I Love my Backpacks and Gear

I Love my Backpacks and Gear
A reader wrote a perceptive comment about Backpacks and Gear today on another Blog Post, the comment explains the intimate relationship between a travelers and their gear.

I will let you read, before I comment.

Bangkok, Thailand - Khao Sarn Road
Monday, September 1, 2008
Blog of Andy HoboTraveler.com --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack


HI Mr. Andy,
I do not think some folks quite understand the relationship you may have with your backpacks. Given how dependent you really are on them. I still have my old duffel bag after 30 years of faithful service. Its my luggage of choice even now for just playing tourist. Its the same mentality with tools or perhaps your favorite truck. hehe. A man becomes almost emotionally intimate with such things that serve him well. On the flipside when it turns out to be junk, its a feeling a betrayal or disloyalty. I do not understand why all the loud colors on backpacks. It even seems the cheaper the make, the louder it is. Matter of fact, I do not understand why anything to attract attention, to indicate many compartments or nooks for a thief to fantasize rummaging. After your years of being on the move, Its probably not quite the traditional meaning of packing that you do. Its more like putting things away.

Maybe you have seen those tool pouches that are unrolled and instant access to everything in pockets designed for specific tools. When done you put tools in place and roll up like a cinnamon roll. Your main back pack seems similar to me. You open it only when you are at destination, then you open it like opening front door to your home, not like raiding the refrigerator. The front pack I would think to be the biggest problem child

Anonymous Post on this post.
The Backpack a Thieves Paradise


This is true insight into the relationship between Backpacks, and other gear we spent time with on a long journey. I remember when I loaned a plastic drinking cup to Tom on the River Napa on a trip between Ecuador and Peru. He had it in his hands, and in less than two minutes, dropped it and it went into the river, never to be seen again.

He said,
“It is just a cup.”
I said,
“I have been carrying that cup for three years.”

I have gear at home I my parents house, that I have retired, decommissioned and I want to hold onto as souvenirs, the long age memories of a the way it used to be.

When I purchased my first pack, I went in the gear store and said,
“Give me the cheapest bag you have.”
--- What a mistake...

Little did I know, I would travel to about 30 countries and use that bag daily for about five years. I truly fell in love the bag, we had some good times together.

My first backpack was similar, almost the same as the one in the post where the anonymous reader commented.
The Backpack a Thieves Paradise

However, as the reader said,
“when it turns out to be junk, its a feeling a betrayal or disloyalty.”

If you read my the Backpack Design Survey then you will see, there is a curious question from a person who is endeavoring to make the perfect backpack.

Would a large duffle bag work good enough?
Like an Army bag, big, one pocket.

Why do I ask this question, in a way I want to learn if the people who complete the survey understand the goal of a backpack.

My answer would be,
“Yes, in most ways, a big Army duffle bag would work just as good if not better than a backpack.”

The goal of backpack is to carry your gear and for a traveler, not like a hiker, it is to protect your gear from theft. The duffle bag does this almost perfect.

What is the goal of a hiker or trekker bag?
To carry comfortable supplies and gear for long walks, treks, hikes or climbs.

This essential point right there is truly missed by 99 percent of travelers, tourist, hikers, trekkers and other people who think they know either activity because they did it for a short time in their lives.

I sometime what to say to wannabe traveler,
“Just buy a suitcase, and you will do better.”
“Just buy a duffle bag until you have a clue what you are doing.”

I would truly love to have a good Army Duffle bag in my possession right now until I get my bag finished, every backpack sold near Khao San Road in Thailand is made for hiking, not for travel, and still the market demands thes silly type of bags.

What has happened to me, I have traveled for too long, I have seen too many people robbed, I have seen the eyes of people who have their bags stolen. I person know what is like to have my bag destroyed many times by Luggage Handlers on planes, Taxi drivers, or that well intended person who wishes to help me as enter a hotel.

I want a bag that can withstand a person touch, I am not going to destroy my best friend and travel companion, my backpack, however I am positive other people will.

I tried to make this point in another post, hiking bags do not get touched by other people than their owners. While a traveler or tourist bag is continuously mishandled by everyone who get near it.
Travel Versus Mountain Backpack


There was an excellent American Tourister Commercial Clip where a gorilla throws around a bag, here is for fun.


IF no video here, you need to read on the Blog, and not by email or RSS feed, click here: Travel Journal


If I could impart one glimmer of wisdom to a Traveler, a person who wishes to go travel the planet about gear and backpack. I would hope they would watch this American Tourister Commercial Clip over and over and over again until it sinks into your extremely thick sculls. This is how your bag will be handle, watch the Gorilla, when I see anybody get near my backpack, I want to scream.
“You are a Gorilla.”

I have to continuously fight with people who want to grab my computer bag….

It looks like a normal day pack, I do not want to get robbed, I am not stupid, I do not carry bags that look like computer bags, camera bags, I am not going to volunteer to be one of the tens of thousands of people who get robbed yearly.

However, because it does not look like a computer bag, it looks like a backpack, people will throw it. I must physically fight with people when they try to help my with my bag, I never allow anyone to touch my computer bag, that also has a camera inside.

The reason I love the comment by the reader so much is because it explains to me why other readers comments, emails, and opinions are so anally loyal to their backpack. I see now that it is difficult for a person to talk badly or point out the faults of their best friend. I realize that many people truly are in love with that backpack they shared months of time with, and they was lucky, it never caused them enough problems whereby they wanted to throw it off the top of a building and kill it.

I have reader tell me daily,
“This is really a great bag.”

I want to say,
“Carry the damn thing for ten years, then tell me that.”

If you have never been with people who have been robbed, then in my mind, you have not traveled. When you see a backpack that has been totally destroyed by a airport baggage handler that looks like a gorilla, then maybe you are becoming a traveler.

Thanks for the great comment, I keep trying to explain to reader, do not fall in love with gear. There is always a better way, no my way, but your way. I would never want you to travel to the places I have been and see all the world I have seen. If you do what I do, I want you to make that decision on your own.

Sometimes I want to say,
“Go travel the world, go and see just how ugly the world can be.”
Remember for the majority of readers, you went on vacation, you did not go traveling.

The Backpack is a tool, when a better one comes along, I hope you can accept change.

I Love my Backpacks and Gear


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HI Mr. Andy,
Appreciate your words over my last blog response. Ive never been shy about picking someone's brains with obviously either more experience of more booklearning. The brainstorming you do is certainly out there for folks with enough gumption to take advantage of it.
You heading to Japan and Korea in a few days might provide an opportunity for you. Dont know how close your travels will bring you to any US Bases, but Japan is eatup with them, and of course near DMZ of Korea. Old duffel bags used to be pretty plentiful at pawn shops and such for cheap.
Pardon the link if it violates protocol.
Ive been shopping here for years. Great to get ideas and great gear if careful not to buy the knockoffs rather than genuine McCoy. All kinds of surplus military.
My experience only covers older bag made of what looks like #4 Duck Canvas.
The newer one are made of some type nylon canvas. In any event, I suspect it would be more of an artist canvas for you to modify. THAT is what Im REALLY waiting to find out. hehe. Good luck farmboy.

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