Gear. Up.

Hi, kids–

We haven’t had a chat about the apocalypse (whichever one you want to deal with), so I thought I’d help you out yet again. Make sure you read all my helpful tips BEFORE the apocalypse, since AFTER, most likely we aren’t going to have electricity and thus, no interwebs access.

And I’m just weird enough to share this luv with you and get you all prepared for running away from zombies. Or hordes of scary survivors. Maybe both.

So let’s chat about the ultimate nomadic accessory. Backpacks.

Carry on…

Backpacks. Love them. I have always had a courier bag/backpack fetish. No, I don’t know why. Perhaps I was a nomad in a past life and can’t shake the need to be able to throw the necessities into a bag and head off into the yonder. Regardless, I have had this pack fetish since I was a kid.

These are the sites to three of my fave brands, all of which I have used and loved. NOTE: It’s important, too, to have a “bug-out bag” ready. That’s a pack loaded up with 2-3 days’ worth of clothing, food, and medical supplies. Emergency management recommends that you have one if you live in disaster-prone areas (e.g. hurricanes or tornadoes). I think it’s a good idea just to have one no matter where you are because you never know what’s going to happen and if you need to bail, you’re ready to go. If you have pets, make sure they have bags, too.

Here’s a site with some suggestions for your bug-out bag. This one’s a little more hardcore than some, but you can adjust it to your needs.

This site also provides some good tips for creating a bug-out bag.

Consequently, I have a variety of backpacks, and one serves as the bug-out bag while the others are empty when not in use.

My fave packs:
I still have an Arc’teryx backpack that I lugged all over Greece and then all over New Mexico’s Gila backcountry. That sucker is almost 12 years old and it’s still going strong. Fits well, and easy to access interior stuff. Plus, the top part detaches and can be a waist pack for those scouting/recon missions when you need to leave the big stuff at home base. Hint–probably not a good idea to buy a red one, like I did. Did you read The Hunger Games? This isn’t in the movie, but in the book Katniss spent a lot of time trying to camouflage that pack she nabbed at the start of the Games because it was orange. So keep that in mind if you’re looking for something for the aPACKalypse! (heh)

I find that Gregory packs do a really good job of fitting women’s frames with their women’s line. I bought a Gregory pack about 8 years ago. It’s not as big as my Arc’teryx, so it’s for shorter camping/backpacking trips and the occasional long-haul air travel I do in which I’ll be doing active stuff at the end of said long haul. This one went to the British Virgin Islands with me, and it was easy to lug around and easy to leave in my designated space on the boat.

I have an awesome lumbar pack from these folks. Swear to GOD it’s practically 15 years old and it has taken a major beating and aside from a few scuff marks, it’s fine. I’ve endoed off my mountain bikes wearing this thing (and a helmet, mind you), and it’s survived. I’ve used it on day hikes, fallen down hills with it, used it as a small carry-on, taken it trail running, used it as my dog’s travel bag, and used it to lug tools around.

This is the latest incarnation of what I have:

source: Mountainsmith

I really like lumbar packs because they take strain off my shoulders and place weight on my hips. That also takes strain off your back. If you’re going to wear a regular backpack for long hauls, make sure it’s fitted to you, that you use your sternum strap (adjusted appropriately), and your hip belt (also adjusted appropriately to you). That will keep you from directing weight to your lower back. You want to distribute the load. That’s why you have sternum straps and hip belts in addition to your shoulder straps.

And I have my eye on this awesome courier bag from Osprey, another of my fave backpack manufacturers but I have not yet used one of their products. This might be the inaugural pack I buy from them. It has a shoulder strap AND removable hip belt. PLUS, Osprey is headquartered in Colorado, in the region where I grew up. 😀

Anyway, it’s called the Astro.

source: Osprey

Lots of pockets. I LOVE pockets in backpacks. I also wear cargo shorts quite a bit, so I have a pocket fetish, too. I like being able to carry a lot of things on my person like my wallet, keys, mini-Leatherman (yes, I do carry one of these all the time), phone, and cool things I find on my walks/hikes. Like cool rocks. That, too, is something I have done since I was a kid. Never grew out of it.

So there you go. If you’re an outdoors nut like me (or you’re considering that bug-out bag) or you just need decent daypacks/lumbar packs for your day-to-day, give those sites a look.

Happy travels! And may the odds be EVER in your favor.

3 thoughts on “Gear. Up.

  1. I have the same obsessions, Andi. As I age, back and lumbar packs hurt. Messenger bags are too clumsy. After much searching I found a mini messenger sling bag. Don’t know why they’re only marketed to women, and this isn’t for mountain treks, but for bopping to the library and post office it’s the perfect size and the perfect organizer: also love my multi-pocketed Uncle Milty’s vest which is likely to last the rest of my life.

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