CHECK US OUT AT THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN: http://www.statesman.com/news/business/austin-dads-develop-lightweight-backpack-like-chil/nWd8S/
VISIT OUR MEDIA GALLERY FOR ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE AND PRODUCT IMAGES.
A little about the Creator's of the FreeLoader.
The Creators of the Freeloader are passionate fathers who love to take their children on adventures of the world.
....a seat built for a freeloader
Erick has been in the Bike and Outdoor industry (bike/snow) for the last 26 years, both in retail and in product management. Half of a dozen of those years were spent at Specialized Bicycles Components, and prior to that, 3 years at TREK Bicycle in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been an independent Sales Rep for the last 4 years representing some of the larger bike and snow brands. Somewhere in between, he has been able to squeeze in 12 Years as a firefighter. When he’s not out spinning on his bike, or paddling out to catch a wave, Erick loves to swim, run, cook, work with wood, and ultimately anything that involves creativity and using his hands. Finally, as Erick will attest, none of those accomplishments can measure up to his greatest passion of all, being a father to his 8 year old daughter, his inspiration for The Freeloader
Nathan Jones has been a firefighter for the last seven years. He spent most of a decade looking for a wife in California, while completing college, working in online event ticket sales and being a partner in a restaurant in Seattle, WA. Subsequently, Nathan returned to Austin, TX where his entrepreneurial spirit continued. He opened and operated a coffee shop, a real estate company in Central Texas and a bottled water company in California. He also spent time trapped in a cubicle at Dell computers as his soul was quietly leaking from every orifice. He enjoys surfing (a hobby that was considerably easier to engage in while living in Santa Cruz, CA), rock climbing and playing pick-up soccer on any afternoon of any day where life, work and fatherhood don’t take a front seat.
ready for whatever comes your way.....
The idea for the Freeloader came to Erick when walking the streets of Paris with his daughter when she was 4 years old. She was amazingly capable of using her own two feet but there was a definite wall that would be hit and the day would be over. Thus their Paris nights were restricted to just Paris days. However, it wasn't until a hike on the Ocean Trail in the Redwood forests of Muir Woods that he came up with a solution to his problem. What if there was a lightweight, portable pack that could be carried for one of those “in an emergency, just break glass” moments. Something that would not get in the way, but in the event it was needed, a fold down seat could be provided and the adventure could be extended.
in the beginning.....
Solving Our Problems
In this passionate pursuit we frequently came up against the reality that current child carriers are grossly insufficient. They are incapable of carrying an adequate amount of weight as well as being exceptionally bulky. With our extended, combined history in outdoor gear sales and safety management, we set out to create a new child carrier that would far exceed the carrying capacity of the current market, while creating a smaller, much more portable, more compact pack. It was clear that in the mountain bike, rock climbing and surfing industry new technologies were being created that produced stronger materials at lighter weights.
First it was necessary that we conquer the safety factor. We looked at three different types of harnesses. We began, of course, by investigating the harnesses that current child carriers utilize (the padded cage), next we looked into current parachute technology figuring that there was, literally, no better harness system than this, (except for maybe) and finally the current Formula One car harnesses. Having these three designs to work from, we came up with a simple, yet extremely safe, five-point harness.
Second, we set out to identify materials that were lightweight and extremely strong. After spending nine months testing different metals, alloys, plastics and combinations of components, we finally settled on a system that weighed less than three pounds, yet had a failure rate of no less than one hundred pounds. As a rule, we wanted the folding seat to be able to withstand weight that exceeded what a normal human being could carry (running backs not withstanding).
...."who says bigger is better!"
Third, we needed these components to be small, portable and carry-on compatible (arguably the fourth requirement was that this thing look super fly, hip, sleek, something that Hollywood types and professional athletes would wear regardless of whether they even had kids it looked so good, BUT our American gentleman idealism and culture would never allow us to admit to this being a factor). This proved to be the most difficult because we were aware of the fact we had a product that exceeded anything that was currently on the market. But it needed to fit the high standards we initially set out to achieve.
After four generations of prototypes, completely rebuilding bags, being sewn and scrapped and sewn again, multiple frames and hinges manufactured, injection molded components made, endless reams of fabric, spools of string, webs of nylon, we excluded everything that was not explicitly beneficial and The Freeloader was born.
And finally, after hundreds of hours, the Freeloader was Born!
Passion in Principle
We subscribe to the theory set forth by Rudolph Steiner that children need to develop their bodies in order to develop their mind. He breaks down the development of children into three phases. The first phase culminates around the age of six or seven or when the adult teeth come in. “The … approach to early childhood education is largely experiential, imitative and sensory-based… Outdoor play… providing children with experiences of nature, weather and the seasons of the year”*. The Freeloader is another tool in the toolbox to achieve this sensory based experience for our children. It allows for life to be lived out there, where the rubber meets the road, where the birds talk and the wind sings.
We haven’t created a new product for parents to carry their children around everywhere. On the contrary, it is important to the child’s development that they push their bodies and allow their muscles to grow. The Freeloader has been created so that 1/4 mile into the walk down the sandy beach toward the lighthouse you don’t have to turn around. Rather, you just have to drop the seat and give your child a break. Then, simply let them down and continue on your journey. No longer do we have to turn back. The destination is now achievable. Discover the lighthouse. But even more importantly, let your child have the satisfaction of reaching a goal and experiencing life.
who says "three's a crowd?!"
