Extreme outdoorsmen tend to carry extreme backpacks. Besides skis or snowboards, there’s a lot of equipment to haul up a mountain: chairs, shovels, and possibly a tripod if you plan to document the action.
Leave it to a group of Austrian entrepreneurs to design the ultimate toolkit for extreme skiers, called the Bergaffe . A couple years ago, one of the Bergaffe team members was asked to design a portable bench for a snowboard–so that weary riders could park themselves on the slopes and take a breather. People have recycled old boards into kitschy benches before, but a modular, pop-on, pop-off model didn’t exist yet.
“All existing solutions [for the bench] would require drilling, and therefore damaging the board–rendering it useless,” says team member Laura Stromberger. “So we designed our snowboard-bench solution with brackets. And after that, we realized that this could be much more.”
The Bergaffe is a simple baton-sized tube that connects to other tubes via brackets and hooks (similar to how tent poles lock together), and then connects to additional add-ons that come in the kit, like a shovel blade and a handle. It weighs around seven ounces, solving the problem that skiers and hikers face when packing bags with multiple pieces of bulky equipment.
The Bergaffe is also designed to morph into other uses beyond snow sports. The tube can, for example, transform into a wall hook for closets or sheds allowing storage for winter coats. The founders hope for a Bergaffe community of users who that can ideate and share new applications: “We provide the possibilities to create new niche product-categories,” Stromberger tells Co.Design. “We want people to build their own solutions, as well as collaborate and to pool their resources.”