Yes, it’s official, the backpack has been purchased. I’m pleased to announce the arrival of our new bundle of joy, Tatonka.
Finding a backpack was actually harder than I thought it would be. After a lot of research on backpacking websites, chatting with experienced backpackers, and multiple trips to MEC, I determined my backpack needed the follow two and a half things.
1-Side Loading: My current backpack loads from the top, and I’m always rummaging around looking for things. Undoubtedly, there are things that fall to the bottom that never see the light of day. If you are going to be staying in one place, a top loading pack would likely be fine (as I’m assuming you would unpack everything anyways), but, since we are bouncing around, I wanted to make sure I had easy access.
2- Two Compartments: While we are travelling, I plan on working out, running on beaches, and doing all sorts of things that will make my clothes smelly, and my shoes dirty. As much as I am opening my mind to the idea of “roughing it,” I’d rather not contaminate all my clothes with my stench. Hence the rationale of the two compartments. One side for things I’d like to keep clean, and one of the not so clean items.
2.5- My final criteria was having an day pack that attached to my main backpack. Why is this a .5 you may ask? I wasn’t actually completely sold on the idea at first. When I envision what our travelling style will be, I doubt that there will be many times where I would have my day pack attached to the bag itself. When we are on the move, I imagine I will be wearing my day pack on my front with my valuables in it. I figure that only time it would come in handy would be on our way home, when our bags are so full of junk, that I need to buy a new one to carry on. Then I could just attach the daypack and check it on the plane. Also, many of the bags with attachable day packs didn’t seem very well equipped for attachment. The ones I saw had a few buckles to attach it, leaving the back susceptible to being ripped off in an airport or theft. Yet, as I priced out the bags, I realized how much money I would save if I found an all in one unit that had both packs together, plus it would save me the hassle of starting pack shopping all over again. Ultimately, I was wishy washy about the whole idea.
Once I knew what I was looking for, the search began. Enter Pinterest. You may laugh, but I found that Pinterest was the best way for me to organize all the packs I found. I would cruise around online, and as soon as I found a pack that hit my criteria, I would pin it to my board for future review.
In addition to my social media savy search, I checked out a couple of stores here in Victoria. I spent lots of time in MEC, Robinsons and Atmosphere. I made sure I spoke with employees to get their opinions. It was great to hear first-hand experience about the packs.
After three weeks of searching, I was beginning to get a little anxious. Not only were there very few packs that met my criteria, the ones that did were tipping the scales at $400plus. On a fateful Friday afternoon, I made one last ditch effort and popped into Capital Iron (a local “we have everything” store in Victoria). I chatted with an amazing employee, and told him all about my plight. His reponse…”You need a Tatonka.”
I’d never heard such beautiful words…and she was…beautiful.
I purchased the Tatonka Great Escape 60, which literally has everything I need and more.
– Two big compartments that can be converted to one if needed.
-A side loading zipper for easy access.
-A detachable day pack (which also has two compartments), that is secured by an industrial zipper.
-A protective layer that can be zipped over the packs straps for easy travel
-A duffel bag conversion, so the bag can be worn over your shoulder as needed.
-A semi-reasonable price tag. At $200 it was at the top end of my budget, but the fact I was getting the two bags out of the deal sold me.
So here we are. Tatonka and Kate, lifelong friends. Or at least for the next 5 months. I’ll do a follow up post during the trip, and let you know if all the trials and tribulations of tracking down Tatonka were truly worth it!
What kind of backpack do you have? What do you like about it?