines.  Lesson learned.

Our testers hailed from the Bahamas, to Texas, to New Hampshire, to Afghanistan and beyond.  After compiling their feedback in January/February, we realized that our shelter needed significant upgrades in the ability to shed water (testers experienced water pooling on the rainfly), weight reduction (close to 3lbs packed trail weight instead of the 2lbs we were shooting for) and overall breathability (testers cited the shelter as too claustrophobic).  Ultimately, this feedback meant that our product was not as market-ready as we had previously anticipated. Here is a picture of one of our Gear Testers during a Ragnar 200-mile relay race in New England:

February-April 2013:

As engineers, designers and end users, we couldn't in good conscience produce a product that fell below so many of our gear tester's expectations.  So, the early part of 2013 saw a creative and complete redesign of our entire hammock. It took several tries to get the new features figured out but what we came away with is a far superior product that is lighter, more comfortable, easier to use, and more weatherproof overall.  We could have immediately started producing our early prototype but we think you will be much more inclined to love and take this product with you on your future adventures as a result of the improvements we took the time to make.

The new design is so different that we amended our patent application to capture more of our unique features and innovations. The biggest changes from the original alpine hammock include the addition of adjustable cross vents in the head and foot ends to promote airflow across the body of the user, a tailored rain fly to more efficiently shed water, and more effective waterproof zippers. We are proud to say that all of this was accomplished while reducing the overall weight by almost 1lb.

May-July 2013:

Once we made our design improvements, we developed samples with an experienced gear manufacturer in North Carolina.  These samples were a chance for us to work out any manufacturing and design kinks as we move into production in August.  This portion took about twice as long as we expected because we were in conversations with multiple manufacturing companies.  We didn't do a great job at factoring in that these companies have their own lead-times and deadlines with other customers.  It would be weeks before they could start on our shelters so we had to get in line.

August/September 2013:

With our design set and three factory demos that look and work great, we ordered materials for our Kickstarter Alpine Hammocks this week!  We will be doing batch shipments every week starting the first week of September (it will take a few weeks for our fabrics to arrive).  Shipments will be sent out in the order that the pledges came into Kickstarter (i.e. our earliest backers will get first dibs).  We'll send you a personal email with a shipment tracking number so you'll know when to expect your own Alpine Hammock in the mail.

The design will be the same as the pictures above but the rainfly color will be a Forest Green HyVent material instead of a Mint Green GORE-TEX Paclite.  Every designer we talked to at Outdoor Retailer recommended moving away from GORE-TEX to either HyVent or eVent because GORE-TEX is hard to acquire and it is a bit antiquated compared to more modern waterproof-breathable fabrics.

Wrapping Up:

It has been almost exactly one year since friends, family, and supporters helped us succeed on Kickstarter.  Since then we have robustly tested our design in the field, made user-recommended design changes, and found a quality manufacturing partner in the United States.  We never like missing deadlines, especially those with our friends, families and supporters.  However, the delays were a necessary biproduct of creating a shelter that will hopefully exceed expectations.

Here is a short chronology of our design phase from the beginning:

June 2012 --> Bed Sheet Concept Prototype:

August 2012 --> An unrefined but usable version for testing in the field (no vents or tapered rainfly):

December 2012 --> An improved version of our original prototype for gear testers from Kickstarter:

April 2013 --> incorporation of gear tester feedback with venting and a tapered rainfly:

July 2013 --> Production Design:

To see photos and specs of our production version of the alpine hammock, check out our website.  For more frequent and discreet updates from the Alpine Hammock team, please Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.

With sincere thanks for all of your patience and support,

Happy trails!

Ryan Stolp and Mike Brown

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Alpine Hammock to Launch at Outdoor Retailer

The Alpine Hammock Team is makin’ moves!  In August, we’ll be attending the world’s largest outdoor industry tradeshow called Outdoor Retailer.  It’s a four-day tradeshow that is only open to buyers and sellers in the outdoor industry, aka these are the folks who make things happen.  Attendees from last year include big names like REI, Patagonia, Eastern Mountain Sports (New England), Marmot, Black Diamond and hundreds of other companies.  The timing of this event will coincide with our official product launch so this is our chance network with dozens of outdoor retailers and kick things off strong.

Alpine Hammock will be participating in the Open Air Demo Day, a showcase of all the new gear coming out for 2014.  We’ll be among the tent section with a 12' x 15' plot of land to showcase our stuff.  We’re bringing two Alpine Hammocks, one we’ll set up in a hammock stand and the other we’ll lay on the ground next to it as a bivy sack.  Buyers and sellers alike will be able to come try it out and ask us questions.  Also, our new prototypes look awesome so we're excited to show them off:

So $1500 later plus a plane ticket and a hotel room we’re heading to Salt Lake City!

Other noteworthy news is that our cofounder Mike got selected to give a seminar talk on crowdfunding in the outdoor industry.  Here’s the brief writeup of the talk:

Using Crowdfunding to Accelerate Innovation in the Outdoor Industry

“In 2011, over $1.5 Billion Dollars were raised through crowdfunding to support artists, musicians, fashion designers, and inventors. However, outdoor products lagged behind in this global trend of peer-to-peer research and development. In this presentation you’ll hear about successful individuals and companies alike who have used crowdfunding to bring innovative products into the outdoor marketplace. You’ll learn how to effectively (and not effectively) launch a campaign, how to set up attractive reward structures, how to attract media attention and ultimately how to successfully reach your fundraising goals.”

For a few awesome crowdfunded outdoor products check out the coolest sleeping pad we've ever seen called the Windcatcher,  the most B.A. theft-resistant bike light ever from Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries, and a video documentary of the first African American Ascent of Denali.

This is an incredible opportunity for us because it will be the first ever crowdfunding talk at Outdoor Retailer so it is likely to attract a lot of attention.  We’ll have a captive audience for a full 60 minutes who are all there to learn about crowdfunding in the outdoor industry.  Awesome.

Thanks again to everyone who believed in our Kickstarter campaign.  Without your help we wouldn’t have had the cash to make prototypes, start our first production run, and pay for a trip to Outdoor Retailer.  Your support has made all of the difference.  Thank you!

Quick Update on Manufacturing

We are currently in negotiations with a well-known tent manufacturer to make our first 100 Alpine Hammocks.  If things go as planned we’ll be starting manufacturing in June.  We will post another update as soon as the details are finalized.

Happy Trails!