Sunday, June 21, 2009

Test drive

Yesterday a friend flew in from California and she and I met up in DC for the day. I hadn't seen her since September so it was really nice to be able to hang out with her for awhile. I took the opportunity to test drive the shoes and backpack that I bought for the trip - don't worry, I warned her ahead of time that I'd be all geeked out like a tourist! :-)

Last weekend I bought these Keen shoes*:
and this Gregory backpack*:
and ended up looking like this:
The whole point of doing this was so that I could decide now if the pack was comfortable and if the shoes needed a lot of breaking in time. I figured it would be better to find out that stuff now rather than when I'm on the other side of the planet in Singapore or Vietnam or something.

The results? Pretty good, actually. The shoes were super comfortable. We walked around DC for hours and my feet weren't pinched, squeezed, or blistered at all. I even wore heels when I went out last night with no difficulties and usually after a day of walking that's the very last thing I want to do. The pack also was surprisingly comfortable. Now, granted, it probably only weighed about 10 pounds as opposed to the 25+ pounds it will most likely weigh when completely packed, but it was almost easy for me to forget I was carrying it. I liked that the back was ventilated which means that the pack didn't sit directly on my back and there was space for air flow. This isn't to say that I didn't get a little sweaty in the 90 degree weather yesterday, just that I was a lot cooler than I would've been if the pack didn't have that feature. The straps were also very comfy. They are well padded and didn't dig into my shoulders or hips at all.

There will, however, be other test drives in the near future. My pack isn't going to weigh 10 pounds when fully loaded, it'll weigh 25, and the difference between the two is pretty big. Who knows, the extra weight may even affect how I feel about my shoes. Plus, the pack has about a zillion snaps, buckles, and tie downs that are going to take some getting used to. The more I use them when I'm home, the more familiar I'll be with them on the road. Final word? I haven't yet taken the price tag off the pack, but I feel confident that this will be the bag I take with me on my journeys.

* Edited to add costs as a way to record pre-trip expenses. The shoes cost $100 and the pack cost $211; both prices include tax.

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