GentleTent is a start-up from Vienna specialized in inflatable tent systems.
We are the pioneers of the inflatable tent market through our own innovations and developments in the industry.
ALL ABOUT GENTLETENT
The GentleTent Story
In the beginning there was the idea of the micro-caravan
When the inventor Gernot Rammer is on the road with an e-bike for the first time in 2012, he immediately recognizes the potential that an e-bike has to offer. His dream was born: to develop a comfortable & light bike trailer that combines camping and e-biking.
Small steps lead the way
The trailer should be light and of course uncomplicated. The art-loving architect Jürgen Haller is immediately inspired by the new bike travel vision and so the idea soon turns into tangible engineering in the Linz tobacco factory. A fixed component of the maturing B TURTLE concept will be an inflatable tent element. While the experiments with tubes and air constructions are progressing rapidly, numerous problems with the trailer construction remain unsolved. In autumn 2013, the decision will finally be made to focus on an airtent, an own air construction solution, and to continue the B TURTLE development on the side.
A full-time heart project
The vision of the "Airtent" becomes the project of the heart. Existing jobs are cancelled, a workshop in the Linz tobacco factory is rented and the team is supplemented by positively "crazy" people - architects, engineers, designers and outdoor professionals. "Airtent" is the name of the system of pneumatic air bodies that is to initiate the aspired tent revolution. In less than a minute the GentleTent tents are completely assembled. Using industry know-how from leading manufacturers, we create tents that are not really tents at all. They are mobile spaces, comfortable, and made of high quality materials. They also break new ground in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
Against all odds
The road to the finished prototypes is rocky, yet Gernot Rammer and his team manoeuvre their way through countless product tests, material adjustments and technical challenges. The team even has to put up with the theft of a prototype shortly before it is ready. On February 16, 2014 the "day of uprising" finally arrived. It is the day on which the frame of the first GentleTent prototype stands for the first time without support. This day is since then a company internal holiday, which is toasted annually until today. As a result the company GentleTent was officially founded in April 2014 and the first three GentleTent products were then be presented.
Next step: Crowdfunding
On 25 April 2015, a new chapter was opened. Through a crowdfunding campaign GentleTent wanted to make the step into serial production of the tunnel tent GT XS. Future customers could financially support the idea of Gernot Rammer and Co. in advance to enable the start-up to overcome the next hurdle. In return one secured a GentleTent product at a more favourable price. The popular crowdfunding is intended to show that even today inventiveness and perseverance can be rewarded. And this in a direct way together with the future customers. At least that is the hope of Gernot Rammer when the crowdfunding started.
First trade fair appearances and worldwide media interest
With funny and unusual videos, the Crowdfunding campaign is the first time that the company is appearing in public on a larger scale. Several videos spread worldwide and bring millions of people into contact with the new concept. TV appearances in Germany and even in Australia follow. In addition, the first trade fair participation took place in summer 2015, in Friedrichshafen, where the GT XS, GT S and GT Classic models were presented to a broad public for the first time.
To the stars on a rocky road
Crowdfunding was unsuccessful. The financing goal was not achieved and therefore the team had to reduce production to a minimum instead of the intended serial production. Fighting twice as hard, Gernot Rammer becomes a lone fighter for a short time. For almost two years a small and changing team experienced and mastered numerous ups and downs. The work performance of the team was immense. In spring 2016 GentleTent was launched on a large scale to the market. This started with their first big fair tour through Germany to make the brand and the products known. Good publicity brought the company the opportunity to participate in the Austrian start-up show "2 minutes, 2 million" in April 2016. However, this resulted in no investment from the jury. In addition, the existing range is constantly being developed and refined: the GT Tipi, the GT Shadow, the GT Seal Tubs and the first GT Home models are launched. The company survived the difficult phase thanks to the interested investor Martin Kladensky, who has been actively involved from the very beginning. At the same time, the micro-caravan B Turtle is being tinkered with and in June 2016 B TURTLE GmbH is finally founded.
Trade fairs, exhibitions & new milestones
In 2017 the trade fair presence was further intensified and expanded internationally. In addition to participation in trade fairs in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, the company took part in a trade fair in Great Britain for the first time. The milestones of the year: the GT ROOF, the first inflatable roof tent in the world was presented to the world public for the first time in Düsseldorf and the largest wholesaler in the camping market, Frankana, included GentleTent in its product portfolio. The year 2017 finally ends with a move from the 17th district to the cosy 12th district in Vienna - the location had become too small.
