Traditional backpacks plop all of the weight you're carrying on your back and aim to distribute it via an ever-more-complex series of straps and buckles. New Zealand's Aarn Tate saw a better way: Why not start by distributing the weight more evenly? Your front is just as good as your back.

So Aarn took his bodypack idea and ran with it. His eponymous packs feature the traditional back-mounted pocket as well as pockets that attach to each front strap. Fill the front ones with water and heavy gear and you'll get a much better balance on your center of gravity. You'll also do away with that traditional Neanderthal-like, forward leaning posture -- which means you'll burn less energy, and look and feel better doing so.

Aarn Bodypacks: Gear you want but don't need

The biomechanically friendly design keeps the weight off of your spinal cord and onto your hips. (Your spine will thank you.) Pictured is the Featherlite Freedom, an ultralight (about 4 lbs.) bodypack with about 4,000 cubic inches of carrying capacity, a $260 price tag, and plenty of features and options.

Last year, a trio of entrepreneurs decided to bring Aarn Bodypacks to the U.S. market and based their distributor in Colorado Springs. Their Aarn North America currently carries three bodypack styles, with more on the way from N.Z. soon.

Aarn Bodypacks: about $140 to $300 retail; www.aarnusa.com.

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