Sometimes it takes someone from a different discipline—like design, say—to come in and tell us backpackers we've been going about it the wrong way all along. For instance, why lug around a shell jacket, a backpack, and a tent on trip when you can combine all three into one all-purpose piece of gear?
It's a little crazy, but designer Justin Gargasz's Vessel jacket is like Voltron for the outdoorsy: It morphs from a sling-style backpack to a weatherproof Cordura shell to a cocoon-like mini-tent. The jacket also sports internal baffles to stow a minimal amount of gear.
It's all built around the principle of getting away from it all. In his production notes, Gargasz elaborates:
"Individuals feel the need to escape their environment everyday. Whether it be interactions with excessive technology or other people, this psychological and physical need to get away is where I begin my investigation."
Since it seems more focused on urban ideas of escape, the snazzy Vessel could probably never replace a traditional setup for anything even resembling a true backpacking trip. But it'd be nice to have on a dayhike in unfamiliar terrain, where you essentially have a particularly robust emergency bivy as part of your jacket. And it might be possible for ultra-ultra-ultralight hikers to make it work on an overnighter.
Here's the bad news: Gargasz is still a student at Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Vessel is a concept project, so who knows when it might see the light of day. The good news? Gargasz has already had internships with companies like Nike, so maybe we'll see some crazy innovations sometime soon.
We'll be watching you, Gargasz—and if you feel like sending me a Vessel ahead of time to test, feel free.
Via The Goat