What do you do when you have an incredible idea for a piece of gear that could change the way people play outdoors, but can’t find the capital to get it off the ground? You might think about sharing your vision with the world and asking for financial support. It’s possible people will come out of the woodwork to back you, big time.
Here's our top 10 list of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns that have launched outdoor gear projects ...
Defying the challenges of an average kayak, Oru Kayak is an urban dweller’s dream; an origami-inspired play-boat that folds up into a 12-foot, 26-pound rectangle in just a handful of minutes. (In case you missed our feature on this company, check it out here.) The kayaking community enthusiastically responded by pledging five-and-a-half times more than the amount the company originally asked for in its Kickstarter campaign: $443,806.
Successfully funded in June 2012 to make an uber bright, lightweight, mega-compact headlamp, Bosavi raised more than double its goal, coming in at $49,065 from 482 backers. Invented by developer Dan Freschl, the headlamp is designed with a custom, rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery (with USB chargeability) that lasts up to 60 hours. The lamp can be mounted as a bike light, and reduces waste with packaging that converts into an origami lantern. (Image credit: jschellphotography.com)*Update on 11.16.15: Founder Dan Freschl decided to move on to another opportunity, and Bosavi is no longer in operation.
Ideal for the urban dweller and traveler, Co.Alition's packs are designed with a hard drive and power supply for carrying digital files and charging mobile devices on the go. Even if there’s no Internet connection, or if the user doesn't want to pay for data, all of those files are still accessible. Successfully funded in August 2014, the company raised $50,984, exceeding its mark of $15,000, by a long shot.
Mountain biking apparel for women is often impaired with the three B’s: boring, black and baggy. That is, until Shredly came onto the scene. Founder and designer Ashley Rankin grew up slashing Colorado’s trails, and in 2006 graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in Apparel Design and Production, as well as Business Administration. Less than five years later Ashley launched Shredly, successfully raising $25,897 in a 2012 Kickstarter campaign. From there, she created her dream mountain biking apparel: ladies shorts that are fashionable, technical, and functional.
There’s a lot of hype in the outdoor industry for water bottles that are vacuum-insulated, thread-free and BPA-free. But, what about having a magnetized lid? Liquid Hardware tallied all of these features in its Sidewinder bottle. A magnetic lid sticks to the side of the bottle, so you never lose or drop it, and you can even stick the bottle to objects when you need to be hands free, like the side of your car or refrigerator. If that’s not enough, the lid actually doubles as an emergency compass! This successful Kickstarter campaign rallied its pledges in April 2014 with the support of 477 backers to reach $21,114. (Read our review of the Sidewinder here.)
Also in the water bottle realm, Aquabot created an attachable lid that not only serves up water, but can spray it more than 25 feet away. The cap twists onto the bottle, you pressurize the bottle (up to 35 psi) with a pump on the lid, and then choose your spray pattern—mist, 25-foot jet, or power shower. Utilize Aquabot for washing dishes, pets, and vehicles, watering plants, cooling off the BBQ grill and countless other uses. Funded in August 2014, the project received $71,668, well past its goal of $15,000, likely in part because its video was hilarious.
This ridiculously-fun product (at least, so it seems from the videos) allows parents on mountain bikes to safely take their child along for the ride. Successfully funded in July 2014 to the tune of $78,730, the Mac Ride is a lightweight, ergonomic child seat that’s positioned in front of the adult on bike. It's lightweight, easy to take on and off, and has extendable legs so that it can grow with the kiddos. Best of all, it lets you engage with your kids while pedaling, and allows them to get the feeling of balancing on two wheels.
Designed for comfortably sleeping or lounging, Kammok created a lightweight, one-pound, streamlined hammock made with technical features—breathable, diamond rip-stop nylon fabric and “python straps.” Successfully backed by 1,909 folks in August 2011, the Kickstarter campaign raised close to 14 times the amount it asked for, totaling $208,853. Now, that’s a lot of people kicking back!
Tenkara Rod Co.
These traditional Japanese fishing rods celebrate simplistic design while maintaining lightweight-ness, durability and efficiency. With just a rod, line and fly (no reels or guides), flyfishing is brought down from a sportsperson level to an everyday outdoor adventurer level, allowing anyone to learn. In September 2013, this successful Kickstarter campaign rallied $92,044, more than 30 times the amount it asked for!
Cast Touring, founded by a group of professional skiers, set out to solve the backcountry skier's dilemma: do you choose a lightweight touring binding geared toward the climb up or a full alpine biding offering extra performance on the descent? Rather than compromise between the two, Cast designed a way for the skier to use both. A mounting plate on the ski allows the front toe piece to be interchangeable. Backers funded this company in 2013 in the amount of $66,509. Making sweet turns—or hucking cliffs—in the backcountry has never been easier.
What other successful Kickstarter campaigns in the outdoor arena do you know of? Leave us a comment below.