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The Story of Haven

We are a family of explorers.

A few years ago my wife and I sold our house to travel the world with our three young kids (two sons and a daughter). As Five Take Flight we visited 38 countries in just over a year. It was the best year of my life. While my wife led us to cities and museums, I have always pulled our family towards nature.

Five Take Flight 

I find my Haven in hard to reach places far from the comforts of home. I can get everything I need from a few days off trail.. except a good night's sleep. 

Like everyone else, I am completely spoiled by our big mattress at home. 2 inches of foam on the ground or a traditional hammock is no substitute. I hoped someone would figure out how to make sleeping outdoors comfortable, never thought it would be me. 

Each New Year, my wife and I pick a theme, a goal that we’ll aspire to over the coming months. We deemed 2018 “the year of creativity.” In July of that year, I found myself trying to get comfortable in a camping hammock. I envisioned my head and feet lowering, so my body was on a single plane. With this spark of an idea, the wheels started turning. Just before I shut the whole thing down due to a lack of time or expertise, I remembered that 2018 was ourYear of Creativity. And thought, “why not?”

What followed was beginner’s luck. My first prototype was imperfect but already created the flat-lay I was going for. Our next couple of prototypes were a step in the wrong direction, but I kept at it. The success of that first prototype convinced me that with a few tweaks this could be a gamechanger. 

As my ideas moved from paper to the real world, my wild kids were in charge of testing the durability and my wife watched me venture out night after night to sleep in the backyard. I’d wake up each morning with ideas and refinements. 

One I felt confident in the working prototype, and our patent application was in place, the next unknown was production. I sought out great partners, who truly understood what Haven was trying to accomplish. Again, I got lucky. I found great people, ready and willing to bring Haven Tents to the next level.   

We launched on Kickstarter in September 2019. My mom was my first backer along with a list of friends and acquaintances. Then I started to see names I didn’t know… people outside our home state of Utah. And eventually people all over the world. We raised just under $100,000 USD from backers in 38 countries which helped bring Haven to life. I’ll forever be grateful to these early adopters, especially my mom!

Launching a business in 2020 may sound like fun... but it wasn’t! A global pandemic and some production issues made us miss our initial delivery target. Our backers were very understanding and were happy to wait on what they hoped would rock their camping world.

As we put the first tents in boxes my fear was that we had over-sold the Haven platform. That we had put expectations so ridiculously high that people could only be disappointed. Then the reviews started coming in, “the best night I’ve ever had backpacking” and “more comfortable than my bed at home.” Seeing the first shares on Instagram felt like we had landed on the moon. 

But we're just getting started... Haven Tents is now expanding into Japan and Europe. Our idea is starting to catch on. We believe in the wild, and more than that, we believe in making the wild comfortable. Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

We hope to be a part of your adventures,

Derek Tillotson

Derek Tillotson, Haven Tents Founder

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