Start-up company Father Nature Outdoors set out to save the world from sleeping on the cold hard ground once and for all. Similar to Big Agnes and Therm-a-Rest, FNO has designed a sleeping bag and camping pad that work together as one unit to keep you from slipping off at night.
Christopher DeVore is the founder of Father Nature Outdoors, starting the company at the age of 19 while a sophmore at the University of Maryland. FNO is based around an integrated sleeping bag product that packs and sells both a sleeping bag and camping pad together.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the options available to me at the time, and more importantly, I knew I could free up space in my backpack,” DeVore recalled. He started by sewing his own bag together, but after receiving compliments on his idea in business class, he started to look at commercial manufacturing.
DeVore was thrilled when he found a manufacturer who used the exact materials he wanted for the first generation of the FNO Integrated Sleeping Bag. With the bag in hand, he went to UMD’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship where he received guidance and won a few awards to pursue his start-up, including a 2nd place in Microsoft’s Young Entrepreneur contest in 2012.
“Now my goal is to get word out about my small business and gain feedback- both negative and positive,” DeVore told me. The FNO Integrated Sleeping Bag is a three season synthetic bag that incorporates a self-inflating sleeping pad beneath it in a sleeve. The camping pad air valve is accessible even as it sits in the sleeve, meaning you don't have to separate the two for inflation.
Both of the products pack together and roll up to the size of a conventional foam camping mattress. The camping pad and sleeping bag are sold as a unit ($159), meaning you don't have to spend time and money searching for the perfect union of products.
When asked of future plans for Father Nature Outdoors, DeVore mentioned that he would like to keep the business small but with a dedicated fan base. The next step for FNO is expanding into other seasonal options, with the most immediate growth option being a duck-down integrated sleeping bag. DeVore now hopes that more fans will find their way to Father Nature Outdoors.