About this project
What People Are Saying
"One of the coolest and most innovative life jackets I've ever seen!" - Field and Stream
"This New Life Jacket is Absolutely Genius!" - The Inertia
"This is definitely a game changer, one of the smartest innovations I've seen in recent years for water safety!" - Standup Journal
"We loved the sleek looks, unimposing fit and massive functional benefits of the Wingman, which made it a standout product for the SUPers, big wave surfers, and open water swimmers." -Tom Wilson-North, ISPO MUNICH JUDGE
"The Wingman is a life jacket for people who don't wear life jackets, but should, it's that comfortable!" -Rich Evan, Sailing Magazine
"Swimming, surfing, kayaking, SUP, everyone needs to be wearing one of these things!" -Dave Langer, Professional Big Wave Surfer
"We love the idea, the Wingman was liked by many and we were hearing tons of positive comments!" -Ryan Greissmeyer, 8 Time Ironman & Triathlon Race Director
Manual Ripcord Activation
Completely Reusable: Repacks in minutes with a new CO2 cylinder
We are watermen; we paddle, fish, swim, surf, sail and spend as much time on the water as possible. Some days we are competitive; racing paddleboards, kayaks, and triathlons, while other days we enjoy relaxing on the water tied up with friends and cold beers. No matter what activity the day holds, there is always one item hampering our fun, life jackets. We are required to buy them and carry them, but none of them actually suit our needs or our style. When it's race day we need a high performance product designed for speed that will help us perform our best and if it’s a booze cruise kind of day we need a comfortable vest that doesn’t interfere with our fun or cramp our style.
The Wingman is the first life jacket designed for all of these activities and so much more; it’s designed for us, the watermen who live on the water. It's minimal and comfortable when you don’t need it and becomes the highest performance life jacket instantly when you do need it.
We created the Wingman because we had to, millions of people use life jackets but everyone hates them and thinks of them as a nuisance rather than an asset. Existing life jacket manufacturers have their priorities backwards, putting cost savings and ease of manufacturing ahead of performance and customer needs. The Hyde team was sick of buying low quality, poorly designed life jackets from companies who don’t participate in the sports their product are used in. Surfers design the best surfboards, paddlers design the best paddles, and finally, the watermen at Hyde have stepped in to design the best life jackets. Hyde is proud to introduce the Wingman, your Wingman, never hit the water alone again and never settle for less than the best when it comes to your safety.
We set out to create the world's thinnest and most comfortable life jacket; we achieved that and then wondered if we could do more. We knew that our customers were going to use the Wingman for many different activities and as such their needs would vary; paddleboarders need hydration and expedition paddlers need storage. We have added these optional features without sacrificing the performance of comfort of the Wingman. All theses features can be used without permanently altering the vest in any way. We made sure that these additional options increase functionality without creating bulk or increasing weight.
Hydration Sleeve- The Wingman is the first inflatable life jacket with a hydration sleeve so you no longer have to wear a life jacket and a hydration pack. It accommodates a variety of hydration bladders from various manufacturers.
Modular Pack System- Easily attach Hyde chestpacks, camera mounts and other accessories to the front of your Wingman to increase storage and functionality on long trips. The connection points are great for attaching lights, sunglasses, tools, and other essentials.
Waistpack System- The Wingman’s Triple Anchor System allows users to easily connect a variety of Hyde waistpacks for added storage. The anchor system provides a secure fit to prevent bounce and sagging.
Zippered Pocket- The zippered pocket is perfect for carrying cell phones, keys, snacks, and other small items when out on the water.
Headphone Channel- The headphone channel guides headphone cords from the zippered pocket to the center of the neckline ensuring you can paddle with your favorite soundtrack without worrying about dropping your phone or getting tangled in cords.
