Here’s the story behind the FLTRgo Travel Coffee Filter.
My name is Justin and I am a full-time traveler and avid coffee drinker. I have traveled to over 40 countries on six continents. However, in my global and often off-the-beaten-path travels, a good cup of filtered coffee has been hard to find.
The first problem is the filter. Accommodations often lack a proper drip filter, or worse, any coffee system at all. I made do, sometimes, with French presses and stovetop espresso makers. But, as a big fan of specialty drip coffee, these options still left me wanting.
Then, there’s the other problem: space. When backpacking, camping, or traveling, fitting everything you need into your bag is always an issue. Chemex, Aeropress, and V60 drip systems take up precious space and weight. Paper filters can be ruined in bad weather, damaged, or torn, and they aren’t always easy to find or replace while on the road. Plus, single-use paper filters just add more waste to landfills.
My idea and solution was to create a lightweight, compact, and durable travel coffee filter that could be reused to make cup after cup (after cup) of coffee anywhere.
Working with a Berlin engineer and product designer, my rudimentary sketches were soon fully realized designs for the FLTRgo Travel Coffee Filter.
Next, I worked with a prototype builder in New York to make sure the filter could work. After some trial and error, I successfully had my first prototype.
The patent pending FLTRgo ring frame and handle is made of strong, lightweight, bacteria-resistant and sustainable bamboo. The fabric filter is made from organic cotton with overlock stitching for the construction. The folding handle features a rugged aluminum hinge. Convenient holes in the handle and ring can be used to hang the filter up to dry, or to attach it to a backpack with a carabiner. When in the closed position, the FLTRgo has a 4 1/2 in. (120mm) diameter and 1/2 in. (13mm) thickness.
I still travel with the first FLTRgo prototype and have used it to make more than 700 cups of coffee.
Having never launched a product before, I wanted to see if anyone was interested in the FLTRgo. So, with the help of creative professionals in Los Angeles and Atlanta, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce FLTRgo to the world.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of early supporters, our Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal (156%). I knew I had something special on my hands and had found a unique community who shared my love of coffee and travel.
To begin production on our first batch, we needed to find a factory. China has hundreds (if not thousands) of years of experience with bamboo production. We found a small manufacturer who specializes in bamboo products and who could also take care of the sewing and assembly of the FLTRgo.
The first production run of the FLTRgo was completed in February of 2018.
The FLTRgo community turned out to be one of the best surprises during the entire process. I had imagined that coffee drinkers who loved to camp or backpack would love the FLTRgo. But, we soon realized that our product fit nicely with other shared-interest groups too.
Our community now includes: environment and sustainability groups; zero-waste and minimalism enthusiasts; tiny-home owners; RV & van life road trippers; college dorm-living students; survival and bushcraft experts; travel bloggers; gap year and youth hostel travelers; and of course, camping and backpacking adventurers. Also, tea drinkers have come out of the woodwork and love using the FLTRgo!
We love our growing community!
The adventure continues with FLTRgo. I hope to see a FLTRgo in every backpack and suitcase, and at every campsite, dorm room, bonfire, tail-gate party, office, and home.
In addition to sharing our product with as many people as possible, we are working on new products to expand and enhance the family of FLTRgo products.
To borrow from the Chinese proverb: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with… a cup of coffee…and then a single step.’
The FLTRgo story was realized one step (and one cup of coffee) at a time. We hope that the FLTRgo Travel Coffee Filter becomes a regular part of your life’s daily adventures and that you become part of the FLTRgo story.