Feb 20, 2012

A backpack gets mouthy... Err, wordy.

Over the past couple of months I have attempted, over and over again, to revive my poor blog.  These attempts have generally been unsuccessful.  And over and over again I find myself typing out a paragraph about all these grand excuses I have for not being more successful in this pursuit.  So once again I look to revive that which has become stagnant.  But this time I intend to take a different route. There will be no attempt to catch everyone up.  There will be no complaining generally saying, “Woe is me.”  I’m simply going to start from right now, and continue on as if I had never lapsed.  For those of you who have read my sad attempts at revival, hopefully I can recapture your following through perseverance and following though on my goals.  For those that are new, I’ll simply warn you:  I can ramble on forever about nothing in general, and I firmly believe the world that needs to know about it (why else would I publish it to the Internet??).

Consider yourself warned.

China is only 12 days away and its time to get serious.  How serious, you may ask? I’ll tell you: I ordered a new backpack. 

Yeah, it’s that serious.  There are some people who are probably thinking, how serious can the purchase of a backpack actually be?  If you are me (which you are not, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking that question, duh) it’s a serious subject.

First, we look at my current pack.  It’s a North Pak.  It’s a Big 5 special.  There is no information anywhere on volume, and it’s a standard issue backpack. It has pockets galore, which is nice.  It also has a laptop sleeve, padded and completely separate from the main compartment.  Other than that it’s nothing special, but it has served me well. I believe I’ve had it for about 4 years (but that’s really just a guess).  I was going to put a generic picture of said backpack, but sadly, it’s so generic I couldn’t even find a picture of it on the web.  So I was forced to take a picture with my phone camera. 

It’s been a good pack, but it’s not really comfortable for wearing over long periods of time, or for hiking in general.  And so my search began as I looked for a voluminous backpack, but not too big.  It needs to be comfortable for long day hikes (like for example, if one were going to find himself walking all over Beijing, China, right?) and so I thought a waist strap would be a good idea.  I’m not looking for an internal frame pack, like one would wear backpacking.  I would prefer a laptop sleeve, and lots of pockets. 

With my criteria set I the net, checking some of the usual haunts. Amazon was my first stop. But sometimes the amount of options available makes it hard to focus at the task at hand, and typically the good choices can be lost in the mix.  So I went to Eddie Bauer.  I know what some are thinking. Eddie Bauer?  Isn’t that clothing for yuppies?  And just what is a yuppie?  I’ll leave that definition for a later time.  But, it should suffice to say the Microsoft Word Dictionary recognizes yuppie as a word spelled correctly, but I think I digress.

The worst part of this whole thing: Consumer reviews.  They are like crack for me.  I can’t buy anything that doesn’t come from Safeway or the gas station without actually looking online for what others have had to say about it. And these things must be taken grain of salt.  Not everyone has the same ideas as to what makes a product a GOOD product.  So even a negative review I can often discount because the reviewer is stupid and bases the comfort of, say a hotel room, on the performance of the pool filter.  Make sense?  And so I read, and I researched, and I read…. And I found it, at Eddie Bauer: the Boundary Pack.  

With nearly 1,800 cubic inches in volume, it’s big enough.  It’s got the required laptop sleeve, as well as multiple pockets.  The waist strap is large and reportedly comfortable, and they stow away when not in use.  Over all, the general consensus is it’s a good pack, roomy and comfortable.  And so it’s purchased.  And now I wait.  Tonight, after a quick trip to the gym, I’ll be breaking out the suitcase and beginning the process of starting to get things packed.  Two weeks early.  I’ll be prepared. I’ll be organized.  I hopefully won’t forget too many things.

I suppose I could also talk about what exactly is wrong with me, and why buying something as mundane as a backpack has turned into a nearly two week process.  I could talk about the obsession I have with consumer reviews.  I could also talk about the fact this post, which is about nothing more than the purchase of a backpack, has a word count of 850.

I warned you, I can ramble on a bit.


  1. Yeah but your rambles are very entertaining to read. Keep them coming!! Love you!!

  2. You know VOR -- I have SUCH a hard time buying a backpack and each and every time I have, I have not been happy with what I got. Then I see someone else's and think -- now see? That looks like a good one. Perhaps I just exect too much -- I want it to hold a lot but not be huge, I want lots of pockets so everything doesn't just settle to the bottom of a large hole, but useful pockets . . . I wish you luck with your new purchase. Report back after the trip on how it worked for you. Oh, and have a GREAT trip! You are down to the final countdown now!


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