This Dayton Startup Is Customizing Carrying Systems for Your Lifestyle

How Bowerbags developed the ‘lego of backpacks’

Woman walking outdoors carrying a Bowerbags backpack (with Bowerbags logo overlaid)

For those with active lifestyles and busy schedules, it can be hard to find a versatile bag that can carry everything you need on the go. And for first responders, from paramedics to military personnel, it can be even harder to find a bag that is not only functional but also helps you carry heavy equipment safely. Dayton startup Bowerbags is shouldering the weight of these issues with its modular carrying systems and proprietary clipping technology.

“Bowerbags is the Lego of backpacks,” CEO and Co-Founder Jamie Bowerman said. “Our modular carrying system lets you design whatever is best suited for you as an individual, and you can customize it to what works for you. We not only focus on first responders, folks in healthcare, and in military markets, but also on outdoor enthusiasts in the commercial market as well. We want to improve human performance and help people move weight loads more ergonomically.”

The technology has been 10 years in the making. What originated as a design to help students carry large portfolio cases and heavy books while riding a bike or walking to class evolved into an innovative buckle system. While pitching the backpack and clips, Bowerman caught the attention of military personnel and began to reshape the design for a broader audience.

“I had an early, 3D-printed version of the clip that held five to ten pounds, and folks in the military would say, ‘I like what you’re doing with these bags, but can I get some of those clips,’ and that’s when I started to redesign the whole system to get it ready for a defense audience,” Bowerman said. “There was a high demand from service men, women, and folks who were actually in the field. Ultimately, I got the system to a place where it holds over 100 pounds per clip and has a myriad of uses.”

Not only does the system carry heavy weights, it also helps to distribute the load evenly. As development of the clips continued, he found that the versatility of the design solved a major pain point for military members.

“In the military, a lot of the gear is designed for a male audience,” he said. “Everyone has to carry something top heavy. While the average male center of gravity is mid-chest, the average female center of gravity is mid-pelvis, which can mean a few feet of difference depending on the individual. We’ve created a tactical system to allow anyone, but particularly women, to efficiently move weight loads closer to their center of gravity.”

Although Bowerbags is targeting service men and women with its technology, its products appeal to a broad variety of audiences. At heart, Bowerman is a self-proclaimed “gear guy” with a passion for consumer products. As the company continues to innovate on the product side, he’s confident that it has all the resources it needs right here in Ohio. And to further develop its system for the military and first responders, Bowerbags was recently awarded $100,000 through the Ohio Third Frontier.

“Ohio is a state that appreciates manufacturing and has one of the best entrepreneurship ecosystems I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The state is incredibly supportive. If you’re someone who is trying to get an idea you’re working on into the world, Ohio has set up all the entrepreneurial tools that you need to grow and succeed.”

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