Saturday, July 20, 2024

From Ideation to Execution – Gossamer Gear

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By: Glen Van Peski

I’ve at all times mentioned the Wedge—my customized, handmade, DCF shelter—is the right shelter to take once you don’t anticipate rain. I’ve endured rainstorms in it, but it surely’s not optimum for these situations. So, in 2020, as I ready for a 1,000-mile bikepacking journey on the Nice Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), I knew I wanted an alternative choice. Our journey was assured a schedule ruled by snow within the passes, late-day thunderstorms, and loads of bugs.

From this, the Whisper was born—a minimalist, ultralight shelter that’s now accessible by means of Gossamer Gear for different light-weight obsessives to take pleasure in with me. Beneath, I’ll stroll you thru how this perfected piece of drugs got here to be.

Prototyping Designs for the Whisper Ultralight Shelter

I had been toying with a brand new tent design for a few years. I began with a one-offset-pole configuration, since I’d largely be utilizing it whereas backpacking with LT5 trekking poles. Clearly, I used to be searching for as mild as attainable (my preliminary goal was 8 oz). I made a decision on a mesh skirt, as this could be lighter than a full mesh wall and zipper whereas nonetheless offering refuge from flying bugs. Because the shelter flooring will get essentially the most put on, it both needs to be constructed of extra sturdy (learn: heavy) cloth, or protected by an extra groundsheet. I made a decision on a shelter with no flooring, the place I’d merely use a polycryo groundsheet as an alternative.

Since DCF materials is dear, I began prototyping in Tyvek. I created a 3D mannequin of the shelter utilizing Rhino3D, then unfurled the panels and used AutoCad for the patterning, since I’ve familiarity with that program by means of my profession in civil engineering. I began by seeing if I might get what I wished with one pole. I did about six Tyvek variations earlier than giving up on that and shifting to a two-pole design. Since I used to be constructing a single-wall shelter, moisture on the inside is a given in some situations. I wished a design that offered loads of area at my toes, so my sleeping bag didn’t brush towards the partitions and decide up that moisture.

After a pair extra Tyvek prototypes utilizing a second, shorter pole on the foot of the shelter, I used to be able to create a DCF model. If you’re utilizing actually mild cloth, the burden of reinforcements, pull-outs, traces, and zippers turns into consequential. I attempted a pair options for the vestibule closure, trying to remove the zipper weight. I couldn’t give you an answer I used to be pleased with, so ended up utilizing a water-proof zipper. Regardless of this addition, my closing prototype for our Nice Divide journey got here in at 6 oz.

Testing and Refining the Whisper Ultralight Shelter for Gossamer Gear

That GDMBR journey was an ideal check, and the shelter proved itself. I’ve movies of a raging thunderstorm from contained in the shelter at Coopers Lake in Montana. We additionally endured buggy situations all through the journey, and I used to be glad to have the netting’s safety.

Nevertheless, given the supplies I used, the zipper was worn out by the tip of the journey. We additionally went to mattress early when the solar was nonetheless up, and I discovered that the 0.3 ouncesDCF materials felt like mendacity down inside a greenhouse. Moreover, the advantageous mesh I used ended up not permitting as a lot airflow. When it’s chilly out, it’s a pleasant characteristic. However when it’s sizzling, that is suboptimal.

Once I returned from the GDMBR, we talked at Gossamer Gear about bringing the brand new shelter to market. Each time I give you a brand new product, the following query is at all times: Are there greater than 5 individuals on the earth apart from Glen who would use this? I nonetheless get grief at quarterly conferences about how few Murmur backpacks we promote in comparison with our different fashions. Fortunately, nonetheless, we just lately organized our gear into product traces. This contains the GVP Assortment, which we acknowledge gained’t enchantment to as large of an viewers, however which provides a nod to my historical past founding Gossamer Gear and people in our group perpetually dedicated to an obsessive pursuit of ultralight journey. Many merchandise on this line—together with the Whisper—bear a tag with an added warning: “In case you’re uncertain that is the suitable one for you, it in all probability isn’t. And that’s cool.”

After placing the shelter by means of our design evaluate course of, we determined to go forward with a small run and began the design tweaking course of with our trusted producer. After a number of rounds of samples, and rigorous testing with model ambassadors and private associates, we approved a run of 100 shelters. The ultimate pattern got here in at 9.8 oz, as a consequence of utilizing heavier DCF, reinforcing, and a extra strong zipper. We named it the Whisper in homage to our previous 3.5 ouncespack by the identical identify—and as a loving companion to the Murmur, in fact.

Meet Gossamer Gear’s New Ultralight Shelter: The Whisper

Whereas the shelter admittedly isn’t for everybody, the preliminary response to the Whisper from testers has been outstanding. One skilled information mentioned it was the right ultralight shelter for all his use instances, as an alternative of the a number of shelters he beforehand employed for various seasons and situations. One other mentioned, “I’m blown away by the thoughtfulness and design which have gone into the Whisper.”

In case you’re an ultralighter searching for a spacious, storm- and bug-proof shelter weighing solely 9.8 oz, then my go-to, the Whisper, is for you. Catenary-cut panels and 7 stakes present nice stability. Meticulously designed with 0.51-oz.DCF, the Whisper units up with two trekking poles for ample headroom and toe field clearance. The beneficiant mesh skirt retains bugs at bay and provides air flow, whereas the waterproof zipper and taped seams hold you dry. The vestibule provides area to stow gear and is raised to take care of visible contact together with your environment.

Now, in the event you’ve gotten thus far and also you’re nonetheless questioning if the Whisper is the suitable shelter for you, nicely—it in all probability isn’t. Nevertheless, in the event you’re certain it’s, know that this can be a restricted run product, so that you may wish to get on it!

Glen Van Peski is the founding father of Gossamer Gear and a number one proponent of light-weight backpacking.

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