SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Cocoon to the Moon: Stargazer Backpack Launched by Outdoor Products

“I’m a little man, I’m a little man, he’s . . . he’s a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas.” From one of the greatest movies on life, “Apocalypse Now,” I am that little man. “He” is Stargazer 8.0, a backpack whose design and intrigue “enlarged my mind. [Stargazer] is a poet warrior” giving the bearer armament to advance smartly on trails “in the classic sense.”

In July 2014, Dr. Ellen Marmur and a team launched a climb up Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the American Academy of Dermatology's SPOT Skin Cancer initiative. With Starglazer backpacks providing their trail support for this expedition, the climb worked a six-day climb to the mountain's 19,341 peak, the highest free-standing summit in the world. Talk about "Go Tell it on the Mountain;" this is it! You can participate; learn how at the end of this article. You will be telling "Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!"™

In July 2014, Dr. Ellen Marmur and an adventurous team launched a climb of Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer initiative. With Starglazer backpacks providing their trail support for this expedition, the hikers worked a six-day ascent to the mountain’s 19,341 peak, the highest free-standing summit in the world. Talk about “Go Tell it on the Mountain”! You can participate; learn how at the end of this article. You will be telling “Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!”™

Making way with this comfortable carrier of cocoon-like coziness, I think, how did they make this like this? Why does it ride like the rich feel of a Town Car, yet traveling tough terrain; why, oh why, haven’t I known about this bag. I begin to feel the Stargazer is the Rolls Royce while I’m driving used Oldsmobiles. My only choice? Find answers . . . explore, ask, search . . . think. A first discovery: this company’s foundation is beyond traditional.

If model Pixie Geldof sported a Stargazer, that would be impressive; the exercise would aid her tone, too. To call a Louis Vuitton handbag a backpack is like me dreaming to be on the snowshoe national championship podium; it's fantasy. As real cowboys say in the hilarious Blazing Saddles, "We don't need no stinkin' badges" to confirm who we are.

If model Pixie Geldof sported a Stargazer, that would be impressive; exercise might aid her tone, too. To call a Louis Vuitton handbag a backpack is like carrying a cherry Slushy, thinking you have your trail fueling-needs down. As real cowboys say in the hilarious Blazing Saddles, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” to confirm who we are.

Sure, they dream, create, sell, but their approach, the way they design like this example tucked away in their information—”a leader in the cut-and-sew manufacturing industry”—is way, way different. Instead of a dress or suit off-the-rack, this is outdoor couture, a word built from a sewing tradition. Be brave and wear a backpack on the red carpet, but it better be Outdoor Products’, otherwise you just seem ridiculous. Understand, this is a carrier for the elements; these bags last and last. Indeed, your life may depend on them. Their art and details flow from years of experience, planning and innovation. But the feeling the Stargazer transmits through ones body is, “Relax, be well, all  is good; you and I, we’ll go where you want, do what you want, carry anything you need.”

That is its heritage. Importantly, that is Outdoor Products heritage going back to the explosion of America’s change in the decade zooming out of the 1960s to Infinity and Beyond as

Find life's monoliths on trails; perhaps touching them, we can then approach the intellectual depth of Stanley Kubrick.

Find life’s monoliths on trails; perhaps touching them, we can then approach the intellectual depth of Stanley Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick taught us well in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It is like his Monolith found a home in The Famous Department Store, Los Angeles, California. The thinkers there touched it, and have touched it more over the decades, to find entirely new worlds of product, design and those detailed methods of quality.

Their Monolith mind continues. They openly admit, “We are prouder than ever to have a hand in making memories possible for anyone and everyone who uses our products to explore our beautiful world.”

Just how big is the packing cavity? Ozzie, a Japanese Chin, decided to test it. His decision? Enough room to add ten little female Chins . . . and snacks.

Just how big is the packing cavity? Ozzie, a Japanese Chin, decided to test it. His decision? Enough room to add ten friendly female Chins . . . plus some snacks.

You see, this pack is a brainy top-loader. The Stargazer is the only backpack I wear sporting its own top hat, with naturally enough a zippered storage for perhaps your rain gear. Moving the cap to the side, one peers down into a cavernous packing space, which closes with a tug on the cinch closure. The capacity, 24 inches high by 13 inches wide by 10 inches diameter, measures 44 Liters. A back-zipper opens that space at its bottom to ease removal of stored items. Two outside packets are zipable for added storage of quick-access items. When I take Stargazer out for an overnight traipsing of trails, the workout tests it like driving the Mustang BOSS 302R—a street legal racer—down to COSTCO and back. It barely has time to

"I'm just a little man," says Dennis Hopper's photojournalist character in this "Apocalypse Now" image from DLPreviews.blogspot

“I’m just a little man,” says Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist character in this “Apocalypse Now” image from DLPreviews.blogspot

warm-up. Stargazer loves the out-of-doors every bit as much as a Brittany Spaniel, a breed known for its obedience, stamina and want to please the owner.

