A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Can your off-road anchor do this...?!
The Deadman™ Earth Anchor™ (patent pending) is the world’s most versatile off-road recovery anchor, capable of anchoring to just about anything Mother Earth throws your way. Lightweight and easily stowed under your seat, it’s the self-recovery anchor that’s always with you, allowing you to explore with confidence!
While we expect it will most often be used around trees or rocks, the Deadman is an extremely capable ground anchor as well. Instead of debating whether to carry a heavy metal ground anchor, the Deadman becomes the ground anchor that’s a permanent member of your recovery kit.
What’s an Earth Anchor?
Ok, anything you bury in the ground as a winching anchor point is defined as a deadman anchor. So yes, we named our product The Deadman in honor of this, however its versatility both above and below ground has led us to refer to it as an Earth Anchor. You see, the Deadman is not simply a ground anchor: it can anchor to a tree, a rock, or the ground unlike anything else. Most anchors only work in one scenario, meaning you must carry multiple anchors to ensure preparedness. And when it comes to anchoring to that big fat boulder, most people improvise with a tow strap here – something you should NEVER winch with. The Deadman’s unique design allows it to be extremely capable in all three scenarios, making it the most versatile off-road anchor ever.
Our primary design objective was to create something small and lightweight that could be easily buried - and be retrieved without more digging - for self-recovery in areas where there is nothing else to attach a winch to. What we came up with surprised us! It weighs less than 5lb, fits underneath a seat, and works to anchor to so much more than just the dirt. Because it’s a soft product, it can also be used around trees and rocks with increased safety relative to traditional anchors… and we keep finding new uses for the Deadman all the time. For instance, because it's made from industrial grade, non-stretch polyester webbing (same as a tree strap), it can also be used as a 15' winch extension. We've also found it useful as a ground mat, a fluid catch, a shade, and more - we're looking forward to what ideas the Kickstarter community comes up with as well!
UPDATE (May 30): Review with Krazy Beaver
The Deadman loves to get dirty!
We began with the goal to make a small, lightweight ground anchor that would always be with us. We wanted something stronger and more dependable than DIY methods (e.g. spare tire or Hi-Lift jack), something that wouldn’t hurt our expensive gear, and something less expensive than the options that were currently available on the market. The Deadman turned out to be so much more than anything we imagined.
The Deadman hugs terra firma with incredible force, yet it's small, lightweight, and can be resurrected without additional digging. To use it, the Deadman is placed face-up into a hole and buried. Its arms and legs are then collected and attached to the winch line in series using our unique double-loop splices which allow the Deadman to remain buried under load. When your vehicle has been recovered, simply unhook all but one arm or leg and use the winch to slip it right out of the hole! Boom!
We’ve used the Deadman to recover from situations where we were buried to the frame, where the vehicle was hi-centered on a dune crest, and where we needed to make a tough uphill climb in soft sand - we know this thing works in the ground. We’ve spent countless hours on the trail, testing its efficacy in different types of soil, at high and low angles, and at varying depths. We also know that you can make a slippery uphill climb with a hole as shallow as 16-18” in hard soil - glad we didn't have to bury a 30" tire in that! The video below shows a similar scenario with a 24" hole.
But we wanted to know more… we wanted to know "just how much weight could the Deadman hold in the most difficult situations?" Knowing that deep, soft sand is one of the toughest soil types to anchor in, we grabbed a load cell and headed to the desert to record the data.
We began with a side-by-side comparison of a standard truck spare tire and a Deadman. We were surprised to learn that the Deadman buried at 24” was able to hold more than the spare tire buried 6" deeper! Pretty awesome. Yet when we dug 12” deeper to create a 36" hole, the Deadman held over 7,000lb! That's so much weight that we had to replace our Bubba Rope Gator Shackles because we surpassed their working load limit (WLL)!
In that same 36" hole test, the Deadman still measured 6,100lb of sustained capacity once it began to move through the sand. The tire… it could only offer 600lb capacity once it started moving. Yet when it was time to resurrect the Deadman, we attached the winch line to a single leg and slipped it out of the hole with no more digging - rad!
We know that Deadman's efficacy in the ground is primarily determined by the soil density and the depth of the hole. Thus, these test results in soft sand illustrate the low end of the Deadman's load capacity as a ground anchor - harder soil types will deliver greater overall load capacities, and equivalent load capacity at shallower depths - making it an indispensable piece of kit.
The Deadman loves rocks!
Boulders make great winch points – if you can get around them safely. Given that it’s NEVER a good idea to winch with a tow strap (it'll sting a little more than a rubber band snapping) we believe the Deadman is the safest way of anchoring to a large rock. The Deadman uses its massive surface area and multiple straps to give the rock a big ol’ hug and stay put. When used in conjunction with a winch line extension and snatch block (our preferred method, currently), the Deadman becomes the foundation of a self-balancing anchor, lessening the risk of dangerous shock loads. So now that we know the Deadman isn’t going anywhere, do us all a favor and make sure you find a rock that’s just as strong.
The Deadman loves to snuggle with trees, too!
