D4 Portaledge Kickstarter Update #8
D4 Portaledge Kickstarter Update--May 21, 2017
We have been hard at work making further improvements and new innovations to further enhance our revolutionary new D4 portaledge. A number of prototypes have been out in the field, and all reports have confirmed that the new D4 design is truly a game changer for cliff and tree camping. Based on in-field testing, we have made some significant new improvements to our design in addition to the initial four major innovations (see D4 Kickstarter) that our portaledge brings to the vertical world.
But first, some user quotes:
Marek Reganowicz (after 30 days living in the D4 ledge during two new Baffin Island solo winter first ascents, April/May 2017):
"At first, I worried (as the ledge is very light) and thought the frame design very delicate, but soon realised that it was very good, very strong--I was so happy and confident with everything--perfect!"
"No question it is something new and better."
"Definitely no problems setting up the frame--much easier to deploy than the BD".
"Any problems (due to winds, storms, etc.) were solved because it was so lightweight--important because as a solo climber I had to deal with any problems by myself."
Twid Turner, who has most likely spent more portaledge nights on expeditions around the world than anyone, reported after his recent trip to Alaska, May 2017) :
"Super light a real winner. Very quick to put up the ledge, easy fitting. Super quick to take apart, too. Love the four-point suspension and ready-to-deploy haulsack. Brilliant."
John Verbeck, who used it on the Zodiac:
"Lightest, smallest packing portaledge ever--amazing."
"The haulbag/deploy system...this just blew me away. I had my partner who had never set up a ledge before, and watching how she intuitively unpacked it was awesome. No other ledge sets up with such ease."
"Super impressed! You really nailed it!! The four point suspension, rounded corners, size, comfort, just amazing John. One more step in the evolution of wall climbing, definitely going to change the way we climb big walls. Absolutely amazed by this ledge, Middendorf, you've done an amazing job!"
Eliza Kerr, during/after her mother-daughter ascent of the Zodiac, May 2017:
"First of all, as a relatively slight woman, I am SO delighted by the size and weight of your ledge. I'm not exaggerating when I say that carrying the portaledges down after a wall is one of the hardest and most intimidating parts of the whole ordeal. Love how light and packable it is. Thank you so much for your innovation."
A sampling of some of the new innovations to report:
New patent pending stormfly system, "The Cape":
The single seam zippered fly has allowed a radical departure from the traditional drape over fly which requires a drawcord closure to secure to the ledge. Instead of a drawcord, we have created deep form-fitted pockets in each corner of the ledge. The fly gets fitted to the frame with the zippered door open, once the zipper is closed, it fits like a form fitting bedsheet onto the frame--no more fumbling underneath the ledge with drawcords! We also offer corner tensioning straps to ensure that the new D4 fly will be the most readily deployable, wind and storm proof fly system ever developed for portaledges (and that includes my previous Cliff Cabana Expedition stormfly design where the ledge is put inside the fully enclosed fly for security in high winds). We have also made revised our new revolutionary D4 venting system to be even more adjustable for truly expedition conditions when cooking inside the portaledge is necessary.
--We have also enhanced the internal space with our flypole system. Instead of the tent pole being part of the fly, as all previous portaledge designs have been, we have made the fly pole integrated instead with the frame (the fly pole secures to the suspension and the bed instead of the fly) . Not only does this create a more structural system, but also allows more adjustability to maximise the internal space created by the flypole. Combined with our new zipper door system and the new corner form fitting fly that can be quickly secured and tensioned, the integration of all these aspects combine to make a much more stormproof, secure, and versatile and highly adjustable shelter system that can be perfectly tailored to the changing conditions found over the course of day and night on the vertical.
New unified frame system with continuous shock cord:
--Last but certainly not least, we have revised our unique curved corner, hybrid-diameter tubing design to incorporate a unified frame, continuous shock cord system, the first of its kind on a 8-piece frame design, which makes set up even easier and foolproof. This revision makes the D4 portaledge not only the most compact full-size portaledge ever designed, but also, by far, the quickest and easiest to deploy. Watch the video to see the new set-up in action. (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MizZFQ5xjjI).
We have also been continuing to outfit tree campers, and our ledges will be featured in several worldwide spots during the upcoming June event, "The Big Canopy Campout". Tree campers, who never really adopted portaledges for tree camping previously largely due to the hassles of setup (solved with our design), are raving about our design, primarily due to ease of deployment, but also thanks to our hybrid diameter engineered frame design, which keeps the ledge rigid even when loaded against a single point (i.e. a tree trunk as opposed to a flat wall), without the need for a clunky, heavy, and hard-to-set-up spreader bar.
All the materials are now ordered, as well as all the tools in place for our Kickstarter production. We are committing to only the finest materials for our Kickstarter batch, and will be using the Dyneema bed fabric which, though expensive, is super strong and light, saving over a pound of overall ledge weight. John Middendorf will be travelling to the USA this month to set up frame production in the USA (it was just too costly to manufacture the frames in Tasmania, where he lives). We plan to begin full scale production in mid-June and expect to start shipping the Kickstarter ledges sometime in July. We so appreciate those who supported this project, and we are well on our way to redefining the nature of vertical camping once again!
P.S. If you haven't seen it, also check out Simon Mentz's film of our Ozymandias big wall climb last month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsqOhre63lY (Portaledge Orgy).
D4 Portaledge new innovations.