Share of backpack

The past week’s discussions of Amazon’s $400 e-book reader, the Kindle, puts me in the mood to talk about my tired, needs-to-be-replaced, Eastern Mountain Sports backback with the removable padded laptop sleeve.

This blue bag was bought in 2000 before a McKinsey trip to London. The gang at pitched in and bought me a new leather Coach briefcase, but I guiltily returned it and took the $$$ to buy something from EMS that I could strap across my back and march through the world’s airports with.

Eight years later and the bag is going strong. Some zipper and buckle failure — one is permanently sealed thanks to a SuperGlue accident when I was stupid enough to actually try to tie saltwater fishing flies on the road — but for the most part it does the job of carrying everything thing from a spare set of contact lenses to Pepto-Bismol, trackpoint cap replacements, business cards, index cards, pen refills, phone and notebook chargers, sleeping pills, ear plugs, eye shades, iPod, ear buds, pencils, paperclips, most of the world’s currencies in change format, old weird PCMCIA cards for media no longer cared about, bills, bank statements, magazines, ThinkPad, etc. etc.

I would estimate, fully loaded, that it weighs about 30 pounds and consumes as much space as your average roller-bag.

It also carries books. Lots of books. I read very quickly (I can burn through a single cheesy paperback in a cross-country flight), and need three to four books with me at all times. For me — an e-reader like the Kindle — comes down to a volume/mass equation. Will it take up less room that the usual mini-library (I ditch the lower end books in the seat back pouches for the next guy) and is there a cost savings over the massive gouging one receives for a paperback in an airport bookshop (crap paperbacks are easily $8 when they should be $3!).

Hardcovers are not an option. Dragging Pynchon’s latest around the world is like packing the Manhattan white pages.

Sure, the Kindle has great electronic ink, has a free-WAN for downloading, but, in the end, will it take up less share of backpack? At $400 I will likely pass but I would love to try it.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Share of backpack”

  1. Hi David- well there is something about turning pages of a novel that is rewarding, especially the $3 novel. As for backpacks I bought a new one this year from Brenthaven.

    Even though they reference a certain other manufacturer w HQ in Cupertino, it is a quality backpack. This is the one I purchased and would recommend. Duo II Backpack. Although this one has a bit more of an edge. Expandable Trek. I don’t think you can wrong.

    Of note, I used there main number to buy and place the order, after research online of course. And the purchase experience was perfect. And as you know I am a user of the T 43 and it fits perfectly in its own compartment. Easy in and out.

    All the best- David

  2. I have a reading habit much like yours though I probably travel a lot less. I am finding my Kindle to be well-worth the investment!

    “Hardcovers are not an option. Dragging Pynchon’s latest around the world is like packing the Manhattan white pages.”

    This is part of what makes Kindle so great. Some time ago, I received a copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” weighing in at 944 pages. I never made much headway because it’s too darn big to carry anywhere and it’s not even that comfortable to read in bed at night. On Kindle, it’s a breeze.

    I don’t know how the price of books will shake out over time but there is very cheap stuff in the Kindle store. After seeing an interview with a fantasy/scifi author I didn’t know of (George R.R. Martin) in Entertainment weekly the other day, I bought the first two books in his current series for $4. Nice.

    I’ve blogged a bit about Kindle on my blog ( and will keep at it…

  3. Regarding laptop bags, there are extensive discussions on….
    I’d just be careful to have a bag that says, “I’m carrying a laptop inside.” Avoid bags labelled Targus, Thinkpad, Dell….etc. or that look too much like they carry a laptop inside.

  4. 30 pound rucks build strong sherpa-like back muscles. Mine weighs about the same and I carry a complete set of basic underwear in the unlikely event I get separated from my luggage….

    do update your X61, I’ve done that twice with my X60 tablet and improved it’s basic performance on boot up both times.

    Now, back to blogging for me… I”e been up and back to Azusa, working on MaForbes’ house this week. Ugh– rain gutters.


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