The Wingman Cover Shirt was designed specifically to meet the needs of triathletes and surfers, to provide a more discreet look and streamlined surface for in water speed. The shirt has a custom designed handle port which makes the handle readily accessible through the shirt. It is made from high grade superstretch neoprene and expands around the bladder when inflated. The shirt is simply slipped over the top of the vest meaning no modifications are necessary and does not affect vest performance.
Kayaking, stand-up paddling, swimming, surfing, fishing, sailing, canoeing, free diving, snorkeling, kite boarding, wind surfing…the list goes on and on.
The Wingman is designed to go in the water with you and provide that added bit of security and comfort.
The user needs to be conscious to activate the Wingman and as such is not recommended for impact sports like waterskiing, wakeboarding, and whitewater paddling however it is ideal for just about every other in water or near water activity, experience the difference!
The Wingman currently comes in 1 Size: Adult Universal which comfortably fits both men and women with chest sizes from 30-52 inches. There are 3 color options available: Black, Red, & Tangerine. The Wingman is powered by 1 23 Gram ½ inch threaded CO2 cylinder; replacements will be available from Hyde and other suppliers for approximately $12.
HYDE TEAM MEMBER- Pledge $5 or More (Unlimited)
Thank you! Every little bit helps; you'll get to take this journey with us as we begin production and bring the Wingman to market by receiving Kickstarter backer email updates!
WINGMAN STICKER PACK- Pledge $12 or More (Unlimited)
You will receive 2 high quality Hyde die cut stickers (1 4 inch Hyde Mountain Logo & 1 4 inch Flying Fish Logo) as pictured below. These are great for cars, kayaks, boards, water bottles, laptops and anything else you can think of!
WINGMAN LONG SLEEVE SHIRT- Pledge $30 or More (Unlimited)
You will receive one long sleeve shirt screen printed with the tri-color Flying Fish logo as pictured below. Shirt color options include Citrus, Grey, & Seafoam; check out our website to learn about the meaning behind the Flying Fish logo!
Pre-order today to ensure you are among the first to own a Wingman! Our first 400 backers will receive $75 off the retail price ($225) and all of our backers thereafter will receive $60 off! Pre-ordering today is the only way to guarantee that you will have a Wingman for next year's paddling season! (Each Wingman comes with 1 23 Gram CO2 Cylinder)
Early Bird Special- Pledge $150 or More (Limited to 400)
1 Wingman Vest- Color Options: Black, Red, Tangerine
Wingman Special- Pledge $165 or More (Unlimited)
1 Wingman Vest- Color Options: Black, Red, Tangerine
Wingman Duo- Pledge $295 or More (Unlimited)
2 Wingman Vests- Color Options: Black, Red, Tangerine
The Boatload- Pledge $580 or More (Unlimited)
4 Wingman Vests- Color Options: Black, Red, Tangerine
If we can reach $120,000 in total funding we will offer a fourth color option to be voted on by our Kickstarter Backers! We will present a number of options and the one with the most votes wins! Help us reach this milestone by sharing this campaign with others!
Whether you are able to contribute financially or not, we need your help in sharing this campaign to spread awareness! We began working on this product because we knew that it had the potential to save lives. In order to prevent future tragedies, we need to get the product in the hands of people who need it and that starts today by making the water sports community aware of the Wingman! Please share within your network to help make the Wingman a reality and usher in the future of water safety!
*NOTE ON ACCESSORIES
We intend to sell the accessories described above (waistpacks, chestpacks, hydration bladders etc.) as soon as possible however we do not currently have them available. Our priority is getting the Wingman approved, to market, and then quickly thereafter begin building out the accessory line around the product. The hydration sleeve is compatible with bladders from other manufacturers and the attachment points are compatible with other packs so you can take advantage of these features by using your existing equipment. We are just as excited for these accessories as you are and will offer them as soon as possible!
