- May 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm #3593076Trey LBPL Member
I have a tent design that’s pretty revolutionary, geared at a niche market. I’ve ordered from most of the US-based raw material suppliers (Quest, Seattle Fabrics, Ripstopbytheroll, etc), but I want my next prototype to have the quality materials that you’d find on a Kelty tent, or any higher quality backpacking tent. Even something simple like the nice j-hooks or the grommet/webbing material is near impossible to find!
I’d like to secure a source for these materials before contacting manufacturers, then I got to thinking… Who manufacturers the majority of Kelty, REI, and Marmot tents? Perhaps it’d be best to just reach out to their manufacturer directly and see if I can plug into their source if I use one of their MOQ contracts? Does anyone have any advice or insight on this?May 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm #3593085Mike BBPL Member
Some of the smaller cottage manufactures might be of assistance.
I know Dan Durston just did one with Massdrop, he is around here somewhere.May 15, 2019 at 3:04 pm #3593089Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
All the big name companies you mention are made overseas, mostly in Vietnam. I think the problem you will run into is that these companies will require a manufacturing run of X number of tents (probably at least a couple hundred) and that takes large amounts of capital.May 16, 2019 at 1:49 am #3593178Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Don’t think you will find a cost-effective way to get someone else to built a prototype of your design. So many details do not come up until an actual prototype is built. Once a prototype is built and tested more issues may arise. Also needed is some way of knowing if sale of a first run is likely.
Dan Durston’s threads on BPL are very instructive about ways to address the above issues.
Maybe he can respond to your OP.
I just build tents for myself and a few friends, but even with just that, and following my own advice above, issues arise, sometimes not until a prototype is done. So I have taken to posting about projects in detail, with pictures of models, specs & etc., seeking comments before building a prototype. And many of the comments have been very helpful. But sense that what readers most want to see posted is the actual prototype in order to garner more comments. I learn the most about tent design when editor Roger Caffin gets into a discussion with other tent geeks about projects and design.May 25, 2019 at 5:37 pm #3594570Craig BBPL Member
While most big manufacturers are overseas as Brad mentioned, I think you could still find some sewn product contract manufacturers in the states. I think most will be geared toward apparel, but you might be able to find one that has experience with tents or at least outdoor gear. Not sure if they would have their own preferred suppliers or not, but possibly. You should also be able to find someone to prototype your design and get it into a ‘production ready’ form, but it will cost you. There are definitely firms/contractors out there that would be happy to do that. I bought a book a while ago called “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing” by Kathleen Fasanella that might be helpful for you. It’s a bit pricey, but I found it very enlightening. It’s also geared toward apparel, but much of it would be very relevant for trying to get your tent design manufactured.
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