HoverGlide – The World’s First Floating Backpack

HoverGlide

In the wacky world of new gear, startup company Lightning Packs is getting ready to launch a backpack that “floats,” taking the load off your body with each step you take. Equipped with a unique frame and pulley system, the HoverGlide backpack supposedly reduces the stress of the weight on your back, neck, knees, and ankles as you walk or run.

The HoverGlide pack uses a double-frame and pulley system with elastic bungee cords to suspend the load from the frame itself. As you walk or run, the pack easily glides up and down along this system — if you watch the video below, it looks kind of freaky bit is rather cool to see the person move while the backpack basically stays in place.

This reduces not only its vertical movement, and hence its vertical force on your body, but also the energetic cost of walking with the pack. This means you can carry larger loads while moving quickly and reduce the risk of injury from too much strain on your back, neck, or knees.

Lightning Packs founder, Lawrence Rome, published a paper in the science journal Nature where he showed that the HoverGlide pack offered an 82% reduction in force while walking and an 86% reduction while running — that’s pretty significant if true.

The HoverGlide design and functionality has been field-tested by the US Army and the US Marine Corps so there must be something to it. I am curious to see how much these packs weigh, in particular how much weight does the frame itself add to the pack.

Lightning Packs plans to offer four styles of the HoverGlide pack, ranging from 28 liters to 55 liters. The 20-inch frame system fits all three of the smaller packs (28-30L) so you can switch out packs to fit your needs. The largest is the HoverGlide Trekker which sits on a 24-inch frame with a 55-liter capacity. The Trekker can carry enough supplies for multi-day treks while limiting the pounding that your back and knees take on the trail.

Starting in a few weeks, the company will be taking pre-orders via a Kickstarter campaign so stay tuned. I am curious to see the response.

UPDATE: The HoverGlide Kickstarter campaign has started — packs retail for $349 and $449 depending on size.

28 Comments
  1. As an avid outdoors person and hiker, I think this is genius. As a mom and grandmother, you should look into expanding to a child carrier version as well.

  2. How much will it weigh? As a thru-hiker myself (who has dealt with knee injuries), I’m not sure if the “floating” benefits would outweigh an additional 5kg (as a random guess), for instance…especially when my current pack has a base weight (including everything minus consumables) of roughly 6.5 kg to begin with.

  3. Very interested.. Im a hunter and this would make climbing up that mountain a hel of a lot easier..
    Looking for price

  4. Looks like a gimmick to me. The only thing that’s worse than having a heavy load on your back is one that is constantly bouncing. When it hits bottom and rebounds, it will put MORE strain on your back. Tell me truth, this is a joke-video, right? Unless this thing has a magic Star-Trek stasis field, there is no way that it is going to lighten the load on your body. The load path is still down through your back, legs, and feet. This is indisputable fact unless this pack suspends the law of gravity. Like I said, looks like a gimmick to me.

  5. Hola !!!

    I am absolutely interested. I will be particularly interested to see if you have an option for an ‘official’ backpack. I would like to use this for my daily office commute, basically to be able to put my laptop in that.
    P.S> I have a medical condition called ‘costocondritis’ and this could be a boon for me

    /Kanwal

  6. Sorry if this has already been answered and I am just not seeing it. *How much does the actual product its self weigh when empty? thank you!!

  7. Where can I purchase one for my daughter. She is in high school and has scoliosis. She is required to carry at least 25 to 30 pounds in books a day. This will be perfect for her spine. My Cell # is 347-321-5993
    Lisandra Ponce. I can take a prototype if you have it. Thanks. Great invention. lisandcrl@aol.com email

  8. I am pretty excited to try out one of these packs. Though it wont be for about a year since I dont have anymore vamp tops planned, but i feel like this design will help alleviate loss of circulation in my arms from the current pack i use for camping.

  9. I just walked across Spain, and my backpack even tho it was only 10lbs hurt my neck& shoulders, so this woybe awesome! But I’m a 5ft female… so would the backpack come in different sizes?
    Thanks
    Helen

  10. I want one!! Seriously courious on how it feels though. Would there be any way to try it out before ordering? When do you expect this to hit retailers?

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