How to Recognize a Good Urban-Backpack Suspension System

So, you're tired of lugging around a backpack that's uncomfortable. You're a student, a photographer, an avid traveler, or a nine-to-fiver dragging a sore back around every day. You're fed up. What do you do? You start looking for an urban-travel backpack with a good suspension system, right?

Ah. But here the problems begin. There are so many urban/every day/daypacks out there. Most of them don't really have a suspension system to offer.  And those that do all promise "innovative" or "new" suspension systems.

Well, allow me to let you in on secret number one:

There's No Such Thing as A "New" Suspension System

That's right. The basic physics of the suspension system haven't changed since people first started building external frames to carry weight on their backs.

The whole idea is to direct weight from the shoulders to the hip bones. That's all, really. Which leads me to secret number two:

Suspension Systems Can't Defy Gravity

Weight is weight. Unless you've found a way to literally float your pack, any backpack that promises to reduce weight will never deliver on that promise. The best you can do is direct weight properly.

OK, So What Makes One Better Than Another?

Glad you asked. It comes down to taking the existing fundamentals of a suspension system but optimizing them. Let me show you how we did exactly that with JOEY, designing the best urban-suspension system out there today.

This is what most people - even many hardcore backpackers - don't know. In order for a suspension system to work well, you need friction. 

Most urban suspension systems have a pad that sits squarely above your tailbone. This gives you some friction, but not enough to make sure the weight doesn't "slip" off your hips and onto your shoulders again. With JOEY, instead of a flat pad, we designed an ergonomic pad that sits flat against the entire lower back, all the way across the hips. Exactly like high-end hiking backpacks have. This increases friction from the mid-point of your back across the whole lower back – simple physics.

The same goes for JOEY's shoulder straps. Like the hip pad, JOEY's shoulder straps are one piece, no seams all the way around. This is a unique design throughout the urban backpack community. You don’t miss a millimeter of friction, no matter where you wear the shoulder straps.



Because JOEY has such good friction, we had the luxury of allowing ourselves to create lots of breathing space. This means that your back breathes properly and is protected from bacteria that thrive on low oxygen and sweat. Also, the outer lining of all the pads is made from a fabric used chiefly in the sports industry, so it's super-comfortable and easy on the skin. 



For a suspension system to work, it must have a rigid frame. This frame does all the heavy lifting. It directs the weight from the shoulders down towards the hips and makes sure your back is protected from injury. 

Most urban backpack frames extend straight down to the bottom of the backpack, so the weight is directed linearly from the shoulders down to the hips. The problem with this kind of frame is that the weight is "pulled" down with nothing but the hip straps pulling it towards your hips.

JOEY's frame is different. Instead of coming down in a straight line from behind the shoulders to the bottom of the pack, JOEY's metal frame curves inward, towards your hips. This means the weight "wants" to be directed towards your hips rather than just dangling down from your shoulders. The frame is so effective, that you'll find you only really have to use the hip straps when your JOEY is fully weighted with your weekend's groceries or with your week-long trip's necessities. 


This is where JOEY really shines. Not only have we taken the best technologies from travel gear and brought them to your everyday life, we have also managed to keep it neat, tight, elegant and beautiful. JOEY is the urban-backpack perfected.

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