Winter Sports

Zibock combination skis and sled lets riders hike up, careen down mountains

Many skiers love the convenience of ski resorts. Chairlifts tote up the mountain and trails lead the way down. However, some like to travel off of the trails and discover new hills on their own. Those who do so aren’t able to enjoy the ease of a chairlift, but must climb the mountain on their own.

Zibock is a product for such adventurers. This French invention is a convertible ski/sled. The skis are for hiking up the mountain in a cross-country type style. The whole thing then folds together and turns into a sled. The user sits on the little seat and holds onto the pole in the middle for stability. For steering and braking, the rider can use their hands and feet. Zibock is lightweight and easy to carry around in a backpack as well.

Zibock is a cool product, albeit appropriate for only a very niche market. Still, it’s great for those who don’t mind hiking up snowy mountains. Most would probably stick with a ski lift. For their own, backers can donate a steep $749 to the campaign, or opt for lower tiers that allow for one, two or three day rentals of the product. Zibock is looking for $100,000 on Indiegogo with a campaign end date of March 25.


Gas-Sense monitors low gas levels, helps protect homes from the cold

Wintertime is tough for those who live in four-season climates. Trying to keep the house warm can mean constant attention to gas and oil levels. And when those run out, it’s up to the oil companies to get to the house ASAP during their busiest time of the year.

patent-claimed Gas-Sense is a solution to that problem. Oil companies use estimates for how much oil or gas a house has left in its supply. However, really cold days can throw that data off. Gas-Sense is a gas sensor for a home’s LPG (liquified petroleum gas). Using Bluetooth LE, the sensor tells the accompanying iOS/Android app how much gas is left. Not only that, but it gives a percentage of the gas left as well as a timeline for when it should be refilled. Gas-Sense runs on a battery that lasts up to two years.

While most oil companies do have a good grasp on gas levels, Gas-Sense is still a nifty product for homeowners who worry. The installation instructions are a little unclear, however. The campaign says to “just slap it on.” Still, backers who want to stay warm no matter what can donate £35 (~$54) for their own Gas-Sense for delivery in June of this year. This product is looking to raise £14,000 (~$21,500) on Kickstarter by March 12.

Winter Sports

Scion sled brings childlike wonderment to adults

For kids, sledding is the ultimate winter activity. For adults, skiing and snowboarding rule, but no one ever forgets how fun sledding was.

Now, people can enjoy the speed and agility of snowboarding with the relaxation of sledding. Scion is a sled designed aerodynamically, making speed and steering possible. Coming in either white or black, the rider sides on the back and places their feet on the runner in the front. A cord attaches the rider to the sled so that it doesn’t skitter off down the hill in case of a crash. Scion is made with the luge style in mind. Hands are used on either side for balance, but steering is done by leaning the body either left or right.

Scion seems like lots of fun, but definitely a toy for adults rather than for kids. Safety is always a concern, but if riders stick to the bunny slopes they should be okay. One will cost backers a high donation of $449 for delivery in July of this year. Scion is looking to raise $40,000 in funding on Kickstarter by March 11.

Winter Sports

Folding Sled blends winter fun and convenience

Some people’s idea of the perfect winter day is sipping on a cup of hot chocolate near the fireplace while watching the snow fall outside. For other people, going out and playing in it is the only way to go, especially when there’s a sled available. Folding Sled blends a fun winter activity with an easy way to store this seasonal item.

Since it’s lightweight, it works well for racers. But Folding Sled is also large enough that a parent and child can use it together. Assembly is touted as being uncomplicated, and when the product is not in use, the polyethylene seat allows it to fold together and store easily. This will also allow for many sleds to be packed in the family car or SUV for a sledding getaway.

Folding Sled seems like a very convenient product that may be worth exploring further. Snow-loving backers might also be interested in AXS Snoogee Board, SCIRT,  Neck Warmer, Hoogle, and MittGrips.This campaign seeks to raise £30,000 (~$46,000) by March 5. Early bird backers get one product for £170 (~$260 USD) with an expected delivery in November of this year.


Back to the Backers: The Easy Throw Shovel

Backerjack first met the Easy Throw Shovel just about a year ago. This nifty little invention promised to ease the strains of snow shoveling. By using the weight of the snow, the mechanism is able to fling the snow so the shoveler doesn’t have to. Unfortunately, funding was cancelled for this product before it could reach its goal.

Now, the Easy Throw Shovel is back. Unlike other products that come racing back to the crowdfunding scene after a time of hibernation, the Easy Throw has done little if anything to improve upon their original product. The shovel looks the same and doesn’t boast any new features. However, the price has come down substantially. In the last campaign, the shovel costed backers $72 CAD (~$58 USD), but now backers only need to shell out $48 CAD (~$39 USD), nothing wrong with a little discount. Easy Throw is looking to raise $64,000 CAD (~$51,500 USD) ($8,000 CAD less than their original goal) on Kickstarter.

