Safe As Milk

Category: records

GORUCK SK26

SK26label

I mentioned that I’d gotten a GORUCK SK26. I’ve been using it daily for a month and I’m into it. I haven’t carried a backpack on the regular since high school (’89!) and it took a couple of days to find the sweet spot where the straps were snug enough to be comfortable without having to contort myself to get in or out of it.

SK26front SK26back

The bag is almost absurdly overbuilt. The fabric is thick 100D Cordura which feels like it should wear forever. The straps are crazy thick and almost too stiff at first. From what I’ve read, they will break in over time and end up with almost a custom fit for the wearer. We’ll see. The extra thinkness in the straps also helps make heavy loads more comfortable (I can vouch for this).

SK26open The open plan of the bag lets you have access to all 26L in whatever configuration you believe best. I have a couple of standard EDC-dork things hooked to the internal PALS webbing: a couple of velcro straps, some small lights, and some carabiners. I’m a paracord bracelet away from being a doomsday prepper. The “SK” in the name of the bag refers to the “slick” look of not having any of the PALS webbing on the outside of the bag. Since my daily use was going to be carrying to the office I didn’t think the full-on techincal look was a good fit. A backpack is hardly professional office wear but I’m not as far over the line of propriety as I would be with buckles and straps and bungee all over the outside of the bag.

It’s tricky to see in that photo, but there is an elastic pocket there below the PALS webbing. It’ll hold a standard file folder easily. The folded down portion of the bag there has a closed zippered pouch and separate zippered mesh compartment. I haven’t used those much yet but they will end up being useful at some point. Probably. There is also a zippered slash pocket on the front of the bag for quick access if you need something at hand right away.

SK26andSlip SK26withSlip

The SK26 wasn’t 100% office-ready for me. I need a way to carry my coffee mug, pens, notebook, and some more EDC junk (pocket knife, leatherman). I purchased a Tom Bihn Vertical Freudian Slip to fill these gaps. It fits almost as though it was designed for the SK26. This combination results in exactly what I want to carry to the office every day. The other side of the Slip has 4 pockets for carrying papers and folders. I fit a large Moleskine squared notebook in there with no trouble. Like every other piece of Tom Bihn I own, the quality of the manufacture is top-shelf.

SK26withLPs

I was able to justify (to myself and the Household Appropriations Committee) the cost of the bag by it’s versatility as more than just a glorified briefcase. I had occasion to need to haul a dozen LPs I was selling this weekend. I removed the Freudian Slip and the SK2 swallowed them with plenty of room to spare. That photo above is 25 LPs in the bag. I could have probably snugged another 2-3 in there but 25 is a good max. capacity number for rating purposes. FYI, 25LPs make for a heavy load but those straps I was talking about made it almost comfortable to carry.

I didn’t even mention the laptop compartment that lives under the straps of the bag outside of the main compartment but that’s because I don’t carry a laptop every day. I have no idea how effective it is.

After a month of daily use I’m firmly in favor of the SK26 as an every day office carry bag. I have some travel coming up this summer so I will have more points of reference as to the bags versatility. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Jack White, 2013 Record Store Day Ambassador

2it’s just 2 months away!

JACK WHITE: RECORD STORE DAY 2013 AMBASSADOR from Record Store Day on Vimeo.

The old collector’s itch.

I’ve been collecting things my whole life. It started with comic books. As soon as I could read I had a stash of comics that I refused to get rid of. I was physically incapable of throwing away a comic book. Like lots of kids my age I also got into Star Wars figures (and Adventure People and GI Joe but never Transformers) and baseball/football/basketball/hockey cards. I spent hours poring over price guides and classified sales ads daydreaming about the fortune I was sitting on and the various fortunes I’d soon have if only I could talk my mom into giving me a stamp for the envelope.

Last month I saw a tweet from Steady Sounds advertizing some soul and funk 45’s they had on eBay. I popped over to check them out and ran across this Lee Morgan LP whose price had been bid up over $550 for some reason. I get that some records are rare (not the music, but the particulars of the pressing or of the label or the sleeve or whatever) but this seemed like it was even further out than normal. The title of the listing had some abbreviations I didn’t understand, either (W 63rd RVG EAR DG), but I have enough collector dork experience to know that they are shorthand for something important to someone. My spidey sense (nerd reference! was tingling like crazy so I had to start poking around to find out what the hell these things meant. Searching and reading led me here and to here, which laid out the case pretty plainly. This Lee Morgan record hits all of the marks for a first-pressing of a Blue Note LP, right in the sweet spot for Blue Note LP collectors. Some more poking around showed me that this isn’t even terribly expensive for a record in this narrow band of interest.

I’ve gotten better about fighting off the urge to collect. I can recognize that sometimes wanting the thing feels better than having the thing. There was just something about seeing this record that set off some weird adolescent chemical reaction in my head. Really weird. Weird to the point that I was compelled to come here and write it down.