Being marketed as the biggest game-changer in hiking since trail mix, the HoverGlide floating backpack being produced by Lightning Pack may also be revolutionizing the personal, renewable energy sector.
Each pack is equipped with Suspend Load Technology, which has been proven to reduce impact on the body by 86% and been rated to generate as much as 50W of energy while being worn. Simple walking at a relaxed pace will generate up to 15W of energy, running is gauged at 33-40W, and hand pumping can produce its top end number.
"HoverGlide is the result of years and years of development and testing, and the result is a fundamentally different way for people to carry loads," said Dr. Lawrence Rome, founder of Lightning Packs. "HoverGlide dramatically reduces the impact forces during locomotion, even permitting running comfortably with heavy loads. The lower forces reduce the potential for acute and long-term injury, and also reduce the metabolic energy needed to carry a backpack. So, people can move faster with lower exertion."
The industry-first functionality is a result of its patented double-frame and suspension system design which features two frames - a fixed frame that incorporates the harness which its user wears, and the moving frame that allows the bag to slide on the fixed frame, reducing stress on the user as well as generating electricity.
Lightning Pack was originally tested by the military as a way to help eliminate the need for soldiers carrying an extra 20 to 30 pounds in backup batteries to power radios and other needed electronic devises, but it also offers a practical solution to recreational hikers who need to simply power phones or other operations that require battery power.
“Essentially what happens is the electricity that we generate goes to a few different places,” Rome told R&D Magazine. “If you have a radio, it could power the radio directly. The excess electricity goes onto a battery, so the output plugs into a military battery.”
Marine Capt. Anthony Ripley, the science and technology lead at the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office, said that the product can provide military companies with self-sustainable capabilities that aid in a more efficient execution of multi-day operations in environments that otherwise would not be possible.
"Marines have become critically dependent on fuel, battery, and water resupply," said Ripley in this US Navy report. "This dependence has resulted in increased personal risk on the battlefield, especially for those Marines, Soldiers, and civilians hauling fuel and water."
Noel Soto - the Army's JIC-P technical lead collected data as well as soldiers' qualitative feedback of the Lightning Packs during a 12-mile march at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research and Development Center (NSRDC) in Fort Benning, Ga.
He concluded that the application for the military was revolutionary.
Lightning Pack has also created four non-military versions of the backpack that can be used to power cell phones, GPS devices, and other electronics.
Its 24-inch framed Trekker is perfect for backcountry adventures. According to its media kit, the Trekker securely holds enough equipment and food for two- to three-day trips with a sleeve for a hydration reservoir, zippers and pockets for easy access to essentials, and compression straps to secure the load.
It has three 20-inch framed options that are specifically geared towards different user bases.
The 28L 'Commuter' holds up to 25lbs and is designed for being on the go and is able to hold a laptop, digital devices, documents, and work tools. A 30L capacity bag, 'Hiker' is -- as its name implies -- good for a day on the trail. It can hold gear, food, clothing, with multiple pockets for essentials on the trail. The third bag, 'Tactical', is more inline with the military design. It has a 30L capacity has a lot of the features that would be useful in multi-day excursions.
The technology has been patented across the globe -- 5 US Patents, 3 Canadian Patents, 2 European Patents and 1 Australian Patent issued -- and can float on a user's back, dramatically reducing stress and weight load on their bodies as they walk or run.
Prices on the pack vary from $299 to $499 and are in the pre-order phase with an expected delivery date ranging from July to September of 2019.
For more on the Lightning Packs, visit its website here.