Backpacks… Blech!


When I board my plane to Uganda next weekend I will have become that which I most detest… The dreaded backpacker. In my four years of travelling abroad and reporting on it here I have hopefully proved myself to be both an experienced passenger and savvy visitor, but all that will instantly vanish the moment I check in with this abomination of a valise as my carry-on. Oh sure, I’ll try to explain to anyone willing to listen that I need this vulgar appendage only to track gorillas in the deepest, darkest jungles of Africa, but the truth will fall on deaf ears—my fellow passengers will be too busy dodging the swinging straps and buckles while I try to hide my shame in the overhead compartment above them.

To make matters even more humiliating, this thing even has a strap-on fanny pack, clearly visible for all to see; as effective an advertisement as a sign that reads: “Kick me! I’m too busy hiding my traveller’s cheques in the secret pocket of my wrinkle-free travel slacks to realize that I’m the very cliché of the stupid tourist… Now let me just pull out my laminated map so I can find out where that gosh-durn hostel is… My Birkenstocks are killing me!”


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7 responses to “Backpacks… Blech!”

  1. Hey, you’re always welcome to drag your suitcase-on-wheels through the jungle, if you prefer. We can re-enact that classic “gorilla stomping on the suitcase” commercial from the 70s.

    Also, is that the actual model of backpack you got?

  2. Hmm, the straps don’t look too secure. Oh well, bring a sewing kit and some nylon thread, just in case!

  3. Hey, good idea! That way I can also stitch on a Canadian flag like every other arsehole going across the pond for the first time…

    Note that despite all this bitching and moaning I’m actually quite looking forward to the trip—I just really, REALLY hate backpacks. Messenger bags? Fine. Man purses? Bring ‘em on! But backpacks? Blech!

  4. Well, the big male gorillas may misinterpret the man purse and charge you for all the wrong reasons. Oh, so wrong.

    PS Damn, forgot my Canadian flag!

  5. AC:

    Just to complete the vision of straps swinging away from your backpack, I’d suggest strapping an aluminum coffee cup and a pair of muddy running shoes. Go to the subway and practice walking past seated people, perhaps between 5-6 pm on the northbound Yonge line….
    Have fun in Africa, and don’t forget to hide stuff in your secret pocket in your Tilley hat, like your passport, camcorder, etc.


  6. …And don’t forget the yoga mat! That’s what those loops at the bottom are for!

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