Designing The Adventure Waterproof Backpack - Refining Perfection
Posted by Lydia Burdett
Marking the launch of our redesigned Adventure Waterproof Backpack v2.0, we asked Catherine Morris, from our design team at Red, to unpack its backstory. With a passion for developing practical yet stylish gear, Catherine shares her insights on the design philosophy that gave our exceptional life-proof rucksack a sleek new upgrade…
What was the philosophy behind the redesign of the backpack? What initiated the decision to redesign?
At Red we have a design philosophy of continual improvement. The world is always evolving, and people’s usage habits change over time too, so we always want to be able to reflect that learning in offering the best possible versions of what we do. Our waterproof backpack was an award-winning bestseller, picking up accolades like an IndyBest award, but if we manage to create something that people love, we are already thinking about how we can make it even better, always listening to feedback. The backpack has been taken on some fairly extreme expeditions as well as being put through several years of everyday use by the team here for everything from photoshoots to beach days to paddleboarding expeditions. With that kind of extensive use, you are naturally going to have ideas of how you can keep raising the bar.
Because our original waterproof backpack was so popular, we also wanted to really shine a light on it by creating more of a range – so with the new edition there are more colours to choose between, and other bags in the range that will be joining the backpack later in 2024.
Ultimately, we were building on the success of our first waterproof backpack – a sleek all-rounder that can handle anything, with outstanding durability and versatility at a fantastic price point – with that proposition we think it makes it a bit of a no-brainer, this is a bag that works for any active person whether you are thinking about the everyday or extraordinary.
What user needs did you prioritise in the design process? How did you incorporate user feedback into the redesign?
I am a big believer in user-first innovation, so really being led by the end-user and their experience and requirements. Our design process starts by gaining deep insight on what problems we can solve, and every piece of feedback is considered from extensive use so when you get to a final design, it feels effortless. The different design elements should be intuitive and just work, as well as looking beautiful. We aren’t really tied in to needing to fit in to a particular mould – for the team here we are much more interested in how people are using their kit, and creating things that have both form & function.
There were a number of different aspects we really focused on with the new design for the bag:
Just one example of this is the upgraded front pockets with the colour coded zip pulls, this is in answer to people wanting to stash their phone in easy-access locations on the water without running the risk of them getting wet.
The Red consumer leads an active life, and the backpacks need to stand up to heavy use whether that is being thrown down on to wet and dirty ground mid-hike, stashed at the front of their board, being filled with wet kit after a swimming session, or coping with a torrential downpour when you are on your bike. It’s strong and easy to clean – the perfect solution for busy lives.
Comfort When Carrying
Our airflow foam straps were really popular, but we have tweaked all elements of their design from increasing the thickness of the padding to contouring their shape to be more ergonomic. The straps also have an improved chest strap which again can handle more heavy use and has a safety whistle too.
More light reflective elements mean you’ll be seen from all angles when carrying, front on, from the rear, and now side on too. We also tested the new padded back support panels cycling to and from work on the Devon lanes.
Can you elaborate on any innovative material choices made in the redesign, and how these contribute to both the waterproofing functionality and the overall durability of the backpack?
We have custom created a new fabric for this bag which we think brings the perfect blend of anything-you-can-throw-at-it durability without being overly stiff or heavy. Despite having total water-run off, the fabric is surprisingly tactile and attractive – it looks a world away from your classic plasticky dry bag. It is resistant to everything from punctures to abrasion to oil and mould, and even copes well in low temperatures so makes a great alpine bag too.
Were eco-friendly materials, manufacturing processes, or recycling considerations integrated into the redesign?
As a certified B Corp organisation, taking steps to be more responsible underpins everything we do. The fabric of the bag is made from a recycled nylon for strength with a double-sided TPU coating. We also target waste and try to avoid creating anything that isn’t going to be used. Our main focus however is always to create products that last, and not only is this bag super-durable, but the easy clean nature of the fabric which is really hard to scuff or damage, means it is still going to look great in years to come.
Check out the Adventure Waterproof Backpack here