Anywhere Collection Field Test: Malcolm in Alaska
Hey Pakt Community! Malcolm, Pakt founder and designer here. In my role at Pakt, there are few things more fun than receiving the final samples of a new product. One that absolutely beats it though, is traveling with those new bag samples and getting to properly put them to the test!
My wife, Gabrielle, and I recently had a pretty epic trip to Alaska and were able to travel with a few pieces of new Pakt gear. This trip included airline travel, a rental car, and ferry travel; with a mix of urban and outdoor adventures, which was exactly the type of travel we designed The Anywhere Collection for. I’m happy to report that the gear was the perfect luggage choice for our trip, and it performed just as designed ( 😎 ).
The MVP award for this trip definitely goes to the 50L duffel/backpack hybrid. My wife and I both traveled with one as carry-ons for our clothes and personal items. We both pack pretty light, but a two week trip in a colder climate with a mix of different activities requires layers, bulky jackets, and multiple footwear options, so the 50 liter’s larger capacity came in handy. When we were flying or doing long days of travel, we’d carry them as a backpack but then would switch to duffel carry for the road trip portion of the trip.
The 5L Sling also got a lot of use on this trip. We used one as our day bag when exploring towns or cities. It also made a great bag for some of the day hikes we did, packing our phones, water bottles, snacks, and even another light layer. It will also fit a canister of bear spray, though I'd rather have that quickly accessible rather than in a zippered compartment - seconds count!
If you’re into outdoor activities, you need to book a trip to Alaska ASAP! I had been once before 15 years ago, but Gabrielle had never been, and I had been wanting to take her for years. It was everything I remembered, and as I expected, she loved it too.
The top tip we heard before going was that it’s a huge state, don’t try to do it all in one trip! It was great advice. We covered hundreds of miles and still just scratched the surface. Here’s our rough itinerary and some pointers for anyone considering a trip there:
Flew into Anchorage and picked up a rental vehicle.
The season for sightseeing is short and rental car prices can be crazy expensive. We rented through Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, scoring a ride for about half the price regular car rentals were going for.
Spent a night or two in Anchorage to get a taste for Alaskan City Life.
The Anchorage Museum was a great way to learn about the history of the Alaskan people before we started exploring. It’s a great museum; highly recommended.
Food and drink recs: 49th State Brewing, F Street Station, Bear Tooth Theatrepub
Drove to Valdez.
It’s a 6 hour drive but everywhere you looked there were stunning views! Valdez itself is a little sleepy, but enjoyably so. One of the highlights of the whole trip was a glacier kayak tour we did from there with Anadyr Adventures. Highly recommend the full day kayak option.
Ferried from Valdez to Whittier, then drove to Seward.
Ferries are a common and important part of the Alaskan transportation system. Like everything in Alaska- the views do not disappoint! Seward is a fun town. We stayed at a very cool, family-run, yurt lodging called Orcas Islands Cabins. It wasn’t cheap, but it was an amazing experience that we were glad we splurged on.
Our final destination: Homer.
From there we booked a tour where we flew to a beach where the river entered the ocean to view bears feeding on salmon. To put it simply– it was AWESOME! If you like fishing, Homer was also a great place to do a halibut or salmon fishing charter.
If you spend any time in Homer and you enjoy drinks and dive bars, it’s almost certain you will end up at the famous Salty Dawg Saloon. It’s a fun spot and you will probably add a dollar to the walls or ceiling. Look for ours up there!
Any questions about the performance of the 50L duffel/backpack or the Sling? Or better yet, any dive bar recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!