Good gear is not hard to find if you know where to look. Indispensable gear made in the USA, however, can be a bit tougher to track down.
(Sniped from the Mission Workshop website, this pic shows how sleek and simple the Rambler looks.)
Well, let me introduce you to the Mission Workshop Rambler backpack. Made in the USA and one piece of indispensable gear that I can't live without. I picked up mine in 2010 and it has gone pretty much everywhere any time I've needed to carry anything. I have used it to carry my stuff on bike commutes and errands, day hikes, back and forth to the ski resort, business trips, vacations, as my carry on bag, back and forth to bike races... Come to think of it, I can't think of a time that I needed to carry stuff and didn't use my Rambler in the last three years. Once, I even filled it with ice and beer and headed over to my friend's going away party.
With an expandable main compartment, the Rambler can double in size by opening the main zippers all the way. Plus, it has separate storage areas in front and behind the main compartment so you can carry TONS of stuff (such as groceries, rain gear, or ice and beer...). I have never had to worry about having enough room to carry anything since buying this bag. It can be used as a traditional "flap top" pack or roll top pack, ensuring that everything inside the bag stays put and is protected from the elements.
(Check out the Rambler in expanded roll top mode... Fits your groceries, laundry, work clothes, rain gear, a dust buster... Pretty much anything you need!)
Speaking of the elements (rain and snow are also a reality here in Western New York), the fact that the Rambler is water proof allows me to carry my stuff wherever and know that it won't get wet. After all, no one likes a soggy lap top or putting on wet work clothes after a rainy bike commute.
Did I also mention that this bag is super durable? Mine has been dropped, dragged, kicked, splashed with mud and muck and dirty snow filled with rock salt, and it still keeps on ticking. And it's made in the USA. Mission Workshop also guarantees their bags for life, so if anything ever fails as a result of materials or workmanship, Mission Workshop will repair or replace the bag free of charge. Or, if you're extra hard on your gear and it gets torn up because you took a tumble down the side of a volcano, you can send it to them and they'll get it fixed up (they just won't cover the costs). I myself have blown out two different zippers on my Rambler on two separate occasions. I contacted Mission Workshop, sent my bag in both times, and both times they fixed it and sent it back so I could keep on rambling (do you see what I did there?).
Throw in a sternum strap and the ability to purchase a waist strap (for added stability and versatility), and this bag can do almost anything and go almost anywhere.
Pick up a Rambler for your adventures, or give one as a gift for that person you know that "has everything."
(My Rambler pack in action as I rode to the "start" of the B2A Epic Ride in April of 2013. I carried a change of clothes, sneakers, a jacket, a few beers, extra water bottles, and a few other random things which saved my day after a serious bonk around mile 80.)