Voyager wasn't an idea born overnight. It evolved organically over 2 years of design & testing. Here's the story of how the Voyager went from an idea to a real tangible product that you'll soon find at bonfires and campouts across the country.
Voyager started out a little differently than the Voyager you've come to know. For starters, it didn't have a cooler. The cupholder wasn't really a thought. It was more about taking a product that, for the better part of 20 years, had changed very little and applying cool graphics as patterns. Our founder saw an opportunity to take the classic American lawn chair/camping chair and turn it into a canvas, improve the patterns and tie the product to a brand and lifestyle that values community and a life spent outdoors.
For the first 8 months of PARKIT, progress on product development was hard to come by. Product development was an entirely new environment. There were days where we'd drive from factory to factory, asking questions about who we needed to talk to, what limitations we needed to be aware of and so much more. We talked to woodworkers, contractors, welders, seamstress... many of whom shook their heads and thought the idea was a little strange. It wasn't until a post on LinkedIn that we found some headway and discovered the solution to make our vision of a modernized outdoor recreational camping chair a reality.
Meet Klugonyx, the product design firm based out of Salt Lake City Utah. One phone call and the project leaped eons forward. Jason Klug, the owner of the Klugonyx had brought hundreds of products ideas to life. As he says, "Bring us your napkin sketch and we'll bring it to life."
He wasn't joking, within a week, the images our founder had thrown together with basic photoshop skills would soon evolve into full 3/D image renderings of our ideal camping chair. This was the first real representation of our vision and it was right in front of us.
The next step was to upgrade everything. We looked at what existed on the market, began market research and found that there was a disconnect between what existed on the market and what people actually wanted in an outdoor seating experience. It was here that the Voyager camping chair began to come together.
We became obsessed with the concept of the Voyager. It became the ultimate camping chair. It was designed for function, durability, and comfort. It could take all your items to the beach, keep your hands free to carry whatever the day required and could carry up to 12 of your favorite beverages in the cooler pack. For the first time, camping chairs would have a cooler located directly under the user's seat for easy access, it would have additional pockets for extra storage of valuables like keys, phones, wallets, and the cooler would have welded seams to make sure those electronic items we're safe from potential water damage.
The design started to take on elements of its final representation. The next step was to create a working prototype.
In January of 2019, we received the first prototype of the Voyager. It was the first time we could touch, feel and experience what had existed in our minds. The experience was rewarding but, we knew we had a lot of work ahead. The fabric of our camping chair wasn't performing how we had hoped. The cupholder was flimsy and generally weak. The cooler wasn't nearly as functional and after multiple rounds of testing with friends, family, and strangers around the campfire, we knew what needed to be improved.
We went back to the drawing board with our list of improvements and presented solutions. The cupholder evolved into from a simple canvas slip to a functional, experience-oriented benefit that could fit cans, bottles and coffee cups thanks to a cut out designed for the coffee mug handle. It could be moved from either side of the chair based on user preference. The webbing was improved with a 60mm polyester woven fabric that was comfortable against the skin, didn't pinch and could take on the creative patterns and colors that we designed. Lastly, the cooler became detachable through the use of carabiner clips that turned the Voyager into a one-of-a-kind, "two-products-in-one" camping chair. We fell in love with it.
In the Spring of 2020, COVID-19 put a delay on our launch plans. Our initial launch date of 3/18 was completely up-ended but an invisible virus that would go on to shut down the globe. In the U.S.A. March 18th signaled the beginning of work from home/stay at home orders, beaches and parks were closed, children were sent home from school and so much more. We thought the end had come before PARKIT had truly begun. But, as circumstance would have it, the shut down created a huge demand for outdoor adventure and a few short weeks later, PARKIT launched on Kickstarter, sold just over 3,000 units in 30 days and the rest... well that part of the story is still to come.
Enjoy The Exploration,
Founder & CEO