Posted May 22, 2013 in Adventure Journals by Jim Markel
Darin decided to do some toughness testing of his own on our C-Ruck Carry-on Rucksack. So he packed his bag and set out for the wilds of central Europe. Let’s find out just how tough a tough Montana bag can be out there in the big wild world, despite the mysterious Mr. Colorado’s zipper talk.
Dear Red Oxx,
Your bags are great. I have two of them (four if you count them twice). They are the best bags I’ve ever owned. I love that they are made in Montana. Montana is the land of tough people. And obviously tough bags.
A good friend of mine grew up in Montana, on the property his great grandfather homestead not too far from Anaconda. When he had to move away, he returned every summer to his family cabin, the one his great grandfather had built. When my friend was too old to continue spending summers in Montana, he did what any good, tough man from Montana would do: he gave the cabin and the land to a young man from Anaconda.
A few weeks ago I heard a rumor about some esteemed customer in Colorado who recently purchased one of your made-in-Montana-tough Mini Rucks and then promptly took it to Texas where, it seems, he noticed a "fact" with the zipper. While I’m sure this is just a nasty rumor, probably spread by Texans in another effort to discredit Montana, when I heard this story it caused me some concern because I was preparing to take my made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck with me on a trip through parts of Central Europe.
My made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck needed to endure more than just a pass through TSA X-ray screening and a couple hours in the overhead compartment or completely under the seat in front of me on some cushy domestic airline. It had to schlep all my stuff for three weeks across five countries. Consequently, I spent an evening trying to understand how a trip to Texas seemed to have gotten the best of a made-in-Montana-tough Mini Ruck.
Now everybody knows that Texas has been envious of Montana since November 1889, when Texas could no longer claim to be the toughest state in the union. And everybody knows that school children in Texas are trained to spot Montana-tough whenever it crosses into their beloved state. Some schools in Texas, it is reported, even give students extra credit in Civics class if the sabotage any Montana-tough item they see in the state.
All this is to say, I suspect Mr. Colorado was actually the victim of state-sponsored vandalism. That’s the only way to make sense of the "fact" that he noticed down south of the 26th parallel, where Montana-tough probably gets tougher just to prove a point—because we all know toughness is a latitude thing.
As a side note, I suppose it’s possible Mr. Colorado misused his bag—in another rumor circulating in the blogosphere people claim to have seen him carrying his daughter in his Mini Ruck in an effort to sneak her on planes as “carry-on baggage,” thereby saving the cost of a ticket. But that’s probably just a slander.
In the end, I was assured that his was a fluke and that my made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck would work just fine.
So, Red Oxx, I have a fact, a happy fact, not one of those annoying facts. I’m delighted to report that my made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck thrived in Central Europe. Sure, Central Europe is not as uniformly tough as Montana, but it’s certainly as tough as Texas on any given day (it has to be, it’s further north), and it’s tough in languages they don’t speak in Texas. And traveling in Central Europe makes a TSA screening look no more rigorous than ordering ice cream at a local Dairy Queen.
My made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck hauled my clothes, a jacket, two cameras, extra lenses and batteries, a computer, iPhone, assorted chargers, reading book, notebooks, pens, passport, a Golem, etc. flawlessly. I crammed my life into my C-Ruck, threw it on my back, and for three weeks trekked between villages, hiked up to castles on mountains (small mountains, more like Montana hills) and down to caves in valleys, wandered back roads looking for monasteries, and traveled on foot and by train. My made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck performed better than I could have hoped.
From Philadelphia to Munich to Prague to Vienna to Budapest to Eger to Fuzesabony to Sárospatak to Szerencs to Miskolc to Košice to Prague and back to Munich where I’m waiting to board a flight back to Philadelphia and not one blown seam, no loose stitching, no broken fasteners, and no faulty zippers—nothing beyond some road grime and a few scuffs. My made-in-Montana-tough C-Ruck kept me company in various train stations as I waited for the next train. Or in some cases, as I tried to repel Roma children who are themselves pretty tough.
Thanks for making a great bag,
Darin from Philadelphia
Red Oxx employees know how tough our bags are and don’t need Darin’s praise to confirm it, but hey, everyone likes a little praise now and then. Even in Montana. Thanks for the great story Darin. For publishing his Adventure Journal, Darin get’s his choice of a Red Oxx Market Tote or Rigger Wallet. What’s your story?