This week Marcus sits down with Dane and Dustin, the founders of Michigan based Hardside Hydration. Hardside Hydration is a solution to backcountry hydration needs, combining the best elements of a nalgene water bottle and a bladder system. The guys talk about the inception of the idea after both had popped a water bladder on a backcountry hunt and needed a better solution. The guys talk about how their given backgrounds and experiences lended themselves well to being able to start the business and really relate to a lot of hunters, regardless of their pursuit. Dustin talks about the feedback and the process they went through to get to their final product and how things have grown in such a short period of time. If you want to learn more, check out their product, the Swig Rig at hardsidehydration.com.
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What's up everybody? A happy Monday to you. Welcome back to another episode of the Michigan Wild Podcast, and I'm your host, Marcus Ewing. All right. Today I am joined by Dane Williams once again, who we just spoke with Dane a few weeks back, but today I'm joined by Dane Williams and Dustin Gao, and they are the owners and founders of Hard Side Hydration.
Hard side hydration. You probably recall Dana and I referencing it a little bit in our previous episode. But we wanted to wait till we had Dustin available to really dive into it. Hard side Hydration is a product [00:02:00] or the product that Hard side Hydration has called the Sig Rig. Essentially what it is it is a very versatile and rugged.
Solution for your hydration needs. What it was initially thought of and designed for use on backcountry hunts or backcountry trips. But since its inception and the feedback that the guys have gotten, it's really evolved into something that can be used for all sorts of various activities.
and different sports all these different applications that it that it is good for. But essentially what it does is a lot of outdoor recreationist, let's call it From a hydration standpoint, tend to use either maybe like an algae bottle or a water bottle of some sort, or they're using your maybe more traditional bladder system.
And what this does is it the s swig rig, it combines the best of both worlds. So it's gonna eliminate. The hydration bladder in your pack. And, but it's [00:03:00] still going to give you the ease of using a hose, having that bite valve, very easily accessible while you have your pack on.
But you're going to, your main source of water is going to come from some type of no gene or water bottle. . And it's, I'm not gonna be able to do it justice. Trying to describe it. You're gonna have to check out hardside hydration.com, check out their swig rig. It's a, an absolutely awesome product.
We got to record this episode actually out at the Western hunting expo out in Salt Lake City. I was out there with those guys for a few days this past weekend and seeing the feedback from people out there was. Seeing and hearing the different ways in which they're using it, how, since making the switch to it it has completely changed.
Their perception on, or perception and approach to hydration when they're out hunting is awesome. And we dive into that in the conversation as. , but in order to really fully understand what the swagger is again, check it out, [00:04:00] hardside hydration.com. So today's episode again, Dane Williams and Dustin Gho from Hard Side Hydration.
Enjoy everybody. All right, Dane Williams, Dustin Gho, welcome back to what is our third iteration of the podcast. But this time we're gonna, we're gonna do it at Michigan Wild because obviously we're, you guys are a Michigan company and, but as opposed to doing this in Michigan, we're sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City at the Western Hunt Expo.
So welcome to the podcast guys. Thanks. So before we for the listeners in Michigan here, before we get into it, how's the expo going for you guys? It's been awesome. Yeah? It's going really good. Yeah. A lot of traffic, a lot of people. It's a scene out here yeah. I've done some trade shows in Michigan.
But this is a whole nother ballgame out here, man. Yeah. You couldn't even walk around today. No. It was shoulder to shoulder everywhere. And it's not a small venue. Like it's hu, yeah, 40,000 people probably today. Came through the doors. [00:05:00] Yeah. I don't remember. A couple years ago they said it was like 60 to 80,000 on a weekend, but they expanded the show this year, so I'm not sure how many they were expecting.
Yeah. I recorded an episode and the guy that I was talking to said that they had 200 new vendors this year from last year. Yeah. Which is why they probably had to open up that whole other hallway or I guess down where you guys. Yeah it's definitely bigger this year. It's been cool.
It seems like one of the popular questions is, where are you guys out of ? Yeah. I heard. And they're always surprised when, oh, Michigan. Really? Yeah. Yeah. You guys local? You guys look, no, we're from Michigan. Michigan shows you the reach of this when you ask 'em and where are you guys from and from?
Yeah. Oh, we're from Idaho and or we're from Montana or wherever. . Yeah, I feel like with this show particular, you get a lot of people coming in from a lot of the surrounding areas, right? Because Bozeman's five hour drive, Boise isn't terribly, it's a, probably half days drive or something like that.
There's a lot of bigger areas that people are coming into it that they're like, oh, we'll just [00:06:00] make a weekend out of it. Go to the expo, right? . Yeah. It's, I think it's central for a lot of Yeah. Places out west. Yeah. I think that was one of their goals out here, they told us last year is they saw this Salt Lake Convention Center as they wanted it to be the convention center of the West.
Yeah. Where everybody goes and does their events. But, and it makes sense too. Cause even Colorado, if you're gonna, if you're gonna fly, An hour flight, hour and a half flight. Yeah, like it's not, it's still a long drive. We were talking to the guys from Oregon and stuff. It's a long drive for them to get down here.
Did they drive down? Yeah, I think they said it was like 18. 18 plus four the next day. So yeah. That's a hike. Yeah. Yeah, that's a hike, man. It's a long drive. Especially after you do this for four days and then yeah, you gotta pack up and head home. Make four, drive four, four hours on Sunday, then your whole day, Monday's gone cuz you're in the car too.
