DMBFan

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I'm debating on whether to splurge on a bookbag for med school or whether a large bag (a la Mary Kate Olson) will do for holding my binders and books. What do you guys use (if anything)?

Also, do you guys who are currently in med school use notebooks or binders? Nerdy question I know, but trying to get school supply buying out of the way!
 

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yeah, I'm curious too. I'll be a 10-minute walk away from med school, and I'm wondering how many lbs (in books, notes, laptop) we have to carry each day. My laptop is about 5.5 lbs already, so I hope I don't have to carry much more than that!

as for notebooks vs. binders, I think it's really a personal preference. Binders are nice b/c you can keep handouts and your own notes togeth in the same place according to date, whereas with a notebook, I usually have to keep my handouts in a separate folder and I have to match the handouts to my notebook entries, if that makes sense.
 
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oompa loompa said:
yeah, I'm curious too. I'll be a 10-minute walk away from med school, and I'm wondering how many lbs (in books, notes, laptop) we have to carry each day. My laptop is about 5.5 lbs already, so I hope I don't have to carry much more than that!

as for notebooks vs. binders, I think it's really a personal preference. Binders are nice b/c you can keep handouts and your own notes togeth in the same place according to date, whereas with a notebook, I usually have to keep my handouts in a separate folder and I have to match the handouts to my notebook entries, if that makes sense.

is it a common practice to bring your computer to class with you every day? i have a laptop, but i kinda dont feel like dragging it around with me on a daily basis.
 

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I got one of these for free:

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/retail/catalog.htm?categoryId=7

They're more casual and sporty but they're specifically for laptops and books. Plus there's a waist strap so you can bike/run to class without your bag flapping at your side. Since I'm probably going to be stuffing my bag into lockers and carrying it all over I'll probably use this a lot as opposed to my nicer bags.
 

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I've been thinking about this too. In undergrad, I never carried that much to classes. No more than 3 notebooks, so I wouldn't use a bag. However, I'm wondering how much I'll need to carry if I'm in class all day long. I'd feel kinda silly wearing a backpack, like I'm too old or something.
 

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Chinorean said:
I got one of these for free:

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/retail/catalog.htm?categoryId=7

They're more casual and sporty but they're specifically for laptops and books. Plus there's a waist strap so you can bike/run to class without your bag flapping at your side. Since I'm probably going to be stuffing my bag into lockers and carrying it all over I'll probably use this a lot as opposed to my nicer bags.
Timbuk 2's are awesome bags. Simple design, completely waterproof, big, sneaky pockets on the inside lining...perfect for a laptop, notebook and textbook (You'de need a backpack to lug around multiple textbooks). They started in San Francisco as bike messenger bags, and they are so durable... I've had mine for 8 years now and it still looks new...must have gone through 3 or 4 other backpacks in that time.
 

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The key is whether your school provides a syllabus, complete with notes for each class. If so, you will be given a large stack of 3-hole punched papers to put into a LARGE binder, and you can just supplement by writing on the notes they already gave you (sure, you could break the notes up, but I would just end up losing them :p ). My school is like this and some had bags to carry the binder and some just carried the binder itself around. Between quick-paced lectures and group discussions, we never had any need for our laptops, so those stayed at home. Don't bother sclepping the books, either - those are for individual studying.

If your school doesn't provide notes or online lectures, then I guess you need a notebook and a tape recorder!

Although, in retrospect for the non-lazy, the best thing is probably to review the notes they give you, take notes de novo in lecture to stay awake, and then make composite notes when you go home.

Hope that helps.


DMBFan said:
I'm debating on whether to splurge on a bookbag for med school or whether a large bag (a la Mary Kate Olson) will do for holding my binders and books. What do you guys use (if anything)?

Also, do you guys who are currently in med school use notebooks or binders? Nerdy question I know, but trying to get school supply buying out of the way!
 

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I still have the same LL Bean backpack from way way back in the day... well, its not the same one; everytime it breaks I just send it back and a new one magically appears 4 days later. I dont know why I felt obliged to share this.
 

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Backpacks are also very useful outside of academic environments... For example, I've used my backpack for day trips to the park, the beach, and over-night trips as well! They're fantastic as a carry-ons for airplanes or simply for transporting many items a short distance by foot!
 

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I'd guess it was pretty much a 50-50 split between messenger bags and bookbags when I was in med school. Pretty much everyone carried their stuff in something. I went the messenger bag route, as I found it easier to get to things, it was more comfortable to carry on one shoulder, and just looked better (IMO). ;)
 

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I'm still using the same LL Bean backpack I used all through college. It's been sufficient for lugging around my laptop, too, even though it's not actually made for that.

I've used binders lots more for med school than I ever did in college, because (as has already been noted) you get so many handouts. Even in the classes that give you a bound, printed syllabus, there are usually stacks of 3-hole punched powerpoint slides that have to be stored somewhere.
 
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DMBFan said:

Those bags are really cute, but remember with all that hardware, there wont be much room for books inside! I think large totes are best for carrying books. Ive been using Longchamp and Herve Chapelier bags since high school. They are cheaper than the Betsey Johnsons so you can get a few in different colors. Also, Longchamp will let you customize colors/ monogram on their website. They are strong enough to hold tons of books/ notebooks/ laptop and the handles are long enough to wear over your shoulder.
 

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I actually just bought a leather laptop-briefcase with a shoulder-strap. It's actually made for lawyers, I think, but it looks nice and will allow me to always carry my laptop, several notebooks, and probably one textbook. It was pretty expensive, though...
 

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I invested in a leather bookbag for undergrad: www.customhide.com has great ones that can hold anything and everything and are completely waterproof! All the convenience of a backpack without the high-school-ballistic-nylon look. It's totally worth the money: my bag still looks great and will definitely see me through another 4 years in med school. It also makes a great carry-on for traveling and general I-have-a-lot-of-crap bag.
 

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No way am I carrying Big Robbins on one shoulder...

My incoming 2nd year opinion.
 

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DMBFan said:
I just finished my first year, and looking at the bags you are considering actually made me laugh out loud. Regardless of what school you attend, you will likely be carrying much more than what will fit in either of those bags. And another thing. $385 for a bag?? Why don't you invest in a nice backpack and invest the leftover money in one of the many $150 books you will inevitably be buying. Sure, these bags will ensure your status as a high-style diva on the first day of orientation, but by the end of the first week, you will be ready to sell your soul for a comfy backpack with padded handles and shoulder straps. Go buy the biggest, comfiest backpack you can find. Then, this time next year, look back at a thread such as this one and burst out laughing when someone wants to buy an oversized handbag for their first-year wares.
 
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lovelybereagrad said:
I just finished my first year, and looking at the bags you are considering actually made me laugh out loud. Regardless of what school you attend, you will likely be carrying much more than what will fit in either of those bags. And another thing. $385 for a bag?? Why don't you invest in a nice backpack and invest the leftover money in one of the many $150 books you will inevitably be buying. Sure, these bags will ensure your status as a high-style diva on the first day of orientation, but by the end of the first week, you will be ready to sell your soul for a comfy backpack with padded handles and shoulder straps. Go buy the biggest, comfiest backpack you can find. Then, this time next year, look back at a thread such as this one and burst out laughing when someone wants to buy an oversized handbag for their first-year wares.
I'm not trying to be a "high-style diva." I don't think THAT term has been used since, like, say the 1970s. I just don't like bookbags. I guess that's a crime on the snarkfest that is these boards.
 

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In regards to buying a bag lacking good shoulder straps, sure you may not carry your books or laptop to class. You probably don't need to assuming you'll be paying attention, but unless you study exclusively at home, buy something you don't mind carrying around when its loaded up with massive books AND a laptop.
 

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DMBFan said:
I'm not trying to be a "high-style diva." I don't think THAT term has been used since, like, say the 1970s. I just don't like bookbags. I guess that's a crime on the snarkfest that is these boards.
yes, well, when you're speaking with a bunch of people with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student debt, spending $385 on a bag (that truthfully will not cut it for med school anyway) does seem like crime.
 

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What do we do during third year? I don't think I've ever seen a 3rd or 4th-year student with a bag of any kind. Do we carry everything in our white coats and ditch the bags and laptop?
 
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I don't know if mum and dad are picking up the tab for the nearly-$400 bag or if you're just adding another scoop of debt to the pile, but the idea of paying that much for a silly-looking bag makes me laugh. Don't forget your Jackie O glasses.
 
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SecretDove said:
I don't know if mum and dad are picking up the tab for the nearly-$400 bag or if you're just adding another scoop of debt to the pile, but the idea of paying that much for a silly-looking bag makes me laugh. Don't forget your Jackie O glasses.
Just because your spending priorities aren't on bags does not mean you should flame someone else because either a) they can afford to b) they want to or c) they have diff. spending priorities/interests (WHAT A FASCINATING IDEA).

Similarly, none of you have thought of the AMAZING possibility that, I don't know, THE BAG IS ON SALE. I'm not flaming anyone for spending money on your dorky extra-curriculars that many pre-meds have like buying the latest Battlestar Galactica DVD the second it comes out.

Now, this is dangerously veering off topic, so if anyone has anything constructive to say about bookbags, please say it. Otherwise this debate about a stupid handbag is pointless and reveals your insecurities about money to say the least.
 

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I'm going to put my vote in for a North Face backpack. I know most people probably buy them for the name/look, but honestly it's the best backpack I've ever had. It's got a great laptop pocket that secures down your computer (and doesn't let it hit the ground if you put your bag down), and a gazillion pockets for everything and anything you could imagine. And at about $75, they're not the cheapest, but they're certainly not the most expensive. My shoulders thank me for it everyday :)
 

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DMBFan said:
Just because your spending priorities aren't on bags does not mean you should flame someone else because either a) they can afford to b) they want to or c) they have diff. spending priorities/interests (WHAT A FASCINATING IDEA).

Similarly, none of you have thought of the AMAZING possibility that, I don't know, THE BAG IS ON SALE. I'm not flaming anyone for spending money on your dorky extra-curriculars that many pre-meds have like buying the latest Battlestar Galactica DVD the second it comes out.

Now, this is dangerously veering off topic, so if anyone has anything constructive to say about bookbags, please say it. Otherwise this debate about a stupid handbag is pointless and reveals your insecurities about money to say the least.
Those bags from your original post are nice bags... on the pricey side but nice. However I don't know if they'll be appropriate for med school. I carry a large tote bag most days but sometimes my old-school Jansport backpack to try and accomodate my laptop in addition to a notebook (for handouts) and sometimes a text book. If I were you I'd invest in something a little bit larger and a bit cheaper. Also take into consideration what kind of person you are... do you carry everything you can think of in your bag (think the bottomless mommy bags) or just the bare essentials. If you're only carrying your laptop and a folder and these bags will accommodate those things, then by all means, buy one of those bags. But if you have to carry much more than that, those bags may not be appropriate.

Good luck in your search for the perfect bag. Hopefully you'll find something in both the form and function for you!
 

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The type of bag you get also depends on what school you are going to. At the UWSOM you are required to bring your laptop with you to class. So because of that, I got two bags. One is a North Face Electron 26 and the other is a Timbuk2 laptop case. The north facce can hold my laptop if I really want it to, but then I also have the Timbuk2 laptop bag (which only holds a laptop and the cord, nothing else) if I cram my bag too full. I also just like backpacks because of the even distribution of weight.
 

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thinknofu3 said:
I'm going to put my vote in for a North Face backpack. I know most people probably buy them for the name/look, but honestly it's the best backpack I've ever had. It's got a great laptop pocket that secures down your computer (and doesn't let it hit the ground if you put your bag down), and a gazillion pockets for everything and anything you could imagine. And at about $75, they're not the cheapest, but they're certainly not the most expensive. My shoulders thank me for it everyday :)
i'm gonna have to say AMEN to that! for weeks i've been wondering if i should dork it up and get a backpack instead of a larger timbuk2 messenger bag (i own one and love it, but hate it the minute i put anything heavy in there). i'm so glad i got a north face bag because of the laptop pocket. for kicks i stuffed my 5 lb laptop in there, along with two large reference books and didn't feel any strain. i was surprised at how much i could carry, and i'm not a large person. i highly recommend this bag...it's about $20 cheaper than patagonia, which is another one i was looking at.
 

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I really like the North Face bags as well, but what I decided to do was keep my old school LL Bean (it got me through high school and college, so why not med school?) and recently purchased a smaller canvas messenger. That way if I just need my laptop and a binder or two for class I have something fairly unobtrusive but if I need to hit the library with a bunch of books, laptop, etc I still have the backpack.
 
