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Hello, hello! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was busy as usual, but good nonetheless. It was so hard to get out of bed Monday morning. I felt like I was in a cozy cocoon — all warm wrapped up in my covers. It was dark and rainy out, which didn’t help motivate me to get up at all.

Oh right, back to the weekend. You may have seen via Instagram that one of the highlights from this past weekend was buying my backpack!

BuyingMyBackpack

Finally! Our trip is about a month and a half away, so it was more than time to get one! I didn’t do as much research as I probably should have done, but I’m still confident I chose the right one.

The only specifications our trip gear checklist outlined for a backpack was that it should be a 65- to 80-liter one and the frame could be internal or external. I wanted an internal frame simply because I think the ones with the external frame look weird. After all, if I’m spending this kind of money, I want it to look good. I had no idea what the liters meant until we started looking. Turns out it’s just how they specify the backpack’s capacity.

We first started looking at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I saw this North Face Terra 55 (liter) one and tried it on. I liked that it was built for women. I don’t know the difference between this backpack and one specifically built for men, but I liked the idea nonetheless. And I liked the price: $160.

NorthFaceBackpack

It didn’t have too many zippers, which is good because you don’t want those to break. The downside was it didn’t meet the liter requirement. It also didn’t help that we wouldn’t be able to get these packs fitted to us… and I have learned that is key.

The next time we went out shopping for backpacks we traveled to Backwoods, a store that is more specialized than Dick’s Sporting Goods. Backwoods mostly caters to hikers/backpackers and climbers — they don’t carry anything for the typical runner or athlete. We ended up talking to the employee that helped us for a solid 2 hours or so! He suggested the Osprey Aether 70 (liter) for David (left) and the Osprey Ariel 65 (right) for me.  (The Osprey Ariel was also made specifically for women.)

OspreyBackpacks

It makes a WORLD of difference to have a pack fitted to you. He loaded the pack with weight so I could walk around with it to test it out. It didn’t feel like a separate entity, it felt like it was a part of me. So this is what it is supposed to feel like! Everything was great, except for the price. $280 for each pack, that’s about $600 in one purchase! We really liked the packs, but for that price we wanted to think on it and not make any hasty decisions.

The next store we checked out was Bass Pro. Spoiler alert: There is no happy ending to report here. David and I walked up the stairs to where the backpacks were and less than 5 minutes later I was injured. :( I pointed to a backpack I wanted to try on and David reached up and pulled it down…’course he also accidentally pulled down the heavy duty metal hook that was holding the backpack on the shelf. It bounced on the floor and then onto my toe. Yowza, did that hurt! I was successful in not cursing right there in the store, but I was unsuccessful in holding in the tears. I held it together long enough to walk my bloody toe to the bathroom to wash it off. Aren’t you glad I didn’t take pictures? Believe it or not, we actually went back up to look at the backpacks again once I got the toe all taken care of. I stood at least 5 feet away whenever David would get one down for me. Duly noted: Do not wear flip flops ever again to Bass Pro. I didn’t like any of the backpacks. They all felt so big. It was settled, we needed to go back to Backwoods.

So, finally, after a month of searching we got back to Backwoods this past weekend to purchase our backpacks. I’m glad we came back in to get them. I was able to get some second opinions about the size I needed this time around. When we went in the first time, they said I should get a medium size pack with a small hip belt. The medium pack fits an 18- to 25-inch torso. They measured me at an 18-inch torso both times. This time, they suggested a small size pack with a small hip belt. The small size pack goes up to an 18-inch torso as the max. I learned that when you’re teetering between two sizes, it’s better to go with the smaller size than the bigger size. I left with a small size pack, a small hip belt, and a medium size harness (basically the shoulder straps). Who would have thought I would end up with that combination? I love that they could customize the fit by changing out pieces of the pack — that’s what is so great about the Osprey backpacks. Osprey also has a lifetime warranty that if anything breaks/stops working whether it’s their fault or our fault, they’ll fix it or replace it. Pretty sweet deal. It helped ease the sting of paying $600 for our two packs.

We’re both really happy with our choices — we even went on a 5.5-mile hike right after we bought them! :) Instead of thinking about all the money we spent, we’re instead thinking of them as an investment. These packs should last a long time and they’ll help us explore the country’s national parks. I sure hope this backpacking trip goes well, we’re already talking about traveling to Glacier National Park next year!

When buying a backpack for a multi-day trip:

  • Go someplace where you can have someone help you determine what type of pack you need and have them fit you for one.
  • Don’t be super frugal. How comfortable you are determines how well you’ll enjoy your trip. A quality backpack most likely costs some extra money, but it’ll be totally worth it once you get out there (and in the long run).

(This post was not sponsored by Osprey or Backwoods. {I’d be more than happy to, though! :)} The opinions presented are entirely my own.)

Question for You
1.  Have you ever been hesitant to spend a lot of money on something but it was worth it in the end? If so, what was it?

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