Except for the cork zipper pulls. Those are biodegradable. The point is, this is a seriously eco-friendly bag.
What do you get when you combine 31 empty plastic water bottles with some algae? The up-and-coming Mobius backpack by tentree! The newest product by the popular Canadian apparel company broke its campaign goal on Kickstarter within an hour of launching, and now the number of dollars invested is creeping toward CAD $200,000. Clearly, the Mobius is the kind of backpack that a lot of people want.
Its environmental credentials are stunning, I must say. Having looked at a lot of eco-friendly products over the years, this one really does seem to tick all the boxes. Tentree has sourced all the materials as carefully as possible, and the end result is a bag deserving of its catchy Kickstarter title, "the world's most eco-progressive backpack."
The fabric, mesh, and webbing is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles (31 of them, to be precise), created in the same way that many recycled polyester fabrics are, so that's nothing new. But what I found really cool is that tentree didn't stop there. Even the plastic clips are made from waste -- specifically, the factory floor scraps left over from injection molding, reformed into backpack buckles.
Even the zippers are made from recycled materials, something that designer Joey Pringle said is challenging to source. The zipper pulls are made of cork, a renewable material; and, perhaps most interesting of all, the backpack is padded with foam made from pond algae. The algae is harvested, dried, milled, and turned into a soft, spongy product that makes a good protective lining. Said Pringle,
"What makes The Mobius stand apart from all other backpacks is the innovative use of BLOOM® foam, which is sustainably sourced with algae biomass taken from lakes and ponds and then used for the backpack’s padding. This foam is not only better for the environment, but also offers a variety of strong performance benefits that include prolonged resilience, reduced weight and hypoallergenic properties."
I received a Mobius backpack in the mail last week and have been impressed with its features. It has a roll-down top that clips closed snugly, and can be adjusted to whatever amount of space is needed. (It goes from 35L to 16L capacity.) The back has 4-way zippers that make it easy to access the inner compartment without unrolling the top again. There's a laptop holder inside and adjustable water bottle carrier on the outside. The front pocket features lots of compartments, including zippered pockets, for small items that need to be contained. I found it very comfortable to carry on my bicycle (even when filled with, ummm, multiple cans of beer on my way to a party).
Is it a backpack I'd buy for myself, even if it hadn't been sent to me to try? Absolutely. It's cute, especially the pretty ocean waves fabric that I got, and very practical. I'm a big fan of adjustable bags in general, and as someone who travels exclusively with carry-on luggage, I'm always looking for easy-to-access features like the ones the Mobius has. I'd take this bag on a trip without a moment's hesitation.
Check it out. You'll be impressed, too.