Collapsible Backpack Innovation to Solve the World's Water Crisis

CHALLENGE: Ease the burden of water transportation for the 1 billion women and children tasked with water collection in developing countries

SERVICES: Design, Engineering, Prototyping

AWARDS / PRESS: IDEA Bronze Award for Social Impact Design; Popular Science Best of What's New;  Cooper Hewitt People's Design Award

SUCCESS: PackH2O has distributed more than 100,000 packs across five continents through collaborations with companies such as Habitat for Humanity and Partners for Care.

In an era when complex innovations make the world smaller and faster, it would be easy to overlook a simple innovation that makes the world better. So we were thrilled and honored when Popular Science bestowed a prestigious Best of What’s New Award on the PackH2O waterwear pack, calling it “an elegant solution to a problem faced by millions of people: How to transport drinking water.”

packh2o-water-backpack2In fact, transporting water is a problem for more than 2 billion people who lack water in their homes. That’s why Greif asked Nottingham Spirk to design a water transportation product using the company's industrial-grade woven polypropylene. The backpack features an ergonomic, gender-neutral design, adjustable shoulder straps and a removable liner that can be sanitized in the sun. 

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A Safer Way to Carry Water

Seven times lighter than a plastic jerrycan

The decreased weight significantly reduces the risk of neck and back injury. It also eliminates the reliance on repurposed containers, which might have held dangerous chemicals, and which may require reaching in with possibly dirty cups and hands. PackH2O includes a removable liner that can be sanitized with sunlight to ensure the water supply remains safe after continued usage. Take a look at an early concept below.

An Innovative Design Solution

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The result of Nottingham Spirk's work is a life-changing collapsible backpack which holds about 5 gallons of water – slightly more than a typical jerrycan, at one-seventh the weight and half the carbon footprint. With a spout for dispensing water and a puncture-resistant outer shell, PackH2O is a safe and effective way to store clean water.

pack-h2o-easing the water burden

PackH2O increases the speed and comfort of transport, while reducing the risk of neck and spine injuries. It also eliminates the reliance on repurposed containers, which might have held dangerous chemicals, and which may require reaching in with possibly dirty cups and hands. Between uses, PackH2O’s lining can be removed and dried in the sun, allowing UV rays to kill microbes that might otherwise linger.

popular science best of whats new packh20

POPULAR SCIENCE BEST OF WHAT'S NEW

IDEA award

IDEA BRONZE AWARD SOCIAL IMPACT DESIGN

cooper hewitt

COOPER HEWITT PEOPLE'S DESIGN AWARD

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