Outdoor Retailer: Columbia's Mobex Pack

Can a leaf inspire new ideas for hauling your gear? Columbia pack designers say yes.

Columbia unveiled the Mobex, a new daypack that's inspired by adventure racing...and leaves. The pack's designer noticed that leaves' network of interlacing veins provide structure without bulk or weight—exactly what he sought in a backpack. So he invented the "exoflex" frame, an external pole geometry that looks a lot like a tent and provides enough tension to support the weight of your stuff.

It's also crushable: You can sit on it, flatten it between suitcases, squish it to pancake dimensions--and it'll spring back to its original shape.

Another funky feature: There's no mesh on the backpanel, just a wicking fabric (because adventure racers reported that mesh collects gunk in wet and muddy conditions).

The Mobex comes in three sizes, ranging from about 800 to 2,000 cubic

inches, and retailing for $80 to $120.

—Kelly Bastone

Image Credit: Ben Fullerton