$12 – Since it rolls up into nothing, the Vapur Element refillable water bottle becomes every backpacker’s best friend. www.vapur.us
$12 – Since it rolls up into nothing, the Vapur Element refillable water bottle becomes every backpacker’s best friend. www.vapur.us
Equipped for the Cold
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Eric Larsen.
At 40 or 50 degrees below zero, there are few, if any, expedition tasks that are enjoyable. Waking up and crawling out of a (hopefully) warm sleeping bag has got to be one of the worst experiences in the entire world. Trail repairs are no cake walk either. Equipment fixes during the day usually require some semblance of manual dexterity, which is only achieved by removing big warm gloves or mittens. The cold feels like thousands of needles in your fingertips. I hate navigating in whiteouts, too. The snow surface blends with the sky to such a degree that you can’t even see your ski tracks in the snow. And throw out any idea you might have of skiing in a straight line. With no frame of reference, your best option is a serpentine course in some ‘general’ direction. As difficult as all these things are, there is one facet of polar travel that is hands down the worst: staying hydrated.
For starters, your body is dead set against retaining water. Exposure to cold causes a reduction in blood flow to the surface of the skin as blood vessels become constricted. This reduces the overall volume of the circulatory system and increases blood pressure. Your automatic physiological response is to reduce the fluid volume by getting rid of excess water in the urine. Your body also doesn’t want to waste energy heating all that urine in your bladder, either. So, put simply, when you get cold, you need to pee more often. Cold air is often much drier than warm air as well and you loose substantial amounts of moisture through basic respiration. Breathe harder, like when you’re pulling a sled across the frozen tundra, and you’ll loose even greater amounts of water. Of course, paramount is the fact that simply getting a drink of water involves a major effort – taking off gloves or mittens (again), digging around in the sled, trying to gulp down a few swallows without spilling (it’s not easy).
I liken polar travel to death by 1,000 cuts. It’s a battle of attrition because each day you loose a little bit of energy that you can never replenish. While any daily effort may not equal that of a marathon, its substantial enough and these expeditions span more than a couple of days or even weeks. My last North Pole expedition stretched 51 long days and the accumulative effect of such an intense, sustained effort was debilitating. By the end of the journey, I was exhausted and depleted.
Needless to say, I am very focused on energy conservation throughout the day. I employ a wide variety of systems to be efficient and safe. From a regimented travel schedule to comprehensive menu planning to an almost fanatical packing regiment, anything I can do to conserve energy is critical. Weight is an equally important factor as anything I use I have to physically carry. The heavier the item, the more calories I burn moving it from one camp to the next. Therefore, I spend an inordinate amount of time researching gear to make sure that I have the lightest possible equipment. But I don’t always choose ‘light’. If being lighter also means that it is fragile or more complicated to use, I will choose a heavier item. It’s a convoluted decision tree that’s for sure; but there is definitely a method to my madness.
In a month and a half, I’ll be traveling to Antarctica again for another expedition. Deep into the planning and training process, I’ve been slowly accumulating my expedition kit over the past few months. I’ll be using a new tent and outerwear this year. I’ve also helped design a new pair of gloves that I’m really excited about and a Iridium network-based satellite tracking and messaging beacon. However, one of the gear items that I’m most excited about is my Vapur Anti-Bottle. Sure, it may not seem like a big deal on the surface – to choose one bottle over the next, but my ability to be successful, and ultimately, my safety and survival, is directly connected to the gear I use and the systems I employ.
Vapur’s Anti-Bottle has my dream trifecta of gear qualities: incredibly light, easy to use and durable. Compared to a rigid bottle, the Anti-Bottle weighs almost nothing (and I really like carrying things that weigh almost nothing). Functionally, drinking from a Vapur is incredible. Sipping from a rigid bottle can be awkward and I often either spill or choke on water. Vapur’s spout and locking lid mean I can quickly gulp down a few swallows easily without having to remove my gloves or mittens. However, I think the thing I was most surprised by was the durability of the Vapur’s Anti-Bottle. I mean really surprised! Climbing in the Cascades this summer, our Vapur’s were in constant use – in and out of packs, thrown on the ground, filled with hot water and more. During the entire climbing trip, we never had a failure. Amazing.
Canyoneering: An Element for the Elements ~ October 6-7, 2012
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund
On October 6 and 7, with a little help from the Vapur Element Anti-Bottle, a team of adventurers from the University of California, Santa Barbara braved a few good canyons in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest.
Canyoneering is a sport particularly sensitive to hydration and energy management. Dehydration is cause for many ailments in the human body and we are especially at risk when in the harsh elements of the great outdoors. A typical canyon route imposes a series of slippery down climbs and steep rappels off waterfalls in a cold, wet environment. The coordination, physical fitness and knowledge required of executing such tasks assumes that even a completely healthy canyoneer could have trouble getting out safely.
