Sometimes, the little problems in life can be the most annoying. Having to take your backpack off to get at what’s inside won’t ruin your whole day, but it might be logistically impractical or slow you down. British engineer David Wolffe made eliminated that little annoyance with his wolffepack backpack. It always stays strapped to your back, but you can pull a cord to release it and swing it around to your front.
Wolffe developed the patent-pending expetoSYSTEM orbital trapeze technology to achieve this feat. To use it, the backpack wearer pulls on a magnetically-attached handle that detaches the cargo section of the backpack. It’s still attached to the backpack frame via hefty cords, so it won’t fall but it will be easy to pull around to the front.
Replacing the cargo section of the wolffepack is as simple as reversing the steps: swing it behind you, pull on the handle, and reattach the handle to the strap to secure it. The pack also gives you the option of keeping the cargo section in front and clipping it there for situations where it’s not safe or comfortable to keep your stuff behind you.
Besides its clever movement gimmick, the wolffepack is actually a really nice backpack, and it comes in a variety of models like the Metro and the smaller but more full-featured Escape. The Metro includes two padded, microfiber-lined pockets for your laptop and tablet plus a ton of other compartments and organization features.
The back is padded and the straps are equipped with a special tidy to keep the strap ends from flapping around. The project is raising funds on Kickstarter for an initial production run; a pledge of £85 (around $136 US) will get you the larger Metro model or the slightly smaller Escape model.
“15 years ago I had an idea, as many do. This was a new invention to solve the problem of backpack access, after seeing a struggling postman and my own frustrations. Although I’d collected an engineering degree way back, after a long career in media companies I had no expert knowledge of industrial design, backpacks or inventing. So on and off over the years the idea became a design doodle and then a couple of failed prototypes and then got filed away in a box. It collected dust but never left me, until I reached a turning point.”
“After 2 intense but rewarding years as Group Finance Director of HMV plc I decided to start something new. As I relaxed on a beach that old backpack idea popped into my head along with a totally new design. I came home, built a new prototype and this time, to my surprise, it actually worked. I was then faced with a choice, either 1) commit to a project with major costs and uncertainty where I had no experience but saw a big adventure, or 2) leave the idea alone, live a comfortable life but never really know what might have been. So I turned my living room into a workshop, filed for patents, teamed up with some great designers and built 14 generations prototypes.”