I went hiking and found myself. So every chance I get I like to climb a mountain with my laptop and do some work. I’m also a painter, photographer, writer, editor and often hike with a ridiculous amount of gear: easels, cameras, sketch pads, laptops, iPads, etc. I’m always stupidly overburdened. In fact, I go almost everywhere with my laptop. I’ve also mentioned that I’m aiming to complete the Catskills 35 in the next year and I’m totally unprepared.
For example, I was previously using this for day hikes:
It might actually be an ammo case left behind by a visiting family member, but in the spirit of recycling, I was gamely repurposing it. However, the bag is awkward to wear and keeps me slightly off-kilter, plus it’s too small for my iPad, laptop or painting equipment and, even my small travel watercolor kit would take up all the space in the largest section. A larger bag of this type would be impractical. It’s cute and handy, but only good for hikes without equipment. I can fit the Canon camera with a short lens in there, but that’s it. I’ve done a five-hour hike to Belleayre with it, but I had to keep stopping to move the strap to the opposite shoulder after about three hours.
Furthermore, I need something that’s going to work in a city. I don’t want to look like Bear Grylls when I go to LA for meetings. In an effort to help me in my quest to find products that will traverse the line between city and country, Rickshaw Bags have kindly sent me a backpack to try that does exactly that: the Rickshaw Sutro rucksack.
If you’ve looked at my Shopping Locally section, you’ll see I like locally made products or at least products with the Made in USA stamp. Rickshaw Bags are made in a factory behind their store in San Francisco and offer customers the chance to visit the production area when they are shopping. For me, the best part about these backpacks is that they have a zipper all the way down the left side of the pack allowing for access without removing the pack, which is everything if you need your camera quickly without stopping. The bag has padded shoulder straps and a sternum strap, so if you need continual access to the pack to retrieve equipment while walking, you can wear it on your front. Not only that, Rickshaw allow you to customize your pack with myriad colors within and without using the easiest website interface ever. I spent an hour choosing colors, almost going for the tweed option, which I now regret because tweed is right up my alley. There’s even a reflective tweed option, but I chose a combination of greens instead. The pack also doesn’t have many compartments meaning, for me, that I don’t keep having to stop and remove it when I want something. It’s very light with one laptop sleeve. If you’re carrying a laptop, you need a sleeve. Finally, the bag can be extended by length at the top to carry longer items to be secured with adjustable straps. My Rickshaw bag has already met the wilderness and is going to get thoroughly tested both in city and country. I will report on its progress.