Yep. No thanks. Yeah. Hoping that the roads are perfect and Yep. Can make it home in time. So tell me [00:07:00] guys, for, again, for those listening what is heart side hydration? What are you guys, what are you guys doing now? I will say this. It's hard for me to ask questions that I know answers to. Yeah.
Especially like when this is now our third time. Yeah. And for those listening, Dane recorded an episode with me where we just talked about like the huntings this past hunting season a few weeks ago. So you'll recognize his voice. But we wanted to wait until I could get both him and Dustin on, and we knew we were all gonna be out here.
So we figured this was a good time to introduce the listeners to Hard Side because I think. And as they talk, they'll explain that it's, it certainly was designed with the intent of like back country hunting, in mind. But there's, I think you guys have probably found like how many different people have been like, oh, like I use it for this, or I can use it for that.
And it'll certainly ring true to a lot more people I think, in Michigan than. we realized or maybe you thought when, first, when GI guys first came up with hard side. [00:08:00] So why don't you guys go ahead and tell the listeners what exactly hard side Hydration is. All right. We identified a problem for us which we found was having, reliable, durable hydration options in the in the back country.
And really a lot of things anytime you're hiking or anything like that. We took some stuff that we thought was readily available for most adventures, which would be nailing bottles. And and we tried to make a system that would work for that. So that was our first product. Yeah, we just set out to make stuff that we were looking to have for our adventures in hunting mostly.
But we do a lot of hiking and other things. That was how we got going. We made our first product in 2021. The it's our hard side swig rig. And that works, works with Nalgene bottles and a lot of other bottles as well. So tell me like, explain so obviously there'll be a picture of, like a swig rick or whatnot, like when people see like the posts and stuff, but try to give people a visual of [00:09:00] what exactly the s swig Rick is.
Yeah. So for me I guess the best thing you could think about would be having hydration that's on the outside of your pack. We identified that problem of for us was having, water inside a bag where you're, have all your gear that you've spent, hundreds of dollars on, you're relying on that.
So we're, we found a way to get that on the outside, which was, to run a. Tube to the, to a hydration bottle. So that'd be an analogy bottle. Or, yeah, most people are probably familiar with the bladder systems, and this was just a lot cleaner. Definitely easier to clean, a lot easier to use.
And it's just a little more durable than a bladder. Most people who carry a bladder are also carrying a water bottle for different reasons, but. , it's just the best of both worlds between a hard sided bottle and and the convenience, the drinking from a bladder. Yeah. And that's cause obviously being out here and there's multiple times where.[00:10:00]
There's, 5, 6, 7 people around the booth and there's got you two. And then Brian, who does not have a headset who's just sitting here listening to us, , and this is, he came out with you guys last year, so like you guys are talking and there's still kind of people that like are waiting and wanna learn more.
. Like when I talk to people, it's I try to tell 'em like, it's basically like a hybrid, right? Yeah. Like it's, it gives you, like you just said, Dustin, the best of both worlds. Like it gives you the convenience of being able to drink out of a hose and having something like right there, super accessible.
You don't have to pull anything outta your pack, but also you don't have to worry about, like you guys said, your bladder exploding, never being. How much water you have, because you don't wanna take off your pack, start pulling a bunch of shit out. Oh, I still have three quarters of a bag. And it's that was pointless to have to do all that.
Where'd the idea come from? Like how did this thing come to fruition? Yeah. It started, I think both of us had a similar experience. It was some type of water, for me it was a, I was in Colorado elk [00:11:00] hunting and had a, had a. Pop and kind of ruin, ruin a day. I was able to get some other containers from buddies and keep going, but it was like, just annoyed with that and starting to talk about ideas and then spilled over with.
Dustin had a similar experience where, yeah, I had just a water bag that, I was carrying water in extra water and filled it up, set it down, and it sprung a leak. Yeah, the next day we were hiking, talking about it and I was like, man, I'm, we're done doing soft bags of water. Yeah. Just doesn't seem right to have a bag of water
So we decided we were gonna do all pots and, so we wanted something that had still give us the convenience of drinking. So we started making it up. . So what did that design process look like? Like how did, like what in your backgrounds allowed you to come up with it? Did you have to get like outside sources, go to someone who designs like either soft or hard goods and say, Hey, [00:12:00] like this is what we're looking for.
Can you help us, bring this idea to life? So I have a background in engineering and design, so I, as soon as we got back, I started making prototypes, 3D printing 'em, and. Quickly I was able to determine that a lot of 'em weren't gonna work. So once I got something that I thought was decent, I started showing it to Dane and some other guys and getting their feedback on it.
And we went from there until we, we had something that we thought was. Really good and gonna work and started testing it out on just, 3D prints and prototypes. And we even got like the exo mountain gear mark from Exo Mountain Gear. We sent him a prototype and got feedback from him.
And, we were trying to reach out to people with a lot of experience and people who, were willing to help us and give us feedback that could help us get a better product. Yeah, it's fun to think about like just how it started. Just even the first couple [00:13:00] prototypes that Dustin made up were, I was like, whoa, that's really cool.
Wasn't really expecting it and it was like, Yeah, this is, expecting it, but like surprised hey, that even that would've been great, compared to what I thought was out there. And then it was just starting to make sure we weren't, just reaching out to people, our friends, and like even talking with Marcus about, hey, like how is it when you started your company and figuring out, yeah, what we needed to do to bring this together to.
