My incumbent backpack is a Herschel Heritage with fake leather bottom and that stupid leather patch thingey you see everywhere nowadays. I bought it off Urban Outfitters (with a coupon!) at the height of the hipster vintage craft movement outdoorsy trend in the US. Cycle forward one year to today and it’s hit Australia full tilt. Because I’m such an elitist, I don’t want to look like everyone else, I need a new backpack.

Actually, the strap tore off halfway back on my holiday in April/May. I can’t imagine it to be of very good quality if it broke on a city walking tour. You get what you pay for. In this case, I can’t complain because it was like $50 shipped. So I’ve been hunting one down since it did. I actually really liked the Nike ACG Steel City II. I saw a tonal teal colored version in Harajuku’s Nike Store but didn’t kop because my girlfriend hated it. Regret. Can’t find it anywhere online. I did find a tonal white/gray one that’s not too bad.

See that teal colored zip on the right? Imagine if the whole bag was a tonal version of that. I like this bag somewhat because it has a strap system and design that’s reminiscent of that massive Raf X Eastpak one. Actually if that cost a lot less, it’d  be my first choice still.

Another option I like is the Arcteryx Spear 20. I like the shape, the form and the forest green (deep dusk) colorway. Found it on a Japanese webstore for around $155 not including shipping. However there’s plenty of American websites that sell it for a lot closer to $100, except no forest green. The Spear 25 comes with even more features like pen holders and a felt lined delicates pocket plus water bottle pockets on the side for maybe $20-30 more. At this juncture, it appears that the all black Spear 20 is the frontrunner. I just keep getting the feeling that the ones I see on Japanese websites and the like are different from the American/Canadian shit. Maybe they just know how to take better product shot in J-land.

*Found it on Beams Online shop for 10500JPY!

**Kopped it from a UK based webstore for $140 shipped!

But you gotta have options. Like the Mission Workshop Arkiv System. I mean, it’s like expensive hipster. Really good looking materials, more rustic aesthetics if you pick like washed black or washed tan canvas or more technical if you go all black. I like the rolltop enclosure and waterproof materials and the best bit is the configurability. You get to pick and choose whatever accessories and pouches you want. Like a laptop pouch or a handphone thingey from a selection. It’s not exhaustive but it’s the fact that you get input on it. The one below is the R2. It’s got these rails on the front to attach stuff to. In the pic, it’s a folio attachment. With the R6, you can pick between a 20L and 40L size and it has guide rails on the front and sides. The cost for the pack alone is over $200 and after a reasonable selection of accessories, you’re standing a lot closer to $3-400. Add shipping to Australia ($90) and it’s just out of the question. A coupla bike shops and Georges Camera in Sydney sell some already finished Mission Workshop bags but they’re not the ones I want.

Another option I got is the Timbuk2 Especial Tres. Don’t care much for the name but the pack itself seems functional. The only thing I don’t like about Timbuk2 designs is that they tend to have this Euro backpacker, responsible Earth citizen vibe. I hate their logo design even if I think that the company is pretty cool. This Timbuk2 is one of the few I like. Mostly for the functional aspect whilst the aesthetic is merely passable. It’s water resistant, rolltop enclosure that can also fold down normally, lots of pockets and very expandable. Probably the best one of my selection for travelling and actually being useful.