When Prepared Is Too Prepared: Survival Airbag For Hikers
Survival kits are nothing new to hiking. Hikers, and particularly backpackers, take along survival kits based upon the 10 essentials in case they ever find themselves in a Bear-Grylls-like situation.
But the Survival Hiking bag designed by Wong Hok Pan Sam & Lo Man Chun takes preparedness to a whole new level. A stupid level. The bag is basically an avalanche airbag designed for hiking. If you slip and fall while hiking, the airbag blows up with the help of a CO2 pressure system and protects your neck and head.
Now I recently covered a similar system designed for motorcycle and ski racing. Those are high speed sports with significant chance of impact-related injury. You can get out of control in a hurry. Hiking is a pretty slow, low-impact sport where you really shouldn't need an airbag around your neck. Even if you're hiking on slick trails around sheer cliffs--say at Angels Landing, Utah or the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii, you'd really be better protected by being careful and sure-footed--because an airbag that protects only your head and neck may not do you that much good if you slip off a 2,000-foot cliff.
And outside of exposed trails where slipping into serious injury/death is a possibility, hiking seems like the last sport where you need an airbag to protect yourself. Just look at that hike in the picture: does that wide, meandering trail really look like the type of place that makes you think "I had better wear my airbag!"? No, it doesn't. Mountain biking, rock climbing, water sports--even trail running--maybe. But hiking? Not really.
This hiker bag is just a concept at the moment and something tells me that it's not likely to reach the market. At least not as a device marketed at hikers.