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Inflatable back pack
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Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
Inflatable back pack on 05/17/2010 11:56:09 MDT Print View

Not an inflatable backpack, but a pack with an inflatable back...

Having used a POE Max Ether Thermo for a few years, I've long been thinking that I could use the mat as padding/support for a lightweight pack. The idea being that I'd slide the folded, deflated mat into a sleeve in the pack, and then partially inflate the mat to provide cushioning and stiffening.

The trouble is that the Max Thermo is too long and too wide for such a use. So the idea remained on the back burner...

Then I spotted Bender Newbie's thread on his MYOG inflatable mats, and I thought I could use that technology (or get Bender to do it for me...) to make a custom mat that had a couple of inflatable sections; one section would be sized to be long enough and wide enough the provide the back support, and the other section would provide the main mat function.

I suspect that the back section would be best made from the leg end of the mat. It might have three tubes, and have a partial outlier tube on either side from the main section to provide a little rigidity when used as a mat (i.e. to stop it folding up between the sections).

No pictures, no prototype, just an idea for comments.

Edited by captain_paranoia on 05/17/2010 11:57:28 MDT.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
tumbleweed... on 05/21/2010 10:49:12 MDT Print View

> No pictures, no prototype, just an idea for comments.

That bad an idea, huh...? Didn't even merit a "what a daft idea" comment...

Perhaps I should try thinking about a Cuben condom-pouch instead. Or anything made out of Cuben, come to that.

Edited by captain_paranoia on 05/21/2010 10:51:44 MDT.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Not daft on 05/21/2010 12:00:31 MDT Print View

Actually, you and I seem to have hit upon the same notion (you get the credit, though, because you published first). I have been considering almost exactly what you described, and the heat-sealable nylon that I ordered from Seattle Fabrics to put together a prototype just came in the mail.

Several potential complications occurred to me, though. First, it might be better for the mat to be pretty thin (less than 1.5"), to keep the load as close to the back as possible. Also, a lot of my hiking is done in the heat of summer, so I don't really want the mat to be a very good insulator when it is against my back. In fact, I considered incorporating open air channels in mine. This would result in a section of mat that was thin and not warm, though. A thin sheet of EVA foam could be carried to augment the warmth of that section of mat, but this negates some of the weight savings of this idea.

Not a bad idea, just some problematic details.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re: not daft on 05/24/2010 06:08:44 MDT Print View

Thanks Colin. I'm not bothered about 'credit'; far more interested in sharing ideas. I've posted in the past about 'convergent design' (re. the 'Bushbuddy wars'), and this is just another example of the same idea being though up independently. Sounds like you're further down the road than I am, anyway...

I'd shared some of the same concerns, so here are my thoughts.

> First, it might be better for the mat to be pretty thin (less than 1.5"), to keep the load as close to the back as possible

Agreed. But I'd considered only partially inflating the mat when in use in the pack, so you wouldn't get the same loft and load separation. Whether this partial inflation would cause the pack to be unstable, I'm not sure; certainly a possibility.

An offset load like this would be little different to the 'airflow' packs out there; such as Osprey, or Berghaus (in the UK). I confess that I'm not keen on these packs because they've always felt a little unstable to me...

> I considered incorporating open air channels in mine

I thought that the channels formed by the inflated tubes might actually make ventilation channels running vertically up the back of the pack, which might allow some airflow.

I think a pack and its contents makes for a pretty good insulator anyway, so the fact that the inflated mat is insulated might make little difference to how sweaty your back gets.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Inflatable back pack on 05/24/2010 11:11:02 MDT Print View

I have a Six Moon Designs Starlight. It uses a pad to give structure to the pack, along with optional aluminum stays.

With a Therma-rest in the pad pocket it seems to need the stays. Deflated most of the way works best- if I inflate it to give more structure it also pushes the load away from my back and seems to wobble around.

Michael Prouting
(AussieBushwalker) - F

Locale: Macarthur, NSW, Australia
inflatable backpack on 05/25/2010 17:22:13 MDT Print View

Have a look at these:
Topeak Air BackPack
Might be good for some ideas or inspiration.


Edited by AussieBushwalker on 05/25/2010 17:24:08 MDT.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re: Topeak Air BackPack on 05/26/2010 12:10:02 MDT Print View

Yeah, that's pretty much the idea, except for the fact that it's integrated into the pack itself, rather than being a mat stuffed into a sleeve.

Not sure about the Red Dot award logo; can't see the pack on the Red Dot website, and entries for the 2010 award don't close until 28th May 2010...