When real estate agent Dave Herring moved to West Palm Beach from New York in 2010, he loved everything about his new tropical lifestyle — especially the weather.
“I’m really active and love being outdoors. Cycling, running, paddleboarding, surfing, you name it. Doing anything outdoors — especially on the water — is what I enjoy most.”
But Herring, 33, and his buddies found there was just one catch to being outdoor enthusiasts, especially when being active in water sports: “Carrying water bottles was inconvenient, if not often impossible. And then we’d get so dehydrated, we’d have to cut short our time on the water.”
With existing options for hands-free hydration — such as camelback packs — being either too bulky or uncomfortable for his liking, in 2014 Herring set out to create a new wearable hydration system.
“I needed a lightweight and comfortable solution that gave me easy access to the hydration I needed, without weighing me down,” he explained.
He has spent the last three years partnering with an award-winning Swiss design firm to create just what he wanted.
Behold the Wetsleeve.
The deceptively simple concept — a forearm-length wrap that comes in three sizes and encloses a fluid-holding compartment —has several innovative design features.
First, there’s the material of the outer portion of the sleeve. It’s soft, non-irritating and won’t get weighed down with sweat. On the underside, there’s a 3D mesh lining that both ensures a secure fit and lets the wearer’s skin breathe.
The reservoir, which holds 12 fluid ounces, fits within the zippered upper portion of the sleeve and is detachable for refills. The silicone mouthpiece of the reservoir sits just above the wrist, making drinking easy.
Herring said that he and his designers took special care to ensure that the water inside the reservoir wouldn’t feel as though it was “sloshing around when you moved.” They did this by giving the reservoir a built-in “spine” that enables it to maintain its shape and disperse the fluid evenly, no matter how much is inside it.
In addition, Herring noted, the reservoir’s material keeps the temperature of cold water from being affected by the wearer’s body heat.
“Ice cold water stays cold for awhile — at least 30 minutes — just like it would in a regular water bottle.”
Other Wetsleeve features include small compartments to store keys, credit cards, cash, ID, etc.
In early June, Wetsleeve launched a two-month Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $25,000. It has already raised more than $110,000 — and pre-orders of the product at the special $39 price are scheduled to ship in early October.
“The feedback we’ve received from all over the world has been incredible,” Herring said. “And we’ve been hearing from people who we never even considered would be interested in the product.”
People like mothers with young children (“One less thing for them to carry”).
Delivery dock workers (“Managers at big-box stores want them for their employees”).
Those who use wheelchairs (“One … man told us that this product would change his life — which was so powerful and gratifying”).
Herring, who noted that many of his pre-order customers plan to wear the Wetsleeve on both arms, believes his product can also have a positive impact on the environment: “Every day, I see so many empty plastic water bottles — especially on the beach. Anything we can do to reduce that is a good thing.”
No doubt, fans of Wetsleeve will drink to that.