In 2013, Dan Sedlacek set out hiking from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. He made much of his own hiking gear for the simplicity and freedom it offered. 101 days and 2,700 miles later he knew he would found Uphill Designs.
At the University of Washington, Dan teamed up with fellow engineer Mounica Sonikar and business student David DeBey. Together, they've spent months designing, building, and testing and are pretty proud of what they've created: Uphill Trekking Poles are the first trekking poles that prioritize naturally-sourced, environmentally friendly materials. Not only are Uphill Trekking Poles made from 95% sustainable materials, a percentage of sales will always be returned to the communities that support us.
We have sourced each part of the pole from suppliers and are ready to purchase the specialty molds for our tips and joints. We just need you.
From the Trail
"...truly unique and beautiful."
- Margo Y., Seattle, WA
"...lighter than poles I've had in the past. They handle steep slopes and water crossings easily, and I love the beautiful cork handles!"
- Wendi W., Bellingham, WA
"I felt connected, grounded, and inspired."
-Courtney M., Houston, TX
The Sustainable Strength of Bamboo
Mounica did her masters thesis on the structural properties of bamboo, which offers a number of benefits to alternatives:
- Bamboo grows extremely quickly and is renowned for strength greater than both aluminum and steel.
- Bamboo's hollow structure and distinctive nodes allow for unparalleled stiffness and stability with the least amount of material.
- The result is an incredible natural material as light as carbon fiber and stronger than aluminum.
Check out our bamboo vs. aluminum strength tests:
- For the same amount of bending strain, aluminum permanently deformed while bamboo did not.
- If aluminum trekking poles catch in hard rock while hiking, they may bend permanently whereas our poles will spring back into shape.
Benefits of Cork
At Uphill Designs, we believe the best way to engineer is to identify the ways in which technology can enhance what nature has given us. We have chosen cork as the best material for handles for the following reasons.
Our Biodegradable Tips
Form meets function. We designed the tips of our poles to be an extension of the bamboo in both shape and strength. The result is a beautiful, environmentally-friendly tip.
Detachable Snow Baskets
- Strong, lightweight snow baskets made from recycled plastic.
- Attaches to any Uphill Pole, perfect for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in snow during the winter.
The First Collapsible Bamboo Pole
We have created the first collapsible bamboo trekking pole. We have prototyped our joints out of plastic and are in the process of filing for a provisional patent. We will use Kickstarter funds to injection mold these parts out of beautiful recycled aluminum. The result is our one of a kind collapsible bamboo pole, strong, light, and fits right into any backpack!
Risks and challenges
For 2 years, we will replace any part of the pole, no questions asked.
We aren't happy unless you are: contact us if you have any questions!
As experienced engineers, we're aware of potential roadblocks and have prepared for these contingencies. But, as with any manufacturing project, unforeseen challenges can arise. We promise to be upfront with any changes to our progress and will regularly update all backers.
We are part of the Jones + Foster Accelerator Program at the University of Washington through the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Our advisory board is comprised of experts deeply experienced with bringing innovative products to market. With their support and our passion, we are confident in our ability to overcome any unexpected obstacles.
Anticipated Fulfillment Schedule:
Dec 20th, Finish Kickstarter
Dec 22nd, Order specialty injection molds
Jan 4th, Receive Kickstarter funds
Jan 4th, Order materials in bulk
Jan 14th, Begin manufacturing at Seattle woodworking shop
March 1st, Begin non-collapsible fulfillment
March 15th, Finish non-collapsible fulfillment
April 1st, Begin collapsible fulfillment
April 15th, Finish collapsible fulfillment
- (30 days)