January 24, 2012

Back that Pack Up

We got our backpacks!

Tom has an old backpack from his previous trips, but it's well-worn and backpacks have come a long way since then. So we started from the beginning.

We did a bit of searching online to get familiar with the details and specs. I had NO idea what to look for in a backpack. Obviously, lightweight seemed important. But what size should I get? Should I get the backcountry kind of pack? Or the travel kind of pack? Should it have lots of zippers and features? Or just be simple? Mostly I just kept saying things like, "I can't believe everything I need for 6-9 months is going to fit in a backpack," and "If I get two backpacks, can you carry my extra one?" And then, on a quiet week night, we decided to go to REI - "
definitely not to buy yet," we said. We agreed we just wanted to check things out and start looking around.

Suckers. (Us, not you.)

We left with two brand new backpacks.
Stephanie's Backpack
The North Face Women's Tera 55 Internal Frame Pack
Color: Weimaraner Brown/Fossil Ivory
Isn't it pretty? And I love the name of the color. Weimaraner Brown!
"WHERE'S BUSY BEE? You run and you go get busy bee! You look at me. Don't you look at the fatass losers and freaks! You look at me!"

If you don't get that reference, you must immediately watch Best in Show at least 100 times to catch up with me.
Henceforth, my backpack shall be known as Beatrice.

Tom's backpack? Here ya go:
Tom's Backpack
The North Face Terra 65 Internal Frame Pack
Color: Chili Pepper Red/Asphalt Gray
Yes, they're nearly identical. We are nothing if not coordinated. I don't know what Tom will name his backpack. Probably nothing, because he is not nearly as imaginative as me and also because I've just taken the Best in Show reference with my Weimaraner Brown backpack and Chili Pepper Red provides nothing of value.

So how did we walk in saying, "We are not going to buy anything," and walk out with two new packs?

They were on sale. CRAZY sale. And after spending an hour with the sales guy trying on different packs and learning about how they should fit, we chose the ones on sale purely based on comfort and functionality. If the one we like the most is practically donating itself to us, how could we resist? The best thing about REI is that, since we're members, we get 10% back on all purchases, and they basically accept returns for anything you've ever bought there. After our 9 month trip, if we don't like the backpacks or they didn't work well, we could return them. So, if we see something better before we take off, we can buy them and return our's. But I'm pretty attached to Beatrice already, so that's unlikely.

For those of you wondering, the number is how many liters it will hold. Beatrice will hold 55 liters and Tom's will hold 65 liters. This particular line of packs has an internal frame and all sorts of fancy stuff, including Opti Fit suspension for adjusting to fit your torso length, dual-density padded shoulder straps and a 3-point adjustable hipbelt to distribute weight and stabilize the load, ensuring comfort. And Tom's unnamed pack has a hydration pocket where we can put our CamelBak. Impressed with my knowledge? Don't be. I copied it form the North Face website. I'm still clueless. My favorite parts about Beatrice are her name, her Weimaraner features, and that the little pops of red are actually a watermelon color. 

We are so lucky to have been raised amongst catalogs.

January 29 Update: We just picked up the REI Flash 18 today as a good, collapsible day pack. It has a hydration pocket for our CamelBak and folds into itself. It's practically weightless, but still very sturdy. Ours is a pewter color with a few orange highlights, but I could only find a pic online of the black one.
Our new day pack!

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