Hello everyone my name is Brad, I'm the e-Commerce manager at Haven Tents. It's my job to take some of the technical burden off of Derek's shoulders so he can focus more on continuing to develop new products to share the Haven experience with more people. It's been an amazing opportunity to work with a company that gives me an excuse to get outside more.
My first campout was when I was about one and a half. My dad was an assistant scoutmaster, and my mom deserved a little break. The scouts were doing a simple overnight campout so my dad tended the fire and watched as I ran all over the place. Even though I don’t remember that campout I was clearly hooked.
My memories of the outdoors start at about the age of four. I would always struggle to pass the time waiting for my dad to come home for work so we could take off in his silver Dodge Ram and get to our campsite out in the Arizona desert. Camping became nearly synonymous with relaxation and fun. It also led to some great teaching moments where I learned basic camping skills, including rattlesnake, scorpion and cactus safety.
Those early campouts instilled in me one of my most important camping traditions. Without fail we would begin each excursion listening to Midnight Oil’s song King of the Mountain. A tradition I intend to pass on, it's simple but the song evokes a lot of great memories.
It was on one of these early campouts where my love of hammocks started. My cousins brought one with them and I took to it with the enthusiasm and wonder only a child can have.
As I got older I became a scout and went on all sorts of great campouts. Everything from Klondike Derbies to backpacking trips and beach campouts. Though I never quite got my scout troop to commit to a multi-day cycling camping trip, something I intend to rectify with the help of my Haven Tent.
To celebrate graduating from high school my friends and I planned a week long camping trip up our local canyon. I bought a cheap net hammock from Walmart and decided to try hammock camping for the first time. The hammock was fun for dozing in, and for kicking back and reading a book, but it was not great for sleeping over night, it just hurt my back too much. Luckily, I brought a tent too just in case.
After my first year in college I had the opportunity to go to Paraguay in South America. There were all sorts of awesome spots for hiking and camping. One spot I enjoyed in particular was Cerro Koi, it’s one of those semi rare places with hexagonal rocks.
It was in Paraguay where I got my first quality hammock, hand woven by a member of one of the local Guarani native tribes. It was in Paraguay where I first messed around with spreader bars to try and alleviate some of my back issues with hammocks. In the end I decided I was just better off not sleeping overnight in a hammock. But, when I came back to the US I always kept it in my trunk on the off chance that I found a nice place to hang it for an afternoon.
Going to college in Utah had the added benefit of always having a nice campground close by. It became my habit each April after finishing finals to drive up the canyon to find a secluded spot to sling my hammock and alternate between reading a book and taking a nap.
The first time I saw a Haven Tent I knew it was a game changer. The flat laying design has done wonders for my back. I’ve always been a bit of a camping sleep snob. I’ve always avoided those little blue foam pads and similar products like the plague. I enjoy longer camping trips, but I’ve always been somewhat restricted in where I go to be able to bring along a larger inflatable mattress. Now with the Haven Tent I can sleep comfortably just about anywhere with two points of contact to attach to.
All the little ancillary pieces, the straps and guy lines in the kit should not be underestimated either. A novice like me always relied on a few pieces of rope whenever I used my old hammock. Each time it would have to do a couple test knots to try and remember how to do two half-hitches. Looking back it's obvious that there are all kinds of straps and whoopie slings to make the hammock experience better but before using my Haven I never really thought about it.
That’s the fun thing in working with Derek. His level of knowledge is incredible and he has introduced me to a bunch of ways to take my camping experience even further. As we’ve worked together over the past several months we’ve realized that a lot of our conversations could be useful to many of you. So for those of you who like me are avid campers, but maybe not as advanced as others we are going to work on bringing more user guides and tips and tricks to make your camping experience the best it can be. And don’t worry, we have some really cool things coming down the pipe for you advanced campers too.
So be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already and check back here for more info on everything Haven.