Thomas Dempsey Launches New Company to Develop “Mobile Adventure Gear”

In June 2004, outdoor industry veteran Thomas Dempsey founded SylvanSport, and with a small group of visionary designers and engineers, began to concentrate on ‘mobile adventure gear,’ a different approach to camping trailers—compact, lightweight, and gear-friendly.

Brevard, North Carolina—Outdoor Industry business leader Thomas Dempsey understands the value of design innovation in the recreation and sports business. Over many years, while successfully managing product launches and multi-million-dollar campaigns at Liquidlogic (the kayak company he founded in 2000), as well as Perception, Watermark, Coleman and Fleetwood RV, Dempsey was considering new designs for camping trailers.

In June 2004, he founded SylvanSport, and with a small group of visionary designers and engineers, began to concentrate on ‘mobile adventure gear,' a different approach to camping trailers—compact, lightweight, and gear-friendly.

“What we're calling a ‘Backpack on Wheels' reflects three years of exhaustive (and fun!) study of the evolution of adventure activity,” says Dempsey. “We've focused on a somewhat overlooked segment of the RV and camping categories: the ‘pop-up,' which has shown little technological innovation over a decade.” Equally important is the evolution of the dedicated adventurer who is seeking more than a sleeping bag on the ground. “We want more comfort and technology but we're not quite ready to enter the RV world.” Dempsey emphasized.

Fast Facts . . .
• RV category to grow +15% through 2010
• ‘Toy Haulers' are fastest growing segment
• ‘Pop Up' segment used significantly more for
camping than RVs, in general (71% vs. 54%)
• 85% of tent campers camp within 0.5 mile of
their vehicle
• Average age of ‘frequent tent camper' is 28
vs. ‘RV camper' at 41

Sources: RVIA, KOA, SGMA

SylvanSport to Unveil Next-Generation Adventure Vehicle at Outdoor Retailer Show, August 7-12
The design team at SylvanSport examined the demographics of outdoor adventurers and the traditional pop-up camper, and re-invented this product from the wheels up, declared Tom Reeder, SylvanSport's chief engineer. “We were frustrated with what's out there, in terms of carrying our gear. We've designed our new ‘Backpack on Wheels' for everyone from active outdoor enthusiasts with their kayaks, mountain bikes, climbing, or triathlon gear, to young families with children, as well as avid sportsmen with gear-carrying and camping desires,” Reeder added.

SylvanSport will unveil its new ‘ultra-light trailer' at this year's Outdoor Retailer Show, August 7-12, in Salt Lake City. National distribution through select Outdoor Retailers will follow, with initial shipments slated for fall 2007.

Dempsey also adds, “This is distinctly not a traditional RV or Pop-Up and will be marketed and distributed differently. Our emerging retail partners have already expressed their commitment to the new concept and have applauded the technical thinking that has gone into the design, production, and distribution planning.” Dempsey added.

Strategic Partnerships Key to Development of ‘Ultra-Light Trailer'
While the initial concept for SylvanSport began in June 2004, by September 2006 Dempsey and his Team had joined forces with Diamond Brand Outdoors. “Regionally, Diamond Brand is the premiere outdoor outfitter with decades of customer satisfaction and loyalty. As a manufacturer of quality outdoor products since 1881, they know the business of exceeding demanding requirements for quality and distribution.” Dempsey stated. “They are a great partner.”

Dempsey forecasts that additional strategic partnerships will be announced in the next few weeks. “We intentionally have been relatively quiet during our R&D phase. Now, after 3 years, our team is solid, our product is ready, and we are prepared to reveal the whole story behind SylvanSport. In a real sense, we are reinventing the wheel!”

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SylvanSport, founded in 2004 by veteran Outdoor Industry executive and entrepreneur Thomas Dempsey, designs, manufactures and distributes “Mobile Adventure Gear” from its headquarters in Transylvania County, North Carolina. The company is committed to developing smart, efficient, visionary products that encourage responsible and respectful enjoyment of the outdoors. For further information about SylvanSport, visit on-line at: