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Swags’ Ultralight Waterproof Backpack Bed Provides Aid to Homeless

Posted By Allison Leahy On September 2, 2011 @ 1:49 pm In Disaster-proof design,Human Relief Efforts,social design | No Comments

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Swags for the Homeless [1] is an Australian non-profit organization that has been getting global attention for its Backpack Bed. The contemporary light-weight backpack can be quickly converted into a full length weatherproof bed. Originally designed with Australia [2]‘s increasing homeless population in mind, growing interest from international aid agencies as well as mountaineers, ultralight backpackers, and minimalist campers has allowed the charity to increase production to meet these markets.


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Swags (aka bivy sacks) are a historic source of protection [3] from the elements. What makes this bag so unique is the UltTrex Lite material used in its fabrication. The specially designed anti-mildew, windproof and flame retardant fabric is five times more waterproof than traditional canvas and half as heavy.

The swag’s highly functional, minimalist design [4] includes a 6’2″ roll-out mattress and built-in ropes that allow the user to transform the Backpack Bed into a single person shelter in under two minutes. Five zippered pockets, carabiner clips (to hang water bottles or another bag), padded straps, and a mosquito net complete the award-winning design — Swags for the Homeless’ Backpack Bag has been recognized as an Australian International Design Award winner, Powerhouse Museum [5] Design Award winner, and Germany’s Red Dot [6] “Best of the Best” Design Award winner.

According to the national non-profit, over 16,000 Australians sleep on the street every night, in alleys, stoops of vacated offices, or wherever there’s a patch of dry concrete. Cities everywhere lack the social infrastructure to provide emergency shelter [7] for the majority of homeless persons. In effort to bring recognition and dignity to the luckless, the volunteers at Swags for the Homeless produce and distribute these Backpack Beds. They are also available for purchase online [8] with a Tom’s style “one for one [9]” guarantee and 98% of profit (the other 2% goes to overhead costs) returning to those trapped in the vicious cycle of homelessness and poverty.

+ Swags For The Homeless [1]

Via Design Buzz [10]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/swags-ultralight-waterproof-backpack-bed-provides-aid-to-homeless/

URLs in this post:

[1] Swags for the Homeless: http://www.swags.org.au/

[2] Australia: http://inhabitat.com/australian-government-acts-to-prevent-permanent-damage-to-great-barrier-reef/

[3] source of protection: http://inhabitat.com/coat-transforms-into-a-sleeping-bag-warms-homeless-in-detroit/

[4] minimalist design: http://inhabitat.com/tag/minimalist-design/

[5] Powerhouse Museum: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/

[6] Red Dot: http://en.red-dot.org/2037.html

[7] emergency shelter: http://inhabitat.com/reaction-housing-system-a-rapid-response-flat-pak-emergency-shelter/

[8] purchase online: http://www.charity.org.au/p/1020084/sale---buy-for-me---backpack-bed-swag---up-to-7-x-more-waterproof-than-canvas.html

[9] one for one: http://www.toms.com/our-movement/movement-one-for-one

[10] Design Buzz: http://www.designbuzz.com/entry/backpack-bed-homeless-australia/

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