Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the backpack

So, how many "gear" posts can I write? Apparently, a lot.

This post discusses field backpack requirements. I agree with most of them (padded back, separate water holder, clips and loops for holding awkward stuff like hammers, wallet/key compartment), but I should be honest here.

I do not have a fancy backpack. I have a backpack that I got around 10 years ago to replace the pack I got in high school. It does have a couple of separate compartments, but it doesn't have all of the modern amenities. Also, the straps have been closed in car doors a few too many times and the weight-distributing belt clips are broken.

The main compartment of my backpack collects most of the miscellaneous stuff, so the bottom is sort of... dangerous at this point. It's a mess of crumbs from lunches that leaked, semi-pulverized asprin from a big bottle that opened at some point, loose change, feminine products that are too grungy to be used except in case of dire emergency, a dead stopwatch, a mostly dead calculator, and who knows what else.

As with a lot of field gear, a new backpack would be nice, but it's also the sort of thing that I don't really think about until I'm out in the field and I have to deal with it. I don't think, "oh, I'll go backpack shopping this weekend!" and so it never gets done. I would put backpack replacement higher on my to-do list if it stopped working for me, i.e. a strap or a zipper broke. But I got it from LLBean and the damn thing's invincible.

I do, however, have a certain present-giving holiday coming up... anybody have particular brands/models of backpacks they'd recommend?


Geomom said...

I don't use a pack for hauling field gear around, but I do use one for hauling laptop and personal gear out to the field. I recently got a Swiss Gear pack, and I really like it. It's got a padded laptop sleeve, media pocket, water bottle pockets and side pockets for sliding things like a rain jacket in. They've got lots of different styles and they seem pretty well made.

Jennie said...

For my field work I like to have a small bag for all the things I get to often (field book, camera, SCT meter, ect.) so I don't need to take it off to reach these items. Then I keep a pack on my back for less common items such as lunch, water, computer. But most of my sites are less than a mile from my car so the small pack is usually enough when I don't need the computer. Although I'm still working with different arrangements. The small pack is from REI advertised as a boarding bag, for traveling. I've been happy with all different types of backpacks so no recommendations. I've had Jansports forever because they always fix them for free, but if I were to buy one again I'd skip Jansport because around the zippers always seem to fray and need fixing.

Mel said...

I love my Osprey. The right amount of pockets and loops for all my activities. Field work, day hiking, skiing, back country skiing, etc. (and it comes in a small!) It has also held up for several years of heavy use and abuse.