From starting social media accounts to , that was the challenge. Anything that we could, start picking people's bla brains about all the, what it takes to actually pull this off. Cuz it's for me, if I'm, if we're going in and, it's, we gotta give it our all and and it's just, I feel like believing in the product whether it's, gonna help somebody just this out backpacking and hiking or just whether all the different sports and outdoor activities that we found that it's useful.
And yeah. How long did it take, like Dustin, from, you guys got back from that trip and you you said you immediately started. Coming up with ideas or started like doing some rough [00:14:00] designs or whatever and got to some designs that you thought could work and you start, doing some prototype 3D printing and everything.
Like how long was that process from, when you first started out to where you got to a point where you're like, you had a prototype where you thought, okay, like this is a good place to start, right? We can get feedback, make modifications from here. How long did that process take? We went pretty fast.
We I think it's pretty fast. So we got back at the end of September and we had our first prototypes at the beginning of beginning of October. And then we kept iterating and changing things until, I don't know, we were probably testing some maybe in December and made our final changes. And then then it took us a couple months to kinda get organized and figure out, okay, who's gonna be a part of this company?
What is it gonna look like? How are we gonna do it? What is it even gonna be called? Yeah. And how much are things gonna cost? So there was a lot of trying to get quotes for tooling and molds and things like that. And so [00:15:00] just a lot of additional legwork before we could actually kick.
The tool to get stuff made and our goal was to have it by spring and we just couldn't do it on time. So we ended up launching like late in the summer 21. Okay. And not only, like from the start, you had two prototypes for one about one is our, was our first product, the swig rig 63. And then, The product we just launched three days ago was the smaller cap.
And so we knew we had two out there and it was like, all right, which one should we go with first kind of thing. Yeah, just bootstrapping it and just putting it together ourselves. It was trying to figure out what we could afford to do it, to start and work our way up to that yeah.
I think you guys definitely made the right call going with the 63, the the kind of the traditional swig as I would call it. . I mean it fits any of the wide mouth now jeans. Yeah. And I've got four Nalgene bottles at home. I think that you just, yeah, like anyone who spends time outdoors, like you end up acquiring them.
Yeah, exactly. [00:16:00] Whether it's however you get 'em. Yeah. You just, you end up with a ton of 'em. And then people who specifically are, backpack hunters even if they're not using that as their primary, Source of water, like they probably have one Yep. In their pack. Like just something accessible or something extra or things like that.
What, so you guys launch late summer of 21? Yep. How long before you guys started to see like real traction before you started to get, like sales started coming in or you started to get feedback from people who had bought it? . Okay. This thing's awesome. Like what did that, like how quickly did you guys start to like really go, shit, we got something here.
I think our first really good month was probably September that year. , when we were actually, gone hunting and it turned out to be a really big month for us. Yeah. I was surprised cuz I figured our sales would happen before the archery elk season. Yeah.
Just cuz for [00:17:00] me that's, that's when you're gearing up. Yeah. That's when I'm using it and looking for new gear and stuff. So I think that surprises and then sales continued to do well that year. And then in December it's priced great for Christmas presents, so it really took off.
That first December too, and we were talking about that at dinner tonight, that, you walk around an expo that probably has 400 different vendors and you guys have a product that is extremely useful that probably everyone walking around that place has some type of use for, and it's 35 bucks.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's like I, you guys have to speak to this more than me. Hydration, like where your water comes from. That's so critical when you're in the back country, like just staying hydrated, right? If you're hiking, five, six miles a day or whatever like that. If you don't have water, if you don't have something like you're done, you're gonna be toast.
Like you're not gonna have any type of energy. And yeah, $35. [00:18:00] And that's it. It gives you complete peace of mind that look like this isn't gonna fail. It's no longer like a concern, right? You can check that off your list and not have to focus on that going forward. And it kind to me like every time I walk away from the booth and I'd come back.
Yeah. Five, six people standing around every ti like every time, like people were talking to me and I'm like, I'm just . I'm just here to help. You know you, yeah. Like I've thankfully you are helping and thank goodness for you and Brian coming and helping us. It's yeah. Yeah.
I remember last year you guys, the three of you guys came out and you called me, shoot. It must have been like Monday morning or afternoon or something. And you were sitting in the airport. Yeah, we were sitting in the airport like, we flew from here to Denver. Yeah. And I was like, bro you gotta get, you gotta get out.
Yeah. You're like, this is crazy out here. It's awesome. You guys made a bunch of good connections. Got it. In the hands of a bunch of people who are very well respected, in kind of the hunting and outdoor space. And I mean that, you start to see all the people who you guys made [00:19:00] connections with last year and stuff like that, and they're like, hell, we were walking.
From the venue to the hotel tonight. Random group of guys kinda walking, right behind us or whatever, and they just start making small talk oh what booth are you guys in? We're like, oh, hard side hydration. And one, he goes, oh, that's cool. And then he is wait, hard side.
He's oh, I love my hard side. And it's you guys asked me like, oh, where'd you, he's oh, actually a buddy bought it for me. And you're that's crazy. Like just literally like random dudes walking down the street. Oh yeah. Hard side. Like I love that. Or people come up to the booth today.
Oh yeah, I bought one last year. These things are awesome. Then they bought like either the, like maybe they bought the insulated hose kit today or they went back and bought like the 28, the one that you guys just drafted today. Cuz that was, I remember the multiple times talking to both of you guys.
That's one of the things where people are like, you guys gonna do something for a smart water bottle? Something like that. And yeah. I knew it was in the works for a long time. Yeah. And that's actually the we made the prototype the same time we originally made the swig 63.
But we just didn't, [00:20:00] we couldn't afford to do both tools, so we had to decide which way to go. Yeah, and then it worked out in the end because we changed the design on things a little bit and I think we have a better product in the end now, here, a year later. For that one for the smart water bottle.
Did the original design, did it have the finger loop, like the little, so the original one, actually, it was a combo cap. It was gonna fit the narrow mouth now gene. Okay. And then with an adapter, it was gonna fit smart water bottles. Okay. It was a more complicated cap. And in the end, looking at the quantity I guess of.
Narrow mouth now jeans that they sell and it's only in a 32 ounce. That's the only way you can clean. Yeah. It's the only way you can get that narrow mouth. Nalgene is 32 ounce and it's just it's not as much caring capacity. And it probably wasn't gonna be worth it for us to invest in a mold for that size.
And this is a simpler one piece mold that we could go with for the cap. And do a better job on it. Yeah, and I think too, [00:21:00] more people are, even if they are buying like the 32 ounce analogy like they're getting the wide mouth. Yeah, because I think you were about to say you can't clean those other ones, right?
Like you can like, and they're available, the, in the, it's like for us that the 32, we still don't even sell a 32 ounce on the website, right? Yeah. Just the 40 eights. It's every. Everybody already has one. Yeah. And also the 30 twos are really common. Like I've explained it to people today.
It was like, Hey man, like when you're hiking, you're gonna drink more water now. Yeah. Than what you thought you had a lot of water, but you weren't hydrating properly. Yeah. Cause I've, it's, that's how I used to do it. I'd stop and I really couldn't reach that bottle as much, so I wouldn't drink as much, but.
When you're running a hose to a 32 ounce bottle and drinking out of it, you're gonna, you're gonna go through that a lot quicker. So that's something that, we still are, like, we toss around the idea of Hey, we could make a. 32, but we just stick with the 48. Yeah.
And I think a lot of people are gonna be, cuz that 63 millimeter, that that first cap it's not just the Nalgene wide mouth that it fits. It's right. Yeah. Talk [00:22:00] about that other bottles, it fits the camelback ch. Line of bottles, wide mouth bottles. It'll fit hydro flask, wide mouth bottles, the insulated ones and the arctic wide mouth bottles.
And now the new Yeti yonder. And that the size, the two sizes they have in that I think are probably like 16 or 18 and then 34. And so I think that 34 is gonna be really popular and it works with our cap. So I think. people will use that. And who knows? Eventually maybe they'll make a bigger bottle.
Yeah, they yonder, but yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting. And I think Dane, when you first called me, you're like, we got this idea, like we might be starting a business. What do you think? And I'm like, yeah, I think like one, I haven't been back country hunting, especially like out west where you're relying on like some type of system.
But I was like, man, this. An awesome idea. I'm like, but also I go, how has no one thought of this ? This seems [00:23:00] like how many people today are like, do you guys come across, or like, how has no one come up with this? This is so simple, right? Like it's not simple in the fact of like the design and yeah, the concept.
But like when you look at it, people are like, yeah that's a great idea. A guy came up today like, As he was walking up, he's I knew exactly what this was. Yeah. Like I saw it and I like, as I was walking, I was like, oh, like that's a great idea. Yeah. That's, those are a lot of common reactions.
The people who get it, No. Immediately. Yeah. And they're, we've had a number of people say thank you, and it's just funny because it's oh, thank you for buying one, you don't need to thank us for Yeah. For making it. But this is our like, year of, this is one year from our, doing our first expo.
Cuz we didn't, we never did a trade show till we came out here last year. Yeah. And it was sent with Covid and all that. This was the biggest, people were waiting, they were like ready to come to this expo last year in 2022. And so [00:24:00] now we're here a year later. So it's been awesome to be like, and we remember 'em too, because to finally get a chance to go out there and make sure, get a real reaction from people of like, how do you feel
Yeah. And see the, see their expressions, but have 'em come back and say like this, , this is, work great, and we see that it's not like our, we don't spend days like entering or responding to 10,000 emails or five emails even of this sucks, why'd you guys do this? Why'd you do that?
But, for us this is like an option and this is like a great arena to just, and just a place to just talk to people and, learn from them. Besides just reading the email, it's Hey, I picked up on five different things. I didn't even think of, like a girl was like, yeah, just tons of different stuff.
But it's just fun. Yeah. It's really fun to talk to customers, especially after they've had it. Because one, when we make that sale, especially if it's online we don't interact with them. Yeah. So we don't know [00:25:00] who they are, what their situation is, what their initial reaction is. Yeah, exactly. But when we sell 'em, like last year, our first in-person sales we're this hunt expo. And so when you make that transaction you, you wonder okay this is our idea we're giving to you. , I hope you like it. It's out there type of thing. Yeah. Yeah. And so it's really fun to, to run into these people again and have them purposely stop by to say, this is the best thing I've bought in years.
It's just, I. I brought five friends to buy more, and just, they're like, I share this with everybody cuz I think it's the greatest thing. And just hearing that positive feedback, it's really, it, it's a great feeling for us, obviously. But yeah, it's fun to interact with your customers that way because, it brings it full circle and it's not just some words on a screen Yeah.
From a review or Yeah. Things like that. So because yeah it's hard to really convey that [00:26:00] like the. How grateful, someone is about, or how excited someone is about a product that they get. Like you can use exclamation points or whatever you want. Like this is great exclamation point. Thank you so much.
