Crowdfunding, in general, is a tough game. According to Kickstarter, only a third of all projects launched, reach their funding goal. When you add in the intricacy of promoting a niche product like outdoor gear, the level of difficulty skyrockets. Running a successful campaign requires a great product, a willingness to give up sleep for an extended period of time, a healthy dose of marketing/advertising savvy, and a little bit of witchcraft-like luck. Researching past Kickstarter campaigns is a also big part of the formula for success.
During our Kickstarter campaign for the Fogo, we researched hundreds of projects. From that research, we compiled a list of the top 10 highest earning outdoor gear projects and are publishing the list here for your reading enjoyment. Admittedly, its a bit subjective as to what is or isn't an outdoor product. However, this is our best attempt at categorizing the projects we found. Please feel free to let us know in the comments if you feel like we missed anything.
If you missed any of these Kickstarter campaigns but you still want in on the action, check out their Kickstarter pages for instructions. Most of these products are in pre-order through their website - which means you can usually still grab one for a great deal!
The Biolite BaseCamp stove earned $1,032,443 with 3,783 backers. Raising over $1M puts them in an elite group of projects that is comprised of only 112 other campaigns. Put another way, they raised more than 99.8% off all other successful Kickstarter projects ever. Impressive.
We've written a little bit about the Oru Kayak in the past and are a big fan of the product. A folding Kayak that you can fit into your trunk is innovative, unique and a huge contribution to the car camping and weekend-warrior communities. There are 730 Kickstarter backers that agree, helping the Oru Kayak raise $443,806 during their campaign.
The Zerohour Relic XR is Zerohour's second product launched on Kickstarter and raised an impressive $250,230. Their first product, the Zerohour XD, raised $108,077 - although significantly less, still an impressive total. The almost 2.5X increase in funding from their first project gives you a glimpse of how much goes into a Kickstarter campaign and how much there is to learn. The folks at Zerohour are obviously fast learners and were able to apply a lot of the lessons from the first campaign to their second. It also helps to have a loyal community of customers from a previous campaign and products for support during the first couple days of a campaign. Don't tell them, but for obvious reasons, we studied both of these campaigns extensively before launching the Fogo.
There have been a lot of solar charger projects on Kickstarter, but with it's market-leading energy-to-weight ratio, KaliPAK has earned more than any of the others with a solid$221,336 of pledges. The KaliPAK team ran a Kickstarter campaign earlier, in October of 2014, but did not meet their original goal of $250,000. So they circled back around and relaunched, applying their lessons learned from their first campaign. Their second campaign earned 63% more than their first and met their new goal of $150,000 with ease.
The Bomber Firestarter Survival Bracelet/Keychain campaign is still live on Kickstarter at the time of writing this blog post. This project is absolutely killing it with $213,934 of pledges. The team running the project launched another product on Kickstarter, back in October 2014, for a Duffel bag and raised an incredible $430,393. Obviously, these guys know what they are doing when it comes to running a crowdfunding campaign. Most Kickstarter campaigns have a common funding curve, with a large amount of the pledges coming in the first two or so days and a steep drop off during the middle. This is not the case for the Firestarter - they have been consistently pulling in money throughout the entire campaign. We are taking notes ...
The Kammok is a camping hammock that serves as a hammock and tent in one. Another great innovation for car camping or any camper interested in minimizing their gear - which is pretty much anyone who has camped, ever, especially with a family. The Kickstarter community agrees, helping the project raise $208,853 in pledges. The Kammok camping hammock was the first of three products launched by the company on Kickstarter. The camping hammock was launched in July of 2011 followed by the Kammok Glider rain tarp in June of 2013 and the Kammok Thylacine sleeping bag in December of 2013.
The Survival Belt combines a rugged belt, firestarter and multi-tool in one. It's a great looking product, innovative and useful. Not to mention, a well put together Kickstarter page, video and campaign. With $200,032 of pledges, the Survival Belt shuts down any naysayers claiming there is no need to re-design the simple belt.
The Nube is a tent, hammock, insect shield, and gear storage solution all-in-one . The folks at Sierra Madre Research clearly put a lot of thought and camping experience into the design. Launched in August 2013, the Nube raised $167,226 of pledges from Kickstarter backers.
The Gravity Hook comes to us from another group of Kickstarter veterans. FishBone brought us the knotless gear tie in January 2013 and the Piranha, the second version of the knotless gear tie, in April 2013. Both are great products and well ran campaigns, but were significantly surpassed by the success of the Gravity Hook, in February 2015, at $150,353of pledges. Part grappling claw and part grappling hook, the Gravity Hook is as cool of a tool as they come.
The Windcatcher is one of the most innovative ideas I have ever seen. The video on the Kickstarter page is worth a thousand words, so just go watch it. Anyone who has ever inflated an air mattress while camping or a pool toy in the hot sun can share in a deep feeling of frustration at how slow and painful the process is. The Windcatcher technology completely eliminates this pain point by helping us avoid sore cheeks, sore jaws and annoying, slow electric pumps. The Kickstarter community agrees, helping the project raise$149,405 in pledges.Tweet
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