9 min 11 sec

Outdoorsman Creates “Boat in a Backpack”

A construction project manager flies to China and invents a new kind of kayak that folds into its own backpack.
Design Manufacturing Outdoors Product

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What It's About

A passion for the great outdoors leads a kayaking enthusiast to a side hustle manufacturing highly portable kayaks.

Business Model
Skills Required
Dedication & Perseverance
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

One of Folding Boat Company's first target markets came as a surprise to Pete—urban women that head to the outdoors on the weekend. Since the boat is light weight, easy to assemble and can also fit in a closet it’s a perfect fit.

This just goes to show you that you can never be absolutely certain who your target audience is. Do the research!

Fun Fact

Once when out paddling around with the camouflage covers on their boat, a beaver swam right up to one of the boats and was about to climb on. The beaver realized just in time that it wasn’t a log and that there were people staring at him!

Notes from Chris

Episode 257

Today’s side hustle was inspired by the great outdoors. Pete Flood has always enjoyed traveling, as long as it involves nature. Getting away from the crowds and up to the mountains, lakes, and rivers is his refuge from everyday life. He’s spent many a trip camping, fishing, hunting, and scuba diving—from the Bahamas to Alaska—and wanted a boat that could help him explore these hard to reach places a little easier.

For years he would wake up in the middle of the night, thinking of a slightly different way to design the boat. It would have to be light, versatile, and easy to assemble. And it would help if he could carry it in like a backpack. Unfortunately, nothing exactly like this existed on the market.

So finally, after years of thinking about it, Pete started his folding boat side hustle with a trip to the hardware store where he purchased PVC pipe, glue, and some fittings. At the time, he was also building and flying ultralight airplanes, so he was able to borrow ideas and techniques, as well as some of the materials that are used in airplane construction.

Several design tweaks and a patent later, Pete decided that it was time to find a manufacturer, and got to work building Folding Boat Co..

Now, this story is a little bit different than the stories we've featured up til now. One thing to keep in mind is that this process didn't occur over the course of a few months or even a year—Pete has been building this business for 10 years.

And it serves as a reminder that side hustle goals are different and unique—some people want to make quick cash, others want to replace their income.

One benefit of a side hustle that we haven’t explored at all—the ability to pursue a big project over time without going all-in and risking your savings. When I first heard this story, I thought it might not be right for Side Hustle School because it’s a 10-year project to invent a new kind of boat, one that folds into a backpack.

But then I realized that the outdoorsman who invents the boat is able to do this because of his full-time job. He’s able to devote this time and take some risks while working full-time, and he can take his time building his side hustle intentionally.


  • Folding Boat Co.: Float on over to Pete's website and see the amazing foldable boat yourself!
  • Outdoor Retailer Show: The event that allowed Pete to directly sell to his potential customers
  • Pakboats: Pete met the founders of Pakboats at the show and they left as new friends
  • SquareSpace: The website building platform that Pete used to create the Folding Boat Co. website
  • Stripe & Square: The two payment processing platforms that Pete used to process sales

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Passion and perseverance is what it’s all about. Know and really understand what it is you want to do. And then create a product or a service that's different or better than your competition."
—Pete Flood #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau