For more than 20 years, Michael Glavin has created and sold outdoor gear while working for many companies you’ve heard of, including MSR, Cascade Designs, and Sierra Designs. Now he’s the founder and general manager of Zenbivy, making innovative backpacking beds and related products.
We covered many topics during a long interview, including:
- Mike’s journey from TV journalist to backpacking gear entrepreneur.
- Coming up with the idea for Zenbivy camping beds.
- Pitfalls of standardized sleeping bag temperature testing.
- Why warm sleeping pads are important, despite industry ignorance.
- Working on standards committees is painful.
- Details of sleep system design.
- Why wholesale product purchasing and dominant retailers inhibit innovation.
- How the Internet is changing that business model for the better.
- Why radical tent designs are so rare.
- And many other interesting topics.
I’ve edited this interview for length and clarity.
Member's Only Content
- From TV Journalist to Van Life and Beyond
- Innovative Tents and Cook Sets
- Origins of the Zenbivy Bed
- Sleep System Standards Pitfalls
- Why Bother With Testing
- Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating Advice
- Sleeping Pads are Important, Too!
- Finding R-value Fudge Factors
- Pads and Bags: Right Hand, Meet Left Hand
- Standards Meetings are Not Happy Places
- Down Versus Synthetic, round 2,718
- Hot Water Bottle FTW!
- When Calendering is a Good Thing
- To Hood, Or Not to Hood...
- Wholesale Stops New Ideas
- A Better Way Than Wholesale Retail
- Comfort is the Real Goal
- Some Pounds are More Equal than Others
- Finding Your Total Pack Weight Sweet Spot
- Tent Spec Wars
- Five-star Tent Reviews Anyway
- Familiarity and Risk Aversion Also Drive Tent Sales
- Radical Tent Designs Accepted Every 40 Years, More or Less
- Misguided Vestibules and Raining into Tents
- A Peaceful Little Rebellion Against Traditional Outdoor Gear
- More Information
- Related Content
Member's only version is 4,700 words and includes 4 photographs and/or illustrations.