Thursday, February 21, 2013

Keeping it Simple

When we started making gear, like everyone else, we did it for ourselves. We wanted what we wanted and we wanted to pay, obviously, less.

Plus it was our goal to have fun, experiment, try new things and learn what we could along the way.

Hammocking is evolving fast. Many new innovations are coming into the mainstream every day and it's every maker's goal to keep up with those innovations and incorporate them, where appropriate, into the product line.

Two years ago, 11 foot hammocks were not "common" but now most cottage vendors are either using this size or are offering this size for hammocks. Materials also cause innovation. Cuben fiber has taken the hammock world by storm (or maybe you'd call it the "tarp world") particularly among the ultralight crowd. Older innovations in materials created change. Very few quality gear makers don't use cordage made of the Dyneema fiber these days, from Dynaglide (TM) whoopies and ridgelines to AmSteel Blue (TM) channel loops, dog bones and whoopies to our Zing It ridgelines.

We love innovation and are open to change, either as a result of ideas we come up with, ideas we see others incorporate or innovations in materials.

But there's something refreshing about a simple product done well. And that's where we focus most of our attention. We have friends and family members ask us how we make hammocks and Shane said it best. "Make a shower curtain with a sleeve for the curtain rod on both ends. Then reinforce it with extra stitching."

There's a little more to it than that including fabric selection, color selection (did you know studies have shown that most bugs are more attracted to darker colors than lighter ones, so think twice before ordering that black hammock!), overall design in single layer and double layer versions, where to insert the pad opening and taking advantage of other ideas, like the ingenious "gathered side hammock mod" that was invented by Hammock Forum member knotty. Forever forward, the mod took on the name "knotty mod" and rightly so as it gives credit to its creator. So back to the topic at hand...

We've seen some fabulous hammock designs and we've even made a few custom hammocks that had their own unique features, but we keep going back to the idea of keeping it simple. Good cloth, stitched well with a simple suspension system and bug net keeps the tinker factor low, the comfort factor high and the cost factor down and the weight works for gram counters. It saves us time and you money.

As we continue to try to grow our business, more ideas will take root and grow. In the fall (2013), we hope to launch a new hammock sock with a new design to add a little warmth to the experience. Tarps may be in our future. We've looked toward hammock chairs, bridge hammocks, hammock hardware and even stove and pot stand designs.

Time and the marketplace will sort all of that out as to what is -- and what is not -- to be part of the product line, but our mission will remain to take a simple thing and do it well. This is what will keep your pack light and your wallet thick.

-- Brian

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