How many people can you fit into a two-person tent? Two of course! …right? Well, it may seem as a no-brainer, but by some reason that question was asked by of one of our employees during a Tentipi staff meeting about a year ago. We had set up some of the coming new models for a workshop, including the lightweight, two-person tent Olivin 2. First we thought of it as a joke, but soon we found ourselves packed in there. Economists, marketing department, seamstresses, CEO. All in all 15 people! Don’t believe us? Check this out!

But that record is now long gone. Ladies and Gentlemen! He has skateboarded across Australia, swom the Lower Missouri, inspired thousands of people to great adventures. Please let us introduce, the world champion of fitting people into small tents, Mr. Dave Cornthwaite!

I first heard about Tentipi in the midst of a frantic 12-day preparation for a pedal-powered kayak journey across Scandinavia. Their expedition-style tipi, the Olivin, was still in production but the idea of one day being able to make camp with an Olivin was more than appealing.

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I’d been adventuring for nine years and my love for wild places had only grown in that time. My big journeys especially had been shaped by my Expedition1000 project, 25 different journeys over 1000 miles, each using a different form of non-motorised transport. Having skateboarded across Australia, paddleboarded the Mississippi and swum the Lower Missouri, this journey in Scandinavia was the 11th trip of the project and I was always looking for a new angle to approach, and new stories and products to share with my audience.

After three weeks and 600 miles of pedaling my Hobie Kayak from Oslo, along the west coast of Sweden and then along the Göta Canal network to Stockholm, I met up with Tentipi’s PR Manager Torsten Gabrielsson and he brought the first iteration of the Olivin along. Immediately I could see potential in this product. Really easy to put up and a mindblowing amount of space once erected, and all in a relatively small pack space that wouldn’t look out of place alongside other tents.

A few months later, in June 2015, I decided to spend a few months in England turning my Facebook audience into real people. Bringing people together and creating opportunities to venture into the countryside has always been a passion of mine, so I put out an invitation online and sure enough, 19 people joined me at a London train station and we headed out to spend a night under the stars.

Over the coming weeks hundreds of people joined me. We paddleboarded down the Thames and around the coast of Cornwall, taught filmmaking in Wales and made at least one microadventure our of London each week. In July I finally got my hands on an Olivin and the fun really started. Torsten had perhaps not envisaged just how competitive I was when he told me that they’d once managed to fit 15 Tentipi staff into an Olivin – this is incredible for a 2 person tent!

The challenge was set. 23 people met up one Tuesday and two hours after leaving London camp was set up and the tribe was staring into the open door of the Olivin. This was England vs Sweden, and I was nervous: we had a lot of tall people in the group! I shepherded them in one by one and eventually lay down on top of a pile of heaving bodies, gently pulling the zip shut. We did it, the record was ours!

Now, you might think that we’d rest on our laurels and sit on the record, but a week later we somehow managed to shornhorn 25 fully grown adults into the Olivin. Sure, it was bulging at the seams, but it’s a brilliant ice-breaker!

Those hundreds of people who came camping last year were the early members of the YesTribe. My personal motto, SayYesMore, had transformed into a part of the vocabulary and the ethos of turning strangers into friends and breaking down fears and hurdles was ingrained amongst the Tribe.

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Being surrounded by good people and spending the occasional night and day in the wild as an antidote to the mental health battles created by city living is invaluable, and suddenly we had a group of people dedicated not just to having fun, finding work that matters and embarking on adventures, but to helping each other both through hard and good times. With the power of this support network all the tribe members began redesigning their lives and jobs and the culture of encouraging others to get out there and seize the day, live life, and push their boundaries gathered such an enthusiastic following here and across the world that we managed to hold the first annual ‘Yestival’ in a field south of London in October.

The YesTribe has now grown to over 1000 members and the campouts have begun once again in 2016. Every time the group gathers we’re surrounded by smiling, happy, positive faces, and with friends like this it’s hard not to succeed in whatever we put our minds to. I’d like to think that the Olivin has played a part in the forming of this community – those moments we’ve spent piled on top of each other in pursuit of a ridiculous record were amongst the most memorable of the Summer.

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I look forward to travelling a great distance and spending months in the Olivin on a future expedition, and maybe, just maybe, trying to squeeze 26 people in sometime this year.

www.davecornthwaite.com
@DaveCorn on Twitter and Instagram
Join the YesTribe: www.facebook.com/groups/theyestribe

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