When internal frame backpacks were first developed in 1967 by Greg Lowe (who later founded Lowe Alpine and LowePro), they were designed to be more formfitting than external frame packs, bringing the load closer to the wearer’s hips, and making it easier to scramble or go off trail. However, it wasn’t until 1984, that the ventilated backpack frames we know today were first introduced, originally by the German backpack maker Deuter, which first patented the idea.
The first ventilated frame that Deuter introduced had a mesh backing, similar to the one shown above. The mesh creates a ventilation space between the wearer’s back and the backpack, allowing moist air to escape along the sides and top of the mesh. Subsequent tests carried out at the Hohenheim Institute (source Deuter) demonstrated that athletes using the Deuter aircomfort system sweat up to 25% less than non-ventilated backpack systems, enabling better physical performance with less discomfort.
That’s a statistic that I’ve never heard before. I just assumed ventilated (also called trampoline frames) were added to packs because some people find it gross to sweat and stink when they hike, something I just accept as unavoidable.
Thinking it through though, it makes me wonder when the original study was conducted and whether it is reproducible today. Do you really burn less calories if you carry a ventilated versus an unventilated internal frame backpack or is the evaporation process just more efficient?
Written 2012.Disclosure: SectionHiker.com receives affiliate compensation from retailers that sell the products we recommend or link to if you make a purchase through them. When reviewing products, we test each thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. Our reputation for honesty is important to us, which is why we only review products that we've tested hands-on. Our mission is to help people, which is why we encourage readers to comment, ask questions, and share their experiences on our posts. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.
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