July 7, 2011

The Perfect Pack

This morning, like every morning, I rolled out of my car and began packing my ruck sack for a long day at work/school. About halfway through this routine I realized that thing weighs well over ten pounds and it’s about time I cleaned it out.
  • Lap Top and power cord
  • Kindle
  • Phone Charger
  • Phone
  • Ear Phones
  • Leatherman
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Make Up
  • Two packets of Oatmeal
  • Checkbook
  • Deoderant
  • Car Keys
  • Change Purse
  • Tea Bags
  • Coffee Mug
    Three Dollar Bills
  • Sewing Kit
  • T-Shirt
  • Six Pens
  • Note Pad
  • "Wallet"
The office window overlooks one of the commons on campus and I watched kids walking around with Northface and Colombia bags. By noon I had begun to wonder if it was time to start thinking about trading up.

I got this pack a few years ago, mainly because I hate purses and my messenger bag wouldn’t hold everything I needed. It was at Amazon.com for about $25 and I figured it would tide me over until I found one of those super light weight “I could hike the Himalayas if I wanted to” bags. The problem is that it won't die! It’s canvas (not the lightest thing ever) and has been coated in water proffer a few times. One of the straps is broken and the draw string brake is gone, but she’s hanging in there. I worked in Vermont last summer and hiked into the woods every day. It’s been rained on, covered in mud, dragged across train station loading docks, used as a pillow, tied to roofs… This pack has probably seen more action over the past few years than most of the Colombia and Northface bags around here. It will probably last forever so the question is, do I retire it gracefully in favor of a lighter and more compact ruck sack or adopt the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" adage?


  1. If you're on a budget and have something that works, I see no reason for an upgrade. You have handled the weight the last few years right?

  2. I've handled the weight, though I've probably developed some extra muscles to deal with it:) My biggest problems with this bag is that it doesn't have the chest strap, which would make hiking with it easier, and the canvas, despite all efforts, is not always water proof. You're right that this just isn't in the budget right now but come later fall the sales will start up!

  3. Ash. as a former Army Ranger, might i make a suggestion/compromise? At almost army surplus store, they have Alice Packs, "army back packs" they are nylon, Have a true "waterproof" lining, and i know from experience the will hold upwards of 70lbs, with quite a few little side pockes also. best of all, they are plentiful, and usually under $25.00. Stay safe, still enjoying your blog.

  4. I'll take it, my backpack broke!

  5. They cost more, but consider Maxpedition gear.

    They come in a variety of configs, from messenger bags, "man purses," traditional packs, and their "Gearslinger" series. These bags are ultra-tough and I believe come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. I've been very happy with mine.

    Like I said, a bit pricier than some but buy it once and be done with it for decades.

  6. It sounds cool. I'd keep it and perhaps decorate it with something. A sharpie would make some cool designs.


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