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Public Lab

Mini Balloon Mapping Kit

Regular price $100.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $100.00 USD
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Like our classic balloon kit, but smaller and more nimble!

In this kit, you get 3 mylar balloons, 1000' of 50-pound line on an 6" hoop winder and an assorted extra clips and straps. Balloons are great for lower altitude photography, and in places where you might need to raise and lower your rig to move under powerlines or bridges.

The Mini Balloon Kit is based around the 36 inch wide mylar foil balloons found by contributor Pat Coyle -- which are much cheaper, and can stay inflated for over a week. They fit in the back seat of your car, or can be taken on the subway. Heck, unlike the big red rubber balloons, they fit through a doorway.

The Mini Balloon Kit comes with: 

  • 1000 feet of 50 lb string
  • 3 x 36 inch mylar balloons
  • rubber bands, zip-ties, and a carabiner

You add a lightweight (<100g) camera, a soda bottle (or camera rig of your choice), and helium that you can obtain at most florists or party stores.

Each can lift about 25 grams -- vs. the classic kit’s 300+, and a little more if there’s perfectly calm weather. Instead of renting a helium tank, you can fill them at a florists’ shop or party store, and shuttle them to where you’ll do your mapping. They also hold up a bit better to sunlight and rough handling, although they’re still delicate. This kit includes everything from the classic Balloon Mapping Kit, but ships with 3 of these mylar balloons, and uses lighter (50 lb test) weight string. 

We’ve collected a list of cameras light enough to work with 2-3 of these balloons. With a lighter option, that means you'll have a spare balloon.

But there are remaining questions and refinements to make on this kit -- that’s why we’re calling it a Prototyping Kit -- and, just like the original Balloon Mapping Kit, we’re going to collaboratively work on these issues by sharing knowledge on the Public Lab website

To get involved, check out these Mini Balloon Kit Activities, ask and answer Questions, and add your own Stories here.