Roadtrip here we come!

Meet your new, fully recyclable backpack made from polylactic acid (PLA).

Design + materials

This backpack idea is designed by Maren Middendorp, student Industrial Design Engineering at the University of Twente. Maren wrote her Bachelor thesis in cooperation with us. The main research question addressed in the thesis is: “How to design a fully recyclable backpack out of Polylactic acid (PLA)?”.

One of the main requirements for this thesis was the implementation of polylactic acid. Polylactic acid is a bio-based material made from lactic acid and can be manufactured from renewable resources, e.g., maize and sugarcane. Due to the properties of PLA, which are like the commonly used thermoplastics, PLA makes a promising alternative for these plastics.

Based on the findings of this thesis, the design of the backpack can be further developed in the future.


Arapaha is developing a new design language, but as a start-up we’re playing every day with new ideas. The main focus however is a minimalistic style which can be compared to Scandinavian and Japanese design. Characteristics such as sleek, elegant, functional design and subtle colors are important.

In addition to the minimalistic style Arapaha uses returning elements which are recognizable for the brand. In this design Maren played with different ways to incorporate Arapaha’s avatar into the design.

Present + future

Right now, the backpack is in the ‘let’s try’ fase. Further research must be carried out to define the different applications of PLA within the parts of the backpack. Moreover, prototypes need to be developed and tested to optimize the design, production, and function of the backpack. In addition, the claim to deliver a fully recyclable and sustainable product must be validated. Lastly the marketing and collecting strategy of the backpack must be formulated, after which the product can be launched.

Let's connect!

Do you have ideas to further develop this backpack? Or radical new ideas? Or questions? We’re only one email away.