Design Engineering
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Carry Solutions for Fastpacking

Student
James Krasucki
Course
Design Engineering MEng
Supervisor
Dr Leila Sheldrick
Theme
Humanising Technology

Fastpacking is an endurance sport that combines adventure trail running and lightweight backpacking. As such, fastpacking equipment must hold the volume and mass of overnight backpacking equipment, whilst still enabling fast and nimble movement through wild and varying terrain. This project explored the mechanics behind enabling comfortable, loaded running, and creating a solution that provided on-the-move functionality.

Project Scope

Fastpacking represents an increasingly popular niche within the world of adventure endurance sports. Athletes are continuously pushing the boundaries of what it means to run self-supported for days on end in the mountains, and with this comes fresh demands for equipment to facilitate this. There are few fastpacking-specific products within the current product landscape, and athletes often compromise on comfort and performance as a result. This project sought to understand the design principles behind more suitable products, and manifest this knowledge in a fully-functioning product.

 — Carry Solutions for Fastpacking

Process

Two stages of research were utilised to expand upon existing knowledge and refine the project scope. Initially, the motivations of fastpacking users and the current product landscape were explored. This was combined with the mechanical theory behind optimal loaded and unloaded running. Next, detailed user research was conducted to understand what was carried, why it was carried, and how this might be achieved.

An iterative prototyping process was used to cycle through solutions. 22 prototypes were built within the process, and tested in real-life circumstances, to home in on a final solution. Design gateways were utilised, to ensure specific functionalities and features were achieved.

 — Carry Solutions for Fastpacking
Prototyping process.

Outcomes

In the final build, the accumulation of prototyping knowledge and testing feedback was combined with my own developed skill in construction to create a fully-functioning product.

The final pack used a lightweight, waterproof rear compartment with adjustable volume. This was then combined with a vest suspension system that hugged the body and could be adjusted along the chest and ribs to provide a comfortable fit with minimum pack movement. Front and side storage was used to help balance rear items and compact them close to the body - vital for enabling natural running form and accessibility on-the-move.

 — Carry Solutions for Fastpacking
Final build features.

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