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  1. #1
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    Easiest way to brighten up a backpack?

    I have a very useful backpack that I like to use for light errands on my bike. Unfortunately, it's also black/dark grey, so even when I'm wearing my yellow safety vest, most of my back represents an "invisible zone" to drivers. What's the easiest/cheapest way to brighten up the rear panel? Reflective tape? Glow-in-the-dark stickers? Other?

  2. #2
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Glow in the dark stuff won't do much for visibility.

    Hi-Viz Backpack rain covers help.

    This orange one's pretty bright.

    Some reflective stuff would be nice also, not sure the best way to get that. Messenger bags often come with reflective tags, dunno if they're sold separately.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Olde Western Auto Cruiser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Glow in the dark stuff won't do much for visibility.

    Hi-Viz Backpack rain covers help.

    This orange one's pretty bright.

    Some reflective stuff would be nice also, not sure the best way to get that. Messenger bags often come with reflective tags, dunno if they're sold separately.
    Yeah, I might need to think about rainproofing it anyway. I might also try accenting it with some bright orange or yellow duct tape.

  4. #4
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganchan View Post
    I have a very useful backpack that I like to use for light errands on my bike. Unfortunately, it's also black/dark grey, so even when I'm wearing my yellow safety vest, most of my back represents an "invisible zone" to drivers. What's the easiest/cheapest way to brighten up the rear panel? Reflective tape? Glow-in-the-dark stickers? Other?
    Get a reflective/glow belt. Strap it around your backpack. No batteries required. Good in daylight too.

    http://www.reflexsafety.com/section/17/1/sports-belts

  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganchan View Post
    I have a very useful backpack that I like to use for light errands on my bike. Unfortunately, it's also black/dark grey, so even when I'm wearing my yellow safety vest, most of my back represents an "invisible zone" to drivers. What's the easiest/cheapest way to brighten up the rear panel? Reflective tape? Glow-in-the-dark stickers? Other?
    I bought an oversize hi-vis vest, they are cheap and having bought one that's a size or two on the large size it will go over a moderately sized backpack. It doesn't leave much at the front but I'm less concerned about being seen from in front.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    The hi-viz backpack cover looks good, and was very low priced. Cinching a reflective/glow belt around the backpack might work out alright too.

    Not the easiest way to go, and could be way too much work on a backpack, but the reflective tape used on safety vests is available in various fabric stores and online. Got to either sew it on or attach it some other way. For some time, I'd been wanting a low priced shoulder bag with lots of reflectivity. Seems to be a rare bird. A month ago for its school sale, the big box store, fred meyer had messenger style bags discounted 70 percent, to $10. Got some of the 2" silver reflective tape, put three strips across the flap, plus a 1" strip, hi-vis orange that has a quarter inch strip of the silver reflective down the center. Still room on the flap for one more strip of the 1". Probably $20 for bag and tape...labor and time to put the tape on, depends.
    Last edited by wsbob; 11-04-12 at 08:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I bought an oversize hi-vis vest, they are cheap and having bought one that's a size or two on the large size it will go over a moderately sized backpack. It doesn't leave much at the front but I'm less concerned about being seen from in front.
    Exactly what I do. I put the backpack on first, then the hi-vis vest goes over the top. My vest will not close in the front, but I don't care.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

  8. #8
    Slowpoke
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    You need something reflective, not just bright colored; or something that emits light. There are a fair number of LED devices. Rivendell sells a reflective triangle that is great. http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/re5.htm There are other vendors for an item like this one. A dark zone from a backpack is not necessarily a problem if you have other visibility items facing backwards. Reflective pedals or ankle bands kind of scream "bicycle". Lights or reflectors mounted on your seatpost are great if unobscured. I like wrist bands also.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cderalow's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Respro hump cover would help........Hi-Viz Double Hump>http://www.respro.com/products/urban...ng/hiviz_hump/

    Or like me use a bunch of 3M SOLAS Reflective Tape http://www.identi-tape.com/solas.html
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    Flashbak.

    Never seen one in person, but it gets good reviews.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Pidge's Avatar
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    That Flashbak thing looks pretty neat.

    This is how I did up my water bags. Orange duct tape with auto tape and/or cheapy yellow wrist/leg bands. Flash shot just to show you the shiny bits. They stand out more in daylight too. And I ride mostly on dirt for what it's worth.


    Done cheaply and obviously not the greatest, but there ya go.

  13. #13
    Commander, UFO Bike K'Tesh's Avatar
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    Attached a slow moving vehicle triangle to my backpack... You can see how it looks in daylight


    Photo credit J. Maus (BikePortland.org)

  14. #14
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    I almost always ride around town with a MOLLE pack, so I just stick a blinking light on the back .( Pretty much anything that actually emits light is going to bebetter than a reflector, at least until the batteries die.)

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    I ended up sticking alternating horizontal strips of chrome silver and "speed-cone orange" duct tape to the back panel of the backpack. It's kind of ugly, but I should now be either easier to miss or easier to hit, depending on the driver's intentions.

  16. #16
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    I sometimes wonder about the run over the traffic cone motorist. If you are running good tail lights with your backpack set up this should not be an issue. Stay safe…… it doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it works.
    Sick BubbleGum

  17. #17
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Get a reflective/glow belt. Strap it around your backpack. No batteries required. Good in daylight too.

    http://www.reflexsafety.com/section/17/1/sports-belts
    And if he goes out without the pack he can still take the belt!

    Great idea.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  18. #18
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Reflective cloth tape is available through safety equipment suppliers and even some fabric stores. It shouldn't be too tough to find places you can add it to flaps, pockets or straps on your backpack. You might also be able to find some small reflectors that could be attached to the bag. A blinky is another good idea.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lightweights-F...bxgy_sg_text_y

    http://www.safetyreflectors.com/apparel.html

    https://pedsafe.com/reflectors/index...products_id=95
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  19. #19
    Senior Member rica rica's Avatar
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    just a side note, if you buy osha approved or ansi spec reflective gear it often costs less than reflective gear marketed to bikers (and is as good or better in terms of reflectivity). I have a work hoodie that is can be fully illuminated in my house just from a tiny nightlite across the room. it scared me half to death the first time i left it in the living room and walked in the next morning with nothing but the nightlite on and bam it looked like some crazy ghost

  20. #20
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    SOLAS tape (Safety Of Life At Sea). Stuff is meant to be seen on a dark ocean from far away. You can definitely be seen riding down a street.

    EDIT: Word of warning: I consider a pro, but be warned the stuff I have experience with will not come off once you put it on without quite a bit of effort. Again, it's meant for marine environments, so it's pretty hardy stuff.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 11-20-12 at 02:03 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    I hang a large flap of waterproof fabric with fluorescent yellow-green diamond-grade reflective tape on the back of my backpack. Works great.


    Rainy Day Conspicuity - Rear by joshua_putnam, on Flickr
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  22. #22
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    ^ That's a great idea, what you did with those rain-pants.
    3/4 rain pants are perfect for all but the coldest of rains.

  23. #23
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    ^ That's a great idea, what you did with those rain-pants.
    3/4 rain pants are perfect for all but the coldest of rains.
    Thanks -- commuting in Seattle, it's almost never really *cold* -- the low for this week is supposed to be 37, still too warm for full rain gear. Rain pants just below the knee leave plenty of ventilation. I leave the full width of the leg opening, so they're easy to put on over shoes or even boots. Keeps my quads and knees warm and dry without overheating the rest of me. (Keep your engine warm and your extremities make good radiators.)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

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