In recent years, several young entrepreneurs have designed outdoor equipment that meets diverse needs: some are very niche, others target a broader audience. These contractors are often concerned about the environment and seek to include this factor in their design work.
This is the case of Sabrina Hémond, who launched in 2020 an alternative solution to disposable hand warmer bags. This is Hot Poc, a reusable hand warmer that contains a solution of water and sodium acetate, a very salty ingredient, and a small metal disc. When this disc is folded, it releases microscopic pieces of metal which react with the solution, which produces good heat for more than thirty minutes.
Back home, all you have to do is immerse the sachet in boiling water to reverse the reaction. The bag can therefore be reused.
The Hot Poc does not meet all needs, especially when heat is needed for a whole day. But in many situations, half an hour of heat is more than enough, especially during a snack outside, or when you leave an overheated shelter and your hands need a little momentary heat boost. .
This year, Sabrina Hémond is offering two new products: a ring that protects the metal disc from accidental triggering and a small cell phone “sleeping bag.” Simply insert a Hot Poc and the cell phone stays warm. These little “sleeping bags” are made by people in social reintegration from used coats. It’s hard to be more eco-friendly than that.
Audvik, however, does not give its place with its coats made from recycled fishing nets, the FOSFO collection. This year, Audvik is adding brightly colored baby coats to this collection.
Coats in Audvik’s regular collection also include recycled materials, including fibers from plastic bottles. Audvik estimates that it has processed 24,556 bottles of water since 2019.
The small Montreal company, run by Sophie Boyer, makes its coats by hand in its workshop on rue Chabanel.
A coat, obviously, is a big gift. Those with a slightly more limited budget can look to Lasclay, which is launching insulated milkweed insoles this year.
The milkweed fruit is filled with seeds and white silk that has insulating, hydrophobic and antibacterial properties. But above all, milkweed is a particularly important plant for the monarch butterfly which, during its development, feeds successively on its leaves and its nectar.
Companies have attempted to market isolated milkweed products, including coats, but technical difficulties (processing milkweed generates fine dust that is difficult to manage) have derailed larger projects.
Very small companies have taken over with more modest projects. Gabriel Gouveia and Phil Langlois, from Lasclay, focused on small accessories like mittens and scarves. They have a lot of hope on the soles. Their main mission, however, is to return monarch populations to their original levels by encouraging the exploitation of milkweed.
Other young people are designing particularly niche products, such as the NanoTraino, an extremely light evacuation sled. Mountain skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts can easily slip it into a day backpack: it weighs only 560 grams and takes up no more space than a one-liter water bottle. Two outdoor guides, Alexandre Byette and Sébastien Simard, designed this sled and tested it in the Chic-Chocs.
For their part, the young founders of Owlypacks, David Desmarais and Audrey-Anne Langevin, have designed hammock tents and poncho hammocks for adventurers who seek lightness above all. After a crowdfunding campaign in 2019, young Montreal entrepreneurs were able to launch production in 2020.
Mathieu Jourjon is also betting on ultralight with his small company Mount Trail, based in Quebec. It notably offers sleeping bags, minimalist tents and clothing. The small company seeks to be as eco-responsible as possible, particularly with local manufacturing and an emphasis on recycling.
You have to stay on the lookout to find other young Quebec entrepreneurs.
This is the number of calories a bear can ingest daily before wintering.
One last little mountain biking video before winter. And in French !