Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Perfect Bag

We're living in an America where a woman is now accepted as a feasible presidential candidate (Philippines already has one...just saying). Its funny to me now that the world of hiking bags is littered with traditional sexist leanings. I was at a local outdoors store looking through their amazing bag sell. At this point I'd been looking for a nice bag for about 4 months. Finally, a sale! The best candidate was a little red bag that was untagged. I waved down a friendly, Teva-clad associate to help me price and fit the bag. He tells me the bag was $200 and is now $100. LOVE IT! I put on the bag and he pulls some chords and ta-da, fits great.

So he says, "I'm sure you already know this, son," I hate it when people call me son, "but this is a woman's bag."
I didn't, "Well yes, but how much does that really matter," I say.
"True enough." Disdain.
"Well I think it would be too small anyhow...I've got a lot of clothes to take." True, but the dream is still crushed.

I leave the store. There's nothing else there I really like. Go to REI. I eventually got my bag from REI, but still do not like their loosey-goosey bag organization system. Everything is just kind of all thrown together in no logical order. There are no "Women's Bags" section and "Men's Bags" sections, so how does one tell if you need a penis or vagina to appropriatly use the bag? From my oberservations there are two ways:

1. Color- Because this is an outdoors product there's really only 5 colors to begin with. Black, red, blue, green, and grey. And of course only earth tones of those colors. Occasionally you might find some orange or yellow, but clearly no real hiker would use those since they're outliers. Boy bags are generally darker and/or more primary-toned than their girly counterparts.

2. The Model Name- This, more than color, will lead you to the correct bag. Male bags have hardcore names like Trekker, Eagle, Convoy, Caravan, other minivan names, etc... Female bags have names like Aura, Deva, Energy, etc... Clearly men are hiking to feel strong while women hike to become one with nature. John Smith and Pocahontas would be proud.

The whole idea is silly because you're probably using these bags to go hiking in the woods for extended periods of time. That means lots of sweat, no showers, wool socks, and other general unsexyness (maybe just a me thing). I guess in the wilderness the bag becomes the woman's bastion of feminimity. And yes I know there are subtle differences that a hiking enthusiast would actually care about, but let's be honest. I'm suggesting the name for the first unisex pack should be "The bag that's there with you when you crap in the woods." Maybe long winded, but realistic.

Anyhow, I got a new bag. I love it and it is the perfect size to fit just about all my clothing. It carries the weight really well and I think it will be a great bag to explore Southeast Asia with. It is of German origin and does not seem to be specifically gendered (although it is a very nice shade of cobalt, so I'm leaning towards a man).

It is also exactly one month until I leave!


Loren said...

How many liters is it? I ended up getting a 65, and yes, mine is named "Ariel" - a very girly name. I'm hoping it'll carry enough clothing to last me for quite a while. 30 days - are you excited? Cause I am!

Loren said...

Don't worry, I'm pretty sure we'll all over pack.

I'm taking my backpack AND a duffle bag. And a carry on. Sheesh.. talk about overpacking.

Anonymous said...

Cute bag! I wish I had a REAL backpack when I was traveling around Budapest. My old Eastpack from 7th grade just wasn't cutting it! Oh, and I think you should have gotten a girl bag anyway =)
Love you!