the backpack affair
In high school, I’m one of those kids who doesn’t get the luxury of having new bags every start of the school year. While my classmates brag and exhibit their “In” pop-swatch bags, less fortunate kids like me can only salivate admiring the oversized wall clock adorned backpack. Which in retrospect, was so retarded!
A hand-me-down yellow “MR. FLYER” school bag, 1987
In the 90’s, there were only two kinds of school bags, Jansport and everything else. Thanks to the ever so believable Gwapings who pretty much capitalized the culture of my generation. PhP 1,500 price tag was too expensive for my family for me to join the trend, so I decided to create my own.
Out of scrapped pieces of denim, I cut and sown my way to have my own original school bag, unique enough to be incomparable with Jansport. It carried my books and cattleya notes for years until my high school graduation day.
The deprivation gave me the Imeldific drive to compensate, that’s why when I earned my own wampum, other than shoes, I splurged on bags.
A backpacker’s best companion is his bag. As Harry Potter to his phoenix wand, King Arthur to excalibur, Batman’s to his utility belt and Dora to… well, her Backpack! A traveler’s most important article and arsenal on the road is his/her bag.
So I asked other Pinoy travel bloggers about this subject matter and what they can say about their traveling sack.
EDCEL SUYO of soloflighted.com got the same sack as mine, a TNF Terra 60
“…it cost me an arm to get it, I got this at a very good discount. For short trips, I use a Deuter GoGo bag which is actually the first backpack I invested on — got in on sale too! Lastly, I carry with me a belt bag (Taunpa Outdoor) which has proven to be very handy. This is where I place important stuff (cellphone, notebook, pen, wallet, passport) when it’s too big to carry a backpack. I bought it at a bazaar for a cheap price and didn’t know it would last this long (250 Php for 2 years and counting).”
Like me, some travelers see their bags as investments. It is, well almost, only if we can use it as collateral. That’s why some would really run to Cebuana Lhuillier and pawn their own mother to afford one. But to some, it is more of a utilitarian subject. Bags are dispensable item and a object of stress diversion for some airport cargo/luggage employees, so it shouldn’t be too expensive.
FLIP of flipnomad.com wants a bag that is sturdy, uncompromising and long-wearing.
“My bag is a 40L Deuter. I bought it last 2005 in MBK Bangkok for only 2.5K Baht (i’m not sure if it’s original though). I love it because I got it for a very cheap price and it has travelled with me for a few years already. It’s very sturdy and can hold a lot of things. It’s also expandable to accommodate 10L more.”
MARKY GO of nomadicexperiences.blogspot.com goes for features and functionality. And his Deuter Futura 50 + 10 Vario is perfect for his outdoorsy adventures.
“… It’s big enough for me to fit in my two person tadpole tent, stove, cookset, sleeping bag, set of clothes for 3 days and 3 liters of drinking water. It has a back frame support and air comfort system that lessen the load and minimizes perspiration on the back. I particularly like the hydration bladder, the easy adjustment harness, side and bottom mesh pockets and durable material.
I used it for the first time during my recent trip to Palaui island, though the 2 hour hike to the camping site is not enough to test it on longer hikes such as climbing Mt. Apo or Halcon, it passed to my standards especially with the complete load I was carrying, my back felt great all throughout the trip. It’s a bit expensive than most backpacks but a lot cheaper than The North Face and even better in terms of quality and standards.”
Most Filipino women travelers doesn’t have the body type of their western counterparts, unless we are talking about Dora the Explorer who is like what, 8 inches tall? So it is an effort for our Pinay adventurers to carry a gargantuan bag while running across an urban jungle or climbing steep slopes of a wild terrain. DOI DOMASIAN of thetravellingfeet.com and CHYNG REYES of chyngreyes.com found comfort on a body built-specific designed bags.
