If you haven’t heard, Kickstarter is a place where people who need funding for creative projects can receive it from anyone who donates. Usually if you give certain amounts of money you are given some sort of thank-you gift. For example, if you sponsor a movie production you may get a copy of the movie or a signed poster. If you sponsor a product you would most likely get the product itself once it is made. Kickstarter is a great website that allows dreams to come realities! Some Kickstarter success stories that you may have heard of are the Veronica Mars movie and Pebble e-paper watch. Hopefully a sustainable sleeping bag will soon join their ranks.
The project I want to focus on today is the Rama Llama. The Rama Llama is a sustainable sleeping bag that is being developed and created by Deneb Outdoors. The people behind this organization are Jared Burris and Jared Sandlin. These two men have been friends since 5th grade, and have grown up together with a love for the outdoors and the environment. One aspect of the outdoor industry that they noticed, as I have as also noted, is how unsustainable and eco-unfriendly certain outdoor gear and materials are. The product that Deneb Outdoors decided to improve first is the sleeping bag.
The consumer has a limited choice to quality sleeping bag materials. The two main types of sleeping bag insulators are duck and/or goose down and synthetic petroleum products. Neither of these materials is environmentally sound. Duck and/or goose down re a byproduct of the food industry, which as we know has many unsustainable practices as well as cruelty to animals.
As the name “synthetic petroleum products” implies, they are rooted in the oil industry, one of the most polluting of all. Denebe asks why these are the only options for sleeping bags, especially when people using these products have an even more direct reason to support the survival of wild places.
The solution that the two “Jareds” give is a whole new kind of sleeping bag that uses the environmental-friendly and very sustainable natural fibers of llama fleece. When obtaining llama fleece the animal is not harmed, and the fleece will grow back in a timely fashion. Deneb Outdoors would receive their fleece through sustainable and fair trade means by purchasin from communities in the Andean Mountains. The fleece is predicted to be more effective than the materials already on the market when it comes to keeping people comfortable as they sleep at night. One of the biggest things is to keep people warm when it is cold out and to keep people cool when it is warm out. It is claimed that the range of the JakaTek™ (the trademarked llama fleece insulation blend) would have a comfort temperature range of 50 degrees over twice the range that most sleeping bags have now.
These men have been working on this product and have brought it to the public through Kickstarter. They want to continue developing and improving their idea. They want to bring to the outdoor industry a sustainable sleeping bag that will match the consumers’ interest in enjoying nature and protecting it as well!
As one of those people that loves the environment and loves being outside, I find this product a very welcome change to the outdoor industry. When reading through their ideas and reasons behind the Rama Llama, I was agreeing with every statement. The question that kept coming in my head was why? Why is nothing like this already out there? I mean so many people who love the outdoors weather it is car camping or backpacking the mountain ranges of the world they all have an interest in protecting and preserving what they see- the outdoors, our Planet Earth.
I was then inspired to evaluate my own camping gear in terms of how environmentally-friendly it all is. In the end, I was quite disappointed with how much was made from harmful materials. The only thing that I could say was all this stuff was made to last in order for me to get the most out of it. Most of the stuff that I have I would never throw out, but use it for something else. When it comes to making good choices for the environment, the consumer should have more choices to decide on what they want, and at least one of them should be sustainable!
UPDATE: Rama Llama project has full funding now, but you can still support it. This product is slowly becoming a reality and someday may change the whole outdoor industry’s approach to the products they make to reflect the consumer who buys them!