This is the experimental arm of my product design business. Here’s my plan: I’m going to make and sell some really out-there things – things that don’t compete with my clients – and directly hear what users really think of them.


I’m Mike Cecot-Scherer owner/operator of TheTentLab. I’ve been a product designer in the outdoor industry for 32 years. I’ve designed 257 tents and counting. Here’s my resumé


It’s pretty easy to get ahold of me:
mike email pic

Telephone (be prepared to leave a message):
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I usually answer “Inkling, this is Mike,” since it’s also the line for my design business, Inkling Inc.


This business is run out of our home in Louisville, Colorado (it’s near Boulder)

Future - The SuperTent™

A wicked winter tent that’s ridiculously strong IN ALL DIRECTIONS but doesn’t weigh a ton. If all goes well, it’s going up on Kickstarter this Summer for delivery next Spring. It’s size will be roomy for two, three squeezable (58”x90” floor with VERY straight-up walls). Email me if you’d like to be on the notification list.

More Why

I created TheTentLab to introduce highly specialized and experimental tents (and occasionally other things) to the world to see what users think of them.
• The tents are specialized because they have been shaped by a unique set of non-mainstream preferences and tradeoffs. They definitely don't fit an “it’s for everyone” marketing story.
• The tents are
experimental not because they might not work, they’re experimental because they’re unique – no one really knows if there are customers out there for them.
• The tents are crafted works representing the state of my art and presented with full and honest disclosure of their inherent tradeoffs. It’s a model I hope very much will catch on. I’m not trying to sell you my tents, I’m trying to talk to you about tents and in the process, yes, I hope that some of you will want what I’m making.

Working for so many companies as a freelance designer, I’ve come to the understanding that there really are huge limits — both internal and external — on what a brand can offer. Each brand has its own Manifest Destiny that motivates and directs their activities down to remarkably small detail. They can’t deviate from their paths without the risk of losing their identity and their sales. The net result is that there’s just a ton of stuff that they can’t, won’t or shouldn’t do. I believe this has left lots of holes in the
kinds of products being offered and, as a designer, I’d like to explore some of those spaces with you, the customer.

Which brings me to another of my goals for TheTentLab, to connect to you tent users without the filters and biases that overrun the usual communication channels (if they exist at all). I want to hear directly from tent users what they think and believe and care about.

=> And last but not least, TheTentLab aims to catch many
new and exciting features and designs and release them safely into the public domain. Catch and release, it’s not just for fish anymore.