Backpacks have seen plenty of changes and innovations of late, as evidenced by the Pelican S100 and TYLT Energi+ device-charging backpack, but most of those changes relate to the pack itself. The folks behind the Coxa Carry system leave the pack alone and focus on the straps and belt, creating a solution that they believe is more comfortable and functional than the typical set of shoulder straps.
Engineer Claes Bergkvist grew up as a scout in Sweden, trekking and exploring the grand wildernesses of his home country and beyond. He always found traditional backpacks uncomfortable and heavy on the shoulders, a problem that continued to plague him as an adult. When hiking in Italy in 2007, he finally hit upon a design he believed would solve the problem.
Unlike the Pelican S100 that uses a hard plastic case to shift the weight from the shoulders to the hips, Bergkvist's solution pulls the straps over the chest and straight down the center of the torso, where a single multi-pronged buckle secures them to the hip belt. This pulls the weight of the pack higher up the back and closer to the body.
By pulling the weight off the shoulders and distributing it onto the hips – kind of like a frontal backpack suspension system – the redesigned strap system is said to make the backpack feel lighter and take pressure off the shoulders. By rerouting the straps across the body, it also frees up the shoulders and arms, making for freer, more comfortable movement. Because both the hip belt and shoulder straps are held together with one buckle, all it takes is a single click of the button to remove the pack.
Coxa Carry has applied for worldwide patents for its design, and has developed prototype packs to demonstrate at trade shows and events. It plans to market its own line of backpacks and license the system to other pack manufacturers.
It's impossible to tell whether the Coxa Carry really improves backpacking without trying it out. There are a lot of pack suspension systems available that make similar claims about redistributing weight from the shoulders to the hips but the extra arm freedom is nice – but having straps down your chest could prove uncomfortable in its own right. If and when the backpacks hit production, we hope to try one out and compare it to a traditionally suspended backpack.
Source: Coxa Carry