New Backpack

This is a longer post about how I came to decide which new backpack to buy.

I, too, suffer from a bad case of

For at least six years, I’ve used a Mammut Daypack-type backpack that I was quite happy with for my commuting needs (carrying my water-bottle, thermos with tea, camera, lunch, assorted small things such as pills and whatnot and sometimes also my laptop). It also served very well for hiking. As far as I can tell from looking at pictures, it was probably a “Mammut Xeron” type bag.

There were a few small things that weren’t ideal (there always is something):

  • it doesn’t stand up on its own (a bit annoying when you want to place it next to your desk at work)
  • the external bottle-holders (of the meshbag type) weren’t too rugged

All in all, it was a good backpack but over the last few months, I slowly had to accept that maybe I needed a new one, given that the internal divisions and the floor started fraying. The bottle holders (see above) had partiall frayed long ago.

I spent a long time obsessing (see the xkcd link above).

One option I thought about for quite some time was the Wandrd Prvke, because I liked its looks and also the versatility regarding openings and storage of photo equipment. On the other hand, I really disliked the price. It is entirely possible that I’m being too cheap here, but paying more than EUR 100,- for a daypack type backpack just seems wrong and frivolous to me.

So I was back to thinking and obsessing.

Then, totally out of left field, came the solution.

We were spending a week in Tyrol (to me, still, “at home”) and I was shopping in the locally dominant grocery-store chain, M-Preis (doesn’t really exist outside Tyrol - OTOH in Tyrol, there is one in almost every village). M-Preis (like other supermarket chains) often has loyalty-points based deals on utterly non-grocery type items. For example, a number of years ago we had gotten ourselves a nice set of isolating double-wall drinking glasses there for I think half the list-price.

Anyway, while looking for milk, rice and noodles, I walked past the display for these loyalty-points items and saw the Stubai Messenger, which, in and of itself, is just a regular kind of messenger backpack (roll top, water-proof). On the other hand, I really liked the styling with the subdued logo on the front and the red stitching. So I called my mom and, of course, she had lots of loyalty points collected as is the way of moms. So I almost-impulse-bought the Stubai Messenger for a reduced price (it’s on amazon for EUR 100, I got it for EUR 65).

I’ve used it for two weeks now, and obviously, also here there are some annoyances:

  • it doesn’t have an external bottle-holder
  • the shoulder-straps are shaped less comfortably than on the Mammut

For the bottle-holder, I solved the problem by getting an Ortlieb Bottle Cage, which has the added bonus (or malus, depending on taste) of increasing the slightly brutalist slant of the design even further.

The shoulder straps I’ll just have to live with, but so far it’s not like a big disadvantage, I just had gotten very used to the nicely S-curved straps of the Mammut, whereas the straps on the Stubai are very wide but straight. Not as big a problem on this type of pack as it would be on a heavier one.

So there you have it. My backpack problem solved. For now.