Prototype Backpack Novum 3D - Backpack to the future

By using innovative 3D printed back pads, German Outdoor brand VAUDE has developed as a showpiece the first recyclable backpack made from a mono-material. This is another big step towards a circular economy and has brought many insights to VAUDE: for the future use of 3D printing technology in the outdoor gear sector, for the use of mono-materials, for Made in Germany products including the German supply chain and for ou comprehensively sustainable product development.

  • World’s first recyclable backpack made from a mono-material with a 3D printed suspension system
  • Honeycomb construction ensures maximum stability with minimum use of materials.
  • Back pads, pack sack and straps made from a 100% thermoplastic material (TPU)
  • Prototype innovation opens a look into the future of sustainable outdoor gear and provides insights for circular design

Conserving resources through true recycling

VAUDE stands for comprehensive sustainability: we're willing to think outside the box and are finding new ways to keep the planet healthy so that our children will still be able to experience the fascination of nature. We can only succeed in this in the future if we use our resources more consciously and reduce CO2 emissions. Ideally, a product should be returned completely back to the production process at the end of its life cycle. This is true recycling, but it is still a big challenge for the textile industry at the moment. Many products consist of at least 5 to 10 different materials or mixed fabrics and therefore cannot be separated by type. For this to succeed, the entire product life cycle must be considered and redeveloped. – starting with design, but also the material development process, manufacturing and final disposal.

With the Novum 3D, these aspects are all taken into account. For the first time, this innovative backpack is completely recyclable thanks to its design, mono-material, welding technology and the 3D printing suspension construction.

Sustainability meets comfort

Sustainability and comfort don't have to be at odds with each other. In fact, in this pack, it's quite the contrary. Innovative 3D printing technology creates an extremely lightweight suspension system. The honeycomb construction is one of the most stable forms in nature. This type of construction offers us the highest stability with the least amount of material. The lightweight, open structure also automatically provides ideal ventilation. At the same time, different degrees of hardness ensure ideal pressure distribution.

Uwe Gottschalk, VAUDE Head of Product, explains the potentials for circular economy. „To date, backpack suspension systems have always been made of many different materials. Thanks to 3D printing technology, suspension systems made of pure thermoplastic (TPU) are now possible for the first time. In combination with other mono-materials, the backpack can be easily recycled without complex separation systems. All non-TPU components were designed for easy removal.“

Design, Development & Production Made in Germany

Not only is the backpack a pioneer in climate-friendly production due to its recyclability, but also due to the regional collaboration with the 3D printing expert OECHSLER from Bavaria. The entire production process – including design, development and production – takes place entirely in Germany. For the primary material we use undyed material which also reduces the use of chemicals.

The Novum 3D is an ideal example of sustainable product development. It is the first step towards recyclable outdoor products and is giving us great insight for further products made of mono-materials. Backpack ... to the future of sustainable products.

Short-Facts: VAUDE Novum 3D (Backpack Showpiece)

Innovatively comfortable thanks to 3D printing technology

  • Honeycomb construction ensures maximum stability with minimum use of materials.
  • Different degrees of hardness for each zone of your body guarantee ideal pressure distribution.
  • Optimal ventilation due to a lightweight and open structure

Easily recyclable thanks to the use of mono-materials

  • Back pads, pack sack and straps made from a 100% thermoplastic material
  • Mono-material possible thanks to a welding technology that doesn't require thread
  • Non-TPU components are easily removable.

Comprehensively climate-friendly production in Germany

  • Short delivery routes thanks to a regional cooperation with the 3D printing experts OECHSLER
  • Designed, developed and produced at our climate-neutral headquarters in Germany.
  • Environmentally friendly thanks to the use of undyed materials

A look into the future of sustainable outdoor gear

  • The first recyclable backpack enables us to draw conclusions for further developments.
  • It's giving us insights for the use of easily recyclable mono-materials.
  • Welding instead of sewing enables recyclability.


Founded in 1864 by Matthias OECHSLER and still located in Ansbach/Mittelfranken, OECHSLER AG is a leading plastics technology company supplying customers worldwide in the automotive, healthcare, industrial technology and sporting goods sectors. In addition to manufacturing precision plastic parts and assemblies, OECHSLER AG also offers services in product development, prototyping, product management and highly specialized tooling. The company's customers include international industrial and healthcare groups as well as leading automotive suppliers and leading companies in the sporting goods industry. (