Things are going uphill - slowly but steadily
The company started 2018 with a new home and new employees. In addition to eliminating the chaos caused by the move, the company began to put itself on a more stable footing while building its online presence with a website and Socia Media channels. The inflatable rooftop tent GT ROOF, which was awarded the Outdoor Industry Award that summer, and the microcaravan B Turtle are the stars of the year. With the B Turtle, GentleTent is once again expanding its radius of action: the bicycle and travel industry is also moving into focus. In autumn the GT Pick Up, the GT Mattress and the B Turtle Mono were presented as new innovations in Düsseldorf. However, the rapidly growing number of customers and the growing product portfolio also brought new challenges: production capacities urgently needed to be increased. In addition to the small production in Hungary, the company successfully searched for production partners in Asia.
The start-up turned 5!
In the first weeks of 2019, not only were the sales figures tripled, but also the number of employees. The first deliveries from Asia arrive and are shipped. With the beginning of the year, the intensive development of a B TURTLE travel network also started, which found its home on the community platform www.ebikecamping.com. Meanwhile, GentleTent goes Australia. With the widely travelled Jace Warden, who fell in love with a GT HOME model and the GentleTent concept on a camping site in Switzerland, GentleTent is now also represented outside Europe in Australia. At the end of May the first GentleDays were organized in cooperation with the Camping Neue Donau on the occasion of the fifth year of the company. The GT SKY LOFT, the largest rooftop tent of the world, was presented. Because of the innumerable and extensive tasks, projects and activities, the staff is again increased.
GentleTent bursts at the seams
There's no room left! Increased number of employees and scope of delivery regularly caused the company headquarters in Murlingengasse to be moved. The way to the workplace leads through narrow, metre-high cardboard corridors. Additionally rented premises only bring short-term relief. Whole truck loads of up to 10 tons in weight are unloaded and stowed manually by the team. No pallets can be pushed through the door. The team continues to work eagerly on new developments and to expand the dealer network. Company synergies are sought (and achieved) and, thanks to the know-how built up over the years, the team is involved in numerous external research projects. This soon bears fruit. Mitsubishi Motors Germany becomes the first car manufacturer, which is supplied with tent systems of GentleTent.
The move to the GT farm
There is now no way around anymore, there was an need for relocation. By a lucky coincidence a vacant, former farm with inner courtyard and meadow property in the centre of Vienna is found and rented. Less than two months later the company moved again. The year 2019 came to a turbulent but highly satisfactory end with 300% growth.
Status Quo - Every day is an adventure
Everyday life is currently still a foreign word in the world of GentleTent. Unplanned delivery delays, the effects of the coronavirus on production or new partnerships in Europe make every new day an adventure for the team. We look positively into the future and continue to work on the "GENTLE revolution of camping’’. We are already looking forward to it.
Product innovations in the timeline - World Premieres
Summer & Autumn 2016
- GT ROOF (the first inflatable roof tent in the world)
Summer & Fall 2018
- GT SHADOW 190 & GT SHADOW 360 (inflatable marquee/awning)*/**
- GT ROOF MINI (rooftop tent for 2 persons with unique packing size)
* Further development /** Coming soon /*** Production temporarily discontinued/no longer available
The GentleTent founders Gernot Rammer and Jürgen Haller
Gernot Rammer (born in 1969) is a qualified heavy current fitter and office clerk and subsequently completed the master's degree in "Arts and Media Management" at the University of Linz and "Public Policy" at the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin, where he also worked as a lecturer for employee management after his studies. He has 20 years of experience as managing director in various companies and non-profit organizations, including 10 years as national managing director of a large family organization. Gernot Rammer is CEO of GentleTent GmbH.
"I am most touched by the unique design. We have seen in many tests what a strong fascination the tent exerts on people - especially in comparison to conventional systems.
- Gernot Rammer, CEO GentleTent -
Jürgen Haller (born 1973) graduated in architecture at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz. He is co-founder of the architectural office "Anytime Architekten" in Linz and has realized numerous building projects as well as projects in the field of exhibition architecture. He won first prize in the international competition "Radical Innovation in Hospitality" in Miami with the project "Pixelhotel". Jürgen Haller is responsible for technology and product development, production and service and assumes the role of CTO at Gentletent.
"With the innovative Airtent system we achieve a unique functionality, reduced to the essentials, but high quality and comfortable like a home".
- Jürgen Haller, Co-Founder GentleTent -