So let’s say you don’t need a ground anchor – you only travel in areas where there are trees or rocks aplenty. The Deadman utilizes two extra-long 15' slings, acting as TWO 19,800lb tree straps. This gives you a 2x increase in raw capacity and gives you something else a tree strap doesn’t: redundancy. Straps can break, especially when you introduce abrasive surfaces. The Deadman’s tarp does a far better job of protecting the tree AND the straps than any other tree saver on the market. We don’t know about you, but we feel better having two straps for redundancy when we’re in a jam.
Materials & Construction
The Deadman is constructed in USA from the finest USA-made, industrial grade materials. The tarp in the center is industrial 18oz vinyl with a rip-stop polyester skrim that's both tough and malleable, allowing it to conform to misshaped objects like rocks without ripping. The webbing is 2" Class VII industrial sling webbing, manufactured by Murdock Webbing (est. 1936) in Rhode Island, which is the same stuff used in industrial rigging and hoisting applications. Each line has a breaking strength of 19,600lb in a straight pull configuration and 39,200lb in a basket configuration. Because the Deadman uses two of these, when both lines are in use its breaking strength doubles, giving the Deadman a minimum breaking strength (MBS) of nearly 80,000lb in a basket configuration. Additionally, because more than one strap is in use, the Deadman offers something no other anchor can: redundancy.
Rewards & Timeline
We need your help to get this thing off the ground, and we've set up some rewards that we think will be pretty rad!
We've got priceless stickers, one-of-a-kind hats & t-shirts, the one-and-only Deadman Earth Anchor, and even a special edition Murder Spork made in partnership with Krazy Beaver.
If you want a shirt or hat in addition to your Deadman pledge, or if you just can't wait to clothe yourself in pure awesomeness, head over to the merch section of our website. We'll be shipping stickers, hats, and shirts within the next few weeks. (The Deadman will only be available via Kickstarter until later this fall.)
Rewards will ship as they're manufactured and based on the order in which we receive pledges. Please see the notes on the pledge levels for current shipping estimates.
The Deadman Team: Bryant & Daniel
Bryant is a mechanical engineer whose work has involved projects for NASA and other STAR WARS type "stuff"… As an avid off-roader with a large family and limited space, his constraints led him to begin thinking about how to best solve the problem of capable ground anchors that would be versatile, lightweight, and compact. After testing many designs and prototypes with friends, his nerd-noggin settled on the final Deadman design, exceeding all design goals.
Daniel is a jack-of-all-trades and former globe-trotting Fortune 100 software director who was looking for a change of pace. Friends with Bryant and being an avid off-roader himself, his business leadership experience was the perfect match to take the Deadman from super-awesome prototype to real-life business opportunity.
So we’re just like you... Hard-working husbands, fathers, and regular dudes who wanted to escape the Rat Race and do something we could be naturally passionate about. We want to make a difference and create products that enrich people’s lives. For us, the Deadman represents the perfect opportunity to do what we love and encourage more people to get outside and explore the world around them. We love getting outside, leaving the city behind, and taking the road less traveled. We find the experience enriching and recharging; we want to encourage others to get out and experience adventure as well.
Ok, Kickstarter doesn’t allow us to offer a warranty on rewards, but our commitment to our Kickstarter backers is the same we plan to offer to our customers once we launch. We want your experience with the Deadman to be awesome, and we know it’ll deliver as advertised because we’ve personally tested it and put it through its paces. However, if your Deadman develops signs of manufacturing or material defects, we’ll do everything we can to take care of you in the same way we intend to do so for our customers who purchase after Kickstarter.
We've partnered with BackerKit to ensure we have the right tools to get rewards out correctly and on time. Plus, by using BackerKit, we'll be able to offer a full pre-order store right after the campaign ends. Heck yeah!
Risks and challenges
We've finalized the design and materials, and are working on finalizing packaging now. The Deadman has passed field testing trials and we've proven that it works and is capable of carrying tremendous forces. We're currently in the middle of certified testing with BC Wire Rope in Anaheim, CA, to ensure that our numbers are accurate and trustworthy. Working with BC, we can make any necessary adjustments to the assembly, to meet our load targets, before we move to full production. And finally, we have partnered with a manufacturer who's ready to partner with us and get these things built and into your hands as soon as possible! With your help, we'll have the funding we need to get them built and on their way to you.
The Deadman Earth Anchor plus the custom Deadman Murder Spork shovel (manufactured in partnership with Krazy Beaver Tools just for the Kickstarter campaign), all in one neat, tidy grave-digger special. ($40 off retail)
The Deadman Earth Anchor plus the custom //Blacked OUT\\ Deadman Murder Spork shovel (manufactured in partnership with Krazy Beaver Tools just for the Kickstarter campaign), all in one neat, tidy grave-digger special. This Murder Spork has been powder coated solid black for your digging pleasure. ($40 off retail)
The Deadman Earth Anchor plus the custom Deadman Murder Spork shovel (manufactured in partnership with Krazy Beaver Tools just for the Kickstarter campaign), all in one neat, tidy grave-digger special. ($60 off retail)