Outdoor Related Inventions that Need to see the Light of Day

Thursday, 26 January 2012
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Sparxgear Fire Piston

Any inventor with an awesome idea will tell you how difficult it is to take it from prototype to store shelves. In many cases an awesome idea never gets off the ground because they just can’t find the cash.

Finding that cash has always been difficult but getting easier. In the past year or so, Kickstarter has become the largest funding website for creative projects or inventions.

Here is how it works. You are looking for funding for your project, invention, art piece or documentary. On Kickstarter you create a page to sell your idea and people pledge. If the idea meets the fundraising goal then credit cards gets charged and everybody is happy. You get the funding and project backers get a piece of the action depending on their pledge level.

Browsing through the site, here are a couple of cool outdoor related projects currently looking for funding or were recently successful:

Sparxgear Fire Piston

Fire Pistons have been around for quite a while but Sparxgear is working on a billeted aluminum version that is more economical then products currently on the market.

Fire pistons work when the air inside the chamber is quickly compressed and superheated enough to ignite the tender inside. Wikipedia describes them as a device of ancient origin so I guess that mean’s pre-1970’s.

Sparxgear is looking to raise $15,000 but are currently sitting 23,000.

Hemp Plastic Water Bottle

Tired of to much plastic on earth? Here is a company that has figured out how to use that magic material, hemp and turn it into a reuseable waterbottle.

According to the website, it’s a 100% biodegradable alternative to non-renewable, oil-based plastic.

They are hoping to raise $15,000 and currently sitting at $3,325.

The Backcountry Boiler

This is one of the great gear-related Kickstarter success stories. The Backcountry Boiler is essentially a kettle and stove built into one. With small twigs and pieces of wood you can boil about ½ a litre in 4-8 minutes.

Funding has now closed for this item and they would have been happy with $20,000. At the end of the funding period they had raised over $60,000.

The backcountry boiler in action.

Superior Dream Documentary

Not every item on Kickstarter is a new invention. In 2010 Greg Petry and Lucas Will circumnavigated Lake Superiorby kayak with the plan to turn it into a documentary. Now that the trip is over they are seeking funds to pay for the production and editing costs.

Superior Dreams looks like a really interesting documentary and is being produced by J.J Kelly one half of the team in the very funny documentary, Paddle toSeattle.

Their goal is $6,000 and so far have raised $4,185. They have 16 days to reach the rest so if you have some spare cash get involved!

Paddle to the Amazon Documentary

Paddle to the Amazon Documentary

Here is another documentary I would love to see get funding. If you haven’t read Paddle to the Amazon you really should. It’s the crazy, crazy story of Don and Dana Starkell’s expedition from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the mouth of the Amazon River. Yes, that Amazon River. Two years and 12,180 miles later they made it but that was after surviving pirates, drug smugglers and starvation.

The producer is hoping to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter but has so far only raised $130 so they have a ways to go so far.

Eye3 Drone

eye3 drone

If you are looking into getting more into adventure filming then you need to invest in the eye3. The goal if eye3 is to "create a professional quality yet affordable flying robotic camera platform".

These guys look like they really have their act together and developed both the helicopter and the software to make flying as simple as possible and depending on which model you get it comes with built-in autopilot so you can focus on getting the shot when the drone is in position. Sign me up!

They were hoping for $25,000 but funding is currently sitting at over $66,000 and that’s with another 29 days to go.

BootstrapSolar Power Pack Kit

Bootstrap Solar Charger

Finally, if you like to tinker and build stuff then you will be interested in solar power charging kit that you can easily assemble yourself. It comes with all the required parts. Funding from Kickstarter has ended and they were very successful raising over $31,000 but you can purchase them on their website for around $120.

The kit will put out 5w of power or 10w if you add an extra solar panel which is more then enough for handheld electronics including iPhones, iPads or GPS units.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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