For backpacks to be more than they are they have to be continually improved upon on a regular basis.
- Their designing has to be better
- Their construction has to be better
- Their layout has to be better
- They have to be more comfortable
- They have to be more versatile
- and so on
If you take a stroll down memory lane you would see a clear upgrade on how the backpack looks and how it has been improved upon.
Now, most packs are being made to be able to meet the needs of the modern man. I have reviewed a lot of bags and I can clearly see that most companies are doing what they can to differentiate themselves from their competitions which is why you see some of them making use of trademark words just to show that a particular idea was clearly from them.
Some brands are definitely making more efforts than others in trying to make the backpack more useful. Below we have been able to identify 6 innovative ideas that were implemented on backpacks.
Technologically Smart Backpacks
If you had told me some years back that the backpack would become technologically smart I would have probably said that there is no way that it would be possible.
Blending technology with the features of a backpack is a really brilliant idea but it seems this type of backpack is not as common as I would have hoped.
It seems most brands into this have not really been able to design a cost-efficient backpack that is technologically smart. The more creative features a backpack has the more expensive it is. Take for example lumzag smart backpack. This is a pretty expensive technologically smart backpack.
It has some features such as GPS tracker, a camera on the front of the pack, missing item notifier, a crazy anti-theft feature, light inside the bag to light it up, wireless phone charger, global WiFi Hotspot, and some few other features.
These are some out of this world features on a pack bag and there is no way a bag like this would be less than a $100. This is definitely not cost-efficient and a lot of people would not be able to afford it.
For this reason, most brands that go into technologically smart backpacks are not able to last for a very long time because the features they introduce into a bag that is supposed to be meant for the common man might end up making the bag too expensive for the common man due to the investments spent on designing these types of backpacks.
Most people just want a backpack to be able to serve them for a very long time and as long as it is cost-efficient and with a reasonable amount of room with obvious features such as pockets and compartments, they tend to be ok with this and are not that keen about technologically smart backpacks.
Nevertheless, some of these back packs are still been produced and most of the time for these bags to be produced at their initial stages they would need to be funded by those that like the idea which is why platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter exist.
If these projects are a success they end up being mass-produced and depending on how they are received would determine if production would continue or if it would be shut down.
Presently, I have not yet come across any of these companies that have been able to stay in business for a very long time and I hope this changes in the future because as the world becomes more technologically smart I believe the backpack would also upgrade in relation to technology.
What I have noticed though is that due to cost efficiency some of these brands make sure not to add too much tech to a particular backpack so they don’t have to drive the price off the roof making it more affordable for those interested in making a purchase.
The Back Panel of a Backpack
Having a sweaty back while making use of a back bag is definitely one of the reasons some people dislike backpacks. I have experienced these ones in a while and it definitely wasn’t a fun experience.
Manufacturers have definitely become aware of this as backpacks are now been produced with proper back panels that encourage for proper ventilation between the back of the pack and the back of the user.
Several materials are being used to achieve this. While some manufacturers make use of air mesh fabric, others make use of pack cloth. Some make use of molded EVA back panel at the back of the bag while some others come up with a unique method to separate the backpack from the back of the user and gives it a trademark name.
One that comes to mind is osprey’s anti-gravity suspension system which according to them takes the trampoline-style suspension system to a whole new level.
All of these have been introduced to backpacks to make them more comfortable while the user carries it on their back.
There have been a lot of arguments on backpacks on whether it is adequate to take to work or if it is better than the other carryons like messenger bags, briefcase, sling bags, tote bags, and others.
In fact, we wrote a post comparing backpacks and messenger bags. We talked about their differences and why one is better than the other and scenarios whereby making use of one is better than making use of the other.
Whichever one you prefer does not really matter. What matters now is that backpack designers see the need of the people and because of this have to adapt based on these needs to create a product that can be more versatile.
These have led them to construct convertible backpacks which are packs that can be carried in more than one style. On the go, you can convert your backpack to a messenger bag, tote bag or even a briefcase style kind of bag.
I think this is pretty creative and most of the time it does not affect the layout of the pack in any way. So if you intend to go for a business meeting you can go with your backpack and carry it in the form of a briefcase by making use of the handle at the side of the bag.
After your business meeting, you can convert the briefcase style bag back to a backpack very easily and efficiently. The way some of these types of bags are produced makes the shoulder straps to be hidden whenever you are to make use of the other carrying styles of the bag.
A perfect example of this style of pack is Ibagba canvas travel backpack that can be carried both as a backpack, a messenger bag, and a briefcase style bag.
It has a handle at the side of the bag for briefcase style and a detachable strap inside the bag that can be hooked at the side of the bag for a messenger bag style of carrying the pack.
At the top of the pack there is a roll-up flap that can be rolled down and zipped up to cover the shoulder straps at the back of the bag to keep it hidden and if you want to make use of the shoulder straps you just unzip the flap and roll it back up using the velcro that comes with the bag to make it hold from rolling back down.
Pretty sweet, and the good thing is that this is just one example and there are other backpacks that can also be used in this way making the user to be able to carry the bag in more than one way.
This is another introduction into the backpack industry creating a more versatile use of backpacks. It is clear that some thoughts were put into this as it was specifically created to serve as a powerhouse for our devices.
What is a solar powered backpack? A solar powered backpack is basically a backpack that is able to draw the energy of the sun using solar cells or solar panels converting this energy to electrical energy.
The backpack is equipped with thin film solar cells or solar panels and batteries capable of converting the sun’s energy to electrical energy.
It is pretty simple so let me explain this in layman terms. A solar panel is attached to a backpack which is the item able to draw the energy from the sun.
This sun’s energy is converted to electrical energy which is then used to charge your device which can be a phone, iPad, tablet or anything able to charge with a USB cable.
If your laptop is able to get charged with a USB cable the solar panel would be able to charge the laptop although it might not be as fast as it would charge a phone.
The solar panel is attached to the backpack thus the name solar panel backpack and in some cases, the solar panel can be detached from the pack while in other cases they might be integrated into the front of the pack.
This is another innovative inclusion in the backpack that I don’t think is as common as I might have expected it to because this is clearly a brilliant idea.
Since the power of the sun is free why not just make use of the power to serve your needs. There are some brands that are already jumping into this train and are establishing themselves as an authority.
A very popular brand producing this type of packs is Eceen. They have been around for quite some time and I think they are more stable than brands producing technologically smart backpacks.
These type of bags seems to be more popular among hiking backpacks or backpacks meant for adventures but you would also find them in some backpacks that are used for your daily commuting.
Obviously, it is not a perfect style of backpack as there are flaws that might be a bit difficult to handle. For example, the angle of the sun on the bag might be a problem due to the bag always been on our backs and for it to work at max level it would have to be in direct contact with the sun.
Even with the flaws I still find this a decent innovative idea included in backpacks which obviously increases the versatility of a pack bag.
Backpacks Becoming Lighter
If you are a regular hiker you would agree with me that one of the most important considerations of a backpack to a hiker is for the backpack to be as light as possible while also serving its function of being able to carry our items without ripping off.
To make this possible a back pack manufacturer has to be really careful on the type of material fabric they make use of while constructing the backpack.
You as the user of the pack obviously have a choice of going for a backpack that is either light or heavy dutied but for those that go for light, you would notice that the material fabric used are different from those used on heavy dutied packs.
For example, cotton fabrics are pretty heavy and it would not be wise to make use of this type of fabric on hiking bags. For this reason, manufacturers are introducing the use of lighter fabrics on these backpacks to make them as light as possible.
So if your plan is to go for a bag without a lot of weight then make sure you avoid backpacks made with cotton canvas fabrics.
You might want to check out the post I recently wrote on the fabrics used on backpacks. I am sure you would have a better understanding of some fabrics used on backpacks.
One tactic I have noticed been employed by manufacturers in increasing the functionality of a backpack is by including various features in or on the bag.
This totally depends on if the manufacturer feels like adding these features to the backpack. I have seen a lot of these in a lot of backpacks and from my experience, I think you can find more of them on hiking backpacks.
The idea behind these features been added to a backpack is to make it more comfortable when it is been carried and also to make the backpack more useful.
For example, a hiking backpack. The way a backpack sits on the back of a hiker is considered to be very important because it can determine how some parts of your body take the weight of the bag.
For example, a load-lifter strap comes with some hiking backpacks and this is basically used to lift the load off your shoulders so your hip can take the weight of the pack.
This is just one creative idea added to a pack and there are so many others that a lot of people don’t even know how to make use of. For example, the lash tab on the front of some backpacks. They can be used to fasten items on to the bag that you probably don’t want inside the backpack.
This is another pretty useful feature that has been added to some backpacks that a lot of people don’t know about. Like I said earlier on, it all depends on the manufacturer of the bag as they are the ones to decide on what feature they see fit to add to a back pack.
I could name a lot of features that are now been included in packs and it would be a comprehensive list but the goal of these features is to aid the user of the bag making them to be able to carry the items or gear they need to make use of.
The Future of Backpacks
From what we have seen, some brands are not really interested in the technological aspect of a backpack or are not even interested in the solar aspect of a bag but these brands have been able to stand the test of time and still produce quality backpacks.
What I do believe is that as long as the world continues to grow technologically there is a good chance that most of these brands would eventually be lured into taking part in this change in trend in the backpack industry on improving the functionality of a backpack.
They would focus more on making the backpack to be as versatile as it can be so they can be able to meet the needs of as many people as possible.
The competition would make each brand to want to outdo the other which I feel would lead to better quality packs with functionalities that would be of great importance in our everyday lives.