I bought an Eagle Creek backpack with a zip-off day pack back in 1997. It was not the highest-end product out there by any means, nor was it the cheapest, but she’s been on many an adventure in the last 20+ years, and I am pretty sentimental about the service she’s provided.
Where She’s Been
My backpack’s first trip was on a month-long Contiki tour of western Europe with a friend and colleague in September/October 1997. Three years later, when my husband and I went to Europe for our wedding and honeymoon, she went back to Europe with us. Interesting fact: we didn’t check any bags on that three-week trip…I carried my wedding dress in my day pack! (The dress survived the trip just fine.) I should also add that my husband ended up getting the same backpack prior to this trip, and he also still uses his to this day. When we went to Australia and New Zealand in 2002, she came along. Not to mention countless other US vacations for which she’s provided faithful service.
She’s even been to a few amazing places without me. One friend borrowed it for her trip to England and Scotland. Another borrowed it for her trip to Alaska. I love that my backpack has more trips under her strap than I do.
Can’t Let Her Go
In 2015, when we were planning to bring my niece with us to Italy and France, I was talking with her and her mom about getting a backpack. I actually considered handing down my Eagle Creek to her and getting myself something newer and fancier. I couldn’t do it. My backpack carries too many great memories, and it still more than meets my backpack needs. Now I hope my niece’s backpack can carry her travel memories, just as mine has for me.
If I were to do it all again, I would have gotten patches for all the places she and I have been and had them sewn on. Maybe I’d also give her a name. But after 20 years of hard use she’s still in great shape, no notable wear whatsoever (which can’t be said for me). I feel no need to “upgrade.” With any luck she’s going to be my travel companion for many years to come.