Designing for sustainability

At Kasperi our design goal is the most durable, versatile, repairable and refurbishable bag possible.

 Kasperi Fold Top Backpack

We are obsessed with how each detail contributes to the lifespan of our products. If a detail isn't good enough we cut it out and redesign until we are satisfied. Durability and repairability have been core design principles for us from the get-go. The goal is that when you buy a Kasperi, you buy it for life. For instance, we decided early on that none of our products would feature a lining since it is the most common part of a bag to break. We also learned that if the stitchings were on the outside of the bag, they’d be easier to repair at the local shoemaker.

Going beyond maximizing the lifespan of a product

When an item is worn, it develops wear - a periodical beeswax rub helps the vegetable-tanned leather stay fresh. This way it will develop a beautiful patina and stay in good condition for years to come. Later in the bags life, a stitch could tear or a faulty rivet could pop. Your local shoemaker should have the tools to fix the stitches and rivets.

Yet, recently we've started to think about what to do when a product loses its appeal despite the fact that it stays usable? And how can we breathe new life into items that are beyond what most would consider worth repairing or using? We believe products should be engineered for refurbishability instead of obsolescence. This is the direction we are heading towards in our design. Longevity and durability are no longer enough if the product ceases to bring joy to its user. Thus, the product development process should pave the path for the revitalization and updating of used products.

To illustrate, here are two examples of our product development that highlight the refurbishability and versatility of our designs:

The Backpack Redesign - A new fastening system that is easy to replace

On the left the original backpack - on the right the redesigned one.

For the Kasperi Backpack, we redesigned the lids fastening system. In the old design, trigger hooks secured into leather loops that were sewn onto the main body of the backpack. The solution was durable and to our knowledge, none of them have failed. However, a refurbished bag should feel like new, and a possibly stretched out fastening system won't do that nor will it work as well. Furthermore, replacing it is cumbersome with over a hundred stitches to take apart and resew. We concluded the original solution would not lend itself well for refurbishment.

Sown (old) vs Riveted (new) - Stitches can unravel and are harder to repair without special equipment, while rivets can be replaced in a matter of minutes.

Thus we redesigned the whole fastening system with the goal of simple refurbishability. The new leather loops are now a riveted design so they're a breeze to replace. The new loops also have more surface area to divide the load, so they are less likely to stretch. To go with the new loops, the new buckle is of our own design. It is laser cut from acid-proof stainless steel in Tampere. The goal was a locally produced modular design that would be infinitely refurbishable. We are bringing this solution to selected other models to improve repairability.

Kasperi Fold Top development

Three prototypes of the Kasperi Fold Top - and a dog

The development of Kasperi Fold Top, began with a design brief to bring nature closer. We liked the simplicity of only needing one pack when traveling. Traveling with one backpack forces you to focus on only taking the essentials. It is a more natural state of being, making you think about what you actually need and what you don’t.

To make it happen, flexibility in the backpack's capacity was essential. A bag that would be the only bag to take on travels or a hike would also be packed quite full so it needed to carry well.

Kasperi Backpack

The backpack on the right is the second prototype of the Fold Top.

For the third prototype, we improved ergonomics and load distribution. Later, we added a front pocket for quick access to small items. Finally, we made an extension piece to take full advantage of the backpack's capacity.

The result is the ultimate multipurpose backpack that fits in the hand luggage, works both in the forest and in the city. Made of sturdy vegetable-tanned Yak and Bull leather it will only get better with time.