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