Tough Gear: Backpacks

A well-designed SUV has plenty of room for everything from a 6-speaker radio and CD player combo to steering wheel-mounted controls. Each year, the interior gets better and better. The newer models have the same great features as the older ones, but many have been updated. Worth mentioning is the rear cargo-management system, adjustable lumbar (for the happy driver), NissanConnect with mobile apps (now standard equipment), and a fabulous sound system. Some models have heated seats and a navigation/infotainment system complete with Bluetooth connectivity.

But enough bragging about how great this SUV is whether it is an S, an X, or a Pro-4X model. The accessories are out of sight. Did you know you can get a pet divider to carry your pet while on your rugged road adventures? Did you know that it has an Utili-trac cargo channel system? There is nothing in this category of 4-wheel drive that is quite as fine. A vehicle is all about performance, especially in tough terrain. That is where I like to take mine. I can subject it to rocks and boulders, small rivers or anything Mother Nature throws at me and still get a pretty smooth ride. I have to give thanks to amazing suspension. If you try to tell me your Jeep Wrangler is superior, I am not going to listen.

I am getting ready as I speak to take another trip. I have my really cool backpack in tow, as tough as the van, loaded with what little is not already embedded within. I don’t need an iPod, that’s for sure. I do need a heavy duty number, however, as I plan to do a little camping. I am going off-roading to test those big beefy tires. I don’t expect to be leaning too much in corners and I know the steering is super reliable. Plus, with the V6, I will have plenty of power and torque.

A friend gave me the backpack for a gift and it has been my constant companion. I lug it here and there, full of short-term necessities of life. It goes inside the van and outside as needed. He must know me well. The thing is double thick denim with heavy stitching and adorned with rivets. These metal babies will never let a seam divide. It has compartments inside to separate one item from another so you never have to fumble for keys or a pen. Your smart phone has its own little zippered home.

A backpack is a travelling companion and sometimes the only one you have long for the ride. It can be mistreated if you forget its contents, as when you toss it about like a sack of potatoes. But it is resilient and can take the beating in stride. I keep in half packed most of the time in a strategic closet at home. It has batteries, a flashlight, eating utensils, a collapsible drinking cup, thin gloves, and a cap, among other miscellaneous things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap. It often gets an extra change of clothes, underwear, socks, and a rain parka. It has no limitations to speak of.

It is odd, you may think, to speak of a cool SUV and a backpack in the same breadth, but they do have a lot in common. They both have great compatible exteriors and interiors that are the result of some innovative mad genius who has virtually thought of everything. They are roomy and can handle a lot of gear. They come through in a pinch and perm their duties and functions appropriately. No matter that one takes people as cargo. Both have body shapes that maximize interior space and both can carry their own required amount of equipment. The good news is that you can have them both side by side.