rough notes

39. One Pack To Rule Them All.

with 2 comments

September is just around the corner, and I’m thinking of getting a new backpack.

I’ve been using satchels for some time now.  I’ve never been keen on the “backpack look” – that is, image of the student of any age with a tonne of books bulging out of their upper back.  It is just not elegant enough for my own pretentious ways.  Instead, I’ve stuck it out with the satchel, which has allowed me to keep my work bundled to my side when I’m walking about. Satchels also keep the work well-organized.  Satchels are awesome.

I currently have three satchels.  One satchel is made especially for my macbook.  It has enough extra space for me to keep a duotang and a pen.  It doesn’t get much use because of this, but on the other hand, when i do need to port only Zizou with me, than I’m always good to go.

The second satchel is pure rock’n’roll.  It’s made of hand-crafted and tanned leather, from somewhere in south america.  this powerful monster came to me by way of los gerkins, who picked it up on their 2007 travels.  i’m freaking in love with it.  One compartment fits the laptop perfectly, and the other has enough space for one or two duotangs and a textbook.  Oh yes, and some old leathered patagonian of some sort built into it a pocket that fits my cell phone quite well.  I’m a big fan of this monster.  It screams “style!” and “awesome!” in a most understated way, which once again reinforces my pretense.

Often, though, I need to go back to my first love, the MEC Carry-all satchel.  I’ve been using this MEC

MEC Carryall.  Over Ten Years of Being Awesome.

MEC Carryall. Over Ten Years of Being Awesome.

satchel for over ten years now, and am currently in my second incarnation of this old reliable.  I bought my first satchel at the old MEC on Front St E in t-dot back in the day while traipsing about town with Powell.  He already had one in green, and I was in love with its form-factor.  I clearly needed one of my own and put down the $30 bucks for one right there.  I keep using that guy, born in 1998, until around 2004 when the time had come to put it out to pasture.  Luckily, the Pineapples had the exact same satchel (in the same colour, no less), which she had bought in the same year, so I easily shifted to her underused bag with ease, grace, and style.  No one but us knew the difference.  The only difference, frankly, is that my old blue satchel a the small yellow stain on the front flap, which was a result of a disastrous t-dot street-meat experience outside of sidney smith hall – the mustard fell all over the sidewalk, with a tiny bit of splashback onto the satchel.  I love that the so-bad-for-you French’s mustard could not be washed out of the chemically treated blue canvas of the bag.

I have often toyed with knapsacks along during this decade of shoulder bags.  Every now and again I walk into MEC and look for The Perfect Backpack.  I would often buy a pack, work with it for a couple days, and then come to the sad conclusion that like infinity, perfection can never be reached.  This is followed by a walk of shame back down to the store where I must return the pack.  MEC takes them back without a problem, but I feel bad every time I do it.  Since MEC is a co-op, I know they’ve got a record of the three or four packs I’ve bought and then returned within a week.  I feel that the next time I walk in to buy a pack they might prevent me from approaching the cash.  Instead, an intervention will be held somewhere between the canoes and caribineers.  Several MEC attendants will surround me and tell me that this business must stop, that I must come to terms with the fact that despite my love for MEC and my belief in their total awesomeness, that The Perfect Pack is a myth, a legend, a part of our folklore.  I am not so much looking for a pack they’ll tell me, so much as i’m looking for One Ring To Rule Them All.   ‘

One pack I did own, use faithfully for some time though, was the MEC Velo 25.  There was a summer when I decided that I’d bike about the countryside a couple times a week.  Such an ordeal required me to outfit myself with the requisite gear, so I traipsed down to MEC and got my hands on this guy.  The MEC Velo is long and sleek.  It is built to hug your back, distribute the weight of its contents as well as its own gross, and also to prevent the production of wind resistance when on the road.  There is also space for a camel-sack on the inside.  Anyway,  I quickly realized that the Velo 25 would make for a good school pack (despite its large size) because its form prevents the development of that dreaded “backpack-look” I mentioned earlier.  This pack does not stick out from one’s upper-back like a malignant tumour or growth.  There is the “I’m an active outdoor enthusiast!” look that must naturally be countered, but my normally more-or-less-fit frame gives me enough confidence to to wear the stuff those freaks find themselves in without feeling like a poser.  And besides, the backpack has become ubiquitous, so i think i can deal.  I’m of the opinion that wearing a backback, however bright the colours may be (which is a serious fashion faux-pas, I do admit), can never be as bad as wearing trainers/running shows or track pants or warm-up gear to the office/class/seminar/conference/meeting.

my precious

my precious. one pack to rule them all.

My Velo 25 passed away a year or two ago.  It lived a good life and hauled a good haul.  Now I roll only with the three aforementioned satchels.  I’ve recently encountered the problem, however, that my old frame doesn’t roll as well as it once did.  i’m not as strong as i was once, and my satchel use is mucking up my back.  the constant weight-shift to one side is destroying a shoulder and a hip, and i’m none-too-happy about this.  All of this means that the annual search for the perfect pack appears to have begun again.  but this time i will enter it with an earnest gusto.  tomorrow, or saturday, I will head to MEC and re-acquaint myself with the Velo 25.  i will create a 5-column checklist to re-evaluate my options to find my precious, the one pack to rule them all, and i will prioritize not only fashion statements but this newfound Old-Man-ness.  I will enter my middle years with a pack set to distribute its weight away from my sore tired frame, and then i will conquer and destroy my adversaries in a brilliant splendour of synthetic fibres, mesh exteriors, and full-body-zippers.  can’t effing wait.


Written by mitchellirons

August 21, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Posted in blog

Tagged with , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. 1. you will never be happy with any backpack. ever.
    2. you are actually using my satchel, which is celebrating over 10 years of awesome. No idea where yours is, but mine held up longer (see broken strawberry festival keychain for evidence).


    August 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm

  2. […] with my wallet (word to the wise: shopping without a wallet goes no where).  it turns out that the one pack to rule them all was the pack that i nearly bought over a month ago after all. it’s the MEC Spirit Velo 25, the pack i used to have, and was inches away from buying again […]

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