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We make beautiful, sustainable bamboo trekking poles, stronger than aluminum and as light as carbon fiber!
We make beautiful, sustainable bamboo trekking poles, stronger than aluminum and as light as carbon fiber!
124 backers pledged $15,320 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Walk With Nature: The Trekking Pole Reimagined

$15,320

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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.

  • Natural channels in cork serve to wick moisture away from the contact surface, without absorbing into the cork cells.
  • Cork has superior compression qualities allowing a cork handle to feel natural and slightly cushioned, without deforming over time.

  • 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.

  • Prototyped from a biodegradable plastic and 3D-printed.
  • Ready to be injection molded.
  • Stainless steel inserts grip any terrain.

  • 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!

    Credits:

    Videography: Oscar Marczynski, oscarmar@uw.edu
    Photography: Zoey DeJong
    Music Credit: Song 1, "Aamjiwnaang": Nathaniel Noton-Freeman
    Music Credit: Song 2, "City Lights": Christian Aen

    Sizing Chart

    Risks and challenges

    Our Promise:
    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

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    Support

    1. Select this reward

      Pledge $5 or more About $5

      Awesome, you're helping hikers Walk with Nature. We'll send a thank you out on our Twitter!

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    2. Select this reward

      Pledge $25 or more About $25

      Thanks! For you, we've handcrafted an Uphill Designs cork keychain. This will keep your keys afloat and your social life bubbly.

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      20 backers
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    3. Select this reward

      Pledge $55 or more About $55

      "The Solo" A single fixed-length Uphill Designs Trekking Pole. For the hiker who needs but one pole to balance their steps. **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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      9 backers
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    4. Select this reward

      Pledge $99 or more About $99

      "The Hiker" A pair of fixed-length Uphill Designs Trekking Poles perfect for multi-day backpacking or single day nature hikes. Helps maintain balance and pace while in the great outdoors. **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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      21 backers
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    5. Select this reward

      Pledge $149 or more About $149

      "The Adventurer" A pair of collapsible Uphill Designs Trekking Poles, the first collapsible bamboo trekking poles. They'll easily fit into your backpack when they're not pacing your adventure.
      **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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      34 backers
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    6. Select this reward

      Pledge $189 or more About $189

      "The Hiker x2" Two pairs of fixed-length Uphill Designs Trekking Poles perfect for multi-day backpacking or single day nature hikes. Get one for yourself, and one for a friend. **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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      7 backers
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    7. Select this reward

      Pledge $275 or more About $275

      "The Adventurer x2" Two pairs of collapsible Uphill Designs Trekking Poles, the first collapsible bamboo poles. Get one for yourself, and one for a friend.
      **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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      6 backers
      $
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    8. Select this reward

      Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

      "The Explorer" A unique run of our Uphill Designs Trekking Pole made with custom black bamboo, handwoven linen straps, and brass accents. You are the VIP at our launch party with the founders in the Seattle area in February 2015.
      **Size can be chosen post-Kickstarter**

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    Funding period

    - (30 days)