Tentovation: Turning Bottles Into Bivouacs with The Earthship
We first found The Earthship through their stunning imagery on Instagram, but grew even more intrigued of this newcomer in the tent-dustry when we learned their tent were made from recycled bottles. Yes, you read that right. These are high quality, outdoor ready, take-what-you-can-put-them-through tents made out of recycled plastic textiles.
If you are anything like us, your first thought is probably ‘how is that even possible?’. Your next thought may have been ‘I wonder if there’s any ice cream in the freezer’. Or maybe that’s just us. Either way, we needed to get to the bottom of this, and we didn’t care who was at the top!
Turns out the guy at the top is Scott Filipak, a lover of art and Earth on a mission to create, explore and discover. We got together with the Colorado transplant to get more information about The Earthship, its connection to art, why they plant 10 trees for every tent sold and future plans for the company.
The Tent Commandments (TTC): Can you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself, The Earth Ship, and it’s mission?
Scott Filipak (SF): Greetings to The Tent Commandments community, Scott here, from The Earth Ship. Currently residing in the Rocky Mountains of Boulder, Colorado. Growing up a dedicated skier from the Midwest, I frequently traveled to this part of the country in search of steep terrain and fresh snow, knowing that someday I might make these mountains home. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from weekend camping/ski trips with my family. The expansive skies, towering bluffs, and ancient forests connected me to the spirit of the land.
While attending university for Business and Graphic Design, I helped co-found a business focused around Art & Apparel. This project gave me the opportunity to collaborate with some of the worlds best visionary artists, designing wearable works of art. As the years passed, I realized I was spending too much time in an office and loosing touch with the outdoors.
I wanted to build an outdoor brand that blended art and sustainability. A hybrid of my passion for nature and artistic expression, The Earth Ship was launched. Our mission is simple; “Create, Explore, & Discover”.
TTC: What sparked the idea to make art-tents out of recycled bottles?
SF: After attending a music festival many years ago, I recognized a need for visually appealing, sustainable outdoor gear that didn’t compromise quality. Working as an apparel designer, I had previously used textiles made from recycled plastics, however I hated wearing them. I realized that those materials could be ideal for providing shelter. After doing some research and talking with a few different manufactures, I was able to produce my first tent prototype. “The Molecule-4”, is a collaboration with recognized artist MARS-1, featuring his artwork “Infinite Tapestry”.
TTC: Why go sustainable?
As an outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist I recognize the impact our throw-away culture is having on the planet. Rather than using more petroleum based resources and creating more waste, we recycle. Currently only about 10% of the worlds plastic are re-purposed, leaving the other 90% to be incinerated or sit in our oceans and landfills. We plant 10 trees for every tent sold in an effort to offset the impact of the production, distribution, and discard of our products.
TTC: Are there any other companies making tents out of recycled materials?
SF: Major outdoor companies like Patagonia, Columbia, and The North Face are offering many sustainable apparel options, however, there are very few tents hitting the market that focus on recycled materials. I’ve looked to these brands, especially Patagonia, for inspiration when it comes to design, sustainability, and transparency. We plan to continue to improve our practices and to protect the integrity of The Earth (Ship) for generations to come.
TTC: I know that art is very important to The Earth Ship. You’ve collaborated with Mars-1 on your initial tent release. Do you plan to incorporate art in future products?
SF: Mario Martines AKA (MARS-1) has been one of my favorite artists since the first time I saw his work. Particularly, his 3D artifacts cast out of bronze and other materials that have been showcased around the world. His mind-bending work “Infinite Tapestry” was the perfect image for our first art-tent collaboration, “The Molecule-4”. The Earth Ship will continue to collaborate with MARS-1 on new designs, along with a couple of recognized artists for the spring launch. We look forward to developing future products, and our 2-person back-packing tent to be released next spring!
TTC: I saw that you supplied a ton of tents for the Global Eclipse Gathering. Do you plan on doing more festivals in the future?
SF: The Global Eclipse Gathering was a true artistic exploration with creativity woven into every facet. Our tent village had over 400 Molecule-4’s setup for headlining musicians along with travelers who flew in to capture the eclipse at one of the best viewing destinations in the world. MARS-1 and The Further Collective painted a live mural at their custom built lakeside stage. It was a great opportunity for The Earth Ship to add to the environment and we look forward to evolving with our global community at future events!
The Earthship Molecule-4 colony at The Global Eclipse Gathering