Thanks to the rich tradition of the Boy Scouts of America an external frame technical backpack, right now is sitting on a rack in a basement closet. Touring the national parks is not meant to be technically challenging therefore it was time to get a new day hike centric backpack. After looking at a fair number of online catalogs and stores throughout the greater Boulder, Colorado area the pack that stood out was the backpacking internal frame North Face Terra 40. Setup with a suspension system that is both comfortable and lightweight, the North Face 40 is capable of supporting enough gear for overnight backpacking, but is better suited for carrying enough gear for two hikers on a full eight-hour national park tour.
Backpack makers over the yeas have become enamored with the daisy chain loops system for quickly attaching tools and gear. The front pocket setup with multiple compartments and accessible map pocket at the top of the pack are better accessories than a daisy chain of loops. One of the nice features of the pack is a set of hip belt pockets that are accessible and useful for storing gear that needs to be quickly accessible like a navigation tool and a nice snack bar. North Face went to the trouble of making the Terra 40 hydration compatible for whatever that is worth between the internal compartment for a bag of water with a funny straw and two external water bottle holders the pack is capable of sporting four litters of water. North Face claims that the moderate difficulty long day hike that requires medium storage capacity inspired the design including the side compression straps and lightweight suspension.
With enough space to hold a significant number of snacks, water, a change of clothes, and an emergency first aid kit the North Face Terra 40 should enhance any endeavor to tour every national park in the Untied States of America. Now some of the national parks are remote and might require an external frame technical backpack that can carry a larger amount of gear and float if necessary down a stream. Most national parks are accessible through roads and support auto touring with several park and hike trials that are not remote enough to require overnight camping. At Rocky Mountain National Park, it is even possible to summit a mountain in a single day and be back in the car at nightfall to catch a steak dinner in celebration.
Andy Phelan says that leaving the couch is highly unlikely and hiking in every national park is an impossible dream, but then again the pictures will be online to prove that the journey happened. A snack master reference aside visiting every national park is not a dream it is an achievable reality. Hiking in every national park will take hard work, dedication, and leaving the comfort of snacks on the couch. In this case, Andy Phelan has it all wrong and with visits to Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde National Park already this year it is only a matter of time before Andy receives a camera phone picture of the next national park visit and eventually a camera phone picture of the celebratory taco snack.