Updated on June 19, 2020


Created on June 10, 2016

Greif PackH2O Water Backpack

Upcoming Update

Backpack designed to transport water from source to community

Developed By Unknown
Content Partners


Product Description

Greif PackH2O is a collapsible, adjustable water backpack designed to carry up to 20 litres of water over long distances. As of 2020, this product is discontinued.

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Greif worked closely with professional organisations such as USAID, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Habitat for Humanity International to develop the product. The company partners with NGOs and other organisations including Partners for Care to distribute the packs.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Mass produced in Turkey by Greif.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Greif partners with locally established NGOs that distribute the PackH2Os and train users in how to use and sterilise them.

Distributions to Date Status

As of 2018, approximately 225,000 units have been distributed.

Design Specifications

The backpack can hold up to 20 L of water. It is designed to be adjusted to the size and strength of the user, distributing the weight evenly. A wide opening allows for quick filling of the pack while the roll-down top and protected spout reduces water loss and contamination of the water. The pack is made from industrial-grade flexible woven polyethylene with a removable PET inner liner which can be sanitised in the sun. The pack is UV resistant, leak proof and puncture resistant. It is 7 times lighter and smaller than typical plastic jerry cans.

Technical Support

Greif's NGO partners provide training and education on how to use the PackH2O.

Replacement Components




Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The designers aim to provide a means to safe water transportation and storage. 

Vetted Performance Status

MIT D-Lab conducted a study in 2014 to investigate water collection, transport, storage and treatment in Kenya and to gain an understanding of PackH2O usage. Their study found that the majority of PackH2O recipients used the pack mainly, or solely, for water storage. Research conducted by Andrea Martinsen et al. into the use of the PackH2O in rural Haiti concluded that after 6 months, the pack was not widely used by recipients to collect water with many considering it too heavy and difficult to carry compared to traditional head-loading methods. The study proposes that it may be more useful in emergency situations or in communities where loads are traditionally carried on the back, however, more research would be needed.


Collected water may sometimes contain contaminants and harmful bacteria. The pack does not treat any harmful substances that may be present in the water, although the liner can be disinfected once the water is removed from the pack. The backpack may be heavy when full so training should be provided by distributing organisations.

Complementary Technical Systems

Disinfection tablets, filters, or any other means of water purification may be used to ensure safe, potable water.

Academic Research and References

Al-Dabbah, A., 2016, Omnipreneurship: An Organized Approach to Living A Life of Meaning.

Martinsen, A. L. et al., 2019, Alternative Water Transport and Storage Containers: Assessing Sustained Use of the PackH2O in Rural Haiti, The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 100(4), pp. 981-987. Doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-0228.

Compliance with regulations


Other Information

Video about PackH2O.

Comments from the Community


  1. Iana Aranda says:

    As per Bob: Given
    where these units will be deployed effective quality control is essential. For any unit to contain manufacturing defects
    or to arrive ‘dead-on-arrival’ at the customer is absolutely unacceptable. This requires both process control and
    appropriate testing during manufacturing as well as final assembly and test to
    ensure product quality. “checking In”
    quality after assembly will not be possible.

  2. Iana Aranda says:

    As per Bob: Both
    coverage to obtain orders and logistics to ensure delivery must be designed to
    function effectively in the specified environment. The stated distribution of “Africa” and
    “India” is unclear as to whether these products will be used in capital cities
    or more broadly in regional centers or even up country clinics. The product information simply says that
    distribution will be made through a “NGO/Partner” … much more detail is
    required to define and effective strategy and ability to scale.

  3. Robert Hauck says:

    The effort and rigor in the design and manufacturing process to secure regulatory approval should not be underestimated. This requires documentation starting at the initial design and concept stages of the product. For example, is there a documented Failure Mode and Effects Analysis to guide the design process that defines both expected and reasonably unexpected misuse of the product – and the associated design, process control and/or (lastly and least effectively) labeling to effectively mitigate these risks?

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