Rough Sleeper: Mobile Backpack Shelter for Urban Homeless


Amid the various conceptual designs for addressing large-scale homelessness, this working prototype stands out as refreshingly realistic, practical and applicable to the everyday needs of those sleeping on the streets: mobility, storage and shelter.

homeless shelter backpack design

homeless portable micro shelter

Ragnhild Lübbert Terpling, who studied both design and journalism, created the pack both for homeless populations and ordinary campers, the latter purchasers subsidizing the former group that is in greater need.

homeless shelter backpack

On its functionality: “the hybrid backpack expands into a fully retractable tent-like structure, providing extensive shelter for both those in need or for encampment purposes. Once compressed, the bag supplies enough space for storing essential living supplies; blankets, shoes, and other toiletries.”

homeless backpack contents open

Additional items, like spare shoes or a sleeping roll, can be lashed to the exterior of the pack, while more essential and personal possessions are tucked into compartments that are less easily accessed or removed for additional security.

homeless backpack extras lashed

homeless shelter tent deployed

While it by no means ‘solves’ the problem of homelessness, this product adds a layer of comfort and durability absent from typical de facto shelters like cardboard covers or sleeping bags. In short: it is more short-term patch than long-term problem solver, but at least it is a place to start.