This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials

May 2, 2019 by  
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The world’s landfills are piling up. While we hear a lot about how the fashion industry contributes to this problem, the topic is less focused on accessories. Yet purses, bags and backpacks also contribute to the fast fashion environment with quickly fading styles and manufacturing pollution. One company is bucking this trend with a backpack made from naturally sustainable cork and recycled materials. The Jajamän cork backpack is a completely vegan option for conscientious consumers looking for an alternative to cotton-based fabrics and leather. With a striking cork exterior and recycled post-consumer polyester interior, the backpack was made with the environment in mind throughout the design process. It even uses recycled metal for the buckles. In fact, every component of this backpack is either natural cork or recycled material, including the zippers made from post-consumer plastic. Tags and trims are made from recycled paper, too. Related: Pauline van Dongen unveils backpack made with ‘energy harvesting textile’ Cork is the ultimate choice as a sustainable product for a variety of reasons. Because it is actually bark, harvesting cork doesn’t require cutting down or damaging trees . Plus, it is lightweight yet durable. Cork is also innately waterproof, fire-resistant, dirt repellent, anti-fungal and stain resistant, all of which make it a good choice for bags, shoes, purses and more. Cork requires no harsh chemicals like those produced from leather manufacturing and is biodegradable at the end of its lifecycle. In addition to careful material selection, the company has focused on making sure each step in the process is both earth and human friendly. To achieve this goal, it uses cork from Portugal and manufactures the bags close to that source. Jajamän practices safe working conditions and fair wages in its factory, a standard in Portugal. With longevity in mind, the design is practical, universal for any gender and durable. While this means each bag can last years, it doesn’t sacrifice appeal. Because cork has a natural design, much like cut wood, each backpack has a unique pattern not exactly duplicated in any other bag. “We’re going back to a more sustainable way of consuming and producing,” the company said. “Sustainability is our business, and thanks to your pledges, we will be able to begin producing our planet-friendly cork backpacks. We’ll be able to fund our team to continue to challenge the status quo of fast fashion by creating truly sustainable alternatives.” After being fully funded, the Jajamän cork backpack is now available for purchase through  Indiegogo . + Jajamän Images via Jajamän

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This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials

Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

September 17, 2018 by  
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Lace up your hiking boots and trod into places inaccessible via horse, quad or car. Backpacking allows you to explore the outdoors while enjoying a little distance from the crowds squished together at the state campgrounds. There’s just something about planning for and carrying all the supplies you need for backwoods camping that is empowering and exciting. Once you’ve decided to give backpacking a try, make sure you’ve got the essentials covered. You will find that you can survive with very few comforts while backpacking, but there are some “must-haves” on the list. Here’s a backpacking checklist to ensure a successful start to your adventure! Sleeping and Camp Supplies Backpack — Choose a bag with either an internal or external frame, with the capacity to hold your necessities. Aim for the size that will hold the maximum weight you’re comfortable carrying, even though the goal will always be to avoid filling it completely. The capacity is measured in liters, so look for indicators like 60L or 90L in the product description. It’s best to get fitted by a professional at an outfitter such as REI for the most comfortable experience with your backpack. A 45L is adequate for overnight trips, while a 60L will meet the needs of most multi-day trips. Sleeping bag — Be sure to bring one rated for your weather conditions to ensure that you stay warm and dry. Also consider the weight and packability of the sleeping bag you choose. Roll pad or inflatable backpacking mattress — This is a welcome addition for both comfort and insulation from the cold ground. Tent — This is optional but recommended for protection from bugs and other critters that scurry in the night as well as rain. Some backpackers opt for a hammock instead of a tent . If this is your plan, seek out a lightweight one with a bug net and sturdy straps. Backpacker’s pillow — This is a comfort item. A rolled-up sweatshirt will do the job if needed. Related: Six tents perfect for camping this summer Cooking and Food Supplies Cookstove and fuel — These are lightweight and offer different gas options. A JetBoil or similar device quickly boils water (in less than two minutes) for your morning brew, oatmeal or dehydrated chicken fettuccine. White gas stoves work well at lower temperatures, and gas is easy to find. There are now stoves that heat with sticks and pine cones with the added luxury of a recharging attachment for electronics , too. Any variety will do the job. Just make sure you have the right gas and give it a trial run at home before you go. Food — The lightest and easiest food for backpacking is the pre-packaged, easy-to-find dehydrated meals such as Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry or AlpineAire. However, these meals are typically high in salt and can lead to dehydration and puffiness. In my opinion, most of them are only moderately palatable. There are harder-to-find brands, like Food for the Sole, that offer a shorter shelf life but higher quality ingredients and less processing. Because they are cooked in their own bags with the addition of only water, dehydrated meals eliminate the need for pots, pans or additional ingredients. They are a great place to start, but with a little experience, you’ll soon find many alternatives to add to your cooking repertoire. In addition to dehydrated meals, pack snacks with high protein and a combination of carbs and sugar, such as trail mix or protein bars. Jerky, dried fruit and durable fig bars are other good options. Supplies — Pack a pot and/or skillet for cooking and a cup, a plate and silverware for dining. Related: Camping kitchen checklist Water Supplies Access to water is the most essential portion of your planning process. If you are hiking along a river or will camp at a lake, you can plan to sterilize water. Otherwise, you will need to pack in all of your water. The average person will use around one liter of water per hour of hiking. Plus, meals require a lot more water than you might realize. With the weight of water coming in around 2.20 pounds per liter, you can easily tack 10 pounds onto your pack weight. It is essential to map out your water sources and plan accordingly. Water filtration system, Steripen or iodine (affects taste and is really only used for emergency situations) — These items ensure the water you drink is safe. Water bladder (2L or 3L) and collapsible water bottles — Each item will make it more convenient and efficient to grab a drink of water. Clothing Supplies Moisture is not your friend on the trail, so select your clothing carefully. When choosing clothing for your outdoor adventures, consider fabric performance. Avoid cotton, because it does not have good wicking abilities. Instead, pack wool-blend socks, shirts and long Johns. Opt for polyester/nylon options that wick away sweat and dry quickly. Depending on the weather, you can expect to bring several articles of clothing: at least two pairs of socks, underwear, shorts or convertible pants, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a jacket or sweater, rain gear, lightweight sandals, sturdy trail shoes or boots and a stocking cap, neck gaiter and gloves if necessary. Safety Supplies Map and compass — Make sure you know where you’re headed. Leave your itinerary with someone at home and avoid backpacking alone. For an added level of safety, consider a portable GPS device such as the SPOT or Garmin eTrex. Multi-tool or Knife — It’s amazing how handy a multi-tool can be thanks to having small screwdrivers, pliers, an opener and a knife in one small device. Paracord — This can be used for a clothesline, to make repairs, to hang a hammock or anything else for which you would generally use rope. Matches — A lighter is great, but also bring some waterproof matches. You can make your own by dipping strike-anywhere matches in melted wax. Store in a small mint tin. Flint and steel — Once you learn to use it, the flint and steel works great for backpacking and is also a basic survival supply. Bring a few cotton balls rolled in petroleum jelly or melted wax for an easy fire starter. First-aid kit — Include ibuprofen for sprains and stings, Benadryl for allergic reactions, bandages, gauze, tape, tongue depressors (they can be used as a small splint) and moleskin for blisters. Bathroom items — Don’t forget to pack toilet paper, hand sanitizer, medications, a toothbrush, deodorant and feminine hygiene products. Light trowel — This is helpful for burying waste (6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet from any water source), and bring a resealable bag to carry out garbage at the end of your trip. Camp soap (biodegradable) — This can be used to wash your body, hair, dishes and more. Other essential items include several pieces that can come in handy for safety reasons: a flashlight or headlamp, bug spray, sunscreen , sunglasses and/or a hat, lip balm, heavy-duty tape for repairs, a needle and thread, pen and paper, a small amount of cash, personal identification, a backcountry access permit (if needed) and trekking poles (optional). Related: 4 must-have camping essentials Packing Tips With each item you pack, think about weight and size. Focus on putting the heaviest items at hip level with lighter supplies above and below it. Although many packs are set up for the sleeping bag at the bottom, we recommend putting it into a waterproof bag in case your water bladder leaks (we’ve seen it happen too many times!). Alternatively, pack your sleeping bag at the top of your backpack. Also look for ways you can minimize the size of supplies, such as wrapping the paracord around the bug spray container or taking tape wrapped around the tongue depressors. Use compression sacks to reduce the size of clothing and your sleeping bag. Place first-aid or food items in resealable bags, which can be used as a garbage bag on the trail. Once you’ve worked your way through this backpacking supply checklist, you should have everything you need to head out and enjoy the backcountry. Images via Ted Bryan Yu , Wilson Ye , Kevin Schmid , Colton Strickland , Emma Van Sant , Simon Migaj and Josiah Weiss

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Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

Next generation of Voltaic solar backpacks can charge laptops, cameras, and even drones

November 2, 2016 by  
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Voltaic Systems is known for portable solar gear, from laptop solar chargers to solar panels that can attach to cars . Now they’re offering two solar backpacks on Kickstarter  that provide plenty of power for whatever you are doing. Their Array backpack can even charge drones , which according to Voltaic Systems is “something no other backpack can do.” The Array offers the most power with 10 watts of clean energy. It’s robust enough to charge laptops, tablets, smartphones, a DSLR camera, a GoPro, or a drone. The solar backpack comes with Voltaic’s 19,800mAh battery pack, which charges in 12 in sunlight and in four hours via a wall outlet. The OffGrid backpack, offering six watts, provides a boost for explorers who aren’t going quite as far but still need energy off the grid . The OffGrid comes with a 4,000mAh battery pack that charges in four and a half hours in sunlight and four hours via USB, with the option to upgrade to a 12,000mAh battery pack. Related: VIDEO: How to install Voltaic solar panels on your car Both backpacks are designed to safely store electronic devices, and feature padded compartments for fragile items like laptops. The solar panels that adorn the backpacks are lightweight and waterproof. The backpacks are even made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled soda bottles. Voltaic Systems is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter , offering the solar backpacks at reduced prices. For the OffGrid backpack, which has a suggested retail price of $199, early bird backers can nab the backpack for $119 or $149. The suggested retail price for the Array backpack is $379, but Kickstarter backers can grab the backpack for $219 or $279. Voltaic Systems is also offering add-ons like a camera bundle which offers storage for cameras and lenses. You can purchase a solar backpack through the Kickstarter campaign here . + Voltaic Systems + Voltaic Systems Kickstarter Images via Voltaic Systems Facebook and Voltaic Systems Kickstarter

