I could call myself a crafty person. Indeed, a goal this winter is to sew my own, custom tent. Weird as it sounds, I cannot find exactly what I want on the market and so, heck, why not try making one on my own? DIY gear-makers like me who want to take their concepts to market (I don’t, btw!) have begun to lean on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects where people can contribute to an idea as support in bringing inventions to market.
Earlier this year, we covered a Kickstarter campaign for the Backcountry Boiler camp stove. (See our story “Boil Water with Sticks and Grass.”) Invented by Devin Montgomery of Pittsburgh, the simple, innovative stove design eventually gained 563 backers on Kickstarter to raise $60,642. Montgomery’s goal to launch the company was $20,000, but the Kickstarter platform allowed him to triple that and bank some funds to launch strong with a product that just might take off in the outdoors world.
Another outdoors upstart brand, Kammock, raised more than $200,000 on Kickstarter. The company makes rip-stop nylon hammocks with fabric that’s “softer than a baby’s backside,” the Kickstarter page notes. A video, photos, and a pledge to give back to charitable causes with every hammock purchase made the kammok a Kickstarter hit.
Peak Design, with its Capture Camera Clip product, has been hugely successful on Kickstarter, raising $364,000 via more than 5,000 backers. The Capture Camera Clip secures bulky SLR cameras to your backpack strap or a belt via a sleek aluminum hardware unit and a clip piece that screws into a camera’s tripod mount.
Liquid Hardware, which has a stainless steel bottle design with a magnetic lid, had a modest goal — $5,000 in funds — for its campaign. Kickstarter contributors fulfilled that goal within nine days, and soon the small company will have the cash to take its magnetized bottles to market. (Two embedded magnets allow you to remove the cap and stick it to the side of the bottle; no more messing with runaway caps.)
Finally, Underfuse is working to reach its goal of $11,500 in funds. The company makes an iron-on gear pocket designed to fuse with performance textiles. You decide where the pocket goes. Iron it on, and then drop in your keys, iPhone or mp3 player. Cool idea. So far, about $3,500 has been raised, but if you’re a believer you can contribute more via Kickstarter right here.
—Pam Wright is a contributing writer for GearJunkie and an editor at UpNorthica, a publication on canoe camping and the North Woods.