By extension, buying a camping item just for the way it looks is not only ridiculous, but ultimately pointless. Money down the drain, as the saying goes. But what about an item that’s both good-looking and functional? One startup from Japan is hoping that the answer is “hell yeah!” and that camping gear with a very distinctive esthetic will appeal to the edgier explorers out there.
BlackishGear is a recently set-up startup that offers what you could describe as a capsule collection of camping gear. They’re not a large company (in fact, the founder is also the seller, photographer, and a typical Jack of all trades kind of guy), so they work on reservations only. This means that they produce to sell, which ensures the business runs smoothly, if slower, and as a bonus, it also minimizes the overall carbon footprint of the company since they’re never left with outstanding stock.
BlackishGear believes that campers should be true to their style, once the issue of practicality is taken care of. That is to say, if campers want to go all-black for their camping gear, they should. The idea of placing this much emphasis on design in this context might seem a bit strange, but BlackishGear also guarantees a quality product.
“Each camp has its own style,” they write. “Whether you’re told that you’re lame or that you prefer a famous brand, you should stick to your own style. This is because camping should be done for your own enjoyment and healing, not for what other people think.”
All items in the capsule collection are offered in black only, a “black that can’t be dyed any other color.” They will surely strike a chord with those who favor a minimalist, pared-down esthetic or lifestyle and are meant to make the explorer as conspicuous as the lone wolf. BlackishGear positions itself as a lone wolf kind of company, both in the way it operates and its products. Just in case you were wondering about the connection between the wolf and all-black camping gear.
The collection includes a tent offered in a single or twin model, a folding chair, a hexagonal table called the Hexatable, and an all-black alcohol stove. The tents, Black Tipi and Black Shelter Twin, are basic canvas tents that you set up with poles and stakes, but they’re made with breathable and highly opaque material, and offer the possibility to expand available space into the outdoors by means of a fold-out flap at the entrance. Their highest selling point is, of course, the fact that they’re black, which, for sure, is bound to get you to stand out – lone wolf comparisons notwithstanding.
The Hexatable and the folding chair can both be dissembled into individual pieces, so they take up very little space during transport. The table is hexagonal-shaped, hence its name, but the center is a large void, which allows you to set it up inside around the central pole, with a fire in the middle, or as a half-table if you’re dining alone and can’t be bothered to put it all together.
The chair is made of beech wood with a canvas backrest, with the canvas rendered fire-resistant to prevent it from catching on sparks. The alcohol stove is basic and small, but tough: thanks to a layer of durable oxide coating, it’s resistant to scratches and dirt and, it should go without saying, falls in line with the vibe of the entire capsule collection.
Fashion has no place when camping, in the sense that it should never be the main consideration when purchasing camping gear. A skewed set of priorities when stocking up for the great outdoors may mean risking unmentionable unpleasantries – at the very least.
BlackishGear is making an argument for aesthetics backed up by real-life functionality, at a price point that’s not even fashionably outrageous. For instance, the larger tent, which is already sold out, retails for JPY 88,000, which is approximately US$657 at the current exchange rate, while the smaller Tipi is JPY 41,800 ($312). The Hexatable is JPY 39,600 ($296), the chair retails for JPY 19,800 ($148), and the alcohol stove is JPY 3,520 ($26).
The collection ships only to Japan for the time being, but if you’ve been camping and feeling like something was missing from your life, and that something was all-black camping gear, it must feel good to know that options exist.