Guys, I am sorry I have been unresponsive for a while. In the last 6 months we have raised more money from investors (the worst part of my job, trust me you're lucky if you never have to do this, hope they're not reading), hired a VP of sales that has over 30 years of experience in the industry (Paul Hardin, former VP of ACR Electronics, awesome guy, we call him our gray beard for all us young engineers: http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/1000023178?photo=11 ) launched 15 new products, opened hundreds of retailers in half a dozen countries while traveling the world and still getting out doors (uuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh ...... inhale.....)
Let me see if I can take a quick stab at a few of your awesome questions working backwards, newest to oldest questions:
1. Yes, the vest actually has the same buoyancy as a life jacket, but it is NOT a coast guard approved vest. We designed one specifically for pack rafters cause the good gents here at BPL asked us to (Thanks Mike!!)
2. We actually just launched the worlds lightest full length pad this week at Summer OR and they ship in mid November. We are redoing our website right now, will have a new one up in about 1 – 2 weeks so you can preorder one for Nov. shipment. We call it the Inertia – X – Frame (like our whole energies theme we have going on ;) Features include:
a. Weight 9.1 ounces and is a 3 season pad.
b. Takes only 2 – 4 breaths to inflate, then you can top off with the amount of pressure you want using an included hand pump for ambient air, or a separate Klymitizer with argon gas, kind of like a sleep number bed.
c. Uses Body Mapping design to optimize support, minimize weight and volume.
d. Rolls up to the size of a Coke can, that includes the hand pump!
e. Has 30 denier rip stop nylon on top, with a durable 75 denier on bottom. We figured we already cut out so much unnecessary weight, why not put a little more in to make it more durable than other ultra light pads.
f. Has a comfort pressure of about 4 -5 psi, a burst pressure of 12 psi, where most other industry leading light pads have a burst pressure of about 2.7 psi (don’t plop down too hard on another pad). Some of our sales guys fully inflate the X Frame and jump all over it to show how tough it is during their demo.
g. Has loft pockets to promote lofting of insulation on the bottom of your sleeping bag, while promoting high breathability through those areas so you don’t build up sweat on your pad during a hot night.
h. Even though the pad does not look comfy from the pics, you would be shocked how comfy it is from back sleeping, side sleeping, stomach sleeping, it keeps your entire body off the ground (unless you are 6’6” as we started with 1 size, but will launch sever other models in the near future)
i. We threw everything into the box: pad, pump, stuff sack, repair kit, etc. We don’t see any need or desire to nickel and dime consumers for that stuff so we include everything.
j. This guy wrote a pretty comprehensive review: http://www.utahoutside.com/2010/08/outdoor-retailer-2010-summer-market-klymit-vargo-outdoors-waterbox-and-polarmax/
3. Stay tuned for a sleeping bag, we have some pretty sweet stuff in the works, you should come check it out at our office sometime, we would love to have any and all of you guys visit.
4. LOL, it is funny that you mention sleeping in it. I have not personally done it yet (but I will this winter in the mountains), but we have had several of our consumers write us or visit us telling how their wives stole their vests from them as they are never warm enough at night even with several blankets, so they steal their husbands Double Diamond Kinetic vest to keep warm and the husbands come back to us to buy new ones for themselves as they cannot get their own back LOL. I do NOT suggest this as a form of sensual lingerie, but hey, guess everyone is different in their fantasies, maybe there are some that like noble gases in bed, smells better than the alternative.
5. Yes, our vests and all gear use a monolithic hydrophilic membrane (just like all the other industry big names, not sure if I am allowed to mention trademark names here though) so the vests and other gear when deflated serve as light/cool windbreakers.
6. Albeit there is a lot out there to show NobleTek is the best insulator, it is a young technology and still has some limits as we continue to develop and improve things. We have launched a line of base layers, non-insulated and partly insulated shells, and some hybrid NobleTek/fiber insulation products and have a lot more on our product road map.
7. Our ground pad is any combination or sole fill of either: mouth / ambient air / NobleTek gas.
8. Sorry, no immediate plans for a different color amphibian, but let me know what your sport is and I can suggest the next best alternative. We will launch several new styles, designs, full NobleTek jackets, womens specific, etc. products in about 6 months.
Yes, see comment #1 above
1. You hit it right on the head. Just as all other insulations have fail points, gas consumption is the biggest weakness of NobleTek. That was mentioned by Backpacker Magazine and Utah Outside.com (see links above) when they tested the vest out. Other than that they thought it was the best insulated gear ever. Guys, we seriously listen to your comments, and especially the feedback of those that actually test our gear. For that reason we created a Recycle Pump and showed a prototype of it during this last week Summer OR. It works like a reverse small hand held bike pump, sucking gas out of the vest into a reservoir on the pump so you can use 1 charge from a argon canister at home and make that charge and canister last for years of inflating and deflating.
2. Yes, we have larger canisters under way. Keep in mind, making these canisters is the most expensive part of it. Argon itself is very available (1% of the atmosphere) and affordable. The problem is when they make it at the CO2 plants where they make other gas by the millions, you can imagine the work to switch over a factory to fill cartridges with argon rather than their standard gas is a semi manufacturing nightmare slowing product, etc. making the canisters as much as 10 times the cost to produce. Thus, with more volume of 1 specific kind of canister, the cheaper the canisters become, but the more investment capital required. It is a big balancing act when running a company and inventing new gear for the market, so we need to be careful and do it slow and proper so as not to screw things up. Obviously for our military applications where the Special Forces doesn’t care so much about cost, we have some pretty sweet canisters we call the LongShot (size of tube of Rogain foam) and Bigshot (size of a mid size paintball tank and refillable for a couple bucks which we plan to offer consumers soon).
3. No moisture build up inside vest chambers.
1. Great point, see above about recycle pump. I love your guy’s idea of using the vest gas for fuel, but we have to figure out a safe way to do that so you don’t burst into balls of fire near the stove/camp fire.
1. See links above to the Backpacker Magazine gear guide review, Utahoutside.com and google Klymit for the hundreds of gear reviews. I also suggest you try one out for yourself, let me see if I can work out a sweet BPL promo code or something for you guys. It will have to be sometime after our new website though.
1. Awesome comment. See above about Inertia – X – Frame and other hybrid and other products in development.
Great points, see above comments to Huzefa Siamwala
That’s it for now guys, hope I have answered enough of your questions thoroughly, I am off and running to my sister’s wedding now. Her name is Katie Alder and you can congratulate her (or offer condolences, depends how you see it LOL) on her Facebook.