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you'll love it! they even came out with new colors, so check out your nearest camping/outdoor supply store. i feel like a little kid starting school, but oh well. whatever works to get you excited, right? :D
 

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Hard24Get said:
The key is whether your school provides a syllabus, complete with notes for each class. If so, you will be given a large stack of 3-hole punched papers to put into a LARGE binder, and you can just supplement by writing on the notes they already gave you (sure, you could break the notes up, but I would just end up losing them :p ). My school is like this and some had bags to carry the binder and some just carried the binder itself around. Between quick-paced lectures and group discussions, we never had any need for our laptops, so those stayed at home. Don't bother sclepping the books, either - those are for individual studying.

If your school doesn't provide notes or online lectures, then I guess you need a notebook and a tape recorder!

Although, in retrospect for the non-lazy, the best thing is probably to review the notes they give you, take notes de novo in lecture to stay awake, and then make composite notes when you go home.

Hope that helps.
I completely agree with this. I personally don't like backpacks, so I went the tote bag route. If you decide to do this, make sure you get one that's big enough (measure a big binder and add an inch or two to the dimensions to get your minimum) and make sure you can wear it over your shoulder comfortably. I get the 3 hole-punched notes, so all I carry is a binder and maybe a small book or note cards. I got my bag at jcrew, but they don't carry it anymore. they tend to have reasonably priced totes, though, so it's worth a look. and there's always zappos.com - free shipping both way is great. bottom line, i would wait until classes start before deciding what to buy. good luck!
 

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moinmoin said:
Thanks. I'm going to UW next year as well but don't want to haul a heavy bag with a laptop on one shoulder. This pack looks good.
Hey I use this bag: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EH0OW8/sr=8-2/qid=1154542999/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-7233090-7870501?ie=UTF8

It really has been awesome on my shoulders and back. My previous bag was an REI Alpine, used it for 4 years and the zipper broke so I took it back to REI and they gave me a full refund, so I bought this Kelty bag with the refund! Ive had it for a year and I am very pleased. It holds a lot of stuff and there is a laptop compartment in the back, and whats nice is that its got an aluminum frame in the back so it provides impact resistance to your goods. :)
 

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Let's be honest here... the reason there is a 50/50 split is b/c the main thing you should look for is what kind of bag YOU like to carry, what situations you'll be using it for, and how much internal space it has. Personally, I have an old school J.Crew canvas messenger bag AND and old school L.L. Bean Continental rucksack:

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=1&catalogId=1&langId=-1&categoryId=32924&sc1=Search&feat=sr

Both have been exceedingly rugged and spacious for what I need. A lot of you have been mentioning carrying Robbins on one shoulder--if you're doing that, you're probably not the wisest brick in the bundle. As far as I know, most schools now print off notes for their classes. What most medical students need is a bag that will let you carry 2-4 1.5 inch binders (or equivalent) with room enough for a small-medium sized laptop (also plenty of pockets for PDA, pens, pocket references, water, and snacks). Instead of hauling Robbins, you can look it up for free in the online Robbins, and save yourself the indirect or femoral hernia.

The Timbuk2 linked at the beginning of this thread is also an awesome bag, many classmates have them, and you can get them in custom colors if you wish to "stand out" for some reason. Another thing to consider is many people probably will notice that 3rd and 4th years (at least at the schools I've visited) seem to favor messenger bags. Regardless, make sure it is something comfortable, and I also highly recommend a waist strap for the days you might not be on time. Just some ideas from a 3rd year.
 

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kraphtymac said:
and I also highly recommend a waist strap for the days you might not be on time.
Waist strap for running?
 

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DMBFan said:
Just because your spending priorities aren't on bags does not mean you should flame someone else because either a) they can afford to b) they want to or c) they have diff. spending priorities/interests (WHAT A FASCINATING IDEA).

Similarly, none of you have thought of the AMAZING possibility that, I don't know, THE BAG IS ON SALE. I'm not flaming anyone for spending money on your dorky extra-curriculars that many pre-meds have like buying the latest Battlestar Galactica DVD the second it comes out.

Now, this is dangerously veering off topic, so if anyone has anything constructive to say about bookbags, please say it. Otherwise this debate about a stupid handbag is pointless and reveals your insecurities about money to say the least.
for a) I assume you mean "[daddy] can afford it"
and by c) most med students I know have spending priorities/interests that involve a roof over their heads and food

but one day when you have a patient who can't afford their perscriptions, maybe you can give them one of your bags and they can pawn it for a months worth of medication.

so if you NEED the bag because of your utter distaste in backpacks, perhaps it comes in a nice teal color that will match your scrubs!
 

