Hammok manufacturer Kammok is working to bring an innovative new tarp to market. Not only does the tarp provide shelter from the rain, it funnels that rain into a gutter system and bottles it, providing a hassle-free way of procuring clean drinking water.
Unlike other sources of water common in the wild, rainwater is inherently clean and a good option for refilling a water bottle, especially if you don't have a water purification system on hand. However, collecting water with narrow-mouthed bottles or hydration bladders can be difficult and ineffective.
The Glider seeks to make rainwater collection easier with a dual-function design. On the surface, it is a simple backpacking tarp that can add weather protection to the Kammok Roo hammock or serve as a standalone shelter or sun shade. Instead of simply shedding rainwater, though, the Glider uses what Kammok calls a rainwater retention system. Rain gutters created by a series of six catenary curves and a special suspension system siphon water out toward the four corners where bottles are attached by way of plastic connectors. The connectors work with most 28-mm soft water bottles, including Kammock's own FlexiPOD bottles. The funnels include overflow grommets that release water once the bottle is full and debris filters. When the bottles are full, they actually pull down on the tarp, providing even better protection.
The amount of water that the Glider system will collect obviously depends upon how much rain is falling. Kammok says that the system will work in both light and heavy rain, and its testing has filled a one-liter (34 oz) bottle in as little as 30 seconds during a particularly heavy downpour.
Another interesting feature of the Glider is that it's made from a new Cordura-based "Amphibiskin" fabric that includes both waterproofing and heat reflective coating. The heat reflective coating helps manage the temperature underneath. When it's cold and stormy, the tarp is set up with the reflective side on the bottom and the dark, rain-retention side on the top to collect water. When it's warm and sunny, the tarp can be set up reflective side out, helping to shed some of the heat of the sun.
On the downside, the Kammok will prove most useful in places like the Pacific Northwest where rain is abundant, along with other water sources like streams and rivers. In a desert, where the problem of finding a drinking water source is more pronounced, you're less likely to see a rainstorm. But we guess the idea is that if you're using a rain tarp, it's raining or threatening to rain, so why not gather some water without having to locate and a separate source. It's certainly going to be more effective than collecting rainwater directly in a narrow-mouthed bottle.
Kammok is still finalizing the Glider's specs but anticipates it will weigh 25 oz (709 g), not including the plastic bottle connectors, and measure 5 x 9 in (13 x 23 cm) when packed. It is trying to raise money on Kickstarter to finish Glider development, offering a Glider tarp package starting at US$175 and a Glider + Roo hammock package starting at $250.