Thomas Robinson discusses the design of premium hydration belts and travel accessories
Thomas Robinson is a founder of World Voyager, a travel and fitness accessory brand in Canada that ships its premium quality products worldwide. Their signature product is their no-bounce hydration belt that has gotten rave reviews from athletic runners, hikers, and globetrotters the world over.
Thomas was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions about how his brand got started and the development of its products.
Hi Thomas, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you started World Voyager?
Sure – I have been looking forward to this.
Our business started as two sets of brothers looking to build a direct-to-consumer business around our first passion – which was travel. We spent years sourcing and designing travelling bags, survival kits, and sleeping pads, but we did not quite figure out how to keep the product quality high and the costs low for our customers. We lost quite a lot of money and spent a long time on this process, but we always enjoyed the ride. However, one day as we were sampling dozens of products, we received a hydration running belt.
All of us are football/soccer players, and running has been a big part of our lives. We definitely faced the pain point of not being able to comfortably keep our keys, our phones, and a bit of water on us, so we gave it a try. We knew we had something – the belt gripped lower at the hips instead of the waist to prevent bouncing. The quality was amazing! Furthermore, our supplier loves us, and we were able to get the product at a much lower cost than our competitors (even with the upgrades) which is why we sell at such a fair price. From then on, we shifted gears to building a business around premium running/ hiking equipment, and we have much more to come!
What did you want to do differently with the World Voyager brand compared to others?
Our goal is to bring beauty/ aesthetic/ style to functional products that can typically be bulky and dorky. In the end, we are a team of 3 designers and one business background. So one of us focuses on market research, and sourcing at the best cost, while the majority of the team is testing products, and dreaming of ways to make the products better. We care tremendously about everything from our packaging, to product functionality, to even our website and Instagram.
What are some of the main features that make World Voyager belts so convenient for running/hiking enthusiasts?
One of the things we are working on is a buying guide to ensure customers buy the right belt for them! We have a two-bottle belt designed for runners which is worn low on the hips with the water evenly distributed to prevent bouncing. It has a custom-made rubber epoxy grip to also help prevent bouncing. We also have a single bottle belt that carries more water but is for hikes and very long distances. The key here is preventing runners from constantly readjusting so they can just focus on the run.
There will always be a small trade-off in how much gear/ water you want to carry and how comfortable it is. Our goal is to make sure that after 200 meters you should forget about it! We also are feature-rich – including race bib holders, light reflectors for your safety, multi-pockets to prevent your keys from scratching your phone, earphone slot to keep everything tidy etc. We will come out with even more belts soon — for day hikes, for travel, and for very short runs (1K-2K)!
Aside from your running/hiking belts, can you describe some of your other useful products for outdoor adventurers?
We are currently focusing on what we are best at which is keeping you hydrated while you move.
Currently, we have mainly hydration running belts, but we are very excited about our move into water bottles, and hydration backpacks and vests. Because we are so focused on this space, we know we can do better than our competition. Keep checking in on our website and Amazon for more!
What are some of the great feedback you’ve gotten from customers about your products?
We have +400 positive reviews on Amazon and even more across our website, eBay and other platforms we sell on. However, one of our favorite bits of feedback is the below — as it perfectly aligns with what we are trying to do (and they are funny as h*ll):
So, I was hesitant to buy one of these because 1) I think people who wear them look dorky and 2) I got a big booty that has lots of booty momentum and I thought for sure it wouldn’t stay in place. But now that my runs are getting longer and the sun is getting hotter, I’m dying out there! So I figure, I might as well try it, because passing out face first into concrete due to dehydration sounds like a bad time. So it arrived today and I took it out for a test run AND IT WAS GREAT. It didn’t bounce, jiggle or slip. It was comfortable, fit my iPhone 6, and wasn’t too heavy. Also- I picked this one in the first place cause it looked slick compared to some others I’ve seen… so the dork factor isn’t too bad. And hey, even Bateman had a utility belt.
Do you have any plans to expand your product range to offer even more useful running/hiking gear?
What we learned about years of failing is that we can not do it all. We can not keep adding products unless they are thoroughly vetted, designed perfectly, and go through deep testing. After years of wasting money and trying too many products, we are now focused. So expect fewer products but premium quality and thoughtful design. However, if you are in the market for running/hiking hydration belts, waist packs, running vests, hydration backpacks, or water bottles, then please consider a small Canadian based brand! We have so many exciting products to come into this space!
In your experience, what are the best hiking locations you’ve visited in Canada or around the world?
As our first love was travel, this is a very hard question to answer as we have all lived around the world and done so many hikes. However, if you are on the west coast of Canada, you must make the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail! Write us an email if you are doing that hike. We will send you a free belt in exchange for some pictures (limited to 10)!
Thank you Thomas for your time!
You can follow up with Thomas Robinson at worldvoyager.co
You can get the “Premium Quality No Bounce Runners Hydration Belt with Reflectors, Smartphone Pocket & BPA Free Water Bottles” – here