PAK Wearable Shelter System
- (RMIT) Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
The Pak backpack is a sleek 55litre lightweight backpack which has been intelligently designed to transform into a provisional shelter whilst maintaining functionality to house the user’s belongings.
The PAK is aimed at outdoorsmen with some level of experience in trekking, who are up for a challenge but who might still find themselves in situations of being lost which require a shelter for survival from the elements.
The design of a quick and easily erected wearable survival system offers both protection, whilst addressing the psychological impact of being caught out, literally, in a potentially hostile setting.
In Australia, 200,000+ people participate in hiking/bush-walking each year. We have over 3700 are reported missing, through becoming lost or changes in weather conditions. The most common emergency shelter is a bothy or emergency bag. Their plastic composition insulates for a brief period. However, the user will sweat, increase in condensation, and increasing hypothermia risk. PAK provides a viable fashionable alternative constructed from high-quality water resistant and breathable fabrics.
Its intelligent design is aimed at a dual purpose market, which can be applied from the adventure tourist/adrenaline junkie to the pastoral care of homeless people requiring emergency accommodation.
PAK is unique, able to cater to the user as a lightweight durable backpack, also transforming into a provisional shelter, providing safety.
Alternative products costing $150 – $500 AU, factoring in the cost in monetary terms and weight disadvantages when carrying an add-on shelter. PAK retails at $450, negating the need for bulky add-on shelter concepts through lightweight integrated design. PAK changes what backpacks offer to the industry, it’s innovative regarding the overall function and purpose of a backpack. It heightens the user\’s capabilities by what they can sensibly carry whilst addressing the realistic potential for negative events in unpredictable environments.
Through a design process informed by research and materials testing the PAK was refined to address issues of support and functionality not seen before in a multi-use survival shelter.
The design has transformed how one perceives the overall function of the moderate sized backpack. Made from a lightweight Polyester 300 Denier High Performance PU coated fabric which is half the weight of a average backpack the main backpack remains durable yet lightweight and shower proof. The survival shelter is made from a 20 denier lightweight fabric which is breathable and thermal yet capable of withstanding snow and storm impacts.
For the PAK design to be truly innovative and user-friendly the shelter had to be fully integrated and unobtrusive. This required design features which addressed issues of structure and support which were inbuilt and strong, yet lightweight. The unique 180-degree hinge built into the waist support feature and the four-step erection of the shelter tent cater to simplicity and the potential for rapid erection in adverse weather as well as the potential for injury of the user.
The self-supporting structure of the PAK is a key to its support of the shelter when in use.
The gender neutral colour choices for the PAK make it aesthetically pleasing for all end users whilst the positioning of reflective materials and fabric selections for the tent feature enhance visibility in a variety of environments. The 180-degree hinge system created especially for the PAK provides a lightweight durable solution for the support mechanisms of both the waist belt and the tent when erected. Purpose built clips allow the user to attach relevant parts of the tent into position easily. The low level widely spaced entry into the tent and its generous size cater for two occupants if required.