Exclamation. Like you can do all those things, but like it loses something, right? Yeah. As opposed to someone there and like you can see the body language, you can see the expressions on their face and things like that, and you're like, That's awesome. And I think, as a friend and watching you guys like, I got to spend time with you guys, for a couple days at the Michigan Tech event last year.
Obviously a couple days out here now, and seeing you guys like. Interact with customers and like how excited you are about it. That's that's super cool for me to see, like seeing friends succeed with something they set out to do. That's something that they're passionate about. That's awesome.
I like Dana. I don't know how many times, like you and I have had conversations where we just call to catch up or call to talk about something. We get talking about the business, I'm like, , I'm just so pumped for you guys because like when you called me and told me about the idea, like I could hear it in your voice, right?
And [00:27:00] you and I have known each other since we were five years old, right? Yeah. So we've done some stuff. We've seen some things together, right? But like you just had this different tone in your voice that I hadn't heard in a super long time and two years later, , you guys are absolutely crushing it.
And like I'm not trying to like gas you guys up here or anything like that, but it's super cool to see and like the fact that so many people. Not only customers, but just people like in the industry, right? Like their job is Yeah. Is to hunt, so to speak. And they're like, yeah, this is awesome.
I run it and like how many, yeah. How many people run your, like your, the swig group that you guys didn't even know about, right? Yeah, a lot. We're incredibly blessed to have. Made the contacts we have in the industry and just how nice everyone's been to help us along and help us understand, how some things work in the industry and just share with us their knowledge.
Yeah. That's gonna benefit us. Yeah. And I think there's probably like any industry, right? Like you. Surround yourself with the right people. , right? You gotta [00:28:00] take feedback or criticism or advice or whatever you want to call it from the right people. People who you think probably genuinely have your best interest at heart, right?
Even if they have no like vested interest in it you guys have certainly done like a really good job of like just building those relationships with people, right? So I think. They want to be truthful and honest with you guys and say, Hey. This is good. That's why you guys sent it to people Yeah.
That, are hardcore hunters, that spend a ton of days in the back country and be like, Hey, this is what we have. This is why we think it's a great product. Would you mind testing it out for us and giving us some feedback? And how much did you guys have to change things from like some of that.
Some of the initial prototypes you guys sent out. Oh the initial prototypes are unrecognizable compared to the, final production. It's just, you learn things, you have an idea, you do something and you learn things every step of the way. Yeah, the first prototype was a one piece cap, and it took me, after that [00:29:00] proto, after I finished 3D printing it, I was excited.
I put it on the bottle and it took me all of a minute to realize. One piece wasn't gonna work. Yeah. Because when you spin that cap, it tries to twist the whole hose, so yeah, immediately. All right, I gotta go do two pieces now, on board. Yeah. Yeah. Some things are obvious.
Once you get it in your hand. Yeah, everything seems like a good idea in your mind and on paper. But yeah, so things change. We had variety of different handles that we had on the first prototypes and things. Yeah. And I think one of the things, I think of the different, cuz obviously. People that, that go to parts side hydration.com and check out the swag.
Like you'll see all the different accessories you guys have. And I think one of the things that I thought was the coolest was the quick disconnect system because I think the first. Iteration that you guys had sent me didn't have the quick disconnect. Yeah. And I remember like [00:30:00] running it like out shed hunting.
It must have been like that winter. So it was probably, it may have even been a prototype one or one of the very early ones that you guys had sent me. And I remember this is awesome, but like it's a pain because to check my water, I still had to, and I didn't have an external like sleeve on the pack, so I still had to like, fiddle, fart around with the hose.
Like trying to get everything, your whole package. Yeah, exactly. Dust and dust, and I was like, I think people like we were even, and everybody sees it, different, so , it's coming up with what, there was a time where he was like maybe we, maybe we, are people gonna be able to figure this out?
And, and I was I think, I was more of they'll just, maybe if people want it, they'll get it. But then we realized like you. I realized, and Dustin had brought that up from the start we should include this with everything because yeah, it makes the kit, it makes you, it allows you to just make it quick and that's what really saves people on the trail is like, Hey, you don't have to.
Like you can check how much water you have and if you need it, you can just push a little button and pop it off and fill it up quick. You don't have to have a [00:31:00] yard sale at the creek. And yeah, pulling everything out. Pulling everything out to dig in to see if you even need water, so yeah, it was an evolution because we came from a spot of very Western hunting focused.
Yeah. And so we thought, we wanted to focus on really durable, ultra lightweight. So even that little quick disconnect add or adds like a very tiny fraction of an ounce. So maybe some guys won't want to use it. But. It's just one of those things that you learn as you go oh no, the convenience is well worth that quarter of an ounce or whatever tiny percentage it is.
Just because it really does make a big difference in how functional it is and how, how. Convenient. Anything is for you Yeah. To use. I think people are much more willing, especially in that case, like to deal with the extra weight if it's not a hassle. Yeah. Because you can't really put a price on convenience.
Yeah. $35 I suppose you can , [00:32:00] right? But, so you guys have swig, rig 63, which is, the flag. . The OG cap. Yeah, exactly. You have the new 28. Yep. The new 28. You guys have shoots, you guys have accessories. Like you can buy extra straws, extra valves. You can buy a brush to clean the hose.
And all, everything is dishwasher safe. Yep. Which is also another nice thing. They're easy to clean. , there's a lot of guys that like, The wives would come over and be like, oh, he need, he's getting this, yeah. , I'm sick of cleaning that bladder. Yeah. He sets it on my table and dries it out in the living room.
