Located right in the heart of Texas, we Austinites live within reasonable driving distance of every Texas hiking and mountain biking trail, natural swimming hole, state and national park, and mountain range worth mentioning. We’re known for highly valuing and fiercely protecting our trees and green spaces, and as an overall culture, we try to play outside as much as possible.
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On the entrepreneurial front, we’re seeing an influx of natural food companies like Bearded Brothers, EPIC, and Thunderbird who have dedicated themselves to fueling our adventures with organic energy bars that are actually healthy.
Our fair city is also home a handful of gear-focused outdoor lifestyle brands, including ClimbTech, Gossamer Gear, Howler Brothers, and YETI. We’re planning to sit down with all of these adventurous geniuses soon, but for now, we are thrilled to introduce you to Kammok, an up-and-coming outdoor gear and adventure company, which is headquartered right here in ATX.
Kammok was dreamed up by CEO Greg McEvilly in 2010 after he burned out working in commercial real estate. McEvilly decided to return to school to earn a Master’s degree in cross-cultural communication. During this time, McEvilly identified his two greatest passions in life: encouraging and experiencing outdoor adventures, and loving and serving each person that he meets along the way.
Shortly afterwards, McEvilly’s brother introduced him to hammock camping for the first time. As they discussed possible design improvements that would enhance existing camping hammock technology, revelation struck.
“I had a sudden epiphany: ‘What if a lightweight, comfortable camping hammock could be used as an alternative bedding solution for orphaned children in struggling communities or in disaster relief camps? This would get them off the ground at night and the built-in mosquito netting would protect them from biting insects,” McEvilly told Austin.com.
“That was the initial inspiration that set Kammok into motion,” he continued. “Since then, we have been focused on producing the best products for outdoor adventure and giving back to empower people in need & invest in our natural resources. We give top-line revenue to a local non-profit UBUNTU who does incredible social and environmental development work in Kenya. We are also a 1% For the Planet member and a certified B-Corp.”
Sporting the official motto “outdoor gear for the socially conscious adventurer,” Kammok currently sells packable camping hammocks and relevant accessories like bug nets, appropriate installation hardware, and rain flies, as well as insulated down quilts and sleeping bags — all produced using ethical and environmentally friendly practices.
Each Kammok product is named after a wild animal based on the role it performs. For example: their cozy trail blanket, the Firebelly™, is so named for its ability to recycle heat back to its user in a similar way that a Fire Belly Newt’s skin helps it maintain equilibrium. McEvilly went on to explain that the business’ name is also inspired by a specific critter: the female red kangaroo.
“The female red kangaroo symbolizes our core values of love, community, and adventure in a powerful way,” said McEvilly. “She nurtures her young, the joey, in her pouch, protecting it from the harshest conditions in the Australian outback, but she does not do it alone. Kangaroos adventure in groups of ten or more, and these groups are called mobs. That’s what the extended family of Kammok — what we affectionately call our MOB (Moving Others Beyond) — celebrates all over the world. We advocate living this adventure, #TheRooLife, every day.”
To Kammok, constructing their products with only the highest quality materials and serving their customers fair prices and lifetime product guarantees are large parts of what it means to care for and equip their global family to live and adventure well.
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At first glance, Kammok’s Firebelly™ quilt might seem needlessly pricey; it’s listed for $299 in the company’s web store and in REI’s online shop. Look closer, however, and you will notice that the Firebelly™ is filled with down — virtually the highest and warmest material in the lightweight insulated blanket and sleeping bag market. It’s also both bigger and lighter than ENO’s equivalent at the same price point, making it the ideal option for lightweight backpackers and hammock campers who are looking to stay warm out on the trail without breaking their backs or the bank.
And then there’s the company’s original and most beloved offering: The Kammok Roo™ hammock. Priced at a modest $99, the 5’7″ x 10′ Roo comes in bright colors like Zilker Green and Roo Red, comfortably fits two people, and can handle up to 500 lbs of weight. Purchasing a Roo will earn you a nifty water-resistant compression sack, two Kanga Claw carabiners, and two Dyneema Racer Slings, but to really have the freedom to set up your hammock wherever you like, you’ll need Kammok’s 10-foot daisy-chain suspension Python Straps, which cost $29.
“The beauty of the Kammok Roo™ is that you can set it up in less than a minute,” McEvilly explained. “It’s the perfect grab-and-go adventure. You can set it up almost anywhere to experience rest and relaxation… as long as you find two weight bearing beams, pillars, or trees, you can’t go wrong!”
But Roos’ main pulls are their durability and packability. They’re composed of an ultralight, tear resistant ripstop fabric that Kammok invented and they’re triple stitched with high tensile thread to discourage fraying. Each one weighs 1.5 pounds and can be compressed down to “the size of an angry blowfish.” These features allow outdoorsy types maximum peace of mind and convenience while hammock camping, directly tying back in to Kammok’s ultimate mission to encourage and equip people to experience nature together.
“We believe that access to the wild Earth around us is a true gift and we are working to encourage those around us explore, protect, and preserve that gift,” said McEvilly. “For us, the term ‘adventure’ spans a large spectrum and can be found both in the day to day micro-adventures of life and in epic trips around the world.”
Are you not just totally in love with these whimsical adventurers? We definitely are, and that’s great because Kammok is here to stay. The team already has some new groundbreaking innovations in the works, and in fact, during our interview, they gave us a sneak peek at one of their most exciting new products, which they’re planning to start producing later this year. Trust us when we say that you are definitely going to want to follow Kammok on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that you’re clued in when that news drops!
For now, though, you can head into Whole Earth Provision Co., REI, Austin Canoe & Kayak, St. Bernard Sports, TreeHouse, or Tyler’s to purchase a Kammok Roo™ in person or shop online to try to find even better deals.
Then kick back at one of the team’s favorite hammock haunts — Mount Bonnell, Gus Fruh along the Barton Creek Greenbelt, or anywhere along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail — and embrace #TheRooLife. It’s time to swing all of our stress goodbye, Austin!
Featured photo: Courtesy of Kammok
Other story photos: Rebecca L. Bennett, Brave Bird Photography