About this project
The patent-pending, Original TripTarp® for Backpacking was invented to help people understand the relationship between trip planning and the quality of their wilderness experience.
Backpackers are often using plain tarps, spreadsheets, or hand-written lists to “shakedown” their gear cache before a trip.
Visually organizing gear helps a person better understand what’s needed, allows gear to inspected, and provides confidence about the logistics of the trip.
Packing problems arise when that list needs to be altered for each trip location and season, or when what’s on the floor doesn’t match up with what’s on the list.
Since gear has to change according to conditions, a new list needs to be made, and new gear has to be sorted. For example, gear for the Grand Canyon in June is drastically different than gear needed for June in Glacier National Park.
Like a database, every time you re-enter data, you risk the quality of the output. You need to remember what to remember.
Wouldn't we all benefit from outside confirmation that we have everything we need? And only what we need?
TripTarp® for Backpacking is that outside confirmation, an always-there, location-neutral, multi-purpose gear list. It reminds you: You don’t need everything, just everything you need.™
I invented TripTarp® to help all levels of backpackers, from those just discovering the backcountry to seasoned commercial guides. It was my experience as a backpacking guide that drove its creation.
"TripTarp helped us organize all of our gear for a month of rafting on the Colorado River. It packs down super small, making it a convenient piece of equipment for any backcountry trip. With all of the sand in the Canyon it was nice to have a clean, dry place to lay out all of our gear next to our tent at each camp. Thanks again to the TripTarp crew!”
- Brad Hurd Bird Creek, AK
With a little traction gained after a few prototype sales (I'm thankful for every sale and every bit of feedback I was given), I hired a top-notch design team to incorporate the psychology of visual ergonomics.
In other words, we looked at how visual clues influence interaction with physical spaces.
Also, TripTarp® had to do more than look good, the visuals had to be rooted in functionality.
With the feedback gained from prototype users and with the help of The Made Shop of Denver, CO, I’ve reached this point, the precipice of my invention's reality.
I believe strongly that TripTarp® is meeting a need and improving an existing process.
"I've found TripTarp to be a great functioning, organizational piece of gear. For family or group adventures, it helps you ensure you have what you need, but not overpack."
- Dean Cattell
Gear is organized on TripTarp® according to each category's respective Flex-Zone™, a defined space for that need’s gear.
When you become physically and mentally engaged in an activity—the root of outdoor experiential education—you become more open to learning that activity, to becoming engrossed in its lesson. TripTarp® does this for gear organization.
"I have been using TripTarp for the last two seasons. It gives me confidence that I am not going to end up out in the bush without all of the essentials. It is also there to offer an extra sheltered area in camp when it rains. It weighs practically nothing and takes up very little space."
- Jaime Young
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Each Flex-Zone™ has open borders, designed deliberately to connect related categories. For example, items related to Sleep, like your pad and bag, are closely related to items one needs for Shelter. The same goes for the Cook and Food & Drink categories.
We developed category titles to connote action, to support the idea of packing as an active endeavor.
Each category is accompanied by a short list of reminders and backpacking best practices that are based on long-standing, widely accepted standards of backcountry travel. They also serve to remind users to not forget essential, safe practices.
All 10 Essentials for backcountry travel are clearly marked in their respective category—your must-have pieces of gear every time you step on the trail.
Simple, demonstrative icons are centrally placed as visual triggers to quickly associate a Flex-Zone™ with its respective list, and to serve as stand-alone indicators of category purpose.
The Original TripTarp® for Backpacking contains a clear breakdown of safety reminders along its bottom border.
Despite the growing use of mobile devices in the backcountry and the ever-increasing sophistication of GPS technology, nothing has more bandwidth than common sense. Tell people where, tell people when.
The best outdoor gear should serve multiple purposes.
“Multi-purpose” is a sound environmental mantra (less stuff to throw away/bury/pollute) and the essence of good gear.
TripTarp® for Backpacking is ...
- 5' x 7'
- 70D silnylon
- 8.6 ounces
- DWR (durable water repellent) coated
It's just big enough for shade, a gear shelter, a dry backcountry kitchen space, rope tarp, tent mat or hammock cover.
There's even a 5' ruler on its edge for cord cutting or trout measuring.
Funds raised will go almost entirely to production of The Original TripTarp® for Backpacking. This includes screen production, fabric purchase, printing, trimming, and shipping.
Remaining funds will support the design of the next product in the TripTarp® line, a version for Family / Front-country Camping, and an accessory Meal Planning Tarp, smaller and designed specifically to help organize backpacking meals.
It will also help fund costs associated with entering industry trade shows to demonstrate TripTarp® to the retail industry, such as Outdoor Retailer, the International Surf Expo, and the Snowsports Industries America show.
Risks and challenges
Many people asked for TripTarp® to be bigger. It nearly doubled the production cost to go a foot longer, which is the more accepted minimal size of a one-person shelter. Also, most commercial printing operations that work within the outdoor industry can't print on a single sheet wider than 60''.
Since TripTarp® is designed first to be a gear organization and trip planning tool and an emergency shelter second, I landed on the side of organization. Perhaps down the road company growth can be the impetus for a larger version.
Intellectual Property Theft
Despite domestic protection under a provisional patent, there is very little that can be done about foreign entities duplicating my efforts. My only option is to move fast and market better. That is why the name “The Original TripTarp® for Backpacking” has been trademarked. As has the slogan, “You don’t need everything, just everything you need.™”
Tarp Market Saturation:
While no other tarp I've come across has TripTarp®'s highest and best use as packing tool, there are countless high quality, very useful backpacking and camping tarps available at every price range, many of which have rightly thrived under the surge in lightweight backpacking.
TripTarp® can't compete with sophisticated mountaineering shelters built on 100 years of outdoor ingenuity. But, that is not the invention's intent. TripTarp® can co-exist, and help the people who use those tarps make sure they pack them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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