Kickstarter has become somewhat of a dream come true for inventors, entrepreneurs and artists. It’s helped everyone from amateur inventors to tech startups and even well-known musicians successfully bring projects and products to life with its powerful crowdsourcing capabilities.
From what business insider calls “the world’s first widely successful smartwatch” to the Veronica Mars Movie Project (in which actress Kristen Bell rallied fans to fund a movie version of the TV series that ended in 2007), Kickstarter hosts a wide range of campaigns. And while most are inventive and innovative, others are sometimes… well, just a little bit ridiculous.
For example, a watch that will shock you awake in case you accidentally fall asleep in the middle of the day while you’re at work doesn’t really seem like such a great idea. You know, because maybe the solution to that problem is bit a deeper — like addressing your sleep habits. I don’t know, though. Maybe. I’m just saying.
And a “smart toilet paper holder” that will alert you via text message when the roll is empty; excuse me if I’m being extremely judgmental, but that just seems lazy.
Don’t get me wrong, kudos to these creators for being inventive with technology, but just like with anywhere else on the internet, when it comes to Kickstarter, there’s a bit nonsense to sift through before you’ll find some items you might actually find useful.
So, we sifted through the tech and game categories to create a roundup of active apparel and gear that we think would actually be worthwhile for outdoor adventures and fitness activities.
We found everything from rugged multipurpose belt buckles and maintenance-free bicycles to wireless, activity-tracking earbuds and strapless heart rate monitors. Continue reading to check out our list and then leave a comment to let us know if these are some gadgets you might actually use!
Survival Belt by SlideBelts
Self-described as “Wearable technology made for the adventurous,” this almost indestructible belt is made to handle any tough task you throw its way. Aside from a sleek and stylish look, the current buckle prototype will include a bottle opener and fire starter. But the most impressive aspect of the survival belt is the durability of the strap, which according to the promo video you can use to tow your canoe to shore, strap your bike to the back of your truck or carry a bundle of wood for your campfire. (And to point out the obvious, it can also be used to hold up your pants.) Future versions of the belt buckle will include a built-in multitool and GPS chip.
Alpha Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watch
The Alpha is one of Kickstarter’s most funded campaigns; with 1,366 backers the project far surpassed its fundraising goal of $100,000 towards the end of 2012. The Alpha successfully solved a common complaint of many athletes who use heart rate training: the annoying chest strap that often causes uncomfortable chaffing. Instead of a cumbersome piece of material wrapped around your chest, the Alpha uses LED and “electro-optical cell” technology on the back of the watch to read blood flow volume and detect your heart rate. The Alpha is now manufactured and sold by Mio Global and we know for sure that it is in fact useful because we’ve tested it out ourselves.