If you are a competitive runner, this scenario is all too familiar with you. You try to hide your jacket behind a bush or other secret hiding spot until you finish the race. When you return to the spot you thought no one would look, your jacket is gone. One fellow runner has started a business to give people a place to store their items safely while they enjoy their race.
Molly MacDonald had lost countless sweatshirts, jackets, and t-shirts before coming out with her brilliant idea. She launched her company, Blue Trailer, to give competitors a safe and dry place to keep their belongings during races and other events. Blue Trailer uses portable locker rooms that athletes can use to store any of their personal belongings without fear of losing them while they compete.
The simple, yet practical idea is not in full motion yet. MacDonald is still fundraising money to compile the necessary materials for the company’s first portable locker room. MacDonald said that the only option racers have currently is a bag check, if it is offered, or to find a great hiding spot. If you do use the bag check, you have to have a bag, and you don’t have easy access to your stuff.
Many racers like to take pictures for their Instagram or write their Facebook status right before they take off. With Blue Trailer, runners can do all that and quickly store their phones safely in a locker right before the race starts. The portable storage units will come in three sizes, based on how much stuff you have. The first trailer they designed will have 500 lockers available for people to use. The company also wants to eventually have “good luck” bags in the lockers, coupons, and even random Blue Trailer t-shirts in some lockers. The company will also be pledging a portion of their sales to charity. Blue Trailer will have its first portable locker room at the Black Cat race in Salem during March 2014.
A tarp distributor out of Palmdale, California found a way to put its overstocked items to good use. Many companies are not sure what to do with their overstocked products, but this company is using theirs for a program called Tarps for Kids.
The California-based company, Tarps Plus, has created the Tarps for Kids program by donating their overstocked supply of untreated white canvas tarps, as well some portable building tarps to local schools. The company collaborates with the local schools to set up an event where Tarps Plus shows up with the tarps and painting supplies and the kids paint them with their teachers.
The Tarps Plus truck will arrive at a school and lay out a 30 x 30 foot white campus tarp. Then a 10 x 10’ white pop-up tent is set up on top of it. The Tarps Plus employees then lay out all of the painting supplies for the kids so they can create their masterpieces! The children dip their hands in the paint and imprint their hands onto the tent along with their teachers, symbolizing the unity of the school. The tarp on the ground is for the children to free paint anything they can imagine.
Tarps Plus CEO said this about the creation of the program;
“We were trying to think of a unique way to use our overstocked tarps and tents. What better way than donating them to schools and getting the children involved with painting them?”
After it is all said and done, the schools use the tarps and tents for fundraisers,
assemblies, and various outdoor functions. Tarps Plus hopes to do the program all throughout California, but for now they are starting with the Southern half. If your school is in the Southern California area and wants to participate in the Tarps for Kids program, you can contact the company at 1-800-838-3057.
A United Kingdom-based tent manufacturer, called Tentsile, recently unveiled their newest product, the Stingray. The company says that the Stingray is the perfect combination of hammock and tent. The tent’s design allows you to sleep inside, suspended in the air.
When you go camping, a tent’s canopy will protect you from rain and other elements. However, on the ground you are more susceptible to frost, bugs, animals, and rocks. The Stingray allows you to sleep off the ground, suspended in the air. It works like a canopy that protects you and your belongings, but you can stay inside of it and not have to be on the ground.
Tentsile’s newest tent uses three tree straps, two poles, and a polyester tarp to keep its tenants safe above the ground. The Stingray can be assembled or disassembled in just five minutes! It weighs only 13 pounds, and when set up, it is large enough to sleep up to four people. The suspended tent is accessible from the ground through a collapsible ladder. You can enter the tent through either a floor hatch or side door.
The Stingray has optional accessories available too. For an added price, you can get a shoe drying rack, luggage nets, or even iPad pouches. The company is marketing the Stingray to the avid camper, United Nations, and military. The tent’s lightweight design and relatively low price make it enticing for use in natural disaster situations. If there are areas that have been flooded or where the ground is unsuitable, the Stingray would be a great temporary shelter for those affected.
Right now, Tentsile has turned to Kickstarter for help with bringing their new product to the market. The minimum pledge is around $1,400 and you will be guaranteed one when the initial units are released around March.
Nearly all structures carried at Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America are canopies, including both permanent canopies like carports and portable garages and temporary structures like pop-up canopies and party tents. But, what characteristics should a canopy have? As a canopy essentially protects your vehicle – or you – outdoors, it needs to meet certain expectations. For a permanent shelter like a carport, this includes:
• Being made from heavy-duty polyethylene. Medium-duty polyethylene and vinyl are generally considered too weak for repeated outdoor use and will become worn sooner. The only exception to this rule is an all-metal carport.
• Being waterproof. If water can seep through a canopy or rust the metal frame, the structure will not sufficiently protect your vehicle, be it daily protection or seasonal storage.
• Being UV resistant. UV rays can damage the surface of any vehicle left outdoors. On a minor level, this means the paint color may fade. More serious results include cracking any exterior or interior plastic parts.
• Being rot and mildew resistant. A canopy shouldn’t have mold and mildew building up on it, and, likewise, it should prevent mold, mildew, and dry rot from forming underneath on the vehicle.
• Being rip-stop or rip-proof. Both qualities are essentially the same thing, but the canopy shouldn’t rip unless hit by a severe natural disaster, like a tornado or hurricane. Ordinary rain and snow storms shouldn’t rip or damage the canopy material.
• Being fire resistant. Not all outdoor canopies are, but it’s a bonus if the canopy meets California fire codes for fire retardant properties.
As far as temporary canopies like pop-up and party tents are concerned, these generally have the waterproof and UV resistant properties, as they need to do these things temporarily. But, being made from polyester, the material is more prone to ripping, which is why the structure is temporary instead of permanent.