That thing stinks. I'm like, We know I'm that guy, . That's why we're yeah. Yeah. So the accessories too. We know what we want, but we don't necessarily know what everybody else wants. We'll try things and see if it works. See if people think, oh, that's a good idea.
And sometimes we're surprised by what people buy and.[00:33:00] . Sometimes the things like, we did an insulated sleeve, right? It's reversible. Brown on one side, like grain orange on the other side. And so we didn't, there was no neoprene sleeve really for the 48 ounce, no jeans for the tall N jeans. Yeah. So we're like let's make one, cuz I think, it's gonna help insulate your bottle.
There's, some advantages to it. And of course once we had it made, we found out there were more advantages to it. Yeah. And we were like I don't. I don't know if people would be willing to buy it. We like it, but let's try it. And so it's become one of our really popular items. I'd I'd say probably our second most purchased accessory probably. Yep. Now, we've talked about this on previous episodes, but you guys are always tinkering. Thinking months ahead, right? Coming out with, whether it's a different cap, maybe a different system, more accessories. Can you guys talk at all [00:34:00] about what maybe you have in the works or like some ideas that you have that you think could, help revolutionize?
There we go. The, the way people are approach. Their hydration set up in the back country or or maybe you guys have had plans to come up with some type of system that's more dedicated towards like mountain biking or something along those lines. Yeah. So we have a lot of ideas and plans for future products.
It's hard. To know exactly what's gonna work out, because we sometimes have ideas of how we want things to work. , we're always trying to take the pain points out of, hydration. Yeah. For, that's what we're focused on. Focused on right now is hydration. So whatever is inconvenient or whatever, we don't like.
Current hydration systems, including our own, we're trying to improve on those. [00:35:00] Yeah. So we're gonna try things and usually they're not improved upon because they're difficult problems to fix. And so there's things we want to try. I don't. , the things people struggle with most, bite valves and just there's some other convenient things we want to change as well as maybe some new Stepping away from necessarily ING and trying some other forms of hard sided carry.
Yeah. We wanna look at, a lot of our focus too, like you said, mountain biking. What we've learned a lot from our customers is there's so many other uses. We came into this with a very singular focus on western hunting and basically how. Would use it typically. Yeah. And we found our customers have been amazing cuz they let us know, Hey, this really works great for, we have people using it on kayaks and canoes and mountain bikes with apparently that's a big need that we didn't even know [00:36:00] about.
Yeah. For mountain bikers. Yeah. I remember, yeah. Hearing about that. And I'm like, how are they even doing that? Like, how are they even setting that up? . Yeah. They reached out to us and that opened a whole new, opened our eyes to a whole new world of how Yeah. Our system was being used and how real hardcore mountain bikers even set up their bikes and stuff.
Yeah. It's nice to see that kind of thing. And what's always cool and in interesting to me is, and I was speaking with someone earlier today , completely different product in a completely different space. But you set out, like you just said, Dustin, you set out with kind of a singular focus, right?
This is an issue that we've encountered. This is how we think we can improve or get rid of this issue for hunters. And then someone else with a different skillset, hobby, set, whatever you wanna call it, says that's a really cool. . I wonder if I could use it like this. Yeah, I bet I can use it like this.
And then that's just opens Pandora's box. Oh yeah. A little bit. Like for, Dana, I think I've [00:37:00] seen, you post videos of the side run out of a tree stand. Yeah. The least mobile hunting that there is out of a tree stand. You're like yeah, just.
Put the bottle in your pack, run the hose out, and instead of, now every time you need to get a drink and you're reaching into your bag, you're unscrewing the cap, you're making a bunch of noise or a bunch of movement, you can just literally like, reach over, grab the hose. Yeah. Take a drink. That's it.
You never have to like, and how many people are really going through like a 48 ounce bottle? It's all day whitetail hunting. Yeah. Sitting there . And it's I didn't, I remember the first, like when I first took it on the first fall I was hunting with whitetail. Yeah, I've taken it, obviously, and oh, I'll just do this.
And even I was realizing as I was hunting okay, this is gonna be really sweet, yeah. It's funny though, cuz we make this and we're like, wow, we feel like this is really innovative, right? And then we have customers who are like, you know what, I'm using it this way.
And we're like, oh, that's in, that is really innovative , like it's just totally spill over. You don't spill over into. Friend that does, a hunter's friend or somebody that's backpacking that, needs it for [00:38:00] daily, or the, what was, we had the person who was using the the feeding tube and stuff, so that was a huge thing for us.
I remember it was this fall and I'm reading emails and it's just Long email about, how, this is what they're doing. And he sent us a video to show us about it. And then, was asking like if there was a way we could, help him with it a little bit.
Yeah, I think we talked about on the podcast last summer how some people were using it for mobility impaired individuals. Their caregivers were using it or they themselves were using it and. . That was like a totally new arena we had no idea about. Yeah. And then, yeah. So somebody reached out this fall with, , they'd been using it cuz they could keep their whatever they were using for their feeding tube in a hydro flask.
Yeah. And before it was always in a bag because it would stay, it stayed cool. Cooler. Yeah. And yeah. So we, they were dealing with the same problems that we had with the bladder, with this. The feeding [00:39:00] bag. So it was great. Yeah. So we made some adapters Yeah. For their feeding tube connection that they could use with our cap so they could try it out, and so it'll just screw on and screw off.
