Remember the comfort of a security blanket when you were a child. Mine was named MiMi, a little blanket in the shape of a bunny that would not leave my side. I could go anywhere as long as MiMi was with me. I could scale the tallest peaks (well the couch at least) and nothing could stop me. After I took my first steps the world was free. I could explore, as long as I had my security blanket by my side.
Fast forward 40 some years and the thought of a security blanket is a little absurd. I am an adult after all. I can go wherever I want and I don’t need a little blanky to get me there. So I thought…then I tried to go on a hike without my backpack.
It was completely my fault. I was trying to get a quick hike in after a day of running errands and forgot that the pack wasn’t in my car. I made it to the trailhead. This was a short trial, about a two and half mile loop. There is no reason that I needed my backpack but when my feet hit the dirt it just felt wrong. I’m not saying I laid on the ground and threw a tantrum, but I’m not saying I didn’t either.
I Don’t Want to Grow Up
My current security blanket is a Manta 24L backpack from Osprey. It is green and fits really well. I almost don’t know that I am wearing it when I have it on, which is why my reaction to forgetting it one day was so strange to me. I am a blogger and do some outdoor videos so my bag is packed with tripods, selfie sticks, and GoPro’s. I have extra layers and a hat and gloves. I have micro-spikes and snacks. Oh, do I have snacks!
Not a single thing in that pack was necessary for a quick loop hike that I had done before but I was mentally paralyzed without it. That is when I realized that the backpack to the hiker is more than a backpack. The backpack is the adult version of the security blanket that we carried as children. That connection to the pack really surprised me. Sliding my arms through the straps is like an ancient knight putting on his breastplate before mounting his horse. It is the tackle box to the angler or the custom grips to the golfer. The pack is independence and comfort.
My Manta goes with me or I don’t go. With my backpack I can scale mountains, I can hike through woods or snow. With my backpack I am unstoppable. Without it I am just an infant trying to take my first steps again.
Those first steps on the trail felt off. I shrugged my shoulders waiting for the comforting weight of the straps to hold them down. I subconsciously reached for my hipbelt pockets where I store the GoPro. My hand only brushed air. When I reached for the phantom hydration tube is when I knew I was in trouble. I felt like I was walking through the mall naked. People stared. Or was that in my mind. I was sure there would be reports of the weird, packless hiker on all the blogs.
As I made my way back to the car there was a sense of relief that I had finished the familiar loop. It was the same feeling one gets when they drive to the corner store without the cellphone. Of course it is possible but it just feels off.
As soon as I made it home I checked to make sure the pack was still on the hook where I had accidentally left it. It was there, eager to help me on my next journey. To provide the comfort to explore like the blanky of my youth.
Osprey Manta 24L
If you are interested on more information on the Osprey Manta 24L backpack I have a review that I have written that you can find on this link.
If you would like to purchase the pack or find more information on the Osprey website you can find that here. As a disclaimer, any purchase made through the link could lead to a me receiving a small commission.
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.