About this project
Thanks to all our backers for making the Vertex Ultralight backpacking stove a reality!
If you missed the funding period, visit vertexoutdoors.com to pre-order. Pre-orders will be shipped after all Kickstarter backers have received their rewards.
Ultralight. Reliable. Compact.
Backpacking is much more enjoyable when you're not weighed down by your gear. You can go farther, see more things, and feel better at the end of the day. Imagine losing yourself in nature, leaving all the non-essentials behind, and finally getting away from it all....this is how outdoor adventure was meant to be.
This is what motivated me to design the Vertex Ultralight stove: when carrying only the essentials, gear must be of the highest quality, easy to setup and use, and as lightweight as possible without compromising durability.
Simple = Dependable
After a long day on the trail, replenishing your energy is essential. You don't want to worry if your stove has a broken valve or is out of gas. It just needs to work. By eliminating the parts that fail in the field, the Vertex Ultralight stove provides peace of mind and a more pleasurable, hassle-free experience.
The Vertex Ultralight backpacking stove is as simple and lightweight as it gets.
I designed the Vertex Ultralight stove with a minimalist approach and focus on quality materials. The stove only weighs 1.8 ounces (50 grams)....so light that it's not even noticeable in your pack. The patent-pending, curved design creates incredible strength with very little mass. The stove has no moving parts, assembles in seconds, and packs smaller than your trail map, so it can be tucked into even the thinnest pockets in your pack. It serves the essential functions of fuel support, windscreen, and pot-stand in a simple and elegant design.
Why Fuel Tablets?
The Vertex Ultralight stove is designed to burn solid fuel tablets (Esbit® is a popular brand). Outdoorsmen, soldiers, and survivalists around the world have appreciated the benefits of fuel tablets for years:
- You always know exactly how much fuel you have left. Count the tablets.
- They leave no trace. Anyone who truly appreciates nature wants to give the same experience to the next person down the trail. With fuel tablets, you carry them in, they burn up completely, and leave no ash behind or empty fuel canisters that you need to carry out. Take nothing, leave nothing.
- They burn at very cold temperatures and high altitude where many gas fuels don't work well. Iso-propane fuel has to vaporize to exit the fuel canister and burn. When it get's below about 11°F, only a portion of the isobutane-propane mixture (the propane part) will vaporize, making it hard to use up all of the fuel in the canister.
- They double as fire starters. These tablets burn for about 12 minutes each, which makes them work great as fire starters in a pinch. One of the best ways to simplify your pack is to carry items that can be used for more than one purpose.
The Vertex Ultralight stove is also designed to support a popular alcohol burner (the Trangia® Spirit Burner) used by many minimalist backpackers. The great thing about denatured alcohol is that you can buy it at virtually any hardware store around the world. Alcohol doesn't have quite the energy density of solid fuel tablets, but makes up for it in availability. To be clear, I don't make the alcohol burner so it's not one of the rewards, but it is a definite plus that this stove easily accommodates one. These burners are easily purchased at your local outfitter or online gear retailer.
Material: Tempered 301 Brushed Stainless Steel
Assembled Dimensions: 4.84 in. X 2.87 in. X 3.0 in.
Weight: 1.8 ounces (50 grams)
Note: Your cooking pot should be at least 3.5 inch diameter to sit properly on top of the stove.
This stove is optimized for weight savings that are appreciated by the ultralight backpacker, whose frequent objective is to boil water for sterilization or for adding to dehydrated meals. Using a single 14 gram Esbit® tablet, the Vertex Ultralight stove brings 16 ounces of water to a boil in approximately 6-8 minutes depending on ambient temperature, elevation, and the starting temperature of the water. I recommend that you use a vented pot cover when heating water, as it will improve boil time (although for illustrative purposes the pot is not covered in the image below).
When you back this project, you're backing me.
I recently formed Vertex Outdoors as a single member LLC in Austin, TX. I went to the University of Texas at Austin, got my degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2002, and have lived here since. I love the greenbelts and open spaces in this city that make it so easy to enjoy time outdoors.
I've been designing products in sheet metal for over 10 years now, so this project is right in my wheelhouse. I'm just glad to be able to combine my passion for backpacking with something I'm trained to do.
I have a good relationship with a production supplier in Asia where a large portion of the world's commercial sheet metal raw material is produced. I have completed several rounds of prototypes with -and this is very important- the supplier I intend to use for final production, so they are already familiar with the product and requirements. I already have quotations in-hand and have determined the costs associated with the project, so I know that commitments can be fulfilled when the project is funded.
Remaining work includes:
- Purchasing the necessary custom production tooling - purchase after project is funded, completed mid Feb 2014
- Buying raw material to run a qualification run of the tooling - mid Feb '14
- Fine tuning production programming and inspection procedures - mid March '14
- Launch full production - late March '14
Risks and challenges
I have been a mechanical engineer in product design for over a decade and have personal experience working with suppliers to complete projects. I'm already working with the production supplier and have made several rounds of prototypes. Now, I need to raise the funding to proceed with production tooling, ordering the raw material, and preparing for high volume manufacturing.
Suppliers always have minor hiccups when they ramp up a product, and I see the biggest risk for this project being the establishment of consistent processes for higher production volumes. My mitigation plan is that I will be personally inspecting every stove for the campaign and can flag any issues to the supplier immediately since I have already built a relationship with them.
Kickstarter backers always come first! Without you this project would never happen, and if I get interest from a retailer I will not fulfill their orders until all Kickstarter backers have received their rewards as promised.
I've seen other projects offer many different categories of rewards and believe this often creates unnecessary confusion and delay. I am intentionally keeping the reward categories simple and straightforward for this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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