Versus before they were having to cut the hose and stretch it over the barb on our cap. So yeah, we made an adapter for 'em to try out and thought, Hey, why not, if it can help 'em out, let's do it. Yeah. I've even thought like the, driving in the truck, right? If you got a water bottle right, like when you're driving, you don't want it we all do it put the knee on the wheel and reach over, unscrew it, take a drink, put it back.
But now you can just run, a, what is it, like a six inch? Yeah, like that six inch piece of hose off of it with the bite valve on. Yep. And that, that, that was from one of that, that came really, that idea was somebody in the industry, that asked for it. Yeah. And was like, Hey, this, I really think you guys should make something like this.
And we made it and [00:40:00] immediately started telling it. So it worked out great. And I use it all the time too yeah. It's a nice option. Yep. A couple more things here. Did you guys think in 2021 like that you would be where you're at now? Two years in not even two years in of the success? Because you can call it what it is.
I can spend, you guys created a product in an industry where there's really only been two ways of doing it, right? Either you run some type of water bottle or you. Like a bladder or a camelback, whatever it is. And that was it. Those were your options. Take 'em or leave them.
And now you guys come up with an idea that gives someone the best of both worlds and introduce it into the market where people are. People certainly have their opinions about that. Oh, like I only use Nalgene. I only use an algen. Or I only use a bladder. I only use a bladder. And now you guys have given someone a third option that really.
Let's call it what it [00:41:00] is. It's better than both. Did you guys see things getting to where they are? This quickly don't lie. I don't know. I think we didn't. We thought it was a good idea and we thought we had something good, but we really didn't know how the industry viewed it until we came to Han Expo last year.
Yeah. And that was our first time being involved in the industry and our first interaction, face to face with customers. Yeah. And I. We were blown away last year at HUN Expo at how well it was received, and just nothing but positive feedback. We had numerous people who wanted to do videos on it.
Yeah. And just talk about it and. Just all kinds of things. It was amazing last year to be here and there was just like an energy going on about it. And I think it was at that point where we were like, wow this could be really, this could [00:42:00] be really big. Yeah. This is, you know why.
Well said there. That's definitely summed it up for me. . What's funny is obviously a lot of people are like, oh, like where are you guys from? Where are you guys from? I wonder how many of those people that are asking that question, like in the back of their mind, We have all these like tried and true western hunters and a couple of frigging flatlanders come up with an idea that makes life so much easier for everyone who either Western hunts all the time, aspires for it or aspires to it, makes a trip out west like you guys do.
Like that. That always is for someone who's like watching I'm always like prideful of that. It's yeah, where are you from Michigan, what do you guys know about elk hunting? What do you guys know about mule deer hunting? It's we're figuring that out, but we know hydration.
Yeah. And yeah. What's great about that is, we've, like we've said, our customers always amaze us with the ways they use it, right? And so we're finding that it's all, it's kind. Spilling over into the Midwest and different uses and how they use it with [00:43:00] whitetail or, so it's fun to see that kind of start growing fun.
That was one I heard upland bird hunting. Yeah. Yeah. That's become a big sector for it, yeah. And it makes sense too. You're already running the, you're vest or whatever. Yeah. You got plenty of pockets in that thing to slip an algae bottle in too, and , not only do you need hydration, your dog needs hydration.
It's like the more water you can, and then, I had, the guys that are running it in Montana and they're elk hunting. When we're elk hunting, they're, they're trying to upland Yeah. Hunt with their dogs too. So it's it's crazy to think about all the , different places where it can be used.
Yeah. I don't know if we knew what to expect. Two years in, or a year and a half in, or whatever we are now. Yeah, almost two years. I know one thing for me, it was like at this, I'm close to 40, I'm not 40 yet, but closing it on it, it was like, and this was two years ago, I was like, it it was just a point in my life where I was like, you know what?
This is a great idea. What the heck do we got to wait for? Yeah. It's like you either you. Go for it, or you [00:44:00] talk about it. So yeah, I think we put it into action for sure. And I think we talked about that. Yeah. It's yeah and what, what, like what's the, where it sits right now, it's just, it's great to know that we've already, got something out there that even the people that have used it have enjoyed.
And it's just exciting to think about how we can grow it to help, help other people in the back country, but how fun it will be to, to keep doing that. So if it ended tomorrow I'd have no regrets and I'd be ready to jump in and do it again, the next day.
Yeah. Yeah. Cuz that's the thing like you said it perfectly there. It's like you come to that moment, right? You guys have these ideas, you make the prototypes. . Okay. Like we think we have something here. Yeah. Are we gonna do this? Are we like Yeah. There's a lot of that. Come to Jesus moment yeah, shit.
Or get off the pot, right? We're either gonna, we're gonna do this, or we're just like, five years down the road we're gonna be like, man, remember we had that idea? Yeah. About, making this thing and we even hear people that say that to us that oh, I thought, like I was punching holes and trying to do something myself, a couple years ago.
And [00:45:00] we're like, yeah, so we're, we were thinking about that too, and I think also, yeah, I sat there. The first time I thought about it was some guys, we was like 2018, yeah. So three years before, and then the next year Dustin went and we talked about it again, and finally he was like, just knowing like the business aspect of it, it just, I didn't, I personally didn't have any experience in that, so for me it was great to come together.
And we both bring different, ideas and. Oh, for sure. Looking at, looking at it. And another great thing, it's I did some guiding in my time but I, even if it was just some whitetail stuff. But out west it's always great to, to be around people that enjoy the outdoors.
