A backpack with a small footprint could soon become a reality for people on the North Saskatchewan River.
The city of Calgary is looking to use the technology to make its trails more accessible for people walking, biking and hiking.
“We’re trying to get a bag that’s like, 30 to 50 centimetres wide, that’s the width of a pencil eraser, and we’re trying really hard to make sure it’s very low profile, which means it doesn’t get caught in the trees,” said Rachel Linton, spokesperson for Calgary.
Linton said the city has had discussions with manufacturers and is hoping to have a prototype ready for inspection later this year.
The backpack would be constructed out of a single layer of carbon fibre and made from a material called neoprene.
It would be folded in half to form a backpack that could be easily packed into a backpack bag.
The material is used for construction and repair projects around the world.
“It’s actually a very flexible material, it’s strong and it’s really soft, it has good abrasion resistance and durability,” said Linton.
“So we want to use it in our parks, our trails and our recreation areas and in our everyday life.”
The city is also looking to commercialize the technology in the future.
The bag could be made into a business card, which would be used by business owners and others who want to bring their products to market.
“That could potentially be the next big thing for the city,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“I think the whole idea behind the backpack is to be able to bring that to our people in the community.”
The technology could also be incorporated into future projects to make trails more appealing for people who aren’t used to walking, riding a bike or hiking on trails.
It’s already being used by businesses such as the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
“The idea is that if we have a technology that people are already using to navigate, and if we can make it easier for people to navigate it, then that’s what we want it to be,” said Jason Dennison, spokesperson with the Chamber of Calgary.
The company hopes to roll out the technology across its entire network by 2019.