With my travel date growing ever closer it was time I began spending some of my hard earnt savings. First on the list were two items I believe to be fairly important to any would be backpacker. A backpack and some good shoes.
Like everybody I hit up Google, read other blogs and consulted with my travel book. I was searching for something I liked the look of and also fit with the idea of trying to travel light. You can call me vain but I just couldn’t pick a glow in the dark backpack or the pack that would not fit down the aisle of the bus, seriously who wants to knock someone’s head off as you disembark?
In the backpack department I decided on the Deuter Quantum 55L + 10L. I had a preference for this pack from the beginning so before heading out to shop I told myself not to choose with my heart but with my head. I would let the store assistant direct me to what they thought would be a good fit given my travel plans (I’m a newbie to all this after all).
As I explained my itinerary I quickly learn’t I was not only talking to a sales assistant but a dedicated backpacker. This put me at ease about being potentially lead up the garden path by a sales assistant just looking for a commission sale.
From there we chatted and tried on packs. After rejecting a horrible yellow pack (yes I’m vain deal with it) she grabbed the Deuter Quantum and loaded me up with weight bags. I really couldn’t feel the back on my back. It sat well across my hips and balanced perfectly across my shoulders, I was sold.
What’s so good about this pack then you ask. Well apart from it feeling weightless when wearing it the slim size makes me feel less like an elephant and more like a gazelle when its on my back. I can safely walk down a bus aisle and know I’m not about to get stuck on an arm rest or knock the really attractive girl I spent the last 2 hours trying to impress in the head.
It also has top, middle and bottom openings giving me complete access to my gear hiding inside; the adjustable harness ensures it fits my frame size and it comes with a Rain Cover/Travel Duffel to help protect itself from careless airline staff to name just some of its features.
The day pack of only 10L is too small to be my dedicated every day pack but will be nice for getting lost somewhere as it will fit a bottle of water and my camera nicely. I still have to decide on a backpack to hold my Macbook and other important goodies but there is no rush for that.
With the backpack decided we moved onto shoes. I’m only taking one pair of shoes besides my flip flops, so I was looking at something that’s going to pass as both everyday walking shoes as well as allowing me the ability to head out to the local pub/club and not look like I’m wearing runners.
After trying on a couple of pairs of shoes and walking about I wasn’t sold. Then she handed over a pair of Asolo Fulcrum shoes from their discount rack. I’d seen the same type on shoe hero the other day. Nothing wrong with them they were just old stock and the owner wanted to move them out. I wasn’t about to get all “I want the latest and greatest” especially when they have $100 knocked off their price. Tried them on and I was instantly grinning, felt great to walk in and no bright colors to be seen.
The box had them labeled as Enduro Trail Running shoes, lightweight, grippy Vibram sole and very breathable. The only lacking feature is water resistance but I’m hopeful that by the time I really need that type of shoe I’ll be working in the UK and can afford something else.
As for the price of this shopping spree, a respectable $500 which was under my budget for the two items. If anybody finds themselves looking for some new gear in Melbourne I can happily recommend Bogong Equipment. Alice sorted me out without being an overly aggressive sales assistant like I encountered at other nearby stores.
Next purchase will be my one way plane ticket to Paris… excited I am.