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‘28 years ago my adventure began, and today I’m living my dream.’
(Matthias Saul, founder of the company)
That year I spent three months travelling by dugout between Ecuador and Peru, in the territory of the Huaorani Indians. After many trips to sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab countries and around Europe, I wanted to explore South America. Since you can’t sleep on the ground in the rainforest, the only alternative was a hammock. I knew that the trip would be a completely new experience for me, but how much it would really come to affect my life is something I am still noticing today.
I had a rough idea of how a hammock is constructed, and also gave a lot of thought to a mosquito net and rain cover. Of course it all had to be easy to transport, and that was when the first problems arose. A complete set with all the necessary features was just too big for the flight, so I had to get the materials in South America and cobble everything together myself. With the help of our guides from the Huaorani Indian tribe, I constructed my first hammock, with mosquito protection and a suspended tent as rainproofing. The result was a monster of a hammock, weighing certainly more than 7kg, with heavy timbers, a mosquito net with holes and a rain cover made of a thick plastic tarpaulin.
The first days of the trip
I can still remember everything about the first days of our journey, and those first nights we spent in the middle of the rainforest. Despite my bad back, I slept in my homemade hammock. I will never forget the first morning. I cursed my assembly skills, because I had even worse backache and I was covered with mosquito bites. Even the first breakfast coffee did not improve my temper, I was just in a bad mood. The demanding trip with our dugout canoe did relieve some of the tension, but I was not looking forward to the next night in the hammock. Luckily we had our Indian guides with us, who had been sleeping in hammocks since childhood and were very much amused by my bad back. In the evening they showed me the best way to hang up a hammock and how to lie in it properly. That night was the beginning of a beautiful pain-free journey, and the starting signal for countless ideas that have accompanied me to this day. During the following weeks I tried to improve my hammock, mosquito net and rain cover almost every evening.
The starting signal...
Back in Germany, I couldn’t stop thinking about hammocks. I imported my first hammocks and sold them to friends and acquaintances. After a few months the first shops were starting to sell AMAZONAS hammocks. I still have friendly and business links with most of the owners, many of whom are practically members of the family.
That is how an idea gave rise to a successful company which started to hire its first employees. My ambition to develop my very own products and put them on the market went on growing all the time.
That was the starting signal for my own hammock weaving workshop in Brazil, the country where hammocks originated. However, no supplier seemed able to fulfil my ideas and wishes quite to my satisfaction. I spent many months in Brazil with my new friends and with real traditional hammock makers. They taught me the basic principles, which I still use today. Much of the experience I gained back then can still be found in our products.
My original aspiration, and to my way of thinking an absolute necessity, was to invent an extremely light, stable and at the same time multifunctional hammock. Who, these days, still wants to carry gigantic backpacks weighing several kilos? The development of new fabrics and production techniques has helped us to reduce the weight today, from what started at over 7 kg to less than 1 kg for our Adventure Set.
But that was not enough for me – a very light hammock that practically fits in your pocket was the ultimate goal. I want to be able to have it with me at all times, without getting annoyed when there was no suitable place to hang it. With a weight of 180g we have more than exceeded the goal, which makes me very proud and happy.
... 25 years later
After more than 25 years of development, failures and countless test trips around the world, I have now reached my goal. Every night in one of our hammocks takes me back to Ecuador and my first nights in a hammock as a young man.
Today I am proud of my life’s work and can show countless novelties and inventions, some of them a world first, that confirm me in my role as an expert in the field.
Fortunately, I am no longer alone now. I have a large team helping me with the further development of our products, and they are even crazier than me!
In conclusion, I can only tell you one thing – the best hammock is the one that simply accompanies you at all times. This is always at the back of my mind with our products.