I’m the first to admit to being a card-carrying gadget geek. If the truth be known I’m also pathetically partial to luggage. Stationery too, but let’s not even go there! Unkind souls might say I have a hedonistic luggage obsession. Backpacks & hip packs, trolley bags & duffle swags, wheeled carryons & even larger wheeled week-longs, bags create a happy place. It’s not a bad obsession given the ridiculous amount of time spent unpacking and packing said luggage at ports far and wide. Laden with laptop, camera gear and phone along with the necessary cables, spare batteries and 240v adapters, not to mention appropriate clothes and shoes while on assignment, a travel writer develops an intimate relationship with luggage. Or, maybe that’s just me.
Actually, in that context it’s really quite sad. My love life would undoubtedly be more interesting if I spent more time chatting to the stranger next to me instead of longingly eyeing off the snappy carryon bag being stashed overhead by the woman in row 7.
Self-charging backpack for the regular traveller
So when Hedgren invited me to road test a backpack with the capability of not only carrying my gadgets but keeping them all charged as well it was a no-brainer. It’s true, as soon as I laid eyes on the Hedgren Connect backpack I was smitten. Landing on my doorstep like a long-lost lover wafting in from Italy all sleek black lines highlighted with surprising splashes of bright orange, I could barely wait to peel back the zips and discover secrets hidden within. I wasn’t disappointed.
Dispensing with ‘new relationship’ small talk, we swiftly became intimately acquainted. Delving into its soft squishy heart I found my own heart melting. With compartments purposefully defined, efficient cable organisers & ‘push through’ holes, cleverly concealed security features, a hefty battery with dual USB ports along with retractable 240v charging cable, my days of longing for other carryon partners was over. Packaging the whole shebang with slickly handsome good looks equally at home in the office or at the beach, it was time to hit the road to put my new Hedgren buddy to the ultimate test.
The Hedgren Connect road test
We hit the Northern Territory's Larapinta Trail for five days of hiking and camping in some of Australia’s harshest, dustiest, hottest country. Out back there are no 240v power charging stations and even less mobile or internet connectivity. Eeek! Cameras and iphone worked overtime snapping away at the extraordinary scenery while the Hedgren Connect internal battery kept juice supplied to a camera battery pack, image viewing device, iphone, ipod and another camera.
Before the dust had settled we returned home long enough to unpack one bag and repack another. A weekend at Port Douglas beckoned to check out the re-opening of the swanky five star Sheraton Mirage hotel. In these sophisticated surroundings Heddonish, as I’d come to call my hedonistic travel buddy, looked quite at home. Particularly once we (ooops, I mean I) had a cocktail in hand perched upon a sun lounge beside the ridiculously humongous lagoon pool. But our work wasn’t complete without a cocktail party poolside followed by an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. At Agincourt Reef we swam, snorkelled, took a helicopter ride and an underwater submersible boat cruise. Admittedly Heddonish didn’t have quite as much fun as I did, being more a landlubber than a water baby. No matter, he did his best and kept up with the pace despite looking slightly green at one point.
Back on dry land Heddonish’s good looks, charm and humour returned once the cocktails were handed out as we settled onto the daybeds overlooking the marina at Barbados Lounge. It turns out that Heddonish is quite the party boy (admittedly I think the Mojitos helped). Passed around our group who were equally enamored with his inner soul, I swear I heard a giggle as a fellow travel writer tickled his innards.
I’ll be keeping a very close eye on hedonistic Heddonish and his unquenchable penchant for cocktails and coconuts during our next assignment together to Laos and Thailand.
The Hedgren Connect verdict
Together until death do us part. Or at least until an alternative usurps Heddonish. Travel Writer's Plus One anyone?
Volume: 16 litre
Dimensions: 46 x 29 x 12cm
RRP: AUD299 (additional cost for battery pack)
More info: Hedgren
Disclaimer: Hedgren supplied the writer with the Hedgren Connect backpack for review purposes.