Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My backpack collection

This my my backpack collection!I have close to 20 pieces of backpacks. All outdoor brands. All original. None of them are fakes (thank God!). Below is a picture of my ‘collection’ being stacked in the store room. It’s the messiest room in the whole house but hey…it’s my den.

Many people say to me “Why on earth do you own so many packs?”. What?? A backpack collection?”. Well, in reply I normally ask them why they keep changing hand phones or handbags or even their wardrobe for that matter. Same reason applies to me and my backpack collection. I like the designs, I appreciate the comfort and the functions that comes with it. Of course the brands as well.

Someone recently asked me to propose him a backpack for a mountain trip. There are many reasons why people go out to buy a backpack. Some buy it coz they look cool and rugged while others buy them because they are going on a trip. So…what is my advice?

Start by asking yourself what you plan to use the pack for. Different pack designs suits different uses. Today’s product range will offer something for everything, from trips to college classes to adventure racing and mountaineering.

Okay…which backpack to choose? I will describe MY personal understanding and preference to you and let you decide. Go to any outdoor gear shop and they will probably tell you otherwise. Perhaps my opinion is wrong but what the heck…this is my blog:)

I would conclude the world of backpacks into 3 schools of thoughts. One is the ‘bells whistles’ and the other ‘work horse’. The third one is the ‘Copycat’ group which is rather interesting actually.

The ‘bells and whistles’ (B&W) packs I think rules the market today. The makers and designers from this school of thought believe in meeting the user’s every need and demand of functions and extras. B&W packs usually come will all kinds of frills. You will find tonnes of zippers, pockets, straps and gadgets for everything under the sun. There will be zippered pocket for your MP3 player, a meshing pocket for your Nalgene bottle, a lid that can be used as a waist pouch, a kangaroo pouch on the front of your pack for ‘necessary items’, detachable shoulder and lumbar straps…you name it! In my opinion, these packs are great for the gadget conscious and users that prefer accessibility. I have a few of these packs. I would say most of the American brand packs are from the B&W category. What’s the downside? Well, the more gadgets you have, the higher you run the risk of the pack failing on you. There’s just more things to fail basically. And if you are like me…you’d probably never remember where things were kept as there’s so many pockets and pouches!

The ‘work horse’ (WH) category of packs interests quite a niche market I would say. WH packs are simple. No frills and extra gadgets for you. This is your typical work horse pack. It is build to withstand constant use (some say abuse as well) and are less likely to fail (well, that is what the makers claim). The Kiwis, OZs and some Brits brands makes some of the best WH packs around. Can’t blame them as they are either surrounded by very harsh conditions environment or they often venture too far out of their own territory. So…obviously they need WH packs. I identify WH packs by their simple and lean design. WHs are usually single loading (top load) and with minimal pockets and zippers. Some of the NZ and OZ made packs use really tough materials, heavier but definitely lasts. Built to last and unlikely to fail on you. Again, this is what the manufacturers claim but my experience tells me there’s a certain truth to it. The downside is that they are normally heavier, doesn’t look as flash as B&W packs and is definitely more expensive! And I have not seen many of these WH packs sold in Malaysia.

The ‘Copycat’ makers typically copies designs from well established brands and incorporate them into their own products. I mean, put aside intellectual rights and such BS but some of the products from this school of thought is pretty good actually. You my not get the same or better quality but you will definitely be able to afford it. There’s at least one company from our neighbor country down south that has managed to do this quite well. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about trying out their product but after buying one of their messenger bags, I am impressed. I would say that the design is good, material not bad and value for money? Definitely.

So…which pack is for you?

p.s...actually I have more than packs than the above pics..back at my parents place...yikes!


dewa said...
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dewa rimba adventure team said...

byknye koleksi backpack!! bestnye kalo ade koleksi camni! hee!