Five years in the making, the Helioflex backpack from German brand COOPH aims to make life easier for digital nomads. Their camera straps are familiar to our long-term readers. The company’s latest project is also their first backpack. It’s modular, sustainable, and comes with a solar panel option. It’s being billed as perfect for those who spend most of their working day outdoors and on the move.
The company has collaborated with Leica in the past to create a stylish Double Rope Strap. With their new Kickstarter campaign, they hope to introduce a backpack that appeals to creatives and digital nomads. In 2023, they’ve even joined 1% for the Planet as part of their commitment to sustainability.
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What’s Unique About Helioflex?
You might think it’s just another camera/tech backpack listing that seems to pop up on Kickstarter every few months. But the Helioflex has a few key factors that distinguish it from the others. For starters, it’s got a large 8.5W solar panel add-on option that can power your electronic devices and accessories. Secondly, the three color variations are made from sustainably sourced materials. 80% of the fabric comes from recycled plastic, and the leather is vegan.
The unisex-fit main bag has a 15L capacity. As an early bird backer, you can snag the Base bag in any of the three colors for around $196. The bag’s addon attachment system and closure mechanisms are meant to prevent easy opening by others and discourage theft. It can take up to a 17-inch laptop, a 13-inch tablet and has pouches and pockets for many of your electronic accessories. The Base bag also has a tripod pocket.
In addition to the main bag, the COOPH Helioflex has three significant add-ons to the Kickstarter campaign.
Camera Cube Bag
If I were backing this campaign, I’d be sure to add one of these for an additional $65. The camera cube is just 4 inches thick. It’s designed to fit inside the main backpack.
It’s also possible to attach this outside the Base bag or wear it alone. The internal dividers can be rearranged to your liking
Tablet Front Bag
Sort of like a tablet sleeve but with much better padding and protection. Comes with an included shoulder strap.
Solar Front Bag
The most interesting part of this campaign is the front attachable solar panel bag. The 8.5W solar panel has a USB-C port. An LED display indicator shows you how much power remains for you to charge your devices. There’s room inside to take electronic devices up to an iPad’s size.
A Functional And Stylish Companion
If I were hiking all day, I’d find this setup quite useful. The camera cube could safely hold a mirrorless camera and about 3 average-sized lenses. The handy side opening on the base bag would allow me to take the camera out when I need to click photos without laying the bag down. And adding the solar bag to the front would ensure that I have ample stored power to charge and recharge my devices throughout the day.
The only gripe I have with this combination would be the weight. The base bag is a little under 1400 grams. The camera cube is 573g, and the solar front bag is 776g. That adds up to about 2.75kg or 6.1lb. And that’s when all these units are completely empty. Add your camera, lenses, laptop, and accessories, and we’re probably looking at over 5kg/11 lbs on your back for a whole day. It’s still early days in the Kickstarter campaign. I would hope that COOPH could somehow find a way to bring down the weight of the individual products, as when combined, the resulting setup could be a lot heavier than it looks.
How Much Can You Pledge?
Starting at $59 for the tablet front bag or $195 for the base backpack, you can back this campaign immediately on their Kickstarter page. You can expect to receive your backed units around March 2024. If you’re feeling rich, you can be one of 5 people to pledge $5400 for a weekend in Fuschl am See, Austria for two people. This includes a 3-night full-board stay in a hotel, two COOPH HelioFlex Ultimate Bundles, one day with the COOPH team, a day of street photography with the COOPH founder, and many other goodies for you. Flights don’t seem to be included, as this information isn’t mentioned in the pledge details. You’ll have to hurry as only 3 slots remain for this offer.