Innovation from the DSM Design Dungeon
Deep South Mountaineering grew out of a stubbornness to compromise on poorly designed gear. At Deep South Mountaineering, a good design helps users do more with less, while reducing their environmental impact and fostering fun times in the woods. Our innovation stems from our lifestyles and backgrounds in adventure and conservation. We are constantly tinkering, not just with hammocks, but with all of the gear we use (and hope to use).
On this page you’ll learn a little more about our technologies, how we solve problems and the other gear with which we’re constantly experimenting.
Nobody likes a droopy tarp. It usually means crawling out of your cozy sleeping bag to get rained on while tightening tie outs. Not a good start to an awesome night’s sleep.
We started looking at other industries that may have pioneered technologies that solve this problem. We landed on a small diameter throw line that arborists use to pull up larger climbing ropes. It has several advantages that we really liked, including:
- Pre-stretched weave. The cord is mechanically stretched and then treated with a UV coating to lock it in place, meaning the line has effectively zero stretch.
- Slick UV coating resists snagging on tree bark and leaves.
- Dyneema fibers do not absorb water and are super-strong. 2mm line has a 1000 lb tensile strength
- lightweight. 1.6 oz / 100’
The connection between the guy lines and the tarp is perhaps the weakest point on a traditional tarp. It is where the load is transferred from a point (along the tie out line) to the surface area of the tarp, which consists of a weaker material (30 D nylon) than the tie out (Dyneema cord).
We found innovative and time-tested engineering in the construction of sailing sails that we could apply to the tie out points on our tarps. We spread our webbing eyelets as wide as possible to evenly distribute the load to the fabric of the tarp. We also seam seal the threads of the bar tack to lock them in place and further protect them from the elements.
The nylon and polypropelene climbing rope traditionally used in gathered-end hammocks, while strong and effective, has the downside of absorbing water and requiring knots (which can affect how the rope sits in the gather).
We looked to super-high strength ropes used on racing sailboats. They were developed to float (i.e. not absorb water) and can be spliced and worked with fids (an alternative to tying knots. Makes a more streamlined connection). To top it off it is ounce for ounce stronger than steel, with a 3mm rope packing a whopping 2800 lb. tensile strength.
Wherever possible we seek to reduce the amount of plastic and metal hardware in our products. The sum of various buckles, snaps, hooks and cord locks can comprise a considerable weight (for the ultralight enthusiast) in proportion to the product. That’s why our stuff sacks are “sandwich bag” style requiring just a simple folding motion to close them.
Wherever possible we seek to minimize the use of heavier materials like shock cord, opting instead for a hybrid solution of shock cord + draw cord (less weight) to achieve the same “stretchy” comfort without as much weight.
Power Rangering Fleece
Technical fit, functional fabric, awesome look
How come snowboarders get all the fun, technical wear? Alpine hiking and climbing is cool too! This fleece is more than meets the eye. Multiple thicknesses of fleece are used to insulate cold spots and better ventilate hot spots (like armpits). The hood and collar are exagerated to better trap heat that escapes through the collar. High abrasion resistant and waterproof diamond ripstop fabric is used both to reinforce high wear areas, like the shoulder and forearms, as well as to trap heat like an “umbrella” around your torso and shoulders. A single pull face cinch keeps things cozy, as do top-down pocket zippers, which allow you to snug up the zipper around cold hands, eliminating drafty pockets.
- Multiple fleece weights put warmth and venting just where you want them
- Abrasion resistance in high-wear areas. Also cuts windchill on the forearms.
- Top-down pocket zippers snug up around hands, eliminating drafty pockets
- Technical hood and insulated shoulder/neck efficiently traps escaping heat
- One handed face cinch
- Downright fresh looking
Secure shoulder straps (no slipping!), harness compatible
We’re new to clothing, but an alpine style bib seemed a good place to start. We were tired of constantly pulling bib straps back up onto our shoulders. It can pose fitting and comfort problems, not to mention being an additional annoyance if layered under an outer shell or insulating jacket.
- Suspenders anchor in the back, high and narrow, just between the shoulder blades
- tall front of bib blocks wind and water that permeate the zipper of an outer shell
- Gusseted crotch maintains range of motion
- Diamond ripstop reinforced seat, knees and lower leg withstand true mountain ruggedness – sharp rocks, icy glissades and stray crampons and ice axes.
- interior elastic cuff/snow skirt at the ankles
- 3 ply Gore-Tex and 200-400 Urethane coated diamond ripstop
Pine Marten pack
Stable tool anchors, ability to cary variety of load sizes, just the right amount of organization
Loose ice tools can pose a problem when shwacking through scrub on an approach or descent. Elastic ties stretch and slip while velcro gets dirty or frozen with brine. Winter climbing also demands a sizable amount of heavy equipment, much of which most climbing packs are ill suited to cary comfortably, because of minimalist frame sheets and suspensions. An innovative dual-framesheet design permits the pack to easily cinch down bulky loads, and disperses the load more evenly across the pack, turning the tension on the load into it’s own more rigid form. The result is a lightweight pack that still handles heavier loads. To top it off, we experimented with Dacron racing sails as a high strength, waterproof pack material.
- Dual framesheet design handles heavy and bulky loads in a lightweight package (while still being removable)
- Secure ice tool storage works in all conditions and is glove-friendly
- Draining crampon pocket with interior pocket for file and ice tool wrenches
- Sunglass and tea organizer in the brain
- Elastic on brain quickly and securely holds gloves or jackets during quick stops
- Removable, 3D EVA foam hipbelt
Purple Bellied Hell Bender pack
Simple but featured pack for extended backpacking trips
This pack was originally designed for thruhiking the AT. It boasts an ergonomically thermoformed ABS plastic framesheet as well as an isomer foam sheet for load stability and compression efficiency. Made from 200 x 400 D urethane coated diamond ripstop, the pack is nearly waterproof (except the seams). The molded shoulder straps are dynamic and track the shoulders as they naturally swing with the wearer’s gait. A waterproof flap on top lies just under the cinch to the main compartment, keeping water out, as well as wet hydration bags from soaking gear underneath. Specialized trekking pole gear loops snag less and finally hold poles securely when dipping into town for some AYCEB’s (All You Can Eat Buffets).
- Ergonomically molded frame with secondary framesheet and dynamic shoulder straps
- Dedicated hiking pole gear loops
- water bladder “drop cloth” keeps other gear dry while keeping bladder on top and at easy access
- Waterproof pack material is highly abrasion resistant (and awesome looking)