Kickstarter is quickly becoming popular with both upstart and even more established outdoor companies as a way to fund new product development. By allowing customers to pre-order their gear, companies are able to pay the often substantial upfront production costs without having to turn to outside funding, while creating a bit of new product hype at the same time. Below are a few interesting outdoor related projects currently running on Kickstarter.
The Alpine Hammock can be used like a traditional hammock tied between two trees or for a more alpine environment, the shelter can be set on the ground and used as a freestanding bivy sack. An integrated bug net and rain fly protect you from anything the environment can throw at you, claustrophobia aside.
Designed by two recent college grads, the current Alpine Hammock weighs approximately 1.4 lbs (22.4 oz.) with an aim to reduce that even further upon entering full production. Made in the USA, you can be one of the first testers of the Alpine Hammock for $600 (they will send you a full production unit as well when ready) or $300 to wait for the full production version. For $2000, you not only get 4 alpine hammocks, but Ryan and Mike will personally take you on a guided trip anywhere in New England.
Berkeley based SlingFin, makers of bomber mountaineering tents, have turned to Kickstarter rather than looking to investors to fund their latest product development project- the Honey Badger backpack. Made from a fully recyclable, lightweight composite in an ExoPak construction, the Honey Badger Pack is extremely strong and durable.
The inside of the Honey Badger Pack is fitted with a 23-liter dry bag for protection from the elements and to ensure your pack contents stay dry if you partake in any water activities. Both the shoulder straps and hipbelt are removable for use as a haul bag or quick and easy conversion to a bicycle pannier.
For a $175 pledge, you can get your own Honey Badger, or pledge $185 if you want the pannier conversion kit.
Finally, the already overfunded SOLOSHOT automatically rotates your camera to remotely point at you, up to a distance of 2000 feet, using no camera operator whatsoever. You simply attach your camera or video recorder to the SOLOSHOT base and tripod, throw on an armband for the camera to follow, and then engage in your various outdoor stunts to be later uploaded to YouTube.
For a $349 pledge, you can get your own SOLOSHOT off the new production line, a package that would normally retail for $479 through the company website.