April 28, 2009

Backpack Shopping in Israel
Giv'atayim, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

During yesterday's long walk around Tel Aviv I finally found a decent place to pick up a new frontpack (just a pack worn on your belly, not your back) to schlep Aidric's support gear around.

I was really surprised with the extreme lack of availability in the urban backpacking genre in this city. Israel has so many international backpackers tramping about the globe that you'd automatically assume selling backpacks for multi-month trips into Latin America, India and SE Asia would've become big business long ago.

An $8 pack (left) purchased in Romania [story]

I'd envisioned an alley or street in town saturated with backpack shops, and was quite disappointed to find just one or two overpriced retail outfits inside malls, complimented by only three bag/backpack shops hawking their gear in narrow stores on the street (buried deep in the city suburbs).

I'd approached the large CouchSurfing community collective in town on their thoughts for where to make a purchase, but most suggestions directed me to the same two overpriced dealers operating out of a well-to-do shopping mall. How disappointing.

Ultimately, I ended up purchasing a pack that's nearly as big as my own (2007) Kelty Redwing 3100, for about US$30. The blue Israeli-brand Kal-Gav pack has "60L" (liters) embroidered on the outside, though certainly holds less than my 50-liter Kelty—it's probably more like 45.

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