Born in Cortez, CO, Jason Boblitt has been part of the Osprey Packs team for over 8 years. In 2006 Jason got his start in the Osprey warehouse and focused primarily on Quality Inspection projects. In 2008, Jason switched to shipping and Quality Assurance before joining the Quality and Returns team in 2010, where he still works. When Jason isn’t delivering on Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee, he loves to spend his time backpacking, traveling, drawing and sewing. This is the story of Jason’s trusty Osprey Eclipse pack.
For years now, I have sat in that dusty garage waiting for the day when my owner would throw me on his back and take me out for excitement and adventure. I went out for a day hike once and was thoroughly excited for the years to come. Then something happened that was not expected. I found myself watching pack after pack being taken out of the garage and being returned with fabric still warm from sun or wet with rain. Not me though. Am I not big enough? Am I not what they wanted? The anxiety consumed me to the point of utter darkness in my soul. I was not fulfilling my potential. All that was left was to wait for the inevitable day when I would be discarded with the trash…
Then one day several years later, my owner grabbed me and placed me on the table under a bright light. They started taking my picture at different angles. After a brief moment of confusion and a quick glance at the computer, I realized I was being put on eBay. WTF?! Why would you do this to me? Get my hopes up for adventures and then eventually sell me at a low bid to some chump that will treat me the same. Disgusted and distraught I slipped deeper into oblivion. The journey in the box was as expected, very similar to the years spent in the garage; dark and noisy. To my surprise upon arrival, a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Was I being reborn? Cardboard flaps pulled back and I am dashed by a bright fluorescent light. Held high in the air by a young man, with prominent sideburns and a headset wrapped around his neck. Wearing sandals, shorts and a t-shirt with Jimi Hendrix’s face…but words below describing Bob Marley. I have been purchased by a customer service hippy with a possibly morbid and dry sense of humor. Oh the humanity! After a quick hug and showcase put on to present my beauty to his coworkers as they grabbed at my ballistic side walls and large zipper coils, I must say, I think this is going to work out just fine.
Soon after my arrival, I was brought home to his flat where the excitement finally took its hold. I have never seen so many packs, all with equal or more dirt, grime and sun damage. This guy uses them all, some more than others but from the vibe I got from his packs, they are all pretty happy. During the packing process, he began to stuff to my enjoyment, climbing harness, slings and carabiners. Whoo what fun we’re going to have on this trip! Then he put in a bunch of wool socks and dry bags. Okay just calm down, I am sure this is just a precautionary thing just in case we get wet… Right? Then a repair kit and Aquaseal. Uh oh….
After being shoved into the back of a Subaru with strange packs and gear, I am introduced to my new friends; Kestrel, Talon, Transporter, Porter (maybe they’re cousins), Aether and Highlander. On the drive over to Zion, Kestrel and Talon describe some of the adventures they’ve been on with their Pack Bearers. Kestrel has done some mountaineering and canyoneering. Talon has been to lots of festivals and got to go on the Via Ferrata in Telluride a couple times. I wander when I’ll be able to proudly gloat about previous trips? We arrive at a campsite late in the middle of the night. Placed on the ground under a full blanket of bright stars silhouetting a beautiful outline of trees and canyon walls with the sweet aroma of pipe tobacco and a distant chatter, I am finally alive. What will tomorrow bring? What landscapes and adventures await?!
On his back climbing up the hill, the sun beating down on my materials we come to an enclosure of beautiful tall sandstone cliffs. Looking around, the other members of the group start putting on wetsuits and climbing harnesses. I am about to get very wet and cold….
Looking around at all the people donning their wetsuits and harnesses. He instead of a wet suit puts his climbing harness on and sits back down holding me close to his chest. I can feel his heart rate speed up as everyone else starts to put their packs on. He was as nervous as I was. Pack on, helmet adjusted with a small box attached to the front and shoe laces tightened to max holding power. Belt buckle clicks and away we go down canyon. The going was easy for the most part. At first I was worried about my ballistic side walls scraping the walls but after some rigorous cheese crating, I realized I was cut from the same cloth as the God of Cordura. Hugging him tight against my body, he lowered us over chock stones and ledges into ice cold pools while being mindful to keep me out of the water. We finally come to a stop in an open ravine where everyone sits down in the sun. everyone is laughing and making jokes about hospital visits. I see one of my pack companions, the mighty Osprey Packs Kestrel 38, being frisked by a staunch Bearded Man who I can only describe as being the leader of this adventure. Kestrel gives me a wink and a large orange rope is pulled from his body. I shudder a little at this sight, having never been lowered on a rope, I did not know what to expect. Looking at that ledge, I can feel the terror coursing through my threads.
To my dismay, the hippy (who I have come to know in a short time as being cautious and subtle) volunteers to go second. I hold on as tight as I can, imagining I am back in the garage collecting dust and mold. We’re down! Yay! Uh oh…. First swimming pool. Water shoots over my body, it’s frigid and murky. After a triumphant high five and some splashing, I am safe, for now. The remainder of this canyon was as expected. More pools, four or five more rappels and lots of scraping. At one point I noticed several scrapes along my pack bearer’s arms and legs. Bloody and deep, it appears wetsuits aren’t just for keeping warm but act as a good body armor. Oh if only I could have given him a patch of Cordura, I would have done so without hesitation. We finally went fully into the cold water. We had to swim against the walls for the last 35 meters. We had a mutual bond going; he wasn’t going to leave me behind if he got hurt and I was going to hold his personal effects. Dog paddling through the darkness, cold and wet. Rays of sunshine peeking around the corner, we made it back to the road.
Sitting in the sunshine with my Pack Bearer eating lunch and chatting with the others about all the fun they had, I feel really good about this day. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Faithful Beard Man walks up and says something I will never forget, “Alright who’s ready for the next one?”