And no matter what we all come together with, if you're backpacking or biking, everybody is really enjoying the same thing, which is, yeah. What's been created for us and what's out there. Awesome wilderness and the, we get to live in freaking greatest country ever made right here.
So yeah, to get to enjoy it with everybody and to provide something that even if it was something simple like a sport cover , [00:46:00] it's freaking cool to see people enjoy it and, if, to have a common bond with them about our product and know that, hey, maybe this thing's going to top of some mountain or.
Like a guy today that was like, Hey, I'm gonna run a 60 mile thing. I'm gonna try to run it with this, or I'm gonna ride my put on my bike. It's heck yeah man. Please send me an email cuz this is awesome. And I also think too, like a lot of the stars aligned, like being one, like for those not listening, like Dustin grew.
Not terribly far from where Dana about 45 minutes from you guys. Yeah. But you guys didn't meet till you guys were both in your thirties . Yep. So there's that aspect, the fact that you guys both enjoyed hunting. You got kids that are like the same age and the same grade, which is I think how you guys kind of form that friendship to start with.
Yep. Yep. And then you guys both have the same experience with like water bladders, braking and stuff like that. , you have this [00:47:00] idea. Lo and behold, Dustin, you have a background in, design. You have the tools at your disposal to be able to come up with prototypes to be able to design this.
Because you know what happens if Dana, it's me and you, right? And we're like, oh, we got this great idea. We're like shit, who do we get to design this thing? And maybe you hit that roadblock right there and we're like, yeah, they're forget it. We're not gonna go anywhere with this.
But you guys had all these pieces to the puzzle that just fit together so well from a timing standpoint, from a skillset standpoint. And then it was just like, yeah, I think people come into your life at the right time, yeah. It's gotta be, we could have easily, it would've been so easy to be like, Nah, we're just gonna 3D print some for us and Yeah.
And that's it. Be done with it. Or even just be like, no, we'll, continue to complain, . Yeah. Forget about it. You know what I mean? Oh, there must be a reason it's not out there. Yeah. People have tried it just to, yeah. Smarter than us have failed, so what's the point? Yeah. That would've been so easy.
There was [00:48:00] times where, you gotta. , there's a lot of nerves and you're taking on risk and you're trying to decide, what you want to do, but it's better than living with regrets, . That's just it, right? Because even let's say, you invest some money into it you get down that road however far that is, and you guys come to the realization like, you know what?
It's just not gonna work. Whether you couldn't get the design to come together, whatever it was, and you spend X amount of dollars, X amount of. But at least you tried. , right? At least you gave it a go. And at the end of the day, you can say, like you just said I don't have any regrets.
We tried everything that , we knew that we could. Like maybe there was other options out there, but you didn't know about 'em. You couldn't find 'em, whatever it was. But you just went for it. And I think that's when you those are the people like in the business world, regardless of what product or industry or whatever it is, they go for it. They're like, we'll figure it out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Yeah. We'll do whatever it takes, that kind of mentality. Yeah. I think it's certainly paid dividends for you guys because Swi Brick is an awesome [00:49:00] product. It's, I've told you guys that, but I think the reinforcement that I saw over the last two days, like it's there and I think that you guys are just scratching the surface or this is just the tip of the iceberg for what's to come.
And personally, like I, I look forward to seeing where this thing goes for you guys. We really appreciate you having us on this podcast because, , the statement we get a lot is, how have I not heard of the you guys before ? It's I don't know. Yeah. We're trying to get our name out as much as possible.
Yeah. So every little bit helps and, being on podcasts or, whatever we can do. Yeah. Every little bit helps no it's enjoyable for me because one, I get to talk to my friends. Two, you guys get to, share your message and spread that. So hopefully, more people from Michigan are like, oh.
Yeah. Cool. People from Michigan that, yeah, right up in Joe Berg, Michigan. Yeah. By Gaylord. J l a s, baby . Two. Two alums in the room. Two alums. It's all right. But no, I I appreciate [00:50:00] you guys coming on and wish you guys nothing but success. Where can people pick up a aig? They can come to our email@example.com and there are some in j Sporting Goods as.
Yep. Okay, go to the camping section and you'll be able to find insulated or the orange or clear in the OG sweat rig. Okay. 63, which made for Nalgene or wide mouth. Bottles. Yeah. Can I get the water bottles there too? Or just just the rig itself? So the one in Gaylor does have some water bottles available, but our water bottle, our specific Nalgene, you can order online.
And do, can you guys are there any other suppliers or like wholesalers that sell 'em other than J's, which is, it's brick and mortar, but Yeah. Go hunt. Black Ovis I'm drawing 'em blank, but there's our friends in Canada. There's, yeah, there's a place, we have a dealer in Canada.
A Australia, yeah. . But yeah I don't know. Social media work. Can they find you? [00:51:00] At hardside hydration.com. Awesome. Not doc, not.com, just hard side. Yeah. At Hard Side Hydration that shows how shows how late in the day. It's how hip I am with social media. . Yeah. Yeah. Alright. Dane, Dustin, thank you guys again and best of luck.
We'll talk to you guys soon. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, Marcus. Thanks. Grab our sound. All right, thank you again to Dane and Dustin for taking some time to record with me while we are sitting out at the Western Hunt Expo. And hopefully you guys go check out hardside hydration.com, pick up a a swig rig or their new S swig rig 28.
They're ultralight which is, designed more for your kind of standard water bottles as opposed to a wide mouth now Genee that we talk about as well. Again, check them firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned next week. Got another great episode for you. And until then, stay Wild Michigan.