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simonov

Post your gear ideas here

Over the last seven or eight years I have cultivated a modest expertise in manufactured product development and manufacturing processes.  I am in the small arms business, but have continued to look around for opportunities in other areas.  For example, many of the manufacturing processes I use can also be applied to the production of skateboard trucks, and I have been researching that market to see if there are any improvements I can make there.

I often look at a manufactured device and try to figure out how it was made and what I would do to make the same thing.  Most of us also find ourselves frustrated with many items we use every day and think of minor improvements.

So far, I haven't really thought of too many ways to improve the mountaineering gear I use.  But naturally it would be fun to blend my hobby with my work by making some variety of climbing gear (that's how I got into my current business, since I used to be an avid shooter).  I feel strongly that to maintain a manufacturing capability in the United States we have to make things here and Americans need to buy them.  From my experience with the small arms business, I know we can make most manufactured items locally and they don't have to cost a lot more than the stuff imported from China (it will always cost more, but smaller firms aren't so intent on shaving a few dollars from the cost for a little extra market share) (also, almost any especially complicated sewn product, like a backpack, is going to be made overseas since it is so labor intensive).

I now have experience with investment casting, CNC machining, metal stamping, screw machine work, custom aluminum extrusions and injection molded plastic.  I know vendors who can do metal fabrication, assembly, forging, and titanium machining (a specialized business).  This page about skateboard trucks provides a pretty good idea of the product development process I use.

If anyone has any ideas about gear that can be improved or doesn't yet exist, let's discuss it here.  Maybe we can make some of it locally.

PS and BTW: like a lot of very large conglomerates, I don't discuss new product ideas privately with individuals.  It's too easy to get into all kinds of IP trouble doing that.  Discussing stuff publicly on a forum like this is a better idea.
Zach

cool idea! does the item need to be made from metal or can they be plastic or other material?
simonov

Anything.  If you have an idea, I can brainstorm how to make it.
bertfivesix

The piton gun from Cliffhanger.
Taco

bertfivesix wrote:
The piton gun from Cliffhanger.


x2
Migolito

A lid for a Nalgene bottle that I can attach my drinking tube on directly. W/a built in sediment filter.

Part of a Steripen UL water system concept.
lilbitmo

Migolito wrote:
A lid for a Nalgene bottle that I can attach my drinking tube on directly. W/a built in sediment filter.

Part of a Steripen UL water system concept.


That would be a winner for me as well, good ideal Migolito  Very Happy
bertfivesix

lilbitmo wrote:
Migolito wrote:
A lid for a Nalgene bottle that I can attach my drinking tube on directly. W/a built in sediment filter.

Part of a Steripen UL water system concept.


That would be a winner for me as well, good ideal Migolito  Very Happy


Not really playing to your manufacturing strengths, but along the same vein, a UV sterilizer "nugget" that you can just drop into a hydration bladder.  It'd be waterproof of course, and have a timed release so you'd just fill your bladder from the source, pop it in, and forget about it.  Neutral buoyancy, so it wouldn't just settle on the bottom.  Particulate filter inline with the tube.  Rechargeable via induction.

<races to the patent office>
Taco

OK, I'll bite.

http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/48-guide-tennie

Mine are beat to shit, but I love them. They're perfect for me and what I like to do (not for winter). My pros and cons are mine alone, and are not meant to reflect other's experience with these popular shoes.

Pros:
-They're thin-soled, so climbing technical rock is easy. 5.10 is about my limit with them, but of course that depends on exactly what kind of climbing is being done. Anyway, annoying subjective ratings out of the way, they're real nice to climb in.
-They're quiet. The light, simple design, minimal padding, and Stealth rubber soles make this a quiet shoe, which is good for certain things. I would not want to change this property.
-The Stealth rubber. Excellent rubber. Wears longer than I thought it would.

Cons:
-The shoe wears out too quickly. I figured I would resole them and get a couple seasons out of them, but the entire shoe fell apart at the same time as the sole!
-Other bits and bobs described in the "what I'd change" section, next.


What I would change:
-Maybe some sort of synthetic liner to make the leather last longer? Something thin but very tough and breathable, so maybe some sort of mesh made of unobtanium. Ideas?
-GROMMETS! They need to drain faster. You know the grommets/drain holes on USGI jungle boots from back in the day? The little showerhead looking ones. I'm thinking a few of those per shoe would be great, close to the sole.
-Steel grommet shoelace eyelets all the way down instead of just for the top 4 rows.
-Get rid of the damn 'stock' shoelaces and replace them with real USGI 550/paracord. I did this myself, but if I were to make a shoe, I'd have these instead. 550 cord has a few advantages, my favorite being that stickers and other seeds and bits don't get stuck in their sheath. In a pinch, you could also remove them to use em' to hold up a shelter or do one of a billion other things 550 cord is used for in a survival situation or whatever.
-Offer a better insole as standard. The stock one sucks. The layers delaminate, and small rocks get stuck in the sole itself, which is a pain.
-In and out of water often (such as in canyoneering), the leather dries out and gets all messed-up. Maybe a different kind of leather?
-The synthetic sections of the upper should be more meltable... for lack of a better term. When they fray, I like to take a lighter to them to keep the material from fraying more, basically melting it together. The stock material doesn't melt well.
-Move the rear 'biner loops closer to the inside, so that when a pair of shoes is clipped to a biner, they don't flap around so much. Some rock shoes have two eyelets in the rear, one for your finger to assist in putting them on and taking them off, and a second set for clipping to a biner.
-Slightly tougher inner liner on the upper.

*Another alternative lacing option could be BOA or the Kevlar laces used in Salomon shoes. This would be real spiffy, but some folks have had issues with the reliability of the system. I guess I've been lucky, because I've had a few pairs of Salomons with Kevlar laces and they've never fallen apart. I've repaired Tina's shoes a buncha times though.

Also, they're overpriced. MSRP is $110. I have Five Ten Desert Enforcers, a military-type shoe with much more padding, more durability, more material everywhere, more comfort, same Stealth rubber... MSRP on that is the same as the Guide Tennie at $110. (I got my pair for $70 thankfully) Why? I'm assuming it's because they can charge that much.

Anywho.
simonov

Man, I wouldn't know where to start to figure out how to make a shoe.  They all come from Asia these days anyway.

But the other ideas sound intriguing.  Still thinking about those.
simonov

I will ask around about the shoes.
Illusive

One that I'd like to see but haven't yet.

A bag to cook over an open fire that seals up, rolls up, is lighter than or as light as a ti pot, and can be used multiple times / washed just like a pot.

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