"working on my faults and cracks..."

5.06.2010

the working messenger's matryoshka

big as a goddamn building
There isn't a lot about the Mission Workshop Vandal that hasn't already been said or shown; from the bag's storied pedigree, and bomber "made in the motherland" construction, to its feature-rich versatility, and all-around stability and comfort under heavy load. These things are all true, and all very awesome.
All generally understated though, as the conclusion that most of these 'reviews' draw, is that the Vandal is basically a big-ass pack, but expandable only when you want it to be. This is also true, and also pretty awesome. Upon its delivery, what surprised me most though, is how small it actually is (and not because I initially received their Rambler through a shipping error). In its fully compact state, the Vandal is hardly larger than the Pawn from Chrome--the smallest in their line of sweet rolltop packs:

deceptively large vs. deceptively small depths
But while the Pawn has, and continues to neatly fill its specific role, I found myself needing not another pack, but a solution for a growing problem. Without a car, I live off of whatever I can carry on my back. Thus, I realized I needed something that could fill an occasional, yet very specific lifestyle need, without having to subject my bicycles to the embarrassment of panniers. That need? Carry ridiculous metaphors like "craploads of crap," "shitloads of shit," and fucktons of cereal. I needed to be able to stroll into the local grocery's breakfast aisle, and leave with the shelves bare. I wanted to return home victorious and laden to the hilt, throwing the pack down in the middle of my apartment, and watch it simply explode--a veritable satchel bomb whose sacred destiny was to annihilate my cupboards with delicious whole grain shrapnel. My first attempt at using the Vandal to attain this cereal nirvana was cut short due to a grievous lack of funds (dodgy way of admitting a smallish oversight wherein my wallet ran out of cash before the Vandal ran out of space).

So the Vandal's gaping ripstop maw couldn't be bested with money. Fine, whatever. It is, after all, quite a large vessel. But so was the Hindenburg, and anyone with a third-grade education knows how that pissing contest ended. Is bigger, necessarily better? More practical-er? Did Mission Workshop just spend six years developing the perfect urban cycling gimmick? The only way to know, would be to stack the Vandal against a few of the bags I already had--each one, tailored for a very specific purpose--be it lifestyle, or ridestyle. How many practical applications could it contain, and still remain functional?


As you can see in the cordura heap above, ascending in size from the smallest, we have:

Frampton - my intrepid and gregarious traveling garden gnome
* a Ballistics media case - carries my iPhone and a spare key
* a BLAQ Design utility pouch - just enough room for an evo mini, a multi tool, and my G10
* a North Face MTB Lumbar pack - for tool stowage, and hydrating quick out-and-backs
* a Chrome Mini Metro - "around-town" bag, barely large enough for a change of clothes
* a SAG Delta Force I Revival - travel backpack used primarily for carrying media/compy/camera gear
* a Chrome Berlin - my hardworking, battle-scarred, on-the-job mess pack

...and in the freakish silent moving picture circus act below, watch in horror as the gluttonous Vandal swallows them all:



...leaving room for a case or two of raisin bran
Well, there you have it. The Vandal from Mission Workshop is not only a pack for any lifestyle, it's a pack for all of them. 

At the same time.

endgame

3 contributions to this piece:

Kimbrolynn said...

I was really hoping to watch Frampton swallow all the bags...

Dagbert said...

But for that kind of camera magic, I would have had to steal more than a few gnomes off local gardens.

NASH said...

So long!Dagbert!
You got a niiiccceee bag!!
I also want a big backpack like yours...

Please send e-mail!!!

 
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