Patchy and Columbia

I’m a specialty market. I need a high performance back pack that can hold 35 lbs at max, has a compartment at least 6 inches deep with pockets for a TI-89, assignment notebook, camera and at least 4 utensil sleeves along with the requisite miscellaneously-sized pockets for various other cargo.

I say this because my current backpack is going the same way as my binder. You can actually see through the bottom of it.

see through the bottom of my bag?

Yet despite that, earlier this week, it still managed to hold:

  • Main trapper (WEED)
  • Chem trapper
  • chem book
  • lunchbag
  • CWLT binder
  • lab notebook

This is in addition to the standard issue assignment notebook, TI-89, glasses, scrap paper, notecards and various writing instruments in their own compartments.

You may have heard me refer to this backpack as “the one I found in the trash last year after senior finals because some idiot didn’t think he’d need it for college which still contained a CD for a CAT (Contemporary American Texts) project”. There was never actually a word scrawled on it with white-out, so for now I’ll just call it…Patchy.

Patchy has definitely seen some better days. The straps are tearing out at the root. The internal compartment divider is a thin nylon fabric that’s ripped from both the bottom and the top of the interior. You’ve already seen the bottom.

Well, now there’s some competition in town. You may have seen me sporting Columbia, a Whirlibag XU 9111 fresh from the store. It holds 39 L and features a padded compartment for a 15.4″ laptop.

my new backpack

During today’s “test drive”, I maxed out the capacity at:

  • Main binder (WEED)
  • Chem binder
  • Physics binder
  • CWLT binder
  • AP Psych review guide
  • lab notebook
  • Western Philosophy

my new backpack holds stuff

That’s quite a lot without any sign of ripping or CSF (catastrophic seam failure). It comes at a price though. The predominantly rectanglish shape means I can’t fit irregular objects like my super-cool Canon company lunch bag in it so I have to carry it around in my hands. It also has no room for my camera and note cards and scrap paper. The worst problem I see is that, despite its purported 39 L of space, the largest of its main compartments only fits two binders. The other two are only two inches deep and won’t fit either WEED or my chem binder. This present a problem for large, deep or irregular objects like my physics text book or lunch bag.

I can see how a laptop compartment is vital for day when I need to bring my laptop into school, but for everyday use, it fails to possess enough pockets. My hope is that Patchy will last to the end of the year.

5 Responses to “Patchy and Columbia”

  1. Neal says:

    What you need to get is one of them there illegal immigrants. I hear they’ll cary around anything for as little as 16 pesos.
    Come now José, Step to it! we must get to room 124C!
    “Por favor senior tran, no mas, no mas!”
    I don’t pay you to complain! Now get moving.
    “Pero, no me pagas nada!”

  2. Walthers says:

    My backpack is in much worse condition after using it for four straight years. It is in the advanced states of all of your backpack’s conditions, and I’m about to replace it 🙁

  3. A MATCH KEEL KIWI says:

    I’ve had my backpack since junior high, it’s probably wripped at the strap close to 20 times. I keep fixing it, I’ve had it this long, and i won’t need it after senior year so i’m not replacing it, it will do as i say and work!
    Holy crap! you held all of western philosophy in your new backpack? that’s amazing!

  4. Tommy says:

    Okay, so it was “A Brief History of Western Philosophy”. Philosophy generally isn’t that heavy anyway.

  5. […] Patchy was unofficially retired as early as May when its condition became extreme. The bottom being unlikely to survive contact with anything sharper than a boiled egg, it now calls the living room closet home. It sees occasional use for high volume, low density cargo, such as the mint leaves my grandma grows in our backyard for profit or several cubic feet of packing peanuts. […]

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