Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Ultimate Backpack

A funny thing happened in Chicago, I was there for YAPC:NA and avoided having to check luggage at the airport by cramming everything I would need into a garden variety nylon backpack. On the last day of the conference, I noticed that my backpack had torn at the seam near it's laptop compartment. Noting the irony of circumstance (Perl is known as "the duct tape of the Internet"), I went off in search of some duct tape to keep my newly ventilated bag together. Naturally the duct tape worked, my makeshift repair even survived an airport search, but I still needed a new bag. (NB: Individually wrapped Lactaid pills can set off metal detectors).

Kitchen Sink Pack

I had decided that I was willing to pay for quality and after much online searching I decided the bag I liked best was Oakley's Kitchen Sink Pak. It's 3.8 lbs of pockets, attachment points, tie downs, and just plain cool; so cool, in fact, that everybody was out of stock.

While trying to locate a Kitchen Sink pack, I began to consider alternatives, chiefly the Python XM from Booq. I already own a
Vyper laptop sleeve, so I started comparing: although slightly different dimensions, both bags are approximately the same size and weight, (Python ~ +0.2 lbs, -0.5") and the Python is only about $15 more.

Python XM

Ultimately the choice came down to durability: which bag could endure the abuse to which I planned to subject it? Without physical access to the bags I decided the easiest durability test would be to compare the warranties. To my surprise, Oakley's $175 pack comes with a mere 90 day warranty. That's right, they guarantee that their quality bag will get you through the next three months. So what does the extra $15 buy from Booq? A lifetime repair warranty.

There's nothing like a company that's willing to stand behind their products. As much as I like the bells and whistles on the Kitchen Sink Pack, I truly believe that Booq makes the better bag. Judging by their warranty, Oakley think so as well.