A sustainable backpack with the ideal climate and clever design
TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN | PHOTOS © GUNTER BIRNBAUM
Anyone who wears a backpack when cycling or hiking knows all too well the problem that this entails: the back can get too warm and often sweaty. 1air Backpack provides the solution to this. An innovative venting system attached to the backpack uses the natural airstream when cycling to aerate the back. When hiking, warm air easily dissipates through the same tubes.
Inventor Gunter Birnbaum, whose main job is in event technology, cycles to clients every day. “In Berlin, cycling is far easier than using a car,” he says. Over the years he tested many backpack systems, always with the same result: he arrived at clients with a sweaty back. Then he had an idea: at three o’clock in the morning he started tinkering with little plastic trumpets and some old aquarium tubes, by nine he had a working system he attached to an old backpack. He filed a patent and for four months surveyed other commuters in Berlin on what else they might need in a backpack: a key ring, for example, and no outside bags.
A large company specialising in the outdoors was interested, but insisted on producing in Vietnam. “Under the worst conditions imaginable,” Birnbaum says. He was set on a sustainable production in Germany, however, and so decided on a smaller-scale production instead, now working with a tailor shop in Berlin. Today, the backpack can be bought online and comes in two sizes.
The venting system itself can be attached to any other backpack, and Gunter Birnbaum is now open to co-operating with fair and sustainable backpack producers.