Lonely Planet Writer

This 'floating' backpack will dramatically reduce impact on users while walking or running

Those who enjoy backpacking or hiking may be interested in the world’s first “floating” backpack, which is designed to dramatically reduce the impact on those carrying it by up to 86% while running and 82% while walking. Called the HoverGlide, it’s aimed at people looking to reduce stress and weight load on their backs, necks, knees and ankles while hiking, trekking or even commuting.

This “floating” backpack is designed to dramatically reduce impact on users while walking or running. Image: HoverGlide

How it works is that it has a double-frame and suspension system design, known as suspended load technology, that features two frames. One is a fixed frame, which incorporates the harness that users wear on their back, and the other is a moving frame, which incorporates the bag and can slide relative to the fixed frame. The moving frame is suspended from the fixed frame by a shock-reducing mechanism, and the backpack stays at a constant height relative to the ground even as the person’s body moves up and down.

The “floating”backpack comes in two frames and four bag types. Image: HoverGlide

HoverGlide is available in two frame sizes – a 24-inch one and a 20-inch one. The former is called the “Trekker” and it’s a 55-litre rugged gear that weighs in at approximately 9lbs. The smaller frame can accept three interchangeable packs – the 28-litre “Commuter” and the 30-litre “Hiker” and “Tactical.” They weigh in from 5.5lbs to 7lbs depending on materials.

HoverGlide was developed by Lightning Packs, which was founded by Dr. Lawrence Rome. He’s a muscle physiology expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who was asked by the Office of Naval Research to try to reduce the large loads Special Operation Forces have to carry. “HoverGlide dramatically reduces the impact forces during locomotion, even permitting running comfortably with heavy loads,” he says. “The lower forces reduce the potential for acute and long-term injury, and also reduce the metabolic energy needed to carry a backpack. So, people can move faster with lower exertion.”

The HoverGlide has launched on Kickstarter. Image: HoverGlide

HoverGlide has launched on Kickstarter with a funding goal of US$75,000 (€63,623) and further information is available here.