I am a self-admitted gear junkie. I am always looking for something that does the job better. I have multiple backpacks, water bottles, headlamps, etc.-- all slightly different and used for different occasions. Once in a great while, I find that perfect piece of equipment, the one that works for almost all occasions.
When I find the perfect piece of equipment, I will use it until the wheels come off, at which point I glue them back on, and then continue on until said object has disintegrated into a pile of dust.
A perfect example is my 25 year old, internal frame Osprey backpack. Even though it is obliterated in almost every category by any other backpack on the trail, I love it. It still does the job, it has sentimental value, and plus, I am curious to see just how long it will go. Doesn't everyone have a favorite piece of travel gear that they are loath to replace?
In this family tradition, my nephew has a kids backpack, a red and gray Osprey Jet, that I bought him 3 years ago. He takes his Osprey everywhere and this is one well-traveled kid. As we packed it for yet another trip this past week, I wondered just how many places his backpack has been.
Part of the reason I love my old Osprey backpack is that every hike with it reminds me of all the other hikes it has been on with me. As I told Alex this, we tried to remember all the places his backpack has helped him explore.
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At last count, his Osprey Jet backpack has been to at least 13 states, 12 countries, hiked in 6 national parks, and flown over 100,000 miles. I personally like the pack so much that I will often use it as a daypack for myself when we are traveling. It is the perfect size for carrying what you need without being so big you feel tempted to overfill it, thus lugging around a 40 pound pack of back problems.
Although it is only 3 years old, this backpack has been through a lot and has always done the job well. It has been a fantastic $50 investment and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
Osprey makes 2 similar versions to our old one- the newer version of the Jet and the slightly larger Koby.
Both have side pockets for water bottles and sunglasses but the best part about these packs is the front stuff pocket. This is an amazing holding place for gloves, hats, rain jackets, etc.
For our pack, the adventure is not over. Next week it will accompany us to Seattle and North Cascades National Park where I am sure it will continue to be super useful. It may be a little worn and a whole lot dirtier than 3 years ago, but I hope his Osprey continues to accompany Alex for many more years to come.