Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Life and Times of Hypno AR

The Ditto tote bag is on sale right now and that got me thinking that we never posted about the fairly incredible journey the bag took to make it to store shelves. Most people aren't sure if reincarnation exists, but here is definitive proof.

In 2004, NEMO hooked up with Team Nike to create the fastest and lightest adventure racing tent. It was called Hypno AR.

It was NEMO's first production run and there were a lot of lessons learned. Those lessons have shaped the way we currently make our airbeam tents; those lessons also left us with many boxes of tents that did not meet our strict quality standards. Although there were several attempts to repurpose the tents, this summer we still found ourselves with many boxes of tents that could not be donated.

As we learned more about the environmental impact of plastic shopping bags and began to hear of cities and countries banning the use of them, we saw an opportunity to recycle our patient Hypnos and change consumer habits.

Suzanne and I spent a long night cutting up the first Hypno tent to make two awesome bags and prove the idea worthy. With prospects of many more long nights ahead, we decided to enlist some help.

The first step was to cut the tent into big pieces and remove all the hardware. With help from our local Easter Seals chapter, the tents were disassembled in our studio and the hardware was recycled into our prototyping lab.

The next challenge was to maximize the number of bags that could be made from one tent. Using engineering powers that be (i.e. math), we designed a pattern that gave us 12 bags from one Hypno tent.

To keep the environmental footprint small, we teamed up with a local sewing house in New Hampshire to help cut patterns and sew the bags. Cam and I spent a back-breaking day at the sewers figuring out how to cut the slippery and oddly shaped tent pieces.

With nothing added but a NEMO label and a little bit of edge binding, Hypno AR was reincarnated into the Ditto tote bag. We took great care in trying to preserve the fun details (zippers, webbing, guyout loops, velcro, screened logos, mesh, etc.) of the original tent.

As a result, every bag is unique.



DeltaJH said...

Connie, what a great idea. Can the design be made with smaller loops on the handles or a crisscross handle brace so I can wear it on my bike as a backpack (re-cyclesack)? The ditto is a nice design, but I don't really wear shoulder bags. It may also be possible that the teardrop shape of a backpack enables you to get more units out per triangular swatch of tent fabric?

Unknown said...

hey connie, is that a random person on a city sidewalk you saw with the bag, or is it someone we know???


Connie said...

Hi James,

We're currently working on a new design of the bag (still using old tents) that will be friendlier for bikers. It will be exciting to see how different shapes will work with the fabric and maximizing yield. We'll keep you updated on the progress and maybe post some teaser samples as they come.