As ultimate frisbee evolves and grows as a sport, other games naturally have branched off into their own, separate spheres. Of these similar games, perhaps none are gaining traction as quickly as Kanjam, or trash can frisbee! Kanjam is a fast-paced, action-packed game that takes the excitement of ultimate frisbee from the turf to your backyard! Whether you consider yourself a seasoned frisbee player, or a complete novice to the game, Kanjam is an exceptional choice for anybody looking for a fun way to spend time outdoors. Let’s get down to the basics; When was Kanjam Invented? How do you play? What do you need?
The invention of garbage can frisbee, or Kanjam, is credited to two friends, Chris Ignash and Paul Swisher who initially played the game using two trash cans for goals in 1980s. For the next few years, Kanjam tournaments would be played using garbage cans and large disks with no instant win slot in the front. After nine years, larger discs were swapped in favor of smaller ones and the garbage cans were swapped for the plastic setups we know today. This frisbee change was short lived as in 2003, the larger discs currently used were implemented.
The unique game requires little equipment and space, being played with only a frisbee and two, trash can-sized goals. For frisbees, we recommend the disc provided in Kanjam or a Discraft Ultrastar – our staff pick. An Ultrastar is the ideal choice for those looking to play a frisbee game but still work on their throwing skills for Ultimate Frisbee! The goals are typically made of lightweight plastic which is shaped into a combination of a trash can with a slot in the middle. There are guides online to making your own Kanjam goals but we recommend going with one of the sets available online as they are guaranteed to be regulation. The goals from the sets also fold up for easy transportation so feel free to take Kanjam to the beach, grandma’s house, or on your next camping trip!
The objective of the game is to score exactly 21 points before the opposing team by completing more high scoring throws. The first of four ways to score is by having your teammate deflects the thrown frisbee to hit the target using only one hand. If you do, that is worth one point. The second way to score points in Kanjam is to simply hit the target head-on with your frisbee. Depending on how far your target is set up, this way of scoring can prove to be harder than it looks! If you manage to hit the side of the target can, congrats! You have earned your team two points. The third way to score points is by hitting the frisbee downwards through the funnel of the target can is worth three points. To accomplish this, your best bet is to lightly throw your frisbee over the can so your teammate can slap the disc down into the funnel. Finally, the hardest- and most rewarding- way to score in Kanjam is to throw your frisbee through the large coin-shaped slot in the middle of your goal, otherwise known as “slotting” your frisbee. This task requires either precise aim or the utmost luck as your throw has to be almost perfect in order to pass through the slot. If you manage to “slot” the frisbee, your tea instantly wins! “Slotting” is a high risk, high reward throw in the game of Kanjam.
The game is played with four players split into two teams. Each player takes turns trying to gain points throwing the frisbee. In most settings, one player will throw the frisbee at their target or towards their teammate who then does the same before the teams switch. This process continues until one of the teams has hit exactly 21 points to win. This can create some tense moments between teams- Imagine your friend’s reaction when you complete a comeback victory by slotting the disc!
Anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors with friends can benefit from owning a Kanjam setup. Frisbee players hoping to sharpen their accuracy, or just a group of friends looking for a fun outdoor game to enjoy with a beer will be shocked at how much fun they can have with a frisbee and a couple trash cans!