Why the $30K
After a year of navigating regulations, securing provisional patents, R&D, agreeing on multiple designs, breaking numerous sewing machines, dealing with welders and CAD engineers, rapid prototyping, and kids as test dummies we need $30,000 to get us to the next phase of development.
By reaching the $30,000 goal we will be able to pay for all of the tooling, machining and manufacturing costs for every separate component. This in turn will allow us to create the pack at the best price with the best (optimal, premium?) performance. If we are unable to reach our entire funding goal, the process will be slowed exceptionally. The tooling and machining costs alone would have to be taken on individually over the course of a few years, driving up the estimated retail price and delaying the release of The Freeloader.
Once the $30K is raised, it will take 90-120 days for the packs to be manufactured. During this time we will have the fold down seats manufactured locally in Central Texas. Once all of the components have been assembled the pack will undergo a final round of inspection and then shipped to your door!
Risks and Challenges
One of our highest priorities we had before bringing the Freeloader to the Indiegogo community was to ensure, to the best of our ability, every aspect of the production was accounted for. This would allow us to give an accurate expectation as to when the Freeloader would be delivered. We took the number of days that our vendors promised us and added 20%, allowing us a cushion, should we encounter unplanned production delays. But like all things under the sun, nothing is permanent nor guaranteed. We feel we have accounted for all variables but should obstacles arise we will be open and transparent, keeping our backers abreast of all pertinent information.
PERKS for our BACKERS, the gift of giving to those that give to us
Now our perks are not, not cool.
First ($12 Perk)
There are the aviators. Every glove box in the country should have a pair as back up. Not as a backup for your go-to pair of sunglasses, but as a backup for life's little surprises, like when you unexpectedly cry or want to stare off into the sunset when Desperado comes on the radio.
Second ($35 Perk)
We here at FreeLoader HQ we dig on the soft Ts. So we don't expect you to be any different. This isn't going to be a 5mm thick 100% cotton, starched and scratchy and usable as a fire suppressant. This shirt is going to fit just righteous, not pulling on your biceps or nothing. Just form fitting, the way we know, that you know, that we know you like em. And we'll drop some of the Aviators in too, just in case your glove box is a little light. WE WILL VERIFY SIZE AND COLOR OPTIONS PRIOR TO DELIVERY.
Third ($50 Perk)
There is the sweet, noble, handmade, one of a kind wooden sword. It is custom made, by an unpaid Freeloader employee who just happens to be half Dutch with quite a bit of institutional knowledge of wood working.
Fourth ($99 Perk)
In the same vein as the wieldy sword, a Step Stool for anyone who ever wanted to get a leg up in life, or just reach higher ground. Two equally stylish designs to choose from. The 60's Perfectly Pink VW Bug and the 50's Woody Wagon. I for one like to look taller in the mirror.
Fifth ($159 Perk)
The Freeloader. Finally, finally, finally, the product, the evasive cure to so many unknown woes. Multiple Freeloader options available in our Perks section.
We are offering a chauffeur for the entire music portion of SXSW. Austin, TX hosts one of the most internationally renowned music festivals in the world. With over 2,000 accomplished bands trickling in from every corner of the globe, it's a veritable list of who’s who in the music industry and thousands (of hipsters, of music fans, etc) descending upon the Live Music Capital of the World. For that matter bring your kid, we are throwing in a Freeloader and the driver will be a trained father with a car seat correctly installed (no less).
Make life a little bit sweeter....
The 21st Century Child Carrier
What you are doing by helping….
After a year, we have finally designed, tested, retested (ad nauseam), and at last arrived at our destination. A child carrier that is extremely safe, looks awesome (we did design the seat after mid to late 60's Schwinn Orange Crate bikes after all), feels and wears comfortably, whether loaded with a Freeloader or not. It's lightweight and can withstand loads vastly exceeding those that are even possible to carry.
By backing this campaign now you have the option of getting one of the first Freeloaders or just helping to ensure it is available down the road when you choose to reproduce and have a little freeloader of your very own.
You are also helping to bring into existence a novel new product. One that will allow parents to go farther, kids to experience more and the family nucleus to simultaneously broaden their horizons. This isn’t your parent’s child carrier.
Please, please, get the word out there to any of your friends and family you think might be able to benefit from the Freeloader, or if you just think we're cute, sweet and funny. It helps more than you know to even "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Let alone, to blast an email out about what we think to be an amazing, new child carrier. All contributions, be it time or money are greatly appreciated. We couldn't make this adventure happen without the willingness of our backers and we will be forever grateful to all of y'all.
Let others know to share the campaign to others!
- We will email you as to which color of Freeloader you would prefer!!!
- The only storage built in at this point is on the waist belts which will easily hold, keys, a wallet, cell phone and the like. We initially wanted to address the needs of being lightweight, portable and minimalist. The Freeloader is comparable in size to current hydration packs on the market. We do have an "Adventure" edition that is slated for release early next year which will include a hydration system and additional small storage. The price on this version is yet to be determined.
CHECK OUT THE MUSICIAN BEHIND OUR MUSIC!!!! BRIAN M.F. HUDSON
The version of this song, Working for a Woman, can be found at: