Kickstarter, for those unaware, isn’t just a crowdfunding platform where you can back creative projects. Some projects there can be genuinely brilliant in offering solutions to your everyday needs – or provide better value than brand-name products. Plus, backed projects often offer tangible rewards depending on the tier of your pledge, like being able to purchase a product at an “early-bird discount”.
One trend that’s been picking up on Kickstarter lately has been on a previously mundane product: backpacks. Most backpacks you see in retail outlets today are either general-use types, or those that are specifically catered to a task, such as laptop or camera packs. But on Kickstarter, things get way more interesting, with plenty of projects looking to innovate on the idea of a backpack.
But going through the tons of projects on Kickstarter can be a daunting task. Sheer numbers aside (there were at least a dozen interesting ones), which companies can be trusted upon to follow through and deliver? And, more importantly, which products offer the features that you require and desire? Fret not, as we’ve compiled a list of 5 great backpacks, live on Kickstarter right now, that you should look into backing.
Everyday Backpack, by Peak Design
Peak Design is no stranger to the Kickstarter community. They’ve previously had five successfully funded products on Kickstarter, and are also the people behind last year’s product that raised over $5,000,000, the Everyday Messenger bag. Fast forward to today, the company is back at it again to expand the Everyday lineup with a backpack, a tote and a sling bag. But of course the Everyday Backpack is the one we have our eyes on for this list.
The Everyday Backpack – as the name implies- is a bag not just for storing photography gear; it’s designed to be flexible enough to be used on-the-go as a bag for your daily commute (hence the “Everyday” moniker). Made from rugged Kodra fabric that’s durable and water-resistant, as well as high-density EVA materials, the backpack ensures its contents are safe and sound, shielded from the elements.
Durability aside, the Everyday Backpack is also feature-filled to the brim. First off, you’ll notice that the backpack not only opens from the top, but from the sides, which combined with the axial straps allow for supremely easy access. Within the backpack, you’ll find FlexFold dividers, a Peak Design creation; they’re essentially foldable and removable dividers that expand storage space by creating compartments. The bag also has a myriad of zips and pockets where you can slot just about anything anywhere. Rounding it up is a separate felt-lined laptop compartment with a hidden zipper.
The Everyday Backpack comes in two sizes: 20L and 30L and in two colours (Ash and Charcoal). You can back the bags now and still get them for an early-bird discount here. You can also add-on Peak Design’s new Tote and Sling bags – or any of Peak Design’s previous products.
PRVKE 21, by WANDRD
Having launched the PRVKE Pack last year, company WANDRD took notes from customer feedback and created something smaller but surprisingly better – the PRVKE 21.
While the PRVKE 21 was designed with the photographer and traveller in mind, it also serves as an everyday bag that fits right into your lifestyle. The bag implements a roll top design that extends to hold up to 25 litres of items (it holds 21L with the top rolled down).
Other than opening the bag from the roll top, the PRVKE 21 opens up clamshell-style as well, similar to travel luggage bags, giving you easy access to the bag’s contents. There’re also removable padded waist straps (sold separately), customisable foam dividers, a removable camera cube (for non-photographers), and you can even turn the bag into a tote through the use of magnetic handles. Neat stuff.
There are pockets aplenty with the PRVKE 21: there’s a passport pocket at the back of the bag, a water bottle or tripod pocket at the side, a key pocket, an SD card pocket on the inside and a fleece-lined pocket for documents.
The WANDRD PRVKE 21 can be had in Basic, Travel and Photography bundles, with additional accessories for the latter options. Pick your poison at WANDRD’s Kickstarter page here.
Zero-G, by KP
The third backpack on our list is Zero-G by company Keep Pursuing (or KP). What’s neat about this backpack (and the reason behind its name) is its weight-dispersion mechanism on the shoulder straps that’s supposedly based on the suspension systems found in race cars.
The Zero-G’s straps are equipped with a 4-point suspension system, allowing each strap to move independently in reaction to kinetic forces. This elastic transfer of weight absorbs shocks and reduces the effect of gravity, which in turn lightens the load on your back. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? But that’s not all.
The Zero-G backpack includes an interchangeable suspension set that allows you to manually tune the backpack’s suspension to either Heavy, Normal or Light Duty payloads. Of course, the backpack is also water, dirt and impact resistant thanks to its durable material and it has a bevy of compartments for small items like pens and passports along with a dedicated laptop compartment for up to a 15″ laptop (with the 15″ backpack size).
Interested in how the Project Zero-G backpack “defies gravity”? Pick one up on Kickstarter here.
JOEY, by Koala-Gear
Created by Koala-Gear, the JOEY is yet another backpack that utilises a suspension system to distribute weight. The bag comes fully in contact with your back and directs weight to the hips through its contoured shape. Stowable sternum and hip straps further reduce payload and provides comfort in your carry.
The JOEY also has plenty of compartments including side pockets on both sides of the bag for smaller items like your phone and wallet and full length side mesh pockets for larger items like a water bottle. There’s also a pocket at the bottom of the bag that stores the included rain cover when needed.
Another cool feature of the JOEY backpack is its ability to increase its load capacity by 15 litres, making its 25L base size expandable up to 40L. This allows you to fit in lengthier objects into JOEY without a worry. The best part is the suspension system still works flawlessly even when the backpack is fully loaded.
You can pledge for the JOEY backpack (including a limited Black Leather Edition) on Kickstater here.
Slim Pack, by Slimfold
If you have no need for the bells and whistles of the previous backpacks, the Slim Pack from Dave Zuverink might just be the bag for you. Designed by the creator of Kickstarter projects like the SlimFold MICRO wallet and the SlimFold Wallet Soft Shell, the Slim Pack is a backpack designed to be lighter and stronger than traditional backpacks.
By using the same material as the SlimFold wallets (Soft Shell material), the Slim Pack is IP65 certified waterproof. The back also uses YKK weatherproof zippers that are lab tested for water performance. The Soft Shell material is not only durable, but also incredibly light. The Slim Pack weighs only 680g with the removable laptop padding on the inside, and just 450g without it. Slimfold claims that that’s roughly 1/3 the weight of a traditional messenger bag or backpack.
The patent pending geometry of the SlimPack allows it to open completely and give you visibility and access to what’s inside. There’s even a dedicated sleeve at the side of the backpack for water bottles.
The Slim Pack is a great choice for those who prefer a simpler design that just works. You can back the Slim Pack here on Kickstarter.
Each of the five backpacks listed here are great backpacks, but as with everything you use every day, everyone has their own specific requirements in a backpack. We’re pretty sure at least one of the backpacks on this list would have piqued your interest. It definitely did for us, while conducting research on them!
All the bags on the list ship out to backers in December of this year with some of the companies claiming their bags will arrive by Christmas Day. So while these bags aren’t exactly the most affordable, it would be a great holiday season gift for family and friends – or even yourself.