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Jedix123 said:
Waist strap for running?
Yep it goes on the back of the messenger bag and basically belts it to you.

Also some people like to splurge on nice things and can afford to. What's wrong with that?
 

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You have to wait until the cult induction to medical school to find out what is acceptable.
 

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DMBFan said:
Otherwise this debate about a stupid handbag is pointless and reveals your insecurities about money to say the least.
Yes, spending money that's not my own, which I'll be paying back for 25 years after graduating does make me insecure...and shouldn't it? It's nice that you don't have to worry about money, for most of us that's not true, for many, the price tag might be one of most important aspects when looking for a bag that will work for their purpose. My intention is not to insult your choices, you should choose whatever you want and not worry about what others think, it's just that you have to expect people to comment on the price in this forum...most of us are about to be very poor for the next 4 years...those bags happen to cost more than a month's worth of rent where I'll be living... Just to clarify my position, I have several expensive bags that I've purchased over the past few years or recieved as gifts from my parents, but now that I'll be unemployed, quite frankly, there's no room for it in my budget anymore. :rolleyes:

The north face bag looks awesome, if it will last a few yrs, $80 seems like it would be worth it. thanks all for the suggestions :thumbup:
 

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strawberryfield said:
Yes, spending money that's not my own, which I'll be paying back for 25 years after graduating does make me insecure...and shouldn't it? It's nice that you don't have to worry about money, for most of us that's not true, for many, the price tag might be one of most important aspects when looking for a bag that will work for their purpose. My intention is not to insult your choices, you should choose whatever you want and not worry about what others think, it's just that you have to expect people to comment on the price in this forum...most of us are about to be very poor for the next 4 years...those bags happen to cost more than a month's worth of rent where I'll be living... Just to clarify my position, I have several expensive bags that I've purchased over the past few years or recieved as gifts from my parents, but now that I'll be unemployed, quite frankly, there's no room for it in my budget anymore. :rolleyes:

The north face bag looks awesome, if it will last a few yrs, $80 seems like it would be worth it. thanks all for the suggestions :thumbup:

Northface is crap. If possible, I would buy a Dakine bag, I think they make some of the highest quality products available (mostly surfing gear). I've been using mine for 5 years now.
 

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Northface is crap. If possible, I would buy a Dakine bag, I think they make some of the highest quality products available (mostly surfing gear). I've been using mine for 5 years now.
northface isn't crap. i've had the same northface for 9 years and it's still in great shape...no rips or anything.
 

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say what said:
northface isn't crap. i've had the same northface for 9 years and it's still in great shape...no rips or anything.
While you've apparently had a good experience with North Face, that doesn't mean their products aren't inferior. North Face products are widely known to be lower quality than their competitors that make outdoor wear.
 

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I've got a great Patagonia bag that has a padded laptop compartment and plenty of space for books. It also turns into a backpack if that's your thing. http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/product/collection.jsp?OPTION=COLLECTIONS_DISPLAY_HANDLER&catid=2587&pageSize=11&pageNumber=all&ws=&catcode=MAIN.CLOTHING_GEAR.PACKS/TRAVEL_GEAR.TRAVEL_GEAR#sku.48092

Last year, I used my Timbuk2 bag from college. Back then, I saw maybe 10 or 20 other people ever using it on my entire campus. When I got to med school, there were literally about 10 or 15 other people with them...that's like 10 or 15 percent of my class.
 

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From a pre-med student who's had too much to carry:

2 backpacks!

1 of them should be devoted to carrying your laptop plus your books. Keep extra portable accessories like spare laptop batteries, LT mice, drink coolers, emergency beer in the backpack if you're crazy. Other backpack should be relatively light and small, just enough to get by in a day. No beers in that one.
 

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surebreC said:
While you've apparently had a good experience with North Face, that doesn't mean their products aren't inferior. North Face products are widely known to be lower quality than their competitors that make outdoor wear.
well, you may be right. i've never heard that before actually. i have about 5 north face jackets, a bag, and some other outerwear (and no i don't buy them to be "cool" or anything like that) and they've all outperformed the majority of other brands i've tried. like i said, you may be right if they are indeed inferior to dakine or some other brands, but you can't just write them off as "crap." anyway, that's my two cents. :thumbup:
 
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