Back to the future - OutDoor showcases the latest backpack trends
Backpack market 2014: hiking and multifunctional packs lead the way - latest trends on display at the 21st OutDoor in FriedrichshafenFriedrichshafen - The new 2015 backpack collections feature models that are lighter, brighter, smaller and more geared towards specific activities. As such, the rucksack market also reflects the changing patterns in end users’ leisure-time activities. Manufacturers are predicting further growth for 2015. All the latest trends and innovations will be on display from 10 to 13 July, 2014 at Europe’s premier outdoor show in Friedrichshafen for industry visitors only.
The backpack market is on the move. Swiss manufacturer, Mammut is offering its new packs in a range of different categories. US backpack specialist Gregory is hoping to build on its success in the new season, after seeing 54 per cent growth for 2014. At Vaude, backpacks now account for nearly 30 per cent of total sales, "We’re expecting moderate growth and looking to expand our market segment in 2015,” announced press contact for mountain sports, Benedikt Tröster. In particular, the Tettnang-based company still sees greater potential in the international market.
"The trend has moved from long, more extreme trips to shorter and easier hikes and treks,” says Vaude. This development is nothing new. Gregory also notes a further important dimension. Backpacks have become more acceptable. "The trend towards outdoor activities across all ages groups means that we can expect further growth,” explained Gregory. When it comes down to individual categories, the American manufacturer sees multifunctional and hiking packs in pole position. Jack Wolfskin’s multifunctional packs are also in demand, "Customers are telling us that they don’t want their pack to cover just one activity. Instead it should cover the broadest possible spectrum of activities.” For 2015, the general trend is: colourful is good. In addition, backpacks are not just functional products; they are widely-accepted lifestyle elements.
Gregory argues that there is a general trend toward smaller packs, especially in Europe. The Americans feel that this is due to the lighter and more innovative materials available and good infrastructure in outdoor areas.
At Mammut, Maximilian Lenk, product manager for backpacks, also sees smaller packs as leading the way. "Today’s classic backpack has on average 20 litres less volume. People don’t want to and don't need take as much with them - equipment is getting lighter and better all the time.” The trend towards lightweight packs has both direct and indirect impacts on the backpack market. Mammut maintains a central focus on alpine sports in its backpack collection. The message from company headquarters in Seon, Switzerland is, "Alpine sports remain our core business and we expect to see greatest growth with our hiking packs.” The fact that Mammut’s alpine packs are given a higher profile than say at Wolfskin or Gregory is explained by their proximity to the Alps. Such regional differences are also reflected in, for example, sales of larger trekking packs in Scandinavia or America. At the OutDoor 2014, Swedish outdoor equipment suppliers Haglöfs are exhibiting the "Nejd” pack - a new backpack available in 50, 65 and 80-litre volumes, i.e. with significantly greater capacity than most hiking or multifunctional packs.
And it’s not just backpacks, travel bags are also experiencing real growth. Last year, Pacsafe launched a new trolley collection, this year it’s the turn of Swiss backpack experts Bach. In Friedrichshafen, they are showing a completely new trolley bag with moulded plywood back and carry system. Robust tarpaulin packs also remain very popular. Tatonka has given its complete backpacks and bags line a facelift and is offering a new model with a laid-back design - the Seaman is a classic sailor’s duffel bag in robust tarpaulin.
OutDoor 2014 is open to industry visitors only from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 July (Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, please visit: www.outdoor-show.com.