Saturday, January 12, 2013
I RECEIVED A Habagat Viajero from a first cousin on April 6, 2009. Her husband bought it brand-new in 2002 during his evangelization travels in the provinces and it has a classic three-tone color of blue, green and black which the latter dominate the color of hardware, backside and straps. I first saw this product in 1994 when the Habagat Outdoor Shop opened a branch in SM City in Cebu.
This bag is made for the outdoorsy type of business travelers by the look of its design. The main compartment has a 40-liter storage space and a big rectangular front pocket. The large compartment can be opened by big handy dual metal zippers. It is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of five laptops and other heavier small items.
It has a detachable single shoulder sling that can be adjusted in length and can also be hand carried like an attaché case with a stitched carry handle. A pair of padded shoulder straps are added and can be stowed back and secured by a zippered flap. Slip pockets are located on both sides while two compression straps are found on either side.
Two flat aluminum support bars are placed well hidden inside the bag to give it rigidity. Breathable mesh fabric are incorporated at the back to wick away moisture and sweat while a built-in padded back support and padded hip straps are added to give comfort to the bearer. High-density plastic ladder locks and clips complement the Viajero's overall look.
I kind of liked the design of the Viajero as it can be converted either in formal carry or in rugged outfit doing away the idea of buying two bags for two different occasions. Hmm. Sometimes, I travel in a semi-formal attire and I couldn't wait to use it the next time I set sail on a trip. But that would wait. I have to test the Viajero on a rugged mountain trail and use the shoulder straps instead and find out how it can perform there.
So, on the night of April 25, 2009, together with Boy Toledo and Ernie Salomon, we embarked in a night navigation training along the trails from Napo to Mount Babag – the city's highest peak at 752 meters. We employ and use only one headlight for this trek with me leading the pack. I placed a torrid pace and there was no moon in the sky and what lights available, aside from the headlight, came from the stars.
In the darkness illuminated by very faint starlight the trail was barely discernible and I never encountered difficulty following it except, perhaps, when crossing a dry gully and on uneven surfaces. It was in this latter condition of the trail that I find the Viajero unstable swinging side to side causing me off-balanced several times even when I adjusted the straps closer to my torso.
Inside of the bag were my wool sleeping bag, tent, a liter of water, clothes, a flat bottle of rum and other items and I stowed these all evenly. The big metal zippers snapped shut all these items safely inside and I have trust on those zips. The shoulder and hip straps together with their HDPE hardware did all right and ably supported the whole weight of the cargo.
The design of the bag tend to place the center of gravity outward as it has the tendency to sag making the whole gear swing side to side in a wide arc. Although the gear's material composition is without question, the Viajero is not suited for very rugged travel by foot on long distances due to its unstable fulcrum.
However, it is most suited for short walks, day hikes and island hopping if you insist on using the bag's shoulder straps, but it is most perfect and chic when using the shoulder sling and travel business class in a plane.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.