I stand at the precipice of a monumental decision, one that could indeed change my life forever. One that may very well define me as a human being, this decision weighs so very heavily upon my shoulders. Which new daypack should I get.
What? Was that anti-climatic? Too much drama for you? Don’t look at me with that tone of voice!
To some people a life changing decision might be wanting to get married . . . please. I knew almost right away that I wanted to marry my wife. Convincing her it was a good idea was what I spent the remaining 10 months doing (FYI – we were married 11 months after we started dating – long story). For some people it’s having children . . . nope not an issue there, I knew I wanted to have kids. Maybe it’s what house to buy, or car to drive (Jeep Cherokee or Subaru Outback, those are the only two choices, how hard can that be?), or where to go on vacation (can you say out west to the mountains?). No, for me it is the delicate decision of which day pack I want to purchase, these are the types of decisions that keep me up at night people.
I do have one thing going for me, I’m a brand loyalist. I prefer to have Osprey on my back at all times. I enjoy how they feel, the suspended mesh back panel is an important feature for someone who sweats from simply getting out of the vehicle. My wife is also a lover of Osprey packs. What is great is that we have the same torso length, unfortunately we do not have the same taste in colors. She needed her pack in purple because she has to be a fashionable and functional hiker.
Since I mentioned the suspended back panel feature, what are a few other features that I find necessary in a great back? I used to hike alone at times. As wonderful as that was, those days have long since left the realm of possibility for me. I need a pack large enough to accommodate my day hiking gear but also anything my child(ren) find or whatever they have brought along that they no longer desire to carry. It has to be hydration compatible as I drink a good deal of liquid and I like to drink on the go. I also need a chest and waist belt. Normally someone looking for a simple day hike pack wouldn’t need a waist belt but I’m not everybody. I just watched a video of me walking. I’ve never watched myself walk from any angle and let me say I was shocked. I now see why people stare. A waist belt and chest belt help to secure the load against my body. When I hike I need all the security that I can get. I wobble and sway enough as it is I don’t need my pack to do the same.
Another feature that’s not really a feature is having enough space to not only carry my stuff, my child(ren)’s gear, but also my tablet computer. I’m not a huge fan of technology in the wild, but having a digital topo map, a digital field guide, a GPS, geocaching app, and hiking recorder app are very handy. You see I do not have a smartphone, just a phone of average intelligence. I want a phone that has Ivy League college aspirations, but until then I settle for the one that’s headed to community college. (Before the angry comments or emails roll in I went to community college for 2 years so untwist your panties).
All in all a pack is like choosing a spouse. You want something compatible that isn’t going to fall in the time of need nor is it going to be an uncomfortable burden you have to bear when it is supposed to help you bear the burdens. Outside of my boots and my trekking poles, my pack is the most important piece of hiking equipment. I enjoy taking a stove out on a five miler with my family and stopping to cook up a hot lunch and have everyone eat out of the same pot. I enjoy the feel of the weight on my hike and the illusion that I’m tackling a 14er in Colorado. A good pack is a close buddy that’s always there when you need him/her who makes the trail that much more enjoyable.
For me I’m set on an Osprey. All your Gregory, Deuter, Kelty, Black Diamond lovers can hush. I will not be swayed. I do however need to decide which of the wonderful product line I am going to add to my ever growing quiver of packs. If you are wondering we as a family do own packs that are not Osprey. I own one that is Lowe Alpine (I won it in a contest) and my son hikes in an REI Sprig kiddy pack. Believe me though, unless it’s a crag or alpine pack it’s going to be an Osprey.
So as I set forth on this harrowing adventure of deciding which pack to get I hope you take the same care and consideration on your next gear purchase.
So until next time….. Adventure On!
UPDATE: I made my decision for those who may be wondering. I’ve decided to get the Osprey Talon 22 so you can all rest easier now. I know that after reading the title that you were on the edge of your seat with anticipation.