Evolving furniture design

Getting back to nature RawFern style

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Todays sprout comes as a result of a recent backpacking trip myself and 7 other guys made into the White Mountains. For anyone who has ever been backpacking with 39 lbs of gear to near 5,000 ft summits you understand… For the rest, Let me try to associate the pain to something; Imagine grabbing a 35lb plate at the gym, strapping it on your back, then do the stair climber for 5 hours at a decent pace, Exactly! Now why would anyone want to do such a thing, only to get to the top with the reward being you get to set up camp and act live like a homeless person in the woods for the night? I think everyone on that trip with me would agree that the reward significantly outweighs any amount of pain and struggle to get there. The views from the ridge are breathtaking and there is a sense of accomplishment that you can’t get anywhere else.

So what does this have to do with furniture? Well believe it or not companies do cater to this market of craziness. There are all kinds of chairs, tables and accessories that you can take along with you to the top of a mountain, so that you can camp in luxury. Personally, when I was trying to decide if I should take deodorant or not, because I didn’t want the extra weight and pack volume, furniture was not on my radar of concern. However should you get to do a shorter flatter hike, or have a personal sherpa to carry these, some of these ideas would be incredible to enjoy at the destination.

Ah yes, we’ve all had our run ins with the foldable camp furniture. It really is never that comfy, breaks easier than a dollar store torque wrench, and really isn’t all that light. As opposed to the versions we all see at the big box store, take a look at this, I find it much more attractive, although still not the easiest for tough hikes.


This is called the “Crusader Frankie Folding Camp Chair” I love it because it doesn’t sacrifcie sleek modern design to integrate those bulky collapsable connectors. It almost looks like an alien spider about to attack when all collapsed up, and when open transforms into a elegant stylish side chair.


This camping chair and table contraption is the creation of the Brazilian designer Paulo Henrique Rafael Calloni Storch. Luckily the chair itself folds smaller than his name. I love how once all folded together the leg becomes the carry handle. I have yet to try one for sturdiness, but the concept is well executed, bringing just enough design into an equation which relies most heavily on how easily this folds.


Got a packable air pump, or better yet a friend that’s willing to try and blow this thing up without passing out for a buck? If so, then you can have this comfy beast as your camp fire accommodations. This is quite possibly the most comfy looking inflatable furniture I have seen to date, ensuring that you fall asleep by the fire in style. Careful not to get too close or an hot ember may end your comfort real quick.


What is more fun to sit at while camping than a picnic table? Answer: A picnic table that was easy to carry into the remote location of your choosing! This table and 4 seats folds up into a handy suitcase sized package for transport. Although they make lighter versions out of plastic and aluminum, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the beautiful aesthetic of the wood variation. Ah, the price you pay for design even in the middle of nowhere.

Coleman-Camp-Kitchencamp kitchen 2

Camping used to include everything except the kitchen… Stop right there, because actually you can bring the entire kitchen with you, including the sink. And yes of course to go with todays theme it folds up smaller than any studio apartment in Boston 🙂

Radler-Trail-Camp-Folding-Shoes  Timberland-Radler-Trail-Camp-Folding-Shoes

Definitely not furniture, but you know how being a designer I get that “ooh shiny thing” moment. I couldn’t help but share this, as it fits with the folding camp theme!!! SHOES!

Arguably one of the most important pieces of any extended hike would be the tent. Now I have seen some downright disasters with carrying, setting up, and sleeping in tents. In most cases it comes down to what I have witnessed being; simpler is usually better. The smaller, lighter, simpler you can get when it comes to the tent, the less hassle you will spend on creating your living quarters, and more time relaxing by the fire before bed. Since there are soo many tents on the mainstream market today, I will let you decide on your realistic tent selection. I will however digress, throw in the caveat: “what if you will be the only one sleeping in this tent, and want the lightest simplest design possible”.  The solution: a wearable tent jacket. Believe it or not, more than one concept exists for this. Check them out..

wearable 2                                    wearable camping tent

Maybe you want to integrate camping into your moutain biking addiction, well look no further, this cool tent design used the frame of your bike as the structure to support your tent, saving you weight and volume over packing a regular pole version. Called the Topeak Bikamper, this design really looks like it take functionality to another level for the camper on the go.


Ryan Helser has come up with a great concept called the Respite tent; A hammock for chilling by the fire which turns into the fly of your tent, when you’re ready to sleep inside. It’s simple and elegant. Just the way I like my camping experiences to be!

respite respite 2

Because this blog is sometimes more about avant-garde design rather than function, I am throwing in the next crazy idea. Meant to be a art concept for a photo shoot I find it extremely interesting that clothing can take on the form of furniture or architecture (hmm wearable furniture… Don’t be surprised if you see a sprout on that soon) This is called Dress Tents, by Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao.

dresstent dresstent 2

Check out the entire set of images here on Robin Lasser’s website . These really are incredible concepts of art!

Last but not least, Let’s imagine you live in the big city. You want to do some camping without having to drive into the true wilderness, but don’t know where you would set up camp? Since pitching a tent is frowned upon in central park, why not invest in this genius idea; “The car cover tent” Looks like a covered up car in a parking spot and acts as a home (not too far) away from home!  (check local laws before trying this out 🙂



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