NOTE ON INTERNATIONAL AVAILABILITY (& Alaska, Hawaii)
Unfortunately, the CO2 cylinder that comes with each Wingman is classified as a "Dangerous Good" by shipping carriers and is highly regulated when shipping internationally. Some countries won't allow us to ship the Wingman with a CO2 cartridge while others charge high amounts for duties and tariffs. We are trying to find the most effective and cost efficient way to get the Wingman to international customers but don't have a final answer on how best to do that at this time; we are considering a number of options. We'd ask anyone living outside of the United States to sign up below and leave your address so we can see which regions of the world to focus our efforts on; we will provide further information as soon as we have it!
We are Hyde, a team of passionate outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to bringing innovate designs and technology to staple outdoor equipment to make sports safer and more enjoyable for all. Check out our website www.hydesportswear.com to learn more about us, what we believe in and the meanings behind the names and logos.
Pat was in college at the University of Wisconsin in 2012 and competed in his first triathlon; during the race a fellow participant drowned and Pat was incredibly saddened by how avoidable this tragedy seemed. He wanted to compete in another race but wanted some added security while swimming and went looking for an inflatable life jacket he could swim in. To his surprise there was nothing available that met his needs. He came to learn than triathlon swim deaths were a growing problem and the sport's number one safety issue. The Hyde Team decided that the best way to address the sport's drowning problem would be to create a device that every swimmer could wear that would allow them to rescue him or herself. So long as swimmers are dependent on others to save them drownings will continue because lifeguards can’t always see or reach victims in time; Hyde and the Wingman were born from this premise.
With that as the mission, Pat got to work and began designing; he taught himself to sew and began making prototypes in his apartment. The design began to take shape and Pat realized that the Wingman’s impact would stretch far beyond the sport of triathlon if designed correctly. The Wingman had the potential to not only make triathlons safer but every other water sport as well if it could meet the United States Coast Guard certifications. Pat studied up on the USCG standards and designed to meet these requirements so that paddlers, sailors, boaters and fishermen alike could enjoy the Wingman. The design has evolved over the past 2 years and the team has refused to release the product until it was optimized for all potential applications.
We have spent the past year in the Arch Grants Business Accelerator Program in St. Louis finalizing the design and building the supply chain for the Wingman. We have partnered with a world class water sports manufacturer with years of experience mass producing water safety products for all of the industry's biggest brands. We have spent the past year making samples at this facility to ensure the quality exceeds our expectations. We have also communicated with the USCG for the past year and passed preliminary tests which indicate the Wingman should pass the full USCG certifications with little issue. We have taken this product and company as far as possible before launching this Kickstarter to ensure that we can deliver the world class product that you deserve.
We need $60,000 in pre-orders to place an initial order with our manufacturer and pay for the United States Coast Guard approval testing. The Wingman can't become a reality without the enthusiasm and support of early adopters! We appreciate any and all support!
Risks and challenges
We have spent the past 2 years designing and testing the Wingman to make sure it's ready for market; we have spent the past year perfecting our manufacturing to make sure our facility is capable of producing the quality and quantities that we need efficiently. Though we have done as much as possible ahead of time, initial production runs usually bring surprises that can lead to delays. We don't foresee any manufacturing delays and have set forth a conservative timeline above that we are confident we can stick to and deliver on time.
The Wingman is a safety device and we take that VERY seriously, quality and performance are our number 1 priority. We will not deliver a product until we are confident that it will work as described every time.
We understand that the USCG approval is an important certification for many of our customers intended applications. We have completed preliminary tests with the USCG which indicate that the Wingman should pass the full testing with few issues and no major changes. Though we do not expect any major issues to arise, we cannot know for certain until we begin the Full Testing. If issues arise we reserve the right to tweak the design and alter features to meet the USCG requirements. We do not anticipate this and have extensively reviewed the vest and its features with the regulators at the USCG who have raised no concerns.
USCG approval testing is a large expense for which we will be using the Kickstarter funds; if issues arise during this testing it may cause unanticipated delays in our timeline.
When the Wingman passes USCG testing it will be approved as a TYPE V with TYPE III performance.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (41 days)