What Run Oregon is Trying: Flatpac

The Flatpac is designed by Tronnovate Design Laboratory INC. in Tainan City, Taiwan with the catchy tagline to help you “Just pack and unpack in a second”.  Seems simple enough, right?   This little bag has it all while keeping the design simple and easy to use.

This drawstring bag isn’t like the one you already own scrunched in the back of your closet.  Designed with a zipper to easily open and lay the pack flat on the table, I can easily pack the eight small pockets that line the inside edge.

In these hidden pockets, I can put the smaller items that would easily get lost in the bottom of a bag.  From the top left corner of the open bag (working clockwise,) you can see I’ve packed all the pockets with things like keys, map laying out the adventure, tickets to use on the adventure, snacks, phone, bus pass, buff/headband, and more snacks (there are never enough snacks).

The middle of the bag is now free for other items that won’t be lost or jumbled with all those other little details hidden away in their pockets.  Grab a wind breaker or change of clothes, whatever your adventure calls for.  Underneath that layer with the 8 pockets is another layer I’ve used to tuck in a pair of flip flops to kick back in after I’m done running around.   As you can see, it’s easily zipped up, cinched tight and ready to wear.

The picture above features the bag being worn as a back pack, over-the-shoulder messenger bag, slung over a shoulder, or carried as a duffel.  The video visible on their kickstarter campaign also suggests (assuming you have soft items packed) that the bag would also make a great travel pillow on those long commutes.  I think the most common use for my Flatpac will be unzipping it as a picnic spot for the kids to set their food on the water-resistant material or to simply sit on it to avoid wet grass.

For my first adventure with the Flatpac, we headed out on a wet and windy day to Oregon City for a little local tourism and exploring.  Since it was rainy (we were downright being pelted with wet torpedoes due to the force of the winds), I was a little nervous about the trail maps and historical brochures tucked into the center of the bag, but everything was kept perfectly dry.

Flatpac features:

  • The bag can hold 16 liters, though if you have two bags, zip them together for a larger bag.
  • Double sided zipper for easy access to items within
  • Zips fully open to lay flat for easy packing/unpacking
  • features 8 small pockets on the inside (for things like your garmin or running fuel)
  • A pouch layer can separate some items (stinky running clothes) and keep things organized
  • Water resistant
  • Adjustable strap
  • lightweight
  • washable

The bag has been great for all the different occasions I have used it for with plenty of room to hold all of my things.  This is a feat in of itself since I tend to over pack for absolutely everything.  It would be a great bag as a “drop bag” at a race with important little tidbits in the little pockets and a change of clothes and shoes stashed in the main compartment, but I have not yet used it on a race or a running date with a friend.  It has been perfect, though, for trips to the gym for my kids’ activities, picnicking at the zoo or be-bopping around town or a little tourist sight-seeing.

flatpac ready to go

As mentioned above, I am loving that it is water-resistant for those days I get caught out in the rain.  I also love that it zips fully open to lay flat.  This makes packing super easy, just zip the bag around your nicely stacked pile of items and unzip it to easily see what you are looking for.  Usually, I’ve ended up dumping everything out to dig through in order to find that one little thing on the bottom of the bag.   While this feature will make packing and unpacking easier, I still think my favorite feature will be to zip it open for a picnic spot to set food on or to sit on.

Because it zips fully open, each end of the bag is cinched closed with a drawstring cord lock.  I’m practicing being mindful of cinching the ends of the bag tightly, and so far it hasn’t been a problem with items potentially falling out.

The straps are advertised as adjustable, and I suppose they are, but I think it has more to do with the bag wearer tying a knot in the cord where they’d like it to fit best vs. a cord lock on the other end of the drawstring to adjust length.  So far, I only see that it is truly adjustable for opening and closing the bag and I am hesitant to tie a knot in the cord on the other end to adjust the length.  The bag has already become quite popular in the family and what fits me would not fit the kid who swiped my bag for a camp out sleep over last weekend.  I’m not about to wrestle out tight knots from a nylon cord.  I might head over to the craft store and get a couple more cord locks.

While I haven’t yet tried to wash it, it seems durable enough to withstand whatever havoc my washing machine might cause.

This ingenious little bag smashed it’s humble Kickstarter goal of $4.5K to just over $39K!  You can join a “campaign” on Indiegogo  where the Flatpac can be found on the first “perk” for $28 (+shipping) or their website, which does not yet have the Flatpac, but is expected to be selling for $40.

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