The Origin

In 2001 four friends from began to think and talk about innovations and improvements for outdoor equipment. We called ourselves The Think Tank. Soon the group expanded to include a total of 12 members, all with the same enthusiasm and inspiration to change or improve something. We were discussing improvements to tent pegs, the support system of backpacks, and even bicycle snow chains had been raised. Often the inspiration came from a problem that we ourselves encountered, and from this we tried to find a solution. The Chestpack evolved from these discussions...

The problem is this: when hiking you often have too many things stored in your backpack and thus out of reach. You need to leave your hands free (mostly) but you can't keep everything that you want or need within reach in your pockets. Purses and pouches are widely available but aren't necessarily the best solution. So, every time you want something, you have to stop, take off and open the backpack, root around until you find whatever it is you want, close everything up, and put the backpack on again - a time and energy consuming procedure for what should be something simple.

And so began the idea for an easy-to-attach, annoyance-free triangular stomach pouch to extend a backpack's storage options. From the beginning it was important that it could be attached to any standard backpack with a well-padded hip belt, that it required no extra fuss or maintenance, and that it could be used by left-handed and right-handed hikers alike. Martin, one of the members of The Think Tank, also suggested an external pocket for his tobacco.

Difficult, but not impossible, we thought, and after initial email exchanges within the group the first tentative sketches for the Chestpack began to emerge.

De eerste officiële schets

And so...

We needed a prototype to test. Luckily Anja Robijn, the wife of one of the team members, was ready to pick up needle and thread and create something we could use. The result was two prototype Chestpacks ready for testing.

Prototype 1 Prototype 2

After extensive testing by several members of the team reactions to the Chestpack were positive: it seemed to be an idea with potential and Anja even created a few extra Chestpacks for members of the team to use.

De eerste schets gemaakt door Radical Design

Nevertheless, it took until October 2004 before we were able to approach Radical Design to produce the first Chestpacks. One of Anja's prototypes was dispatched to Hubert van Ham who then created a sketch of the product on his computer with details on how it might be easily manufactured. Hubert was given a free hand in composing the manufacture protoype plans - he was, after all, the expert in building and sewing bags.

November 7, 2004 was the big day. The first 18 pieces were completed and could be retrieved. The results exceeded even our wildest dreams. Hubert had delivered a good performance and his changes were definitely a positive contribution to the development of the Chestpack.

Backpackers and hikers we knew soon started to show an interest in having a Chestpack and the entire first run of manufactured packs was quickly sold out and a second batch was soon ordered. At this time we also approached two outdoor stores, Breedeveld in Leiderdorp and Tatteljee in Amsterdam, who kindly agreed to stock the Chestpack. This in turn made a little publicity possible, and in February 2005 a small article on the Chestpack was published in the Dutch magazine "Op Pad".

Over time we made small changes to improve the product design, often the result of user feedback (one major change was the addition of a cam buckle to the upper loop to allow more flexibility in the Chestpack adjustment). Other feedback suggested that we needed to improve the assembly instructions of the product. And so, in December 2007, we launched this website to help users make the most of their Chestpack.