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Next generation of Voltaic solar backpacks can charge laptops, cameras, and even drones

Lightning Packs Develops Energy-Generating Backpack for Soldiers and Relief Workers

November 4, 2014 by  
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Lightning Packs LLC have created an electricity-generating backpack that can “provide wearable renewable electricity for combat soldiers or disaster-relief workers operating in remote locations.” Instead of using disposable batteries, which can weigh up to 20 lbs, the new backpack generates electricity via the kinetic movement of the cargo compartment moving up and down. This not only allows for longer missions, but reduces the demand for resupply operations. Read the rest of Lightning Packs Develops Energy-Generating Backpack for Soldiers and Relief Workers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: backpack , electric backpack , electric rucksack , kinetic backpack , kinetic energy , Lightning Packs LLC , military rucksack , renewable energy

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Lightning Packs Develops Energy-Generating Backpack for Soldiers and Relief Workers

The Morpher Bicycle Helmet Can Fold Up to Just 1.4-Inches Thick

May 10, 2014 by  
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If you have ever been guilty of leaving your bike helmet at home because you just didn’t want to lug it around all day, you officially have no more excuses. The Morpher bicycle helmet works and looks just like the bicycle helmets you know and love, but it folds down to just 1.4-inches. No more clipping your helmet to your bike (and risking getting it stolen), no more carrying it around with you as you run errands. The Morpher can simply be folded up and thrown into a bag with the rest of your stuff so you can get on with your day. Read More > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bicycle helmet , bicycle transportation , bike helmet , bike transport , bike transportation , folding bicycle helmet , folding bike helmet , folding head protection , folding helmet , helmet fits in your backpack , helmet fits in your bag , Morpher bike helmet , Morpher folding bicycle helmet , Morpher folding bike helmet , the Morpher

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The Morpher Bicycle Helmet Can Fold Up to Just 1.4-Inches Thick

Sign Up to Help Capture Images of Remote Places with the Google Trekker Backpack

July 1, 2013 by  
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Google is calling on trekkers to help create street views of hidden corners of the world . Amateur explorers can now sign up to add their own contribution to Google Street View, with the Google Trekker Street View Backpack . Organizations like tourism boards, non-profits and universities can now show off their access to remote places by taking around one of the camera-wielding backpacks on their next adventure. Read the rest of Sign Up to Help Capture Images of Remote Places with the Google Trekker Backpack Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , Google Street View , Google Trekker Street View Backpack , green design , sustainable design        

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Sign Up to Help Capture Images of Remote Places with the Google Trekker Backpack

FEMA Expects 45% Increase in Flood Zones Across the US by 2100

July 1, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock The Federal Emergency Management Agency just released a map of estimated flood zones in the United States for the year 2100—and it doesn’t look good. According to FEMA, we can expect a 45 percent increase in the area of the U.S. that will be at risk of major flooding – including almost half of the eastern part of the country, and much of the west. The agency also estimates that 11.2 million homes will be subject to the National Flood Insurance Program as “special flood hazard zones” almost double. Read the rest of FEMA Expects 45% Increase in Flood Zones Across the US by 2100 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: (FEMA) , eco design , Federal Emergency Management Agency , green design , National Flood Insurance Program , SPecial Flood Hazard Zones , sustainable design , United States Flood Zones        

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FEMA Expects 45% Increase in Flood Zones Across the US by 2100

TASCAM debuts world’s first solar-powered guitar tuner

October 7, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Planet-friendly tuner powered by renewable solar energy. TASCAM has unveiled the world’s first solar-powered guitar tuner, the TASCAM TC-1S. The device charges its battery using a bank of solar cells on the front panel and also features a USB input for quick charging needs.

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TASCAM debuts world’s first solar-powered guitar tuner

My Name Is BarBra: Great Idea for Winter Cycling, Lousy Name

February 12, 2010 by  
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Photos by Andrew Louis/Torontoist. Toronto cyclist Hamish Greenland developed the BarBra after a very cold winter ride. He tells Torontoist: “I found myself taking one of my hands off the bar, and putting it between my backpack and my back in order to keep it warm

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My Name Is BarBra: Great Idea for Winter Cycling, Lousy Name

Is Environmentalism Socialist? Comrade, please…

February 12, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Cafe Press Perhaps one of the most confusing things about the recent attacks on the green movement by some of the wackier climate conspiracy theorists (as opposed to legitimate concerns over certain scientists’ behavior, or less than optimal citations at the IPCC), have been accusations that climate change is both a socialist conspiracy and a scam to make Wall Street rich. We already know that fossil fuel interests are vastly … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Is Environmentalism Socialist? Comrade, please…

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