Australian design consultancy Cobalt had a tough assignment from the Australian Defence Force: To design "a high-load backpack frame that is adjustable to correctly fit the back of 1-percentile to 99-percentile female and male users." In addition to fitting people of all sizes, the frame needed to be tough enough to suit the military's needs, and it had to be backwards-compatible with older pack and harness systems.
After conducting heavy anthropometric analysis, Cobalt's design and engineering teams came up with ONE299, a two-part polymer frame with overlapping "ladders" to solve for the required height adjustments:
"Cobalt was able to meet and exceed military expectations and outperform existing fixed-size frames," the company writes. "In addition to size adjustability, a key element of ONE299 is the patented lumbar area which conforms to the contour of the wearer's back. This allows for superior ergonomic fit as well as increased load."
"The use of a correctly fitting frame reduces the potential for back injury, and the One299 frame offers this to all wearers regardless of size. Its high strength and adjustable nature also opens up new opportunities for load carriage configuration, allowing both frame and the backpack to be adjusted and configured to suit alternate load carriage scenarios."
Here's a closer look at their design/testing process and the system:
Enter a caption (optional)
"In excess of 27,000 frames have been deployed in the Australian Defence Force," the company says, "with additional interest from international military groups and adventure sectors proving a great commercial outcome."