Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Prudent Prepping, The REI-cap!

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

Prudent Prepping

This is my report on REI's Rental Gear close-out sale held the first weekend of the month (at least in Concord, CA, check your local store), until all merchandise is gone. Check with your local REI store for dates and times of their Close-Out sales.

This month was the same as last month - I didn't arrive early enough to be at the front of the line, but I was close enough to get this great pack. 

The REI-cap!

I scored this very nice Osprey Farpoint Travel bag/backpack from the Damaged/Returned Special room that I mentioned last month. I intended to look for and buy a day pack, with a budget of $40-$50 maximum (including tax) since that price range would get me a very nice pack. My budget for this month is well and truly crushed, since the Osprey pack was $109 plus tax!

Let me explain why I did this: 
  • I was looking for a pack for future purchase 
  • This is my day pack AND my large pack, rolled into one!

As you can see, the front portion with a white "X" on it unzips from the main body of the pack, making a day pack! The X is there to mark this item non-returnable, which is not a problem for me.

This pack is designed as a Travel Pack, not as an expedition or multi-week trekker, since the shoulder straps are somewhat narrow and thin and the overall size is average at best. With that in mind, Osprey built into this pack another feature that really makes sense - a flap that zips over the shoulder straps, making it as smooth as most luggage. How cool is that?

Mesh pockets on the day pack are sized to hold small water bottles and there are internal mesh pockets for small items. Cinch straps are everywhere, making compressing your gear easy or holding a pad, jacket of other items secure.

The main pack has many options for adjusting shoulder straps, waist belt and even the cross chest strap, allowing different people to feel comfortable. If you are over 6' tall though, this may not be a match for you, due to there being no way to spread the shoulder straps. There are two zippered mesh pockets built into the flap, with enough room inside to keep and see your frequently used items handy.  Two compression straps inside make it really easy to hold gear against the internal plastic back support.

All the zippers have really big, rigid loop pulls, large enough to be usable while wearing gloves.

This pack will be tested on a business trip and short weekend hike in June.


If you have been reading this from the start, there are things I'm going to be mentioning regularly:
  • Rotation of supplies - First In, First Out. Mark your cans, bags, bottles and jars with the date of purchase. If it is not really visible, mark your stores with the manufacture's expiration date too.
  • Stored water. If you have large jugs of water, plan on dumping and refilling them on a regular timetable. My water is stored indoors, so I will be refilling my two jugs every 4 months. This keeps the water fresher with less plastic taste. I have kept water longer in an un-insulated garage and depending on the container there can be a 'stale' and plastic after-taste. 
  • DON'T BLOW YOUR BUDGET! Purchase items regularly and steadily with the goal of having what you and your group decide is enough. If you can, start to buy items with expiration dates 2-5+ years from today.
  • Regarding budgets - Regularly set aside a small amount of cash, separate from any emergency reserve, to cover bigger ticket items that are too good to pass up! (Ahem!)

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

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