Tuesday, June 1, 2010

OPINION REVIEW: Baikal 35-Liter Backpack

I FOUND MYSELF RESTLESS on April 12, 2009 and I decided to visit my good friend, Ernie Salomon, in Guadalupe, Cebu City. We both were having a rare day-off from our weekly training climbs in Mount Babag, a height which is better accessed from Guadalupe and then from Napo in Sapangdaku.

It was a fine day devoid of rain and he offered me, over glasses of cold beer, his black Baikal backpack for four hundred bucks. “Got bills to pay,” he says. Hmmm...the bag looks cool enough to me and I hadn't seen one carrying this kind - - - SINCE. I liked the idea of just me carrying a Baikal. The black color is a cinch for me and we both consummated the deal. It was a done deal. A heaven-sent bargain.

I saw the Baikal for the very first time when Ernie carried this on his back during our third session from Napo to Mt. Babag on October 1, 2008. He says he found and bought this for only four-fifty from a pre-owned stall in Colon and I envy the guy for his persistence. I even took a photo of this on that date.

On May 10, 2009, I donned the Baikal for the very first time on the trail and I find it superb. It fits my body frame very well and could stand all the heavy jerks and movements I impose on myself like trail running.

My Baikal has a 35-liter storage space on its main room, a secondary compartment and a third pocket and all are secured by dual zippers. The synthetic fabric is durable-looking and I have trust on those skins. An arched carry handle is located at the top and, to me, I find this unnecessary due to its weight.

The shoulder straps are three inches wide at its widest complemented with HDPE hardware add-ons and a pair of thumb straps with the Baikal name printed on it. Slip pockets made of light mesh fabric are located on the left, the right and front. The front slip pocket, however, have two compression straps to securely hold things placed inside.

Padded back supports are located in the lumbar area and the in-between-the-shoulder-blades part to give maximum comfort to the carrier. In between these two is a floating synthetic nylon mesh that is designed to wick away moisture and give breathing space to the back of the carrier.

Compression straps are found on each side of the pack to adjust room space and at the same time securely hold a medium-sized item that may be placed at the side slip pockets. The trusty straps can be lengthily adjusted by patented Life Guard® ladder locks while the Baikal name is prominently emblazoned on the buckle of the waist strap HDPE lock.

Deep inside the main compartment is a zippered pocket reserved for placing a water bladder to supply your liquid requirements while at the bottom of the bag is another zippered pocket containing a light-blue rain fly. It can be quickly retrieved out when you use it to cover the whole bag during a rain and can be easily stowed back after use.

A thin PVC board and two flat steel rods are incorporated inside the back to give it a rigid look. The backpack is second-hand, at least, it is original and I find just one minor kink that doesn't affect my performance and the pack. I didn't have to bargain, threaten and cajole anyone for it. It is a standout.

Well, I just found a perfect backpack.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.

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