Saturday, April 7, 2012

Osprey All Mighty Guarantee

What could have been a bad omen has turned into an example of great customer service.  Two weeks ago I walked into my apartment - new camera case in hand - and proceeded to test it's size to see if it would fit in my Osprey Exos backpack's hip-belt pocket.  Here is what I found...

I had no idea that objects could self-combust!  Did my pack - the most important piece of gear that I would carry for the next five months - just inexplicably melt while sitting harmlessly on my floor?  I looked around for evidence of a searing liquid dripping from the sink above where it leaned against the wall.  Nothing.  Were rats burrowing into my wall and chewing up my gear?  Nope!  I was utterly dumb-founded!  The seams were falling apart with only a gentle nudge!  The fabric was literally melted in places.  The left shoulder strap buckle had completely melted and fallen apart!  

I quickly pulled out the few items I had stored in my pack, my sleeping bag, my rain jacket and other items, preparing myself for the worst.  A couple of small holes were seared through my sleeping bag stuff sack.  Pulling it out I found the three small holes burned through the bag.  Luckily they are small and repair-able.  Everything else looked fine.  Then, I noticed a red gooey liquid staining the pack (see top of pocket in the picture).  What could this be?   I looked around and saw a canister of stove fuel nearby, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  No leaks or evidence of a leak.  And if something leaked onto my pack than why was my carpet completely un-affected?  The stain smelled off but I couldn't place it.

Two hours later it hit me - Battery Acid!!  I had a spare motorcycle battery flopping around in the back of my car with plans to drop if off to be recycled.  It must have leaked.  I then must have set my new backpack in the back of the car and into a puddle of acid.  Checking my car - sure enough the battery was sitting on it's side with dried/crusty battery acid crumbling on the top.  It must have been two weeks earlier that I last handled the pack and brought it in from my car, apparently with battery acid already soaked in.  The acid had two full weeks to work it's magic on my backpack!

Would Osprey's "All Mighty Guarantee" cover my acid soaked backpack? Their guarantee boasts, "Any Reason, Any Product, Any Era". They state they will "repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday". If they can't perform a functional repair, they say, they will happily replace it.

And they did! A new pack arrived today, less than a week after sending back the acid-burned pack. Now, with a week to spare before I head off to Idaho, I have a new pack and am Osprey has saved my ass.  

Thank you Osprey!

A final gear report will be posted shortly. Three weeks until I hit the trail!



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PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!