The Pocket Kite
What A Concept!
The concept of the pocket kite had to find its way into kite
outlets sooner or later. Some retailers refer to the 'pockets' built
into the sail. These become semi-rigid when filled with air, and take
the place of the rigid spars of kites like the traditional Diamond.
However, the name is actually refers to the fact you can carry the sled kite, line and winder around in your pocket! The materials to make this possible have been around for quite a long time.
In 2008 when this page was first written, quite a number of
similar products were widely promoted and sold on the Internet.
were names such as Keyring Kite and the Frameless Pocket Kite. Plus, there seemed to be a few Chinese knock-offs floating around as well. No surprise there!
So what's so great about the concept? I'll try and list the selling points...
- price - most of these sell for under, sometimes well under, $10 U.S.
- convenience - virtually no setup time, you just pull it out and start flying
- performance - very respectable performance in a wide range of wind conditions
- durability - there's nothing rigid to break, so they tend to last for years
I read through some customer feedback on several websites, and people
seem to love these little sled kites. It seems everyone from age 3 to
93 are potential customers! My guess is that the relatively good
performance of these kites is the real clincher. If there were any
significant problems with flying them, they wouldn't be so popular.
We saw at least a couple of these flying at the recent Adelaide
Kite Festival, in the public area. The line angles were nothing to write
home about, however, the tiny Sleds did seem to cope well with varying
This Deluxe Pocket kite
on Amazon seems to be quite popular. Plenty of good reviews in there.
The Keyring Kite In Particular
On one website, which shall remain nameless, they claim 'arguably the
smallest kite in the world'. Ha! That's hilarious! Haven't they heard
about the immense world of miniature kites? Tiny tissue and bamboo
creations only centimeters in height and width. Not for kids, because
they are so fragile, but they are definitely real, working kites. In
truth, the world's very smallest kites are measured in millimeters!
Anyway, getting off the track here, back to the Keyring Kite now. There's a picture of it at the top of this page. Here's a list summarizing this product...
- inflatable spar sled kite, measuring 80 x 43.5 cm when laid flat (I presume!)
- 30 meters of flying line on a simple winder
- a keyring with a container for the kite itself, about the diameter of a large coin
- comes with carry pouch containing all the above, which is just 14 x 7 x 1.5 cm
The Pocketkite - A Tiny Delta
Here's an interesting one, which is actually quite different to all the other 'pocket kites'.
The name Pocketkite, all one word, is trademarked by A.I.F. Industries and refers to a small delta
design for kids. Or the young at heart I guess!
The company is even
trying to market this kite to corporations, with the lure of custom
logos printed on the kites.
Although you can't just cram this kite into your pocket, it
shares many other positive qualities with the little sleds that have a
similar name. For example, low cost, no setup, durable and good flying
In fact, this pocket kite is smaller than the pocket sled foils,
and can be flown as a zero-wind kite. That is, it requires so little
wind and so little space to fly in, that you can just tug on the flying
line and have a bit of fun indoors! Here's some info based on what the
manufacturers say about this kite...
- totally waterproof
- rip-stop nylon, like decent commercial kites
- custom made to order!
- highly visible colors
These kites tend to zip around somewhat erratically down low,
since they are affected by every little bit of turbulence in the air.
However, when flown higher, they settle down and become more stable in
the smoother air. On a thin enough line, the Pocketkite has been known
to fly at over 200 feet altitude.
Hope you enjoyed reading about all about the modern pocket kite!
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Sep 17, 14 06:33 AM
Well, it was the same reserve and a similar time of day. A bit closer to sun-down perhaps. Only the kite was different - the Dowel Barn Door kite this time, chosen to suit the 'gentle' strength wind gusts of between 15 and 20 kph.
The first flight went well, with the kite soaring straight up on around 45 meters (150 feet) of line. The late afternoon sun glinting off the panels as the kite moved about at steep line angles. In the gusts and lulls, the kite had a tendency to pull to the right at times.
As I was taking the kite down to do a bridle adjustment, the main problem became apparent. The horizontal spar had pushed through the tip-tape on the right corner of the sail, drastically reducing the sail area to the right of center. It was actually surprising how well the kite was still flying, given the gross problem with the sail!
On a second flight, with the tip repaired, there still appeared to be a slight pull to the right. So, after taking some video footage of the Barn Door's antics, it was brought down once again. This time the bridle knot was taken across by about a centimeter (1/2"). That was better! The 1.2 meter (4 feet) span pale orange kite shot right back up, showing much less tendency to pull across when under pressure.
After some more video was taken, with the kite soaring around almost directly overhead at times, it seemed safe enough to let out more line. It was surprising to feel the flying line touching my jeans while it was anchored under-foot! How much rising air can there be at this time of day? At the time I was concentrating on keeping the wandering kite in-frame as I took video.
Finally, after enjoying the kite doing its thing on over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, it came time to pull the Dowel Barn Door down. When within 30 feet or so of the ground it started to float and sink face-down. Then it was an easy matter to pull in the remaining few meters of line, keeping the kite flying until the bridle lines were in hand.
Weather stations were reporting around 10kph average wind speeds with gusts almost to 20kph.
"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!
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For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!
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