Daniel and Markus Freitag have been making bags for twenty-four years. The founders of the Swiss model Freitag have made messenger luggage, purses, laptop computer holders, backpacks, and wallets. However there’s one sort of bag they might by no means get fairly proper. “We have been by no means capable of construct a journey bag that was mild sufficient,” says Daniel Freitag.
The corporate makes all of its merchandise out of upcycled tarpaulin, a heavy obligation materials that’s typically draped as a protecting cowl over giant vans. Tarpaulin, constructed from coating a fibrous sheet in polyurethane, is waterproof and durable. It’s additionally pretty heavy, which suggests including wheels and a metallic body would end in baggage with an excessive amount of heft.
For years, they let the thought of a wheely bag sit behind their minds, sometimes making a tough prototype solely to comprehend that when once more it didn’t fairly work. Then within the spring of 2016, Nicola Staeubli, a designer at Freitag, got here up with an answer: What if, as an alternative of metallic frames, they used inflated bicycle tubes to offer the bag construction?
The Zippelin, now elevating funds on Kickstarter, is a 22-gallon rolling suitcase made out of the identical tarpaulin as earlier than. The bag lays flat and might be rolled right into a spiral that’s compact sufficient to suit inside a shoebox. To create extra quantity, connect a motorcycle pump to the valve on the entrance of the bag and pump till the 28-inch bike tube sewn into the bag’s lining begins to inflate.
Staeubli, who studied as an architect earlier than becoming a member of Freitag, says inflatables are sometimes used to offer structural help in buildings and bridges. Within the case of the Zippelin, it really works the identical approach. A steady internal tube strains the bottom of the bag and inflates to round 30 psi, or about the identical strain as a automotive tire. As soon as inflated, the tube acts like a light-weight body that provides the bag extra rigidity.
Tarpaulin is a naturally versatile materials; with out some sort of skeleton, the bag would collapse on itself. “The most important problem in the long run was to design the quantity in a means so it stood by itself when absolutely packed,” Staeubli says. The difficulty was that the bag couldn’t embrace a inflexible base as a result of it wanted to be rollable. And its base couldn’t be completely rectangular, in any other case the bag would topple over when the wheels are hooked up. Staeubli landed on a design the place the underside of the Zippelin slants barely downwards, from the removable wheels to the entrance of the bag, making a secure base.
In comparison with different rolling suitcases, the Zippelin is decidedly low tech. You possibly can roll it on two wheels,
sling its seatbelt strap round your again, and stash stuff within the handful of pockets. Fairly easy stuff. However in contrast to these different suitcases, after you are executed, you’ll be able to deflate it, roll it up, and retailer it underneath your mattress.
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