The Kootenay-based company Backseat Bivy launches this month and it’s set to change the way you sleep in your car forever.
It’s a Kootenay rite of passage to suffer through an uncomfortable bivy. Whether you’re benighted on an alpine climb or you choose to sleep under your car at the trailhead, the fact is we sometimes endure pebbles for pillows so we can get to the goods. But a Kootenay company wants to change all that — at least, it wants you to have a better sleep in your car instead of under it.
This month marks the launch of Backseat Bivy, a device that can be used in hatchbacks, wagons and certain SUVs to span the gap between the folded-down back seats and the front seats. This is how the company describes the product: “The Backseat Bivy is a strong, durable hammock that spans the width of your vehicle. Length-adjustable straps attach to the rear seat safety hooks and the front seat headrests, creating a comfortable sling across that awkward gap between the seats. This surprisingly simple solution increases effective sleeping space by as much as 12 inches, which can be the difference between an awful night and a restful one. It packs down small enough to fit in your glovebox, takes less than 30 seconds to set up and is an affordable way to compliment the sleeping gear you already own. While it will not help a basketball star sleep in their Honda Fit, the Backseat Bivy will enable almost anyone to sleep well in a standard SUV.”
We caught up with company co-owner and Nelson resident Nick Haycock to ask him more about why we should jump into the sack with a Backseat Bivy.
Hey Nick, thanks for chatting with us. What was the inspiration for the Backseat Bivy?
The inspiration really came when I checked out of #vanlife and decided I did not have a comfortable way to sleep in my vehicle. Doing a lot of spur of the moment weekend trips, chasing weather, became a way of life. I really couldn’t find a simple way to car camp without stuffing bags and gear between the front and rear folded seats. After discussions with other passionate mountain adventurers, I figured we needed an easy solution.
How’s it going to change in-car camping?
We think it breaks down barriers. Large SUVs and vans are typically used for car camping but those vehicles are either too expensive or do not fit everyone’s lifestyle. The Backseat Bivy bridges that gap in the segment of vehicles not quite long enough to sleep in, which we discovered is actually quite a lot of vehicles. With a most cars, and sub-compact SUVs they are virtually a no-go when it comes to car camping, and with the help of the Backseat Bivy they can become nimble little camping units. A friend of mine moved into her Pontiac Vibe and could only do that with her small car by using the Backseat Bivy to add that critical extra sleeping space.
Who’s involved in the biz?
There are three active business partners including me. I have a background in the ski industry, among others, and have spent a lot of time living on the road looking for adventure. My other partners include Oyinkan Obikoya, a long-time aviation finance professional with lots of international business experience who loves to travel, and we sought out the skills of a colleague of ours, Peter Root, who’s an engineer by trade with a thirst for the outdoors. It didn’t take much convincing for Peter to buy into the Backseat Bivy: he’s slept in his Subaru so many times he built a wooden frame to painfully install and remove. The Backseat Bivy is now his preferred way of camping.
During the middle of the night he knocked the car out of gear. The e-brake wasn’t on and he was on a small hill so he slowly rolled for about 40 or 50 feet
What’s your business model look like at the outset?
The business model is direct to consumer online sales. We are initially launching via Indiegogo to hopefully drum up some attention as this product is quite new, and we feel that will help get more eyes on it early.
What’s your funniest in-car bivy experience?
A few years back a group of friends and I decided to bomb out to the Icefields Parkway in the spring when conditions were prime for mountaineering. We all decided on a ground bivy in the parking lot. Soon after we set up there was a friendly mouse that must have been a bit cold as he kept trying to get into our sleeping bags. You’d feel a tug on your toque occasionally and as soon as you flipped over he’d scurry off into the night. After a bit of this cat and mouse game I hopped in the Mazda 3 stuffed full of gear and put the front passenger seat back as far as it would go. The next three hours were a toss and turn session in the car. Good thing the stoke was high as I was starting the day low on energy.
What’s the funniest one you’ve heard about?
A friend of mine was car camping on Vancouver Island and sleeping in the front seat. During the middle of the night he knocked the car out of gear. The e-brake wasn’t on and he was on a small hill so he slowly rolled for about 40 or 50 feet before coming to a soft landing on level ground. He woke up the next morning slightly confused as to what happened. E-brakes are now used with every car camping experience to avoid a runaway bed in the night.