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Some Equipment Guys Finally Get It Right

It has always been strange how competent individuals can be agglomerated into organizations that end up being dysfunctional. The example nonpareil is the military. A close second is an American presidential election. Yes, this observation can be discouraging. But it also delights you to stumble onto an exception -- when you find a surprisingly effective organization.

When I was at my favorite outdoors store, Sportsman's Warehouse, I found something that used to be easy to find, but then the world of commerce took the product away, probably because it cannibalized more expensive products. Here is the wonderful little pouch, made for carrying 1 liter water bottles:

Liberty Mountain's "Bomber 1 Quart Bottle Carrier", #146494.
Of course you can put other things into it. It is so convenient to wear a fanny pack (or just a D-ring belt) with several pouches of this type strung on it. Normally pouches are too small and have zippers, the bane of any outdoorsman's existence.

When I saw these "bottle carriers" at Sportsman's Warehouse, I immediately fell into a horny frenzy of consumer lust, and cleaned them out. After all, who knows when they will be removed from the market again.

Wow, somebody in that organization might have actually considered being able to put your hand into the bottle carrier. I have owned more expensive ones in the past that were "deliberately" made by designers to be 5% too small for a hand.
The orgy continued when I saw this lumbar pack from MountainSmith: 

"Day TLS" lumbar pack, by MountainSmith.

Somebody at MountainSmith actually realized how annoying it is to find the zipper when USING the pack, so they put huge bright yellow pull thingies on the zippers. These guys are my heroes.

Notice how the bottle carrier actually has a big enough loop to fit on the belt strap of the lumbar pack. That is a small miracle in itself. But the miracles go on and on...

Notice that the side pouches do NOT have zippers. And they are large. Normally the most expensive  pack will have teeny zippered side pouches.

The inside of the pack is bright yellow so you can actually see your junk inside, especially when you are wearing sunglasses. Why has it taken equipment designers so long to realize that this is a problem? Don't they ever use the crap they make?

The lumbar pack has useful loops on it, instead of the usual overly busy clutter of belts and buckles.

But the main fault with most of these products is the marketing psychology that they try to exploit: let's see if we can con the consumers into believing that this is an upscale, image-enhancing product by loading it up with a dozen tiny useless zippered compartments. (In reality it is 35 cents of nylon, sewn up by slave labor camps in Vietnam.)

I am so happy to get away from a day pack. I never mountain bike with one. And I dislike the sweatiness of a day pack when hiking. So if the reader is in the market for a top-of-the-line day pack made by Osprey, I have a Stratos 24 in mint condition for sale. Any reasonable offer will be considered:

For sale: a high-end day pack by Osprey, the Statos 24 model, with a 2 liter bladder inside.

Side view of the Osprey Stratos 24, showing the mesh trampoline that creates a space between your back and the pack. It does cut down on the sweatiness of a daypack.
The general reader isn't interested in these gory details, no matter how enthusiastic I am about them. But it illustrates important principles. How can organizations be so dysfunctional? Or maybe they aren't, and it really is the consumer who is dysfunctional. This applies to democracies, armies, manufacturers, and to all organizations.


John V said…
I just bought a Mountainsmith waistpack online for $19 including shipping (no tax). I like to wear it in front when I hike as well. It makes for easy access to everything. Unless it's a full day hike with huge weather changes expected, it's hard to justify taking the larger day pack out anymore.
I also like abandoning the water bladder syndrome of day packs. It is so nice to put a liter in my lumbar pack and another liter in the bottle carrier (of the post), and stick it on the waistbelt of the lumbar belt.