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We are Nesel Packs - a company that creates backpacks for students with autism to help them thrive at school and in life.
We are Nesel Packs - a company that creates backpacks for students with autism to help them thrive at school and in life.
We are Nesel Packs - a company that creates backpacks for students with autism to help them thrive at school and in life.
285 backers pledged $35,836 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Nesel Packs -- The First Backpack for Students with Autism

$35,836

285

UPDATE 3/22: We have successfully reached our first goal of $10,000! We will now be releasing more colors of the Nesel Pack, stay tuned to see which ones. Our campaign closes on April 19, so there is still time to donate to receive a bag if you wish. The more that we are funded, the more backpacks we are able to give to those in need. And if we reach our stretch goals, Nesel Packs has some awesome rewards in store. 

UPDATE 3/30: As of this morning, we reached our goal of $20,000. The Nesel Pack will now be available in a teen size and an adult size. You can select what color and what size you want when we send out our backer surveys at the end. 

autism backpack
autism backpack

1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum. These people are your friends, family, and neighbors. And for these children, one of the most stressful times in their days are the transition times. Think about walking through the hallways at school, or maybe going to a busy airport. For some, these are normal, mundane things. For students on the autism spectrum, the amount of sensory input can be overwhelming and stressful. That’s why we created the Nesel Pack - to provide a comfortable and durable solution to those in need.

With your help, we want to get these bags into the hands of as many students as possible. We have met with many parents, students, educators, and organizations to help bring this to life. This is our way to give back to the autism community! 

We are also, Nesel Packs is partnering with Fraser, the largest and most experienced provider of autism services in Minnesota, for an initiative where we give all the backpacks bought under the Fraser-specific prize level to students who work with Fraser and its staff every day.

Our name, Nesel, is an alternative spelling of "Nestle." It means to settle or lie comfortably within or against something. If you are nestling up, it's cozy and safe. We want this same feeling to come with our backpacks by making students feel safe and comfortable while they are wearing our pack.

Our backpack is designed for students on the autism spectrum, ages 6-12. We were inspired by the sensory tools that students with autism use, such as “chewies” and weighted blankets, as well as compression vests. We wanted to create a backpack that encompassed all of these important features to appeal to as much of the spectrum as possible. Then we wanted to add some ideas of our own such as a personalization window so a student can add their name or a picture of their favorite stuffed animal. We are especially excited about the straps we designed - these add a sense of safety and comfort for the student. An extra bonus is that the hugging straps feature two materials: the front of the strap is rugged, but the inside of the straps are soft and fuzzy, so no discomfort will occur. 

This backpack was constructed to be as durable as possible to handle everything a young student can throw at it. That’s why the Nesel Pack's bottom is made out of reinforced ballistic material. We created this backpack to last for multiple years, so we found the best outdoor backpack manufacturer right here in Minnesota to make a long lasting product.

  • Dimensions of bag: Height -15” Width-11” Depth-5 ½” 
  • Pocket: Height of the pocket - 8 ½” Width-11” Depth-1 ½”. 

$115 seems like a lot to spend on a backpack, but because of the extra features the Nesel Pack offers, as well as the increased durability it's a great deal. Here is the breakdown behind our pricing:

UPDATE 3/21: We have received a lot of feedback regarding our price and how this product is expensive. At this point in the design process, we believe that this is a fair price. We are working to bring the price down to make this accessible to all families and are committed to making the best product possible as well as bringing it to as many people as possible. 

The Nesel team started this backpack from scratch. We had hundreds of meetings with parents, occupational therapists, teachers, and leaders in the autism community to learn what exactly we could do to most benefit the students. Our first backpack was a roughly modified version of a common retail backpack. From there we created our first professionally made prototype featuring many tools that would make the final prototype. We then took that backpack to have several more meetings with different community leaders to get their feedback on our first prototype. Finally, we met with our final manufacturer, Battle Lake Outdoors, who created our extremely durable and customized final product. So far we have received nothing but positive reviews on our final iteration and believe it will be the Nesel Pack to truly make a difference in students lives.

Recent news coverage demonstrates the interest in helping students with autism.

Star Tribune                              Minnesota Daily

KSTP                                        The Mighty

Fox 9's The Buzz                      Closing The Gap             

Abcnews.com                           Big Ten Network

Nesel Packs is led by a team of diversely skilled and experienced group of students from the University of Minnesota. We came together with the goal of making school a more comfortable and productive place for kids on the autism spectrum. Every member enjoys working with children, bringing us together as a group in a unified goal. For information on individual members visit the about us page of neselpacks.com!

From left to right: Rose, Cole, Jake, Will, Martha, and Larry!

The Nesel Pack team!
The Nesel Pack team!

We would like to thank everyone who offered their time, insight, and knowledge for this project to happen. We have met so many great people that have all put their stamp on our product in one way or another.

Risks and challenges

Not everyone on the autism spectrum is the same. We created this backpack to include as many features as possible, but not all students will like every part of this backpack. Not every student is the same size, so we tried to create a backpack that will fit most students in our age range. All the straps are adjustable, so that makes it easier to expand/contract the sizing whenever necessary.

Our current manufacturer is in Minnesota. We love that fact, but it also means the cost of our bags is high. In order to get this bag into as many hands as possible, we would like to lower the cost. To do this, we need to achieve economies of scale. We hope that this Kickstarter will be successful so that for our next production run the bags will be produced at a lesser cost.

Finally, we have made the decision to ship everywhere in the world. We are confident that all bags that are shipped in the United States will arrive by the first day of school. However, the logistics and costs to ship to international locations have yet to be determined.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A virtual high five. Your name will be on the Nesel Packs website under a special Kickstarter thank you section.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Nesel Packs Autism Awareness sticker. For places like your laptop, stop signs, and anywhere else that things stick, really.

    You'll also get a virtual high five and have your name on our website!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A super awesome Nesel Packs limited edition Kickstarter t-shirt! You can wear it to work, school, for pajamas. We don't care - we just want to show you our support.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Our friends at Mokeeta in Minneapolis are creating custom coasters with the Nesel Packs logo on it! Pretty sweet, if you ask us. Check them out at www.mokeeta.com!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Donate a Nesel Pack! We have partnered with our friends at Fraser, the largest and most experienced provider of autism services in Minnesota - they have been serving families for 75 years. This is a great option if you want to support our cause, but you don't need a backpack.

    We picked Fraser because of the amazing support they give to families and because of their willingness to give us a chance. Check them out at fraser.org! Add extra money for extra backpacks.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    Your very own NESEL PACK! This is the fruit of our labor, and we are very proud of the final product. It will be in royal blue as shown in the picture, unless we reach our stretch goal, hint hint. Add extra money for extra backpacks.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    5 backpacks in the color of your choice!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Donate 5 backpacks in the color of your choice to Fraser!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    2 signed backpacks in the color of your choice, plus everything from the 10, 25, and 50 dollar backer levels. You'll also get to have a webchat with the founders and hear more about our process behind the design, as well as any questions you might have. Really, we're open to anything you want to discuss.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Minnesota is the state of hockey. What better than to treat you to a Minnesota Wild Game (in an exclusive suite)? We will include your airfare if you live in the United States. You'll also get a backpack, a sticker, a t-shirt, and our coasters to thank you for your support.

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Funding period

- (30 days)