When crossing the Wastelands, it’s a good idea to make sure you have adequate provisions for the journey. Whether it’s food and water, equipment or other supplies, you’ll need something to help carry it all. (After all, the inventory is a wonderful, magical tool, but it’s neither visual nor particularly romantic.) Here I present for your consideration a handful of backpack-style accessories in different styles and configurations. One of these may be just what you need before setting out on your dusty trek. Always be prepared!
The first four designs here are creations by Cutea Benelli, of Grim Bros. You won’t have to look too closely to notice a certain stylistic similiarity: they’re all grungy. But there the resemblance ends, as each is thematically distinct and a unique creation in its own right. Here I’m wearing Cutea’s Enormous Pipe Dream, which has for its base a handsome but fairly standard-issue leather backpack. All pretense to the ordinary ends right there, though–the pack is crowned with a veritable halo of plumbing that suggests something very interesting indeed going on inside.
The Intelligence pack provides a hand-selected collection of data-gathering equipment, securely housed in a convenient backpack assembly. The tooled leather case rides low on the back, and it may or may not contain equipment that can or cannot be described here, for reasons of security. Don’t ask, don’t tell. The mysterious, rope-wrapped assembly just above has a specific function that is known to me, but which I’m not at liberty to disclose. More accurately, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Up top you’ll find mounted a scanning station with simple but functional radar scanner and a carbon-fiber satellite dish that receives all known and a classified number of unknown frequencies. Don’t leave home without it.
Cutea’s Nuke pack puts the awesome power of a nuclear pile right on your back. It’s shown with the flexi mutant creature tail, but can also be worn without (although, why?). Rusty biohazard containment barrels are barely held together by a rickety framework of scavenged metal plates and grating, and an overgrowth of flexi mold might be all that keeps the whole thing from collapsing of its own weight. In fact, there’s some kind of glowing gas venting out one side…that can’t be good. The Geiger counter appears to be functional, though–it’s still able to click ominously, anyway. Even more disturbing is the resonant BOOM that sounds when you click on the whole dubious contraption.
If there’s anything that makes an IT geek like me happy (now you know), it’s a bunch of “blinkenlights”, just blinken away. It only makes me happier that Cutea has kind of steampunk’d that up in the Blinken Gears backpack. Take a beat-up, paint-spattered old leather backpack, add a bunch of blinkenlights, some gauges, and for good measure a few decorative skulls and you’re on the right track. Perfect for tracking across the trackless wastes and the occasional stop at at the requisite establishment of dubious repute. It may not actually do anything, but it looks great not doing it.
Cutea’s backpack creations are priced at L$199 each. These are just a few of the many accessories available at Grim Bros. (Clematis Island 117, 49, 21).
The Long Playing Backpack by Pushbutton Skolnick re-purposes that icon of a long-gone era: the turntable. It comes complete with all the details you remember, however much you might protest that you don’t–tonearm, 45rpm adapter, and controls for volume, rotational speed, pitch/fade, and bass/treble/balance. What is that mysteriously spinning black disc? Dig deep into the recesses of memory and you may find the answer. It’s finished in genuine artificial woodgrain veneer, like all the finest home furnishings, and can be worn with or without the flip-to-close lid. Moddable, so you can replace the album cover art (feel free to look that one up). L$200 at Sprawl, formerly Pushbutton Industries (Bricolage 140, 36, 501).
I must now make a confession: much as I love all the others, I have saved my favorite backpack for last. The Neko-TV backpack by eko Merlin was a gift from my S.O. and I, um, kind of went crazy over it as soon as I tried it on. It’s vaguely steampunk-y, clearly neko, and roughly one ton of fun. It’s got its own portable power supply, intuitive analog controls (analog everything, in fact), and its very own kitty ears. With looks like these, it hardly needs to “do” anything, but in fact it plays your choice of eight animated clips on the TV screen. L$260 at Blitzed (Blitzed 86, 170, 68).
I must take a moment to rave about the boots I’m wearing, whichÂ Posy turned me onto.Â Mai Runo’s Engineer Boots are remarkably textured and beautifully designed examples of hard-core, heavy-duty footwear.Â The Brown Zipper boots have chunky treaded soles, heavy strapsÂ with strong buckles, and a sturdy front zipper closure.Â Of the handful of other available styles, I especially likeÂ the similarly constructed Black Ring boots.Â Their uppers areÂ lovingly sculpted, and instead of a buckle the shoe portion is decorated with a bright metal ring held cleverly in place by leather straps.Â I can’t recommend either of these stylesÂ highly enough, and the others look great too.Â L$400 each at Zero Number (Koenji 232, 46, 40).Â I also picked up a pair of skullie flip-flops that are inordinately amusing.