Apparel Kids/Babies

MittGrips hold onto kids’ mittens, keeps their little wrists warm

Little kids love the winter. For them, it’s a time of sledding, snowman building and tubing. For parents, it’s usually a hassle trying to get kids all bundled up for the outdoors. Those little ones always seem to lose their mittens and risk getting frost bitten.

MittGrips are a solution to this problem. These mitten holders slip over mittens or gloves after they’ve been put on. There’s a thumb loop that keeps them secure. After putting them on, then goes the jacket. This way, kids can keep their mittens on while also having a layer of protection against the cold and snow.

While this is a fun project that will prove useful to all wintertime families, it’s so simple that a pair can actually be made from an old long-sleeve shirt. However, for those who aren’t as handy, one pair can be had for $10 CAD (~$8 USD) for estimated delivery in March. MittGrips is hoping to raise $18,000 CAD (~$14,900 USD) on Kickstarter.


SCIRT keeps snow and ice out of vehicle wheel wells

Some outdoor enthusiasts live for winter. Skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, ice skating and all the other snowy sports that are fun for winter lovers mean a car or truck is often necessary for getting to the best spots to enjoy the snow and ice.

While these are all fun, putting chains on tires is often a necessary evil. So SCIRT (Snow Chain Instillation and Removal Tool) was created to make said evil a bit more bearable. Even four-wheel drive vehicles need snow chains when traveling to mountainous and icy areas in the winter. The tool is specifically designed for diamond-pattern tire chains, and helps with the removal of snow and ice in wheel wells. The product seems to be aimed at more experienced outdoorsmen than hobbyists, and there is not a great deal of detail available on how the product works. This product seeks to raise £2,000 (~$3,120). For £17 (~$27), backers get one product with an expected delivery of January 2015.


Neck Warmer keeps winter chill away so you can build more snowmen

Outdoor winter activities are always much more enjoyable when one is warm and comfortable. And there’s something about a handmade hat or scarf that typically makes it more effective and durable than a mass produced product.

Neck Warmer is a scarf is made of micro fleece on the inside, so it’s wonderfully warm. The fabric on the outside is stretchable, so it will fit pretty much anyone. There are many design options available, as well as fabric options such as stretchable velour, polyester, lycra, and polycotton.

There have been several scarf project campaigns in the past like the Cartesian. Backers who enjoy outdoor winter activities may also be interested in Lovemebloncho and Funnell. This campaign seeks to raise $1,000 CAD (~$860 USD). Backers get one product for $30 CAD (~$26 USD) with an expected delivery of January 2015.

Home Technology

The Remote Snow Plow and Blower gets the yearly snowpocalypse under control

Winter is a drag. If people aren’t sad from the darkness and cold winds howling outdoors, the constant snow storms will frustrate them on the mornings when their car is buried under several feet of snow. Having to wake up early in the morning and gear up only to dig out a driveway or a parked car makes most wish they had a robot to do it for them. Luckily, those desperate pleas were answered by the folks at SuperDroid Robots and have resulted in a monster of a solutions.

The company’s Remote Snow Plow and Snow Blower are two 3/16 thick welded aluminum tanks that run 4HP motors that treat snow in exactly the same way people feel towards it during those blustery winter mornings. RC controllers allow users to stay inside and wrapped up in cozy, warm blankets while the plow or the blower goes to town on the snow outside. No matter which way backers choose to deal with the snow outside, they can begin the day assured that their feet won’t completely freeze over even before their morning walk. An unassembled Snow Plow includes all of the components for self-assembly and goes for $5,700, while an unassembled Snow Blower goes for $6,200. A fully assembled Snow Plow or Blower goes for $7,200 or $8,500, respectively. All are expected to be shipped in October of 2015 provided the campaign reaches its $60,000 goal.

Both of the robots are terrifying in the best way possible, offering the possibility of complete snow annihilation from the comfort of one’s hot chocolate, but are incredibly heavy and pretty expensive. To fully prepare for the winter, a Snow Guard can be used to protect your car from overnight frost while a pair of Digitsoles can keep feet warm when socks won’t do. All this together would make anyone a rugged winter warrior.

Winter Sports

AXS Snoogee Board combines sledding and snowboarding for thrilling ride

Sledding is a snowy winter favorite for kids and adults alike. There are lots of different kinds of sleds out there from those that offer large capacities to those who claim speed.

The AXS Snoogee Board takes the traditional sled model and updates it with the utility of a snowboard. This double-tiered sled has a small straight board on the bottom and a wider board on top to lie on top of. The rider lays on top with their head facing down the mountain. AXS is built in such a way that the rider has maximum steering and stopping control. With a low center of gravity, the risk of injury is reduced upon falling off the sled.

Obviously the first question with this product is safety. However, the creators have addressed this issue in their campaign with a video and testimonials that they let their kids use the sled too. One will cost backers a whopping $700 AUD (~$580 USD) with estimated delivery for July 2015, perfect for the Australian wintertime. AXS is hoping to raise $220,000 AUD (~$181,700 USD) on Kickstarter.