Switch to smart backpacks for the next trip out of town
Smart backpacks offer add-ons, such as embedded sensors, charging points and Wi-Fi hotspots, besides being made from tamper-proof material
Backpacks are a must-have—be it for travel, camping, hiking, trekking or for daily use. We also have, increasingly, smart backpacks, which, unlike the standard variant, offer add-ons, such as embedded sensors and Wi-Fi hotspots, besides being made from tamper-proof material. Research firm WiseGuyReports says the global smart backpacks ecosystem will grow annually at 4.9% through to 2021. “Individuals who are engaged in outdoor recreational activities such as camping, hiking and trekking are major consumers of smart backpacks,” says the report. Here’s a look at a few smart backpacks:
US brand Loctote Industrial Bag Co.’s Loctote Flak Sack II ($149.99; loctote.com) is a drawstring (with a cord) backpack that is made of FLAknit, which uses Honeywell’s Spectra fibre technology, also used in bullet-resistant vests and helmets. This makes the Flak Sack II knife slash-proof and abrasion-resistant, so that it will not tear. There is also a reinforced leather strap with a brass combination lock, which thieves will find hard to crack. Flak Sack II also has an RFID (radio-frequency identification) blocking pocket that can keep credit cards and passports safe from unauthorized scanning methods. RFID is used for scanning of passports at airports. For scammers, it is easy to use skimming machines in close proximity of an RFID tag, to wirelessly read your unique identifying information.
Watson, which designs and handcrafts its backpacks in Canada, claims to have studied 10,000 hours of data on how customers use backpacks, the material they prefer and the ideal placement of compartments, before making the V.1 Pack. The product is up for pre-orders now ($449; packwatson.com), and is made of 1050D ballistic nylon as well as recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton.
Smart backpacks don’t have to look boring. Indian start-up Arctic Fox has launched a first-of-its-kind colour-changing backpack called Chameil (₹2,999; arcticfox.com). It uses heat-sensing fabric, which changes colour according to the ambient temperature. The fabric repels water and droplets simply slide off. This bag has a USB port to plug in your phone.
How much stuff can you fit into a bag? That’s the question US company Aer answers with the Fit Pack 2 ($135; aersf.com). Made from 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon, this robust bag improves on its predecessor, with larger compartments and more pockets. The material is resistant to tears and abrasions. The front can be transformed into a pouch to store gym clothes and a separate ventilated slot that is accessible from the base can be used to store your footwear (up to size US13).
Carrying multiple phones, a fitness band or a smartwatch and perhaps an iPad is a common sight these days. Chinese company Eceen Electronic uses an ingenious solution towards providing power for your gadgets using your backpack. The company’s Solar Daypacks ($49.99 with shipping extra; amazon.com) come with removable and foldable 3.5-watt solar panels, which use the sun’s energy to juice up a 2,000mAh integrated battery bank. It also has a built-in solar lantern, just in case the darkness descends before your hike has concluded. Power users might prefer the Fuel backpack ($119.99; trakktech.com) by American company Trakk. This rugged backpack has a built-in 7,000mAh battery, with a 12-volt output for fast charging of phones and tablets. The bag is made of jacquard nylon with a leather finish, and is shockproof as well.
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