June 21, 2012

Update: The North Face or The North Fake

The good news:  The North Face jacket I bought in Vietnam last year is still working just fine.  I’ve had the chance to test it in places other than my bathtub.  It still keeps water out, and it hasn’t fallen apart.  
The bad news:  The North Face backpack I also bought in Vietnam has not fared so well.  I bought both the backpack and the jacket at the same place.  Never mind that this place was a tarp-covered stall in a busy market.  I could tell by the zippers on the pack that it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one I could buy at REI for 10 times the price back home.  But I was swayed by the price - a grand total of $9.  I thought to myself, “So what if it falls apart in no time?”

Well, fall apart is exactly what it has done, and in less than a year of ownership.  I’ve only used it a handful of times, and pretty much every time I’ve used it, the usage has gone like this:

Pack bag with 2 changes of clothes and toiletries.
Throw bag in trunk of car.
Take bag inside tent/friend’s house.
Unpack, repack.
Throw bag in trunk of car.
Take bag inside my house.

So it’s not like I’ve taken this thing trekking on a glacier or the like.  But on the last car excursion, one of the shoulder straps separated itself wholly from the body of the pack.  Sure, I could have probably sewn it back together, but I decided it wasn’t worth putting that much time into a $9 backpack.

I did get one final use out of it, though.  It came in very handy when I cleaned out my closet, stuffed it full of junk, and hauled it to Goodwill. Sayonara, backpack.