On Wednesday I went to the city to send off some gifts to the nieces and pick up a few fleeces for my winter trip. I'm not sure what I was thinking but it didn't occur to me until I arrived back home that I still needed to figure out what bag I would be taking with me. My trusty good ole' Jansport has fulfilled its role for many years. I've put up with its less than desirable capacity only because I could make do with it. Sometimes it has been particularly annoying, however, because when its stuffed full it sticks out a lot. It's like I'm a camel with a lump on my back. You try navigating with something like that on a crowded train and see if people still like you afterwards.
I've looked at bags before but haven't been able to bring myself to purchase one. Mainly the price has bothered me. I'm not sure what is a good price for anything these days. Usually if I'm desperate I suck it up and buy as getting new trumps other options in certain situations. That reminds me of last winter and the bag I bought. It was about 20 dollars and with the purchase I signed up for a bag that would inevitably fail. I could feel the inferiority of the bag. That wasn't enough to make me sink 80 or more dollars on a proper backpack. I made it through most of my trip until a few days before back home one of the plastic strap holders snapped from the tension of the heavy bag. I had to tie the strap into a knot and hope it would hold each day. Okay I'll admit it. I'm a bit of cheap skate. Yes, only a little. That bag was never used again and has sat in the depths of the dusty junk closet ever since. This year I had promised myself I would get a better travel backpack and I nearly forgot.
I went back to the city to check all the main used goods stores on Friday. The first 2 or 3 had a few promising leads but were either too expensive or too small. I was thinking it might end up being a wasted trip. I eventually stopped at the same store where I got my awesome used Columbia coat. Low and behold my eyes fell upon a wonderful sight near the other expensive used brand name bags. It's crazy how North Face, Patagonia, and Mont Bell still fetch ridiculous prices at the used stores. I would eat my money before paying for that though. I quickly shuffled the other bags to the side and instinctively reached for the price tag to see if I would be in luck. Well I was surely blessed because the price read 1,200 yen or about 12 bucks! I felt a great choir singing behind me and the terrible Japanese pop music was no longer heard in the store. Then I came to my senses and realized I had stumbled upon the exact bag I was looking for. I wish there had been a choir. I deserved it for my hard work in looking for that bag.
I questioned the integrity of the bag before I bought it because the brand was completely unknown to me. However, it appeared of better quality than that failure of a bag last year. For 12 dollars I couldn't go wrong. The same could be said of the coat I magically found. Anyway, I did a search when I got home and found that this was a pretty niche brand that some guy in New York made. He had wanted to be the next North Face but the market was hard. Plus, the Japanese factory that signed on to do his orders only fulfilled the ones for Japanese stores and refused to do the other work. The designer ultimately gave up on his outdoor bags and went back to locally made ones. Needless to say the bag is probably of decent quality.
It has a huge inner pocket with another inner zip pocket. The capacity is probably double my little Jansport bag. The straps are hefty, has clips for tying down things on the back, and a belt for distributing the weight of the bag. I can't believe how great of a bag I found and on such short notice. This thing is going to be an awesome travel bag. I feel like I robbed the store with this one. My coworkers said I was really good at shopping so I'll just live with that compliment.
Onward to Hokkaido!