We tend to take access to water for granted. We know if we turn on a tap, that water will be clear, safe and plentiful. When we take a shower, we might run it a little hot and a little too long, and when we brush our teeth, we might keep the water running instead of shutting it off. We are phenomenally fortunate, and we sometimes forget that. In some places in the world, they’re not that fortunate, having to deal with a lack of easy, reliable access to water. As part of ongoing global efforts to improve that situation, the Fritz™ Water Vest is becoming a valuable piece of equipment.

What’s the Fritz™ Water Vest?

It’s right there in its smart, effective name—a wearable vest for storing water. Constructed of two layers of nylon material heat-sealed together, it can carry up to 10 liters of water when full, weighing roughly 22 pounds. Created by Dr. Fritz Yambrach, Director and Professor of Packaging at San Jose State University, it’s a surprisingly simple, striking piece of “appropriate technology”—meaning it’s not hampered by features that distract from what it’s meant to do.

What does the Fritz™ Water vest do?

In developing countries, impoverished areas or disaster zones, water isn’t always easy to access, especially the clean and potable kind. Sometimes it takes long treks to reach clean water, and those treks can be exhausting and unsafe, especially when carrying large, unwieldy buckets. The Fritz™ Water Vest removes the need for those buckets, thereby saving a wearer’s back and neck, and freeing up their hands for carrying books or tools.

How does the Fritz™ Water Vest work?

By now you’ve got the gist of it, but it’s the little things that really make this piece of packaging technology sing. It’s filled up at rivers, wells or taps by using the threaded cap, which enables easy filling (and eventual dispensing). That same cap can accept water-filtration attachments, rendering the water safer to use. The wearer puts it on and the vest’s ergonomic design distributes the water weight evenly across the wearer’s torso. This eases the stresses on their body (including the neck, back, shoulders, knees and ankles). Its nylon material stands up to repeated use, and an anti-microbial property inhibits odor and mildew build-up inside. As a one-size-fits-all vest, it works for children and adults, giving everyone an easier way to handle water retrieval.

Where’s the Fritz™ Water Vest in use?

It’s been tested in Ethiopia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Burundi. Feedback from those using the Fritz™ Water Vest has been positive and enthusiastic, and locals have even found their own uses for it such as carrying grains and legumes. Thanks to its clear material, warm showers are also possible thanks to body heat and walking home in sunlight. It’s gratifying to know its helping those who can use it most.

The Packaging Company is proud to be a strong supporter of the Fritz™ Water Vest. You can learn more about the vest, and how you can help those in need, by visiting our Fritz™ page.