VentaPak gives backpack users some breathing room
Day-use backpacks certainly are handy, but they do have a way of leaving your back hot and sweaty, or even digging into it if you're carrying protruding cargo. The VentaPak was designed to address those problems.
Created by New-York-City-based entrepreneur Mark Dingle, the VentaPak is basically a polyester wide-mesh screen mounted on a rectangular aluminum frame that's coated in soft, squishy neoprene foam. Utilizing its integrated clips, buckles and adjustable-length straps, the device is attached to the back (i.e: the side that faces the wearer's back) of a third-party backpack.
The main idea behind the thing is that it will create an air space between the main backpack and the user, keeping their back cool and dry while also stopping non-flat objects in the pack from jabbing into them. The latter attribute is particularly applicable to cyclists, whose backs are arched into their backpack while they ride.
Additionally, however, Dingle claims that the VentaPak should improve the user's posture. This, he says, is because the design causes the pack's shoulder straps to pull straight back on the wearer's shoulders instead of back and down, keeping their shoulders from rounding forward. The anatomically curved mesh is also claimed to provide support to the lower back and lumbar region.
Should you be interested, the VentaPak is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it reaches production, you can get one for a pledge of US$28 – that's about 30 percent off the planned retail price.
Sources: Kickstarter, VentaPak
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As users notice and as we have confirmed in numerous tests, the much greater airflow significantly reduces back heat and sweat, especially when biking. While not designed for the high performance hiker and outdoor athlete, it makes wearing a backpack a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
I used it for a weekend trip from NYC to Toronto too. Again, my back stayed cool while I walked through the airport. I overloaded my pack with heavy electronics, but it didn't feel so heavy because the VentaPak spread the weight across a wider area of my back. I now keep the VentaPak attached to my favorite backpack all the time!
I'm no scientist so I rely on good old fashion real-life testing. Based on the results, I can confirm the VentaPak works!
I couldn’t describe the physics of wearing a normal backpack more succinctly than you did, so no debate on how that works. However, people compensate by leaning forward because they don’t have the postural strength to support the load that their backpack places on their spine, more specifically the lumbar spine where most of the weight is. The design of the Ventapak gives the user the feeling that load is more distributed behind them, allowing them to stand and walk with less rounding of their thoracic spine. While I am a physical therapist and this is an expert opinion, I do agree that research needs to be done to truly substantiate the claim that this can help with posture. Until then, I encourage you to try it yourself and see what I mean!