In the ever evolving world of outdoor gear there always is something new and different. Some are inspired (Fat Bikes), some are not (barefoot shoes), but at least they keep things interesting. With the emergence of the Millennial generation as the dominate buying force amongst consumers (recently released White House report shows they are the largest active generation now) companies are creating gear that will appeal to them. With a ever growing group of them, and others, repopulating urban corridors long neglected, retailers are turning out items that can be used in daily life.
One such company is Osprey of Colorado. Long known for their innovative and functional backpacks, they recently released their FlapJack and FlapJill Packs. Designed to be used as a day pack it is an incredibly well designed bag. With a minimalist feel from the outside it’s deceiving, the large top flap swings over to cover a large and well designed internal organization system. With room for a laptop, books, notebooks, and more the three separate compartments inside the main storage area offer the ability to keep all your items neatly organized and easily available. Add in the large front pocket full of numerous pockets with a deep well, and you can carry all of your accessories with you where ever you are headed.
The full length zippered pocket on one side is the perfect spot to stash a bottle of coffee or the extra jacket you might need riding home. After spending a month with this on my back as I commuted all over town on my bike; the reflective patches coupled with the spot for by blinker light ensured motorists saw me. The strap system was a cinch to use and adjusted easily on the fly.
Maybe my favorite part was the hidden stash pocket up top under the carrying handle, perfect for a snack bar and my headphones.
The only negative I found was the water bottle pocket on one side. Its finicky and could have a better strap, some water bottles fell out leaning over.
Another cool travel item I have been playing with is the Qlipter from lulabop. When the inventor Mina Yoo found herself constantly chasing her two young children around she prayed for another set of hands. Her solution is both innovative and pretty cool. Part hanging hook and part carabiner the simplicity of the design is what makes it useful.
When together the two parts come together to form a basic wire gate carabiner. You certainly would not use this to belay from, but it is helpful tossed in your work bag or purse. What’s cool is when you want to hang something. Thats when the top part swings loose to form an open hook still attached to the bottom carabiner. With a rubber tip the hook allows you to hang it securely from any semi-level surface. Or flip it and connect the biner and use the hook.
Its proven quite helpful in airports (to hang my pack while sitting), in my climbing rack (to get pack or rack off dirt), and in several other situations. Cool toy to toss into your bag, Ms Yoo is going to make some cash off this invention.
The FlapJack is available at most retail stores and here. MSRP $110
The Qlipter is available here. MSRP $19.95