Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Backpacks

The Klepper Backyak is a portable, modular watercraft

Tucked away in one of the most distant corners of last week's Boot Düsseldorf show was one of the show's most interesting products: the ultra-versatile Klepper Backyak. As its name suggests, it's a kayak that can hike to water's edge on your back. But it's also a sailboat, a snow sled and a floating sun deck.  Read More

The Smartbag is fully wired for gadget charging

Backpacks with integrated chargers – take the Timbuk2 Power Commute and TYLT Energi+ – aren't new, but start-up AMPL Labs believes it's taken the next step in what it's calling the world's smartest backpack. Not only does the Smartbag include an integrated charging port in every pocket, it lets you monitor and control the process from your smartphone.  Read More

The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin

Traveling to work in the city on a crowded train or bus has become a necessary part of the daily grind for many urbanites, and the backpack is often the weapon of choice for the transport of commute necessities. But Sarah Giblin spotted a design flaw in this useful storage solution and set out to do something about it. The problem is that unless you take it off or wear it to the front when enjoying the rush hour squeeze, all of those exposed compartment zips are just asking for probing fingers to dip in and remove the contents. Giblin's answer is the RiutBag, which has no zips on the outer shell.  Read More

The wolffepack, doing its swingin' thing

Backpacks are certainly a convenient way of schlepping your stuff around, but they do have at least one shortcoming – you have to take them off to get at what's in them. British engineer David Wolffe set out to address that, with his wolffepack. It features a tethered detachable cargo section, that can be swung around in front of the wearer as needed.  Read More

Offpiste designers say the triangular shape provides freeing performance helpful in action...

Over the years, the backpack has evolved slowly. It's gained new and improved features, but it's remained essentially the same: a dual-strapped sack. But a host of more substantial backpack redesigns over recent years, such as multifunctional jacket backpacks and restructured strap systems, suggest that evolution might be accelerating. The Offpiste UltraPack leaps forward a few evolutionary stages, strapping a gear-hauling triangle to your torso via a single strap for new-found athleticism.  Read More

The Air Pakk features inflatable padding, converting quickly and easily to a travel pillow...

We first caught wind of Ryan Frayne and his rapid self-inflation technology on the back of his Air Pad mattress last year. Incorporating an innovative air flow technique, the air bed could be ready for use in a matter of seconds. Now Frayne has adapted this functionality to a multipurpose backpack with a view to bringing on-demand comfort to a variety of situations.  Read More

The Funnell, by Restless Travellers (Photo: Restless Travellers)

It can be a hassle to carry around an umbrella or an extra coat all day just in case good weather turns to rain. Herein lies the appeal of the Funnell: a backpack that sports an integrated waterproof jacket that can be quickly accessed to keep you and your belongings dry.  Read More

Removing the backpack

It seems that every year manufacturers add a new function to the backpack or carry-on. In 2012, it was the Micro Luggage scooter. In 2013, it was the Glyde Gear Fly backpack-trolley-scooter. And in 2014, it's the Olaf backpack-trolley-scooter-skateboard. This 4-in-1 pack offers some serious flexibility for transporting you and your belongings.  Read More

Vamoose's jacket and poncho are designed to quickly fold into a 3-liter backpack

Designers seem to love convertible, multifunctional backpacks, as evidenced by designs like the Glyde Gear Fly and WalkBag. They don't mind the occasional convertible jacket, either - just look at the weird-but-real JakPak. The Vamoose jacket is both. Similar to the Xip3, the jacket transforms into a backpack when not needed for rain and cold.  Read More

The Coxa Carry compared to traditional pack straps

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.  Read More

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