Why We Chose The Vaude Wolfegg Backpack: Stylish, innovative, eco-friendly
More info: vaude.com
This season, outdoor brands seem to be competing for the unofficial award of ‘new bit of outdoor kit made from the most unusual natural raw material’. German brand Vaude, who are well-known for their eco-friendly approach to designing and manufacturing high-quality outdoor gear, may well have just taken first prize with their curiously-named Wolfegg backpack.
It gets far stranger than the name though. The pack’s shoulder straps are made from old milk. No, really. Fibres made from cow’s milk proteins are processed with wool to produce a soft, strong and naturally anti-bacterial felt. Apparently, the extraction process is very energy-efficient, and the milk used has been deemed unfit for consumption and so would otherwise be wasted. Though this might all seem rather a-moo-zing (sorry), it’s all in the name of more sustainable design, and for that Vaude should be applauded for their efforts.
“The ‘milk wool’ on the straps is a great eco initiative and it’s got a lovely feel to it.”
In similar vein, the rest of the bag makes use of recycled polyester (using discarded plastic bottles) and sustainably-sourced leather. It is also free from PVC and PFCs, while the product is carbon-neutral and made in Germany, to minimise production and transportation costs and ensure good working conditions and wages for workers.
It’s more the sort of bag you’d see hanging off the shoulder of some environmentally-conscious Berlin hipster rather than strapped to the back of a serious hiker. But that’s to be expected, given its lifestyle-focused design aesthetic and modest 24-litre capacity. For general use, it’s a great product, with a deceptively clean and simple look that incorporates a generous main compartment with a fold closure, a padded tablet sleeve, various inner pockets, a key holder, a back zip pocket, a grab handle and adjustable shoulder straps. The front of the pack also features cut-outs for attaching additional gear such as a safety light, small carabiner or a specially developed shoulder bag, called ‘Egg’, which is available separately from Vaude (for an additional and somewhat steep 35 quid).