Whether its a backpack frame or a shoe sole, optimizing balance in motion is a very important factor in the design of any performance equipment.
Its no secret that carrying 2 packs, one on the front and one on the back centers your center of gravity and increases stability, allowing you to walk more upright. However those that have tried know that carrying a second pack on your front can reduce upper body motion and can make a hike very hot.
A multi-pack system that solves those issues finally exists. In 2003 Aarn Tate and Devi Benson, frustrated by the outdoor industry’s “unwillingness to risk adoption of radically different and more efficient carrying systems” created Aarn and introduced the Bodypack.
Aarn is a New Zealand based outdoor company and they have developed Bodypacks with Balance Pockets that attach to the pack straps and waist harness, with the main objective to distribute the weight carried in the packs more evenly.
The idea is very similar to military tactical vests and webbing systems as the British PLCE and US MOLLE combat harness, where loads are distributed evenly around the body as opposed to just the back.
And like their military counterparts Balance Pockets also allow you easy access to personal things without having to take you pack off.
Though Balance Pockets aren’t supposed to touch the body, with so much bulk surrounding the upper body, the next design innovation will probably be how to increase ventilation to keep the core body temperature stable on hot days. Maybe with some new suspension designs placing the pockets further to the sides. And what about increasing pack size by adding/extending the pockets to the waist harness.
Aarn also have an interesting Environmental Policy promoting more than just the Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, environmental mantra.
1. A focus on building products that last.
2. To offer low cost repair service.
3. To recycle all the materials they use in their business ( I presume they also refer to factory waste such as off-cuts of material).
5. As biodegradable materials with good performance and durability become available they will be used on Aarn products.
6. They use 100% renewable energy in their office and warehouse.
The Aarn story seems like another impressive show of passion and determination to offer the best innovative product at all costs.
I recently came across this unusual pack frame on a Russian Forum.