Development work demands both free-flowing ideas and structure, and creative work can’t always be described in a linear way. But if we generalise a bit, we can describe the development process as follows.
Everything starts with identifying a need. We often get ideas when we’re outdoors ourselves, both on short weekend trips and longer adventures. Sometimes we also get ideas when talking to customers or from letters we receive. Everything gets collected in our sketchbooks.
Sketches and models
We start the drawing work on the basis of these notes and drafts. With over 50 years’ experience of what works in nature, we look at what’s important for the area of use that the new product is destined for, and we choose the details and solutions that match the criteria we have set. We often make simple models, such as an arch construction to work out the volume of a tent, and perform major and minor adjustments.
Prototypes and precise tests
After some fine-tuning within our development team, it’s time to produce complete prototypes for tests and evaluation at various levels. Independent textile laboratories test tear strength, wear durability, water column and many other properties of the materials. But most important of all are the tests of how the equipment holds up in practice. The prototypes are examined over several months out in the field by an experienced test patrol led by our equipment expert Johan Skullman.
The stresses they are exposed to during these tests correspond to many years of normal use.
And still more tests
The design team also go on their own test trips. We almost always discover details that can be made better, things that work well in certain conditions and areas of use, but less well in others. There are often a number of prototype versions, but when we’ve implemented the required adaptations and all the parameters are met – then we’ve got a finished product, ready for adventure.