“I feel I look like one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles whenever I use this – full or half-filled. It looked good though on my guy friends who’ve tried this on. It fit their back perfectly. But I don’t mind at all. I get to own one of the coolest bags there is and I am pleased that a couple of my friends have expressed their admiration towards the Amira backpack. What I love about the TNF Amira aside from its great functionality is the stretch-woven mesh bucket pocket on the front part where I can just throw my stuff whenever I am in a hurry. I also love the fact that it has a padded laptop sleeve and an extra padding on the bottom part for the laptop’s extra protection. When I went to Iloilo for the Visayas Blogging Summit, all my stuff for my 5D/4N trip fit in the bag including my 14″ laptop! The best part of it all is that I only paid less than 1/3 of the cost of this bag :)”
Chyng’s High Sierra, No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin’ NO TO ARTHRITIS!
Named after world explorers, my two favorite babies were baptized as Marco (Cave charcoal TNF Terra 60) and Jacques (A Pokpok Red 70+7 Delsey Cross Trip). We spend most of our time on the road with our bags and that’s why we develop a special bond. We hug them when we feel cold, they carry our things and we carry them in return–sounds like a perfect relationship? And we even sleep with them (While waiting in the airport). Here’s the story of NINA FUENTES of justwandering.org and her Viktor.
“I met Viktor at Bratpack. I had just made the decision to go backpacking in Thailand, and I was antsy to start my preparations for the trip. I thought buying a backpack would be a great start. I chose Victorinox because it’s a brand you hardly see people toting. I’m weird like that. I believe I made a good choice; Viktor and I get along splendidly.
He went with me the first time I traveled alone to Cebu, then went on to join me in Singapore, and on to my first overseas solo travel in Thailand. He also went with me to Bohol. I didn’t bring him with me when I went to Melbourne, but he followed me soon after, accompanying me to Sydney and the Gold Coast.
On my second trip to Australia, I made sure I brought him with me when I flew out of the Philippines. Viktor was with me and my sister’s family when we went to Ballarat, through the Grampians and Horsham. He even went with us to Tasmania. When I decided to stay put in the Philippines this 2008, Viktor supported my decision, joining me in exploring Donsol, Coron, Cebu and Davao.”
For RV ESCAT of livinginabackpack.blogspot.com it is more than a bond, It’s a serendipitous love affair! And he believes that (sometimes) like “the force” in star wars, the bag chooses you!
“I was wallowing in my sorrow when a 70-liter TNF Primero backpack, in all her pure awesomeness, with her gray and green color combination appeared to be making a pass at me. I returned the favor. Holy smokes! I knew in an instant I was in love. I was drawn to her, to hold her and snug her close to my body. Gingerly, I picked her up and put her on my back. Perfect match! She simply snugged oh, so, perfectly! (There are so many attributes in her that might bore those who are not into the technical, so let’s skip that part.) So, there she was, sitting pretty on the window display with Php24,000.00 written on the price-tag! A ridiculous price for a backpack! But she was irresistible! I was desperately in love I wanted to cough up twenty-four grand and take her home with me! But my alter-ego prevailed.
I paid her a visit each chance I get, wishing to bring her home one day. Then, I relocated some place far and forgot about her.
Half a year later, during the Christmas rush, she was still on the same spot, sitting pretty as ever. I tried to play hard-to-get, snob her and walk toward the day-pack section. But I couldn’t resist her, so I asked the sales clerk for her price. I almost snapped when the clerk said she was on “sale!” Less Php10,000.00! (the backpack, not the clerk, silly!)
Fast forward, my TNF Primero 70 pack has been going out with me since then–from the muddy terrain of Mt. Talinis to Mt. Kanlaon, from the rice paddies of Batad to the urban jungles of Singapore, Hongkong and elsewhere. The good thing about her is the back-padding which is made from the same materials used in Crocs! She also transforms into a carry-on when the need arises and fits just right on the overhead bin!”
Now, I have around 16 different bags inside my closet, from a lowly Bench canvass tote to a bank dehydrating Balenciaga s/s 2010 men’s leather handbag. So I can fairly say that I have more than enough and I went a long way from that high school boy with a self sewn denim rucksack.
But buying bags is more than just a therapy and compensation from a childhood deprival. I’d like to believe that in our case, “you are what you carry.” Your bag reflects your character and personality, it is an appendage and owning one is an art in itself.