Messenger bags make you sore on one side. I can just about guarantee those of you that wear them have one shoulder that is constantly stiffer than the other. Backpacks provide more even pressure, but then you lose the key utility of a messenger bag: The ability to quickly slide it around from back-to-front. Years ago when I switched from messenger bag to backpack, I was surprised at how much I took that utility for granted.
On a crowded subway car you want your backpack in front, to prevent pickpocketing and because it's simply good manners; when walking down the street it's a hassle to shrug out of your backpack just to grab one thing, which is why you always see pairs of backpack-wearing tourists where one is fetching something out of the other's bag for them; likewise when you're waiting for a bus which may arrive in 30 seconds or fifteen minutes, you must decide whether to shrug out of the bag and sit, or keep it on and stand.
I always assumed this was just the design trade-off inherent in the choice of form factor, but the development team behind Wolffepack have proved me wrong. These clever gents have designed a backpack that quickly docks and undocks with the shoulder straps, giving you the best of both worlds:
London-based Wolffepack founder David Wolffe came up with the idea some 15 years ago, but had deviated from his degree in Engineering to pursue a career in finance. In 2012 he finally quit the corporate world with the notion of developing the Wolffepack, and he's subsequently assembled a team of industrial designers, a textile designer and a manufacturing guy to see it to fruition.
The Kickstarter campaign has got just over a month to go, and at press time they were about 60% to a goal of £30,000.
And the Wolffepack is not intended to be a one-trick pony, as Wolffe points out:
Not only does the Wolffepack have a totally unique advantage, but it is a great backpack in its own right. With our experienced design team we have carefully put together all the features, durable materials and high quality construction you would expect in a premium product and a great backpack. We've paid attention to the details with gunmetal custom zips and G-hooks, as well as high quality ballistic fabrics.
A great backpack should have a satisfying place for all the various gear you need to carry for your day. It should be comfortable to wear and easy to handle. Too many pockets is confusing, too little frustrating. With our backpack and design experience we've put together a comprehensive and well-judged package.
Should the team achieve funding, two designs will be on offer: A more sleek, urban-looking "Metro" model and a more outdoorsy "Escape" model with more exterior pockets. Check 'em out here.