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Losing gear sucks. I still remember when my GoPro HERO and longboard were stolen from an unlocked vehicle in Chilliwack. The longboard was second-hand, but it was a birthday gift, so it had sentimental value. I had the serial number for the camera, but no solid way of tracing where it went—and my hopes of getting it back slowly diminished over the years. (The worst part? Losing all my photos from a recent trip to the Philippines.)

Many of us have simply lost gear rather than having it stolen. Rogue mittens on winter sledding hills, forgotten jackets shed in ski lodges and even left-behind tackle boxes beside the river are common occurrences.

Most adventurers who find a gear item in the outdoors want to return it to their owner, but the permanent marker method isn’t always reliable (especially if you swap phone numbers or owners). Karmik Outdoors created a super smart decal system using QR codes. I decided to try them on two different gear items to see how they work.

 

How To Use Karmik Outdoors Decals in 3 Easy Steps

Karmik OutdoorsKarmik Outdoors

1. Make an Account and Register Your Decals

Once you receive your decals, you’ll want to register them. Scan the QR code of any decal. The website will pop up—click it!

screenshot of process

This page will prompt you to activate your lost and found decals by logging in or making an account. Scroll down and make an account using your main email address—this will be how you are contacted if your lost gear is found. The Item ID will be automatically filled out if you used the QR code scanner (otherwise, you can enter it manually).

Name your item, fill out the brand, estimated value and a short description. You’ll be taken to your “Gear Garage,” where you can view, add and remove all your items with Karmik decals.

gear garage

Check your email—you will receive an email confirming your new item has been registered. The process is super easy and quick.

 

2. Place the Decals on Your Gear

Choose your favourite gear items to place the decals on. Some of the things you can use a decal on include:

  • Skis/snowboard
  • Hiking poles
  • Packs and bags
  • Paddles
  • Bikes
  • GPS units
  • Keys
  • AirPods
  • Solar panels
  • Binoculars
  • Camping equipment
  • Fishing rods
  • Coolers

Today, I’m labelling my Go-Fast Shoulder/Sling Pack and Canon PowerShot G7X camera.

camera decal on itAlison Karlene Hodgins

I have a premium hi-viz decal, which is waterproof, weatherproof and extremely durable. The decal measures 2.54 cm by 4.45 cm. I also have a super thin anywhere decal. These decals are tiny in comparison and can fit easily on a dog collar, fishing rod, key fob or small camera—like my Canon PowerShot. This decal does not have a QR code; rather, it has the unique item code and Karmik’s website.

Each decal has a strong adhesive that can bond to any surface including fabric, metal and plastic. It’s important to note the hi-viz QR code decal doesn’t work as well on curved surfaces, because it will be difficult to scan.

Because the decal is extremely adhesive, you might be hesitant to put it on, in case you sell your gear item. But you can easily de-register and encourage the buyer to register themselves, making it an attractive feature for the new owner. The decals won’t wreck your item if you do choose to remove them.

peeling carefullyAlison Karlene Hodgins

When putting the hi-viz decal on my fabric bag, I peeled the backing off carefully, using my fingers, rather than my fingernails (fingernails can cause delamination, ruining the durability of the decal).

I placed it on a clean side of the bag and firmly held it for one minute, rubbing to warm it up a bit, so it would stick better. I put one hand inside the bag and pressed, hard, from both sides.

I cleaned the side of my camera with an isopropyl alcohol prep pad from my first-aid kit. I waited for it to fully dry, then held the anywhere decal in place for a solid minute.

camera with decalAlison Karlene Hodgins

In 24 hours, both decals will be completely adhered to my gear.

 

3. If Your Gear is Lost, Wait for an Email

If the worst happens—you lose your gear—don’t panic! When your lost gear is found, you will be notified immediately via the email address you provided when registering. You can connect with the finder to arrange a pick-up for your gear. Voila! You are ready to get back outside and keep adventuring with your prized possessions.

Naturally, you might be worried the finder will decide to keep your gear. However, Karmik boasts an impressive 78 per cent average return rate, which may be bolstered by the fact they attach a reward to each item (Karmik handles this—you don’t have to give the finder anything yourself, unless you want to).

lost and foundKarmik Outdoors

We believe there are plenty of good people out there who want to return your lost gear simply because they, too, know how devastating it can be to lose a sentimental item. Or, perhaps, they are just looking for good karma.

  

This article was sponsored by Karmik Outdoors

Karmik provides outdoor enthusiasts with a reliable solution for getting lost gear back. Place our scannable decals on your favorite outdoor gear to ensure you are prepared for your next adventure!