Remote worker? Digital nomad? Maybe you just want a backpack that handles your life after work as easily as it carries your laptop.
Lifepack checks all the boxes and more in its Kickstarter campaign to reinvent the mobile office.
Features? Name your preference and it’s there. Solar bank for those dead iPhones? Check. Drop resistant? Damn right. Adrian and company know I treat backpacks like frisbees. If I can’t toss it down, it’s failed at life.
Lifepack has a laundry list of features that includes Bluetooth speakers and separate compartments for your gym clothes. Taking the laundry list literal…
A chief concern among the digital nomad set is keeping our gear safe. Lifepack’s integrated lock not only keeps the pack closed when not in use, but you can also attach to your ‘desk.’ I use the term loosely because we all know our dream desk is an outdoor cafe somewhere far from the cubicle.
If you are chaining your backpack to your cubicle, it may be time to entertain other employment options.
Developed by Adrian Solgaard, Ashley Burnstad and Chris Cavill, the Lifepack team is known to the Kickstarter scene. In 2013, they launched the Interlock campaign that would go on to win 4 International awards.
I had a chance to sit down with Adrian and talk about the campaign, lessons learned from the Interlock launch and the future of remote work. It’s an insightful look behind the scenes for teams looking to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding venues.
Adrian Solgaard and Lifepack
With Stealth Black as a stretch goal – any plans to introduce more colors after it goes to market?
Adrian: These kinds of additions and changes will all boil down to what kind of feedback we get during the campaign! Colours are a natural option to diversify, but offering too many creates confusion and makes logistics more complicated as you need to stock extra SKUs.
What were the lessons learned from the Interlock campaign?
Adrian: See above 🙂 Too many SKUs makes for a huge shipping challenge during Kickstarter. We had three sizes two colours (6 products total) to ship to 1800 people in 33 different countries. That gets expensive quickly!
One of the biggest lessons though is to stay the course. When you know you have developed a solid product; people will come with feedback and questions. It’s important to take critiques, but not to take the comments of one person too strongly and shift an entire element of the product before knowing all the factors. Like with adding the colour black – people asked for it, and my gut reaction was – let’s make it a stretch goal at 150k! But then Ashely (bless her) kept me stable, said “sleep on it. Wait for quotes from the factory so we know exactly the added cost, I’ll work on logistics, and let’s offer it in a few days when we know more facts” – we did the math and then put the stretch goal at where it is most realistic for us to be able to deliver it without having a major impact on all of the moving parts required to ship on time to our backers!
The lock/bottle opener – What’s your favorite drink?
Adrian: Ooh – you ask a trick question. Standard answer would be Gin and Tonic – preferably a Hendricks with Cucumber. But I do love beer. I prefer to have local beer from wherever I am at the moment. Today – that’s Carlsberg. Last week in SF, it was Anchor Steam, when I’m in Spain, it’s often Estrella.
Do you let your iPhone go to 2% before charging like my brother? Couldn’t resist. If stranded on the side of the road, Alex is the last person you want to turn to to call for help.
Adrian: Haha, that’s a fine way to operate when your iPhone is 6 months old, but as soon as they’re closer to the 12-month mark, especially in cold weather (like today in Denmark) anytime you’re sub-20% you could just die at any moment. Normally around 34% is the moment I start doing the math of “how many emails can I send before I need to find a charger.”
Where do you see Lifepack in the future? Any plans to have options to charge your laptop from the solar bank?
Adrian: Well the great news is that if your laptop has USB-C (Like the new 12″ Macbooks), you can charge from the Solarbank! The Solarbank itself in terms of charging a laptop would be great – we will continue to look into how it can be maximized in the best way possible. AC charging brings on some extra challenges that we may look into for future products if the interest is there from our customers and Lifebackers. (the name I’ve given our Kickstarter backers)
Lifepack will be a brand that puts out great bags designed to fit your life. I have ideas for a suitcase that I’ve been tinkering on, and I’m excited that if this Kickstarter goes well, it will allow me a space to produce that and bring it to market – also likely via Kickstarter!
The progression is for a complete mobile office. The Interlock for bikes. Lifepack for gear. What’s next?
Adrian: I want to continue to grow both of these businesses, bringing great quality products to the market, and build teams to sustain them while they continually innovate. With Solgaard Design (the origin behind both) I’d like to launch something new each year – whether that’s a new toilet or a new watch only time will tell. I want to make products that impact people’s everyday lives making things run more smoothly.
What are your thoughts on the move towards working remotely?
Adrian: I love the 2016 world we live in. Every day I am working with and talking to people all over the world. The only downside of it is the limited actual face-to-face time it means you get.
One of the things I love about working remotely is the constant state of change you can experience. I recently watched a #DailyVee Gary Vaynerchuck video and he talked about that he thrives on chaos – the hectic 15 hour days doing 10 different things allows him to focus when needed. I work really long days almost every day – and by being on-the-go so much and being in different settings when I work it distracts me from the fact that I’ve worked 16 hours today, 10 yesterday, 12 the day before, etc. because my environment is constantly changing.
Favorite remote work ‘office’?
Adrian: There’s a cafe called Cuba in Palma de Mallorca – a lot of the product and campaign for Lifepack was built there, so it has a special place in my heart. But by far and away the most productive space I’ve ever been to is the Workshop Cafe in San Francisco. In fact, it’s where I launched the Kickstarter campaign from. During the day, the owner noticed Ashley and me high-fiving and she had a look at the project, backed it, and tweeted about us (@workshopcafe)!
The cost to be a Lifebacker is $149 with the delivery date set for October. Students with a valid student ID can get the Lifepack for $125. Have a friend you want to see the world with? A two-pack is priced at $275.
Outfitting a crew? A four-pack priced at $500, with a pack of 20 Lifepacks for $2,500.
The funding goal for the campaign was set at $20,000. Today? It’s nearing the $170,000 mark with well over a month remaining in the campaign.
Delivery dates for every pledge tier are October 2016. That gives you plenty of time to get to work on your plan to become a digital nomad. Why spend your days in the office?
Grab the lock, pop a cold one and enjoy the fact we live in a connected world. Those who eschew dreaming? Besides, dreaming is another form of planning.
Special thanks to Ashley for setting this up and Adrian for taking the time. Learn more about Lifepack on their campaign page.