World’s first recyclable backpack features 3D printed suspension system

If I were to prepare a list of hiking and camping essentials, a backpack would top my list. It is very obvious considering the rest of the camping gear and accessories need to be stored somewhere and a backpack provides the user with pockets and compartments to carry things. It not only enables you to keep your belongings safe but also offers comfort and requires low maintenance. For years, we have been using backpacks made of canvas, cotton and nylon. Once they are not durable enough, we find them tarrying in old closet or moldering in landfills.

In the wake of sustainable development and circular economy, the emphasis has been laid on producing a recyclable backpack with various companies flexing their creative muscle, but Vaude is the first to act. Mostly known for modeling mountain sports equipment, Vaude has now introduced Novum 3D. Still in its prototype phase, this world’s first recyclable backpack might be the future of camping.

Made of Mono-Material TPU

Recycling seems like a handsome alternative to curb the problem of waste that ends up in landfills.. However, it is where the big challenge lies. Many of the modern day backpacks are made of multiple mixed fabric and it is a herculean task to separate the type. A big shout out to the design and welding technology of Novum 3D, which makes this innovative backpack completely recyclable. The welded seam reduces the need for a thread which would have been a hindrance in the mono-material construction.

The recyclable backpack is made from a single material, Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), which allows easy recycling. The suspension system of backpacks was always made of different materials in past. But with single material in usage, the backpack can easily be recycled without any complex separation system. Furthermore, all non-TPU parts like buckles can also be easily disassembled.

3D printed suspension system

The German outdoor brand partnered with plastics and additive manufacturing specialist Oechsler for incorporating a 3D printed suspension system into the backpack. Together they collaborated on a 3D printed TPU honeycomb panel (one of the most stable forms of nature) which seems to be the perfect substitute for the foam back panel used in most backpacks.

The 3D printed honeycomb structure not only offers optimal stability but also improves ventilation. The perforated straps and honeycomb back panel allows the weight to distribute evenly and also reduce material usage. In addition, there is a different degree of hardness for each body to allow even pressure distribution. Although Novum 3D is still a prototype, the company plans to showcase the product at OutDoor by ISPO 2022 which will take place in Munich later this June.