BURLEY, Idaho – Burley native Galen Bench was living and teaching in Indonesia in 2004 when the 9.1-magnitude Sumatra-Andaman earthquake occurred off the coast of northern Sumatra. The massive tsunami that followed killed more than 227,000 people and left 1.7 million displaced, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Witnessing the devastation moved Bench to secure a patent on an invention he’d been working on for years: an all-in-one backpack-tent system.
“He likes to invent things,” said Bench’s brother Mike, general manager of TentPak. “He teaches and invents.”
Bench’s idea was that a portable emergency shelter built into a backpack full of other emergency supplies could help people survive for three or more days following a natural or manmade disaster. He patented his invention in 2007 and brought it home, where it became a family business. He has since moved back to Indonesia and the business has been taken over by zombies.
When was the last time you spent the night in a tent?