We had 5 weeks to create a company and a line of 4 products. We were assigned a name for our company and a theme for our products. The 4 products must consist of a "flagship" item and three secondary products to create a full family that clearly expresses our company's style, mission and values.
Vision statement: At BEAST we strive to produce long lasting, products that are as tough as the terrain you're tackling. Our goal is to create tools that become personal momentos of the stories you have created and stay around long enough that they become integral parts of your pack. With textures that wear to your hand and versatility that allows you to use the tools how you need them these tools will become an extension of the survivor in you.
First, we gathered as many examples as we could of existing camping/survival products. Then we clearly defined what a "survival accessory" is and who the target audience for this type of product is. Through our research, we found a list of basic survival tools and proceeded to clearly explore all definitions, examples and existing products. After looking at products, we looked at terrains and determined the common hazards of each, then broadened it to the universal risks of the wild.
We began with 200 rough sketches, covering a wide range of products and concepts within the "survival" theme. We purposefully left the topic open to cast our nets wide to allow us to fully explore and entertain as many ideas as possible. We organized our sketches into six overall topics: multi-tools, navigation, safety, shelter, food and signals.
Sketches by Maral Bikales
After our first round of sketches, we narrowed our scope to a hatchet, knife, fire-starter and water bottle. Our reasoning behind this was that we wanted a versatile and essential tool for a specific terrain. We picked three terrains; the tundra, desert and forest and determined what is needed most to survive in that terrain. In the desert it is hardest to find water, the tundra lacks means to build a fire and the forest provides materials but not means to build a shelter. The knife is our flagship product and thus the most versatile.
Sketches by Maral Bikales
We know the dangers implicated by wilderness survival and how quickly priorities can change. Because of this, we needed a tool that could be as versatile as possible to prepare for the rapidly changing conditions. LEWIS was designed to offer a wide range of functions, hunting, gathering, carving, shelter building, and anything else you see fit. We chose a modified drop point knife design, renowned for their capabilities as hunting tools it was the perfect basis for our survival tool. To ensure proper skinning and reduce the risk of spoiling the meat, we incorporated a gut hook into the point of the knife. For clarification we created a signature texture to signify alternate hand positions for secondary functions. In this case the knife doubles as a scraper for skinning or preparing hides as well as carving or other precision jobs. We chose paracord to wrap the handle because of the numerous uses for paracord in survival situations. As well as incorporated a strike zone on the spine of the blade that can be used to split wood. To account for this we added a greater angle between the handle and the blade and weighted the knife to be heavier on the blade side for easier chopping. We designed LEWIS, to be prepared for the worst. And when coupled with the other tools in our line, you can prepare for anything.
WEIHEN was designed to overcome the most significant challenges in the tundra. There are two compartments for carrying a variety of fire starting equipment, like matches and tinder. The second compartment is for flint storage. The cap slides off the top and is attached via bungee cord for a snug fit and quick access, with the necessary rubber barriers for a worry free waterproof experience. Our signature texture illustrates how the tool was intended to be held when striking against the steel file. The striker on the side, slides out for convenient replacement.
We decided, after much deliberation, that a hatchet would be most useful in wooded areas. Both for its primary function, to chop branches and limbs to aid in shelter building, as well as hide preparation and self-defense. The thickened, flat pole is for hammering, the slanted swell knob at the bottom of the handle is to anchor the tool in the hand. The texture on the side cheek is to indicate hand placement for the precise work, trimming branches, removing bark, cutting notches and hide scraping. STAFFORD was constructed of one, unbroken piece of steel to emphasize aesthetic and fortify its strength. Continuing from LEWIS, the handle is covered in removable paracord for grip or any other uses the adventurer sees fit.
The body of KADETH is made of an absolutely clear and highly durable plastic. The clarity allows UV rays to pass through the walls to purify the water. The plastic’s strength ensures that the adventurer will always have a vessel for water containment, no matter the roughness of the trip. To show when the water is clean, the textured area illuminates a vibrant red to communicate when the water is clean and ready for drinking. The cap narrows at the top to easily attach paracord or a carabiner for carrying or securing to a backpack.
For the display, we wanted to follow the theme of our company by bringing the raw wild and our refined designs together, in a visually exciting and intriguing way. We designed these stands to also reiterate the tool's uses and origins.
Concept, designs and models by Aaron Brinks, Maral Bikales and Jordan Jones
Photos by Patrick Meynard