Yesterday we bought packs - it's almost like we're really going!
The packs are from Bakpakka in Chadstone Shopping Center, which we stumbled into because we happened to be in the area for a Post-Exam Party. It was one of those things - we were looking at other things (like labrador pups in a petshop window), and I said something like, “You get a shiatsu massage and I'll entertain myself in the camping store!” Minutes later we were both trying on packs and trying to figure out what it was we were really looking for.
It's very cool buying things for your trip. It seems that you save your pennies for so long, sooner or later you forget what you're saving for … until you realise that you will actually needsome things other than just aeroplane tickets. The defining moment was when Dee turned to me and said, “You know, we could just get these out of savings - we're going to buy them eventually anyway”. Whilst I'm sure there will be other things that make the reality of the trip that much more tactile, (standing at the airport waiting for the departure call, for example), buying backpacks was quite simply exhilarating.
We bought Australian-made, good quality packs, the same type but in the “short” (for Dee) and “long” (for me) forms. They have all the usual features - water-resistant (not waterproofing), a fair whack of space, a decent harness - and are quite light (but feel tough). They also come with an unlimited (lifetime) warranty, provided we can get them back to the factory in Melbourne, and are hand-checked before being sold. I've been wearing mine all day!!
I also bought a good pair of walking/hiking shoes, the the first shoes that have felt really comfortable after a full day of wearing. “Teva Wraptors”, they're called, which I guess is due to their design which features a full wrap-around (under-foot) tensioning system. They are as I said very comfortable, and that's not easy to find considering I have fairly high arches in my feet. I discovered whilst walking, then sitting, that different activities require a different “tightness” - you don't want your boots to moves whilst hiking, but if you sit down and put your feet up it's fairly easy to develop “pins and needles” in your toes.
We're going camping in South Australia over Christmas and New Year's, so that will be a good chance to try out both the boots and the packs. I figure we can fill our packs, strap on the tent and sleeping bags, and go “walkabout” for a bit, just to try out a fully-packed bag. We'll have to get used to it, considering we want to basically carry our lives with us for a month or two when we explore … wherever it is we decide to explore!!
The other day I bought a world atlas, to try to narrow our destinations down somewhat - have I mentioned this already? Personally I'm all for mountains and spirtuality - Nepal, the Himalayas, Shaolin temples in China and Zen in Japan - but I'm not sure that Dee will be into that. I'm sure we'll figure it out!! How exciting!