But one doesn’t keep them cooped up any more than never wearing your backpack; they go out to play. That’s the Stargazer; your pack to go out and play and play and play to find some space; or, “Give me some room to breathe,” as Colonel Kilgore would command. Don’t just turn back, pinwheel back over a long route. Make it rougher still.

Tom Petty sang, "Well it was nearly summer, we sat on your roof/ and we stared at the moon/ And I showed you stars you never could see . . . ." ("Even the Losers")

Tom Petty sang, “Well it was nearly summer, we sat on your roof/ and we stared at the moon/ And I showed you stars you never could see . . . .” (“Even the Losers”)

The pack cruises trails led by a hidden aluminum vertical stay stiffening its back so the load doesn’t slouch and tug down, pulling straps into your body. The stay is removable for when that fits a personal preference, I just can’t see doing that.

The waist belt comforts your body carrying the bag. My first time strapping on, I played like a kid with a new train buckling and unbuckling the belt, thinking I must have done this wrong, it feels too good. If anything else you find fits your long-use pack requirements as well as Stargazer, you still can only buy Stargazer; I have found no other this ergonomically comfortable around the waist and midsection. Period.

Starglazer giving the Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition a rest. When they're ready for the next section, their backpack will be raring to go. Note the hiking poles criss-crossed on the bag's rear.

Starglazer giving the Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition a rest. When they’re ready for the next section, their backpack will be raring to go. Note the hiking poles crisscrossed on the bag’s rear.

The back pads are pillows. Fitting at the base is this breathable, soft cushion connecting with the spine. Two curves of heart-shaped padding touch you moving up the spine, with a large dollop of padding smack-dab in the middle of the back, suspending the bag in a way that air disperses  through it. This results in a firm but soft ride, held there by an intricate crossing of straps, both horizontal and vertical compression types, combined with what the company terms “yoke-style” shoulder straps.

Stargazer's pocket (2 of them!) completely envelopes a 32 oz bottle. Also note the comfortable size of the waist pad.

Stargazer’s pocket (two of them!) completely envelops a 32 oz bottle. Also note the comfortable size of the waist pad.

Another example of the thinking for this bag: deep bottle carriers on each side. For a long journey beyond the range of the two-liter bladder, one can easily tuck away two 32-ounce bottles basically doubling fluid storage. Take it from a good sipper: that’s a lot to consume. And they ride deep, so there is no anxiety of the bottles tipping or bouncing out of the holder.

Four bottom D-rings act as a carrier for add-ons whether a sleeping bag, trekking poles or other auxiliary gear. Stargazer likes carrying your gear.

What if something goes wrong with the backpack? Only Outdoor Products could pull this off: a “Plain + Simple Lifetime Guarantee.” Enjoy the words they use to express that: “Others say it, we actually do it. No limitations, no stipulations, no jumping

This is the cover for the stamps, which are on the reverse. The USPS says, "Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. The stamp celebrating his legacy is being released as part of the Music Icons series."

This is the cover for the stamps, which are on the reverse. The USPS says, “Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. The stamp celebrating his legacy is being released as part of the Music Icons series.”

through hoops. Outdoor Products will replace for any reason–free of charge–any damage or defect in our product. Whether you bought it in 1984 or yesterday, our Plain + Simple Lifetime Guarantee still applies.” It is like once you add one of their products to your inventory, you’re part of the OP family; they take care of you.

With their motto “Pack for Life,” take the challenge; go long, get outside, do a distance. Challenge yourself . . . but choose good gear.

Now, as Jimi Hendrix would sing, ” ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.” To the woods I go, those trails calling to get down and dirty; Stargazer’s charm demands it. Why? Like a trance, “Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.” Join the trance; buy one here.

facebook-icon

twitter

Phillip@ultrasuperior.com

 

Lyrics from Book: ‘Scuse me while I kiss the Sky: Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child” by David Henderson

More information on American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer™ (and what “SPOT” means). Click here to read more and consider how to donate.

Note to readers: The links I research and choose for you are important to me. I explore to find interesting material should you choose to go deeper in some of the areas. For example, the Stanley Kubrick link, once there, is titled “The Kubrick Site,” an incredible treasure trove of his genius.

Thanks to Adam Hansen, MM Identity Lab, for his efforts to acquire for this article photos of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition.

One thought on “Cocoon to the Moon: Stargazer Backpack Launched by Outdoor Products

  1. Pingback: Project Runway: “A Suitable Twist”

Leave a Reply