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Thursday, July 13, 2017


The North Face Cobra 52 Backpacks: Black | Summit Series BagNorth Face:  Fifteen years ago, I bought a backpack made by Alameda-based North Face.  Thousands of backpacking miles later, not a stitch has popped, not a buckle has broken – the thing doesn’t even smell bad.  Best of all, The North Face folks anticipated wishes that I didn’t develop until years after I bought the pack.  “I wish this thing had a place for a water bladder – oh look, it does!”  Or “I wish there was another compartment right here – oh, look, there is!” 

Mountain Hardwear:  For more than a decade, Richmond-based Mountain Hardwear has been my go-to supplier for camping-and-backpacking clothing and gear. I do not own a Mountain Hardwear backpack.  Perhaps I never will – my North Face pack seems indestructible.  Based on my experience with their tents and other gear, however, I certainly will shop Mountain Hardwear if I’m ever in the market for a backpack again.  

Patagonia: With Ventura-based Patagonia, you get what you pay for.  What you pay is a lot.  What you get is exactly what you want.  Patagonia’s gear and clothing looks great, it works perfectly, and it is manufactured as ethically and sustainably as reasonably possible.  I own a broad cross-section of Patagonia backpacking gear, all of which may very well last me forever. 

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