New Feature: GearBacker


What’s better than new gear love? Showing some love to the geniuses who invent it!

Kickstarter. Indiegogo. You probably know how sites like these work: Projects and creative ideas of all sorts are submitted by anyone; backers can chip in with pledges to make those ideas happen. Incentives are offered for pledging different amounts, and if the fundraising goals are met, everybody wins.

The last year has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of outdoor gear designs on crowd-funding sites. We love the spirit of that process, so we’ll periodically be featuring proposed gear designs we think are worthy of your consideration. Like what you see? Be one of those who funds them.

Let’s kick it off with our first batch of GearBacker picks.

Status: Funded
If you haul a fair amount of camera/electronics equipment around, you likely have a love/hate relationship with velcro. TrekPak uses a system of removable inserts which use pins instead of velcro. It’s highly configurable, able snugly hold your toys. And it does look far less cluttered. Trekpak has just reached their funding goal, but until their website launches, they’re posting updates on their Kickstarter page. Have a camera case already? See their blurb about RolliPak, which uses the same pin-based dividers to work with existing cases.

Status: Accepting pledges
The MoveeGo philosophy is a simple one: “When you purchase your camera for $300, you want accessories for under $100.” With that in mind, creator Sylvain Lepoutre has produced the SteadeeGo and the SlideeGo, a stabilizer and rail which are both optimized for compact cameras, smartphones and the GoPro. Both are bafflingly small when packed (they require some assembly) and, as his sample videos show, show promise in elevating the production quality of “basement videographers” everywhere.

Status: Funded
Solar chargers and other backcountry power solutions have slowly become more mobile. ZenTreks‘ line of backpacks employ flexible solar panels, with numerous ports and charging options (skip to about 2:40 in the video; it’s worth it). Yet they don’t forget the backpack itself: Durable materials, hydration bladder, ‘waterproof’ inner liner and other touches like memory foam pads in the straps. ZenTrek’s product has been used by the military; this project, however, will bring the packs to the public.

The Scrubba Wash Bag
Status: Funded
Say you’re on a long trip with only a change or two of clothes. Say they’re really beginning to stink. The Scrubba offers a tidy way to do the laundry, minimalist-style. It’s essentially a dry-bag with an interal urethane ‘washboard’, allowing for a few items of clothing to be cleansed at a time. A roll-down clip seal keeps the water inside while a special valve lets out excess air. 40 or so seconds’ worth of scrubbing later, your load is clean. The Scrubba has met its fundraising goal, but you can sign up for email updates on a product launch.

Shearwater Paddles
Status: Funded
Paddles that take a cue from nature’s design — sure that’s been done. But modeled after the webbed feet of waterfowl? Shearwater‘s paddles look odd, but if “perfect trailing tip spiral vortexes are generated, as is a very slight blade flex and whip effect to smooth thrust, both just like with birds’ feet”, maybe looks only matter so much? Plus, the blades of the Shearwater fold inward for storage and the shafts collapse as well, altogether fitting inside a 3″ tube. It looks like both kayak and canoe paddles are in the works. Heck, I’d try one out. You?

True, most of these first campaigns are indeed funded. But you get the idea. And we’ll be keeping an ear to the ground for new opportunities for you to back entrepreneurial gear makers like these.

Have you come across any similar projects? Let us know in the comments; we’d love to pass along the word.

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One Response to New Feature: GearBacker

  1. Thanks for posting about this, I would love to read more about this topic. Andy I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Congratulations again on a good job Andy.

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