Customer Spotlight: Margaret Goes On Safari

Customer Spotlight

We talk to dozens of customers every day on the phones, through email, and on chat at EMS customer service. The only thing we love more than helping our customers choose the right gear is hearing about all of the fantastic stuff they do with it.  Recently, Margaret Doheny sent us some great photos featuring the  EMS Wanderer Hydration Pack she received as a gift last Christmas.

EMS Wanderer Hydration Pack

Margartet was preparing for a 2 month volunteer trip to the Kwantu Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth South Africa and knew she would need a hydration pack, but had yet to decide on what she wanted when the Wanderer ended up underneath her tree.  As happy as she was on Christmas Day, she had no idea just how useful and important it was going to be, or that she would meet elephants and lions while using it!

As it turns out she was one of the best prepared volunteers there, and the Wanderer plus the water bottles she carried with her in a Mountainsmith lumbar pack kept her and some of her fellow volunteers hydrated during hot days of fixing roads, getting wild game counts, cutting down trees, and helping to run the small farm there.

“(It was) easily a full college year of information that was squeezed in to that amount of time,” she said. Normally Margaret tries to stick with items that are made from recycled materials, and she will even review gear and clothing on the site Kwyshe (, a site dedicated to all things recycle/upcycle/DIY/sustainable that she and her mom started in September of 2012.

Even though the Wanderer was brand new through and through, she said she wouldn’t have left for her trip without it. The pack easily carried her work gloves, flashlight and headlamp, knife, first aid kit, and a few snacks in the gear pocket, and the cushioning on the back made it comfortable to wear even on long hikes.

One thing the pack couldn’t do was keep out elephants.


On a trip out to meet the elephants who are taken care of at the reserve Margaret had undone the buckles on the pack so she could get it on and off quickly. There were a few pieces of fruit in with the rest of her gear and when one of the elephants got a whiff of the fruit inside it decided to help itself. The elephant grabbed the pack with its trunk and gave it a lift up and then pull down and quickly took it off Margaret’s back. Trainers at the site were able to convince the elephant to give the pack back, but Margaret gave some of the fruit over as an equal trade.

What really made her want to share her experience at Kwantu with us though was this white lion cub:


Margaret got to work with this cub from when its ears were still folded down toward its head, and watched it grow from 3 pounds to 40 pounds in the two months she was there. “I have many scars to show everyone I did work with a lion cub,” she said. The pack seems to have survived its photo session with the cub without many scratches.

Volunteering is a big part of Margaret’s life so she has many adventures ahead of her, and from what she tells us the Wanderer pack will be her way to keep hydrated while she’s out doing what she does best.

Rock on Margaret!



Lara works as a live chat agent in customer service at EMS Base Camp. When she’s not glued to the keyboard she likes to hike, run, snowshoe (in the appropriate weather, of course), and pretend she’s a photographer.While running support for a friend in a 5k she saw a team of runners wearing shirts that proudly advertised “In it to finish”. It’s an attitude that reflects her own; be out there and don’t worry about being first or fastest. Just do what you do the best that you can.Beyond that is life; which is filled with family, friends, kittens, and the occasional crochet project. Because your axe needs a cozy.