Expedition Ops Shower Mat Available for purchase HERE

During a hot shower while camping on Sheep Table Mountain in the Badlands of South Dakota, I realized that my feet were dirtier than when I’d started. “I need a shower mat,” I said to my friend Tim. And that was how this whole thing started:

At the time I was a designer for a big box retailer working on furniture that wouldn’t survive long and would end up in a landfill. I wasn’t happy contributing to 40,000+ units of landfill fodder, with every product I worked on, so I decided the first product I would design for my own company would be as ecologically sound as possible. My product mission: create from reused materials, make it rebuildable, use recyclable materials that age with character, and last but not least , solve the problem of dirty feet.

Reclaimed timber from an old building

I began working with Peter at Duluth Timber Company, in, where else, Duluth, Minnesota, to select the best material for the new shower mat, Redwood was the obvious choice and readily available. The reason such a prized wood is in abundance U.S. is that redwood is reclaimed from old roof top water tanks, old wine tanks, beer tanks, and even pickle tanks. The characteristics of the reclaimed redwood made it the perfect material – it doesn’t splinter easily, resists rot and fungus, works well in water rich environments and its beautiful.

Reclaimed redwood stock ready to be transformed into an Expedition Ops Shower Mat

Choosing the other materials using the product mission, was another challenge. Copper and Stainless steel jumped to the forefront. The copper patina complements the redwood and the stainless steel finish contrasts nicely. Both metals handle their shower mat tasks well.

Shower mat number 1 being tested in Baja

I manufacture each Expedition Ops Shower Mat in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The materials are sourced from local companies reducing transportation. By teaming with local suppliers, I’m able to maintain material quality and enjoy a personal relationship with my vendors which is one of the joys of small business.

Knocking off the edges of the reclaimed redwood for the Expedition Ops Shower Mat

Drilling holes for the stainless steel wire rope into reclaimed redwood on the Expedition Ops Shower Mat

Hand hammered copper spacers that separate the reclaimed redwood slats on the Expedition Ops Shower Mat

Cleaning up sharp wire rope ends from the Expedition Ops Shower Mat

Final assembly of the Expedition Ops Shower Mat

I get to feel the materials thru the manufacturing process. What you receive has been carefully chosen for quality, aesthetics, comfort, and strength. Due to the use of repurposed redwood, you’ll see the markings of a past life on some of the boards – nail holes, dowel holes, sometimes even old writing, or the discoloration from the salt or wine the redwood previously held. All of the scrap redwood is saved and repurposed for other tasks. The copper spacers are hand hammered to round the edges so they gently seat into the redwood. The logo is engraved by a family that has been in the business for almost a half century.

The end result is a product that tells a story, the redwood and copper will age with time, taking on character. A dent in the redwood may remind you of the camp you had on a favorite trip. Every use is another chapter that reminds you of all your experiences in the wild that ended with clean feet after a refreshing shower.

Finished Expedition Ops Shower Mat being wrapped in recycled paper to be shipped to its new owner.

I take great pride in producing a practical product that takes into consideration the life cycle of the materials. If repairs are needed, usually a small amount of 400 grit sandpaper will fix it. If you break one of the slats, they can be easily replaced by sending the shower mat back to me for a quick replacement or if you are handy, by yourself with a replacement slat and a marine supply store. Thank you for considering a unique product – no two are alike.