I’ve never been particularly loyal to any brand of bag or gear.
Friends raved about their packs and talked about their features and I just really didn’t get any of it. I chalked the difference between us up to our relative degrees of outdoorsiness.
So it was odd for me, as I was rushing through Penn Station in Manhattan last week, to stop to talk to a guy just because he was wearing an Osprey pack. The pack was stitched with patches on both sides, flags and shields and emblems documenting all the places he has traveled. I had my Osprey on my back, too; somehow, the fact that we shared a brand of gear made him more approachable.
“How do you like your pack?” I asked him as he tried to figure out how to extract a ticket from the subway system’s automated machines. There was no hesitation in his response, none of the suspicion that often characterizes an exchange between strangers. “Love it,” he said. “I’ve had it for years.” “Yeah, looks like it- all those patches,” I said.
I’d been on my way to the post office, one out of a half dozen errands I’d intended to do that day. But the conversation led, as it typically does between travelers, to where we’d been, what we’d seen, how our journeys affected our world views, what amazed us.
Suddenly, I could see the reason for being brand-loyal.
Editor’s Note: Julie didn’t have time to snap a photo of her encounter, so this photo comes from Bekathwia on Flickr. Is your Osprey covered in patches? Or are you just a gearhead? Send them our way, we’d love to see them! Email blog[at]ospreypacks[dot]com.