Gas Filled Cold Weather Clothing Wins Awards
Nate Alder, a 25 year old BYU student, stumbled on a million dollar idea while deep sea diving. With the help of some friends, and fellow students, he took it from an idea to an award winning prototype. Now he is ready to sell, and, he hopes, change the way we keep warm.
Insulated clothing is old news. Not to mention the dated concept of wearing layers. In the future we will need nothing more than molecules to keep us warm. That is, if R. Nathan Alder's award winning idea takes off.
Alder, 25, a BYU student who admits to taking a leisurely approach to graduation, has designed a line of winter gear that is insulated with argon gas, allowing them to be thinner, lighter than traditional winter gear and five times as warm. He has started a company, called Klymit, to develop and sell it.
Klymit's technology has won awards at numerous events, including: Invented in Utah, the BYU Business Plan Competition, the San Diego State Venture Competition, and a non-academic invention competition at the University of Oregon.
The Klymit line is insulated using a small metal cartridge of gas, familiar to anyone who has ever fired a pellet gun, which is connected to a valve. When the valve is opened, gas fills the lining of the clothing snaking through a labyrinth of tunnels specially designed to hold it evenly. The lining fills in less than a second, and each cartridge should last a whole ski season. If the wearer starts getting too hot, a turn of the valve releases some of the gas, cooing him down.
The Klymit team: Alder, the founder and CEO; Ben Maughan, finance and operations; Brady Woolford, product development; and Nick Sorensen, Director of Business Development, are currently using only argon, but are developing ways to use other noble gasses, like krypton and xenon, which are heavier and provide better insulation.
The inspiration for the product struck Alder, a snowboard instructor, on a deep sea diving trip. He learned that divers us noble gasses to insulate themselves underwater, and realized that same concept could be used to make snow gear more efficient. While currently making only snow gear, Klymit is developing the technology to be used in camping gear, military equipment, and even home insulation.
Klymit has sold 18 percent of the company in an initial round of fundraising for around $320,000, and is currently involved in a second round. Interested investors can contact them through their website: www.klymit.com. They are currently in the process of licensing their line which includes prototypes for a jacket (expected to sell for around $500 to $700), pants, gloves, and ski boots. Alder anticipates the products hitting the market in the fall of 2009, and expects the company to generate $3 to $5 million in revenue by the end of 2008.