“Hydration is incredibly crucial to physical performance,” says Rod Tucknott, Director of UCSB Adventure Programs and a Wilderness Medical Associates instructor. “In fact many medical problems that aren’t so obvious, such as hyperthermia and hypothermia, are often exacerbated if not caused by dehydration.”
Prevention of accidents and injuries is key because if anyone on a canyon team goes down, there is usually only one way out. With steep cliffs on either side making simple egress virtually impossible, the originally intended route must be carried out in sickness or in health. Neglecting sufficient fluid intake can lead to light-headedness, fatigue and mental impairment, which are exceptionally dangerous conditions to be in. If left untreated, dehydration can also lead to heat exhaustion and even volume shock.
“The Vapur Anti-Bottles are awesome because they’re translucent,” said trip leader Ben Greiner, “so you can see exactly how much the participants have been drinking throughout the day. It’s easier to monitor their water intake and prevent any illnesses in the canyon.”
Taking full advantage of the low-profile and light weight nature of the Anti-Bottle, the canyoneers hung them from their harnesses and backpacks, making them incredibly accessible. With no excuses to not hydrate, this was a successful, healthy and amazingly FUN trip!
Design is Elemental
By Jason Carignan, Chief Design Officer
Each year, more than 38 billion single-use water bottles end up in U.S. landfills. That equals 1.5 million tons of waste! Appalled at the statistics and the existence of environmental tragedies, like The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, my partners and I, Dave Czerwinski and Brent Reinke, set out to design a product that would help put an end to this senseless waste.
We initially stumbled across the idea of a flexible water bottle by accident. While exploring a solution for another product, Dave discovered the Doypack (TM) (the official name for the stand-up flexible pouch), which was invented by Louis Doyen in 1962 as a packaging solution for fruit juice and olives.
Today, Doyen’s pouch design is spawning something of a sustainable packaging revolution, from baby food to refillable soap dispensers and more. But, at the time, almost no one had thought about using this technology for reusable containers.
The sustainability advantages of a flexible, reusable water bottle were immediately apparent to us. First and foremost, we could make the bottles right here in the USA. We also learned that flexible bottles require much less energy to manufacture than rigid bottles. They are also much lighter than rigid bottles and ship flat which greatly reduces fuel consumption. Best of all, they fold-up, making them extremely convenient for people to take everywhere, reducing the temptation to drink disposable bottled water on-the-go.
The Anti-Bottle Movement is Born
On September 14, 2009, after hundreds of prototypes and thousands of Post-it Notes (TM), we launched our flagship product: the Vapur Anti-Bottle – the foldable, reusable water bottle designed for active, environmentally conscious consumers. In addition to its category-defining foldability, Vapur is also freezable, dishwasher-safe, BPA-free and highly-durable.
We knew that the form factor of a flexible bottle would be new and unfamiliar to most. Because of this, we spent hundreds of hours designing every product detail and crafting the messaging for this radical new product, including our Anti-Bottle Manifesto. Little did we know, we would be sparking an international product trend. Within nine months of launching, we began hearing reports of counterfeit and knock-off “Vapur” products being imported from China. We have been vigorously protecting our trademarks and patents ever since.
Despite the imitators, we continued to believe that a great brand, coupled with an unwavering focus on design leadership, is the best way to build long-term success for our company. Shortly after launching the first Anti-Bottle, we began exploring ways to radically improve its design to meet the needs of athletes and more demanding users (skiers, runners, backpackers, climbers, etc.) who had come to appreciate the foldability and lightweight nature of Vapur products. Specifically, we wanted to develop a larger size, a better spout and a more durable clip. We were also committed more than ever to designing and manufacturing the entire product in the United States, which we knew would pose considerable sourcing and cost challenges.
Vapur 2.0 – Mapping the Customer Experience
We began our quest to design our new bottle by mapping the end-to-end customer experience in order to identify all of the ways people interact with our products (example: Buying, Filling, Drinking, Carrying, Packing, Cleaning, Storing). Then, we interviewed current customers, observed usage habits, reviewed competitive sets and brainstormed ideas. We literally dissected our original Anti-Bottle and counted each of individual components (10 in total, by the way) to identify ways to improve the product from the top-down.
We then invited our key supply-chain partners to join us for an “open innovation” session where we explored new materials, new technologies and new methods for producing our product. The team ultimately developed about 10 ideas for further exploration and then began the process of rapid prototyping and user testing to refine the final design.
The result of this 12-month process was the new Vapur Element, the most versatile water bottle on the planet. The Element features the new flip-top SuperCap with integrated carabiner clip, a larger mouth for easier filling and cleaning and holds 30% more water. About 87% lighter than typical rigid water bottles, the foldable Element is easy to stash and go, making it a great hydration solution for any active lifestyle. We were also able to reduce our total part count by 30%. And, true to all Vapur Anti-Bottles, the Element is 100% BPA free and 100% made in the United States.
The new Vapur Element launched in early 2012 and has been garnering rave reviews ever since.
The new Element, with the improved integrated SuperCap, features a patented flexible design that is lighter and easier to hold than rigid bottles. It also fold flat when emplty to go virtually anywhere. Available in two high-capacity sizes (.7L and 1L), the foldable and washable Element is 100 percent BPA free and made in the USA. The new widemouth SuperCap offers greater “gulp-ability” and a stronger, integrated attachment clip.
Over 300 attendees, including pro athletes and instructors received a new Element Anti-Bottle to keep them hydrated throughout their outdoor adventures.
The weekend’s events included demos, gear giveaways, adventure clinics, a pool party, symposiums, panels and a beer garden!
The Outside in Aspen panel members:
Mike Roberts — Outside Magazine Senior Editor
Alison Gannett — World Champion Free Skier
Chris Klug — Olympic Snowboarder
Jake Norton — Everest Guide
Chris Davenport — World Champion Free Skier
Ginna Kelly — Adventurer and Aspen’s Green Girl
Eric Larsen — Polar Explorer
Willie Kern — Big Water Kayaker
Banish bulky water bottles with the collapsible Vapur Element, an amped-up version of the company’s classic Anti-Bottle. Lightweight layers of flexible, BPA-free nylon and antimicrobial polyethylene make this durable, widemouthed travel companion refillable, freezable and washable. Plus, it folds flat enough to tuck in a hiking pack or clip to a carry-on.
What will you accomplish in 2012? Will you reach summit you’ve always dreamed about? Paddle a new and challenging river? Log 100 days on skis? Run a half marathon? Or maybe just spend more time with your dog?
To celebrate the recent launch of the Vapur Element, an Anti-Bottle designed especially for outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, and adventure junkies, Vapur is asking all of our friends and fans to share their goals for the year in our “I Will… Vapur” contest. Entrants are invited to finish the sentence “I will…” with their biggest ambitions for the coming year and provide a photo encapsulating their goal. Currently in its third week, the contest has already drawn more than 250 entries. You can share your entry, or other favorites, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest directly from the contest’s Facebook app. The winner of the grand prize, a $500 gift card, as well as several Vapur Element bottles for runner ups, will be selected by Vapur when the contest ends on April 13th, with winners announced on the 16th.
To enter your own goals, visit the contest on the Vapur Facebook here.
Or if you’re on Twitter, tweet your “I Will…” text and use the hashtag #IWillVapur
Vapur Unveils All-New Element to Thirsty Consumers
As we count the days, minutes, and hours until the all new Vapur Element becomes available at retail, we wanted to take you on a little journey to reminisce about the past three months. The journey begins in January, when Vapur unveiled the newest, adventure-driven addition to the Anti-Bottle line at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012: The Vapur Element.
For those of you who have been tuned into our blog, website and social media channels over the past few months, you know it has been sheer madness since the start of the new year! And we mean that in the best way possible! The Element proved to be a showstopper at Outdoor Retailer back in January. Retailers and industry attendees were photographing, folding and inspecting this one-of-a-kind hydration solution as they discussed the possibilities. The immediate result was recognition from top outdoor industry media outlets, including the OR Daily, Backpacker, Elevation Outdoors and Blue Ridge Outdoors online, to name a few. The Gear Junkie, a top source for outdoor world news and gear reviews even picked up on the Element before the trade show began in a Gear for 2012 show preview! The news of the Element traveled fast, especially with the help of industry vets.
For those of you who haven’t been following the Vapur Trail these past several months, welcome to the journey! Vapur is the maker of the Anti-Bottle; a foldable, reusable, freezable, washable, and attachable alternative to disposable water bottles. The all-new Element, which is available for the first time to consumers on March 19th, is the first Anti-Bottle available in larger sizes (.7L and 1L), designed to meet the greater hydration demands of athletes and all those living an active outdoor lifestyle. Additionally, the Element is equipped with a new widemouth SuperCap™ for greater gulp-ability and a stronger, integrated attachment clip that allows the Element to hang on during high adventure and in variable terrain. From urban use to multi-season use in the great outdoors, the Element is proof of next-level innovation in outdoor market hydration systems.
The Element was announced in January, and people have been buzzing about it ever since! We’ve given a preview to everyone from hikers to pro kayakers to skiers, and the early reviews are full of applause. Check out some gear reviews from top source outdoor hubs:
In the meantime, the Vapur team has been feverishly working and anticipating the introduction of our newest family member to you, the Vapur community. The Element will be available at Vapur.us/store or at a retailer near you on March 19th! We cannot wait to hear how you LOVE it. Happy hydrating!