Commuting - Help with buying a bag please
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Here's what I need: Every day I will carry my 10lb laptop 13x11x2 with many books, notebooks, and my lunch to school and back (1/2 mile). I may be moving farther too and I ride a lot of places.
I originally owned some generic messenger bag and it really injured my lower back. It lacked proper cross staps, didn't have the right padding, and just plain didn't carry weight (above 5lbs) right. When riding it slides around a lot.
So I have seen crumpler, timbuk2, chrome, courier wear, manhattan portage, etc. I was mainly looking at the timbuk2 el ocho, for price, but was astounished that it looks just like every other generic bag. The extra pad doesn't appear impressive and the straps look painful.
My question is, will the timbuk2 carry weight right without injury. What bags are best for carrying weight right comfortably? Should I even bother with a messenger bag (I am not concerned with fashion, and [being an anti-capitalist] I would prefer to avoid the consumery arts)? If not what else is there that is functional [making it myself is a plus :)]. Basically I want opinions for bags
08-13-02, 03:47 PM
I have a Timbuk2 dee dog. What impresses me about it is the high quality, the water proof liner and various pockets built into it and it's nice that you can pick your own colors. The shoulder strap should come standard with a pad, without the pad the edge of the strap cuts into my shoulder with anything heavy in the bag. In my opinion messenger bags are best for messengers and not most commuters. Messengers need to be able to get in and out of the bag quickly and need to be able to carry just about anything on their back. Commuters carry the same things on a regular basis. Their bags can be specialized to their needs.
When I rode to school I used a standard backpack. I still have it and I prefer using it rather than the timbuk2. I like the comfort of the dual padded shoulder straps. I also quickly determined which books I needed to take with me and which could be left at home. I've heard good things about the commuter backpacks sold by Trek you might want to check them out.
Finally, that's alot of weight to be carrying on your back. You'd probably be better off fitting a rack to your bike and letting it carry some of the load.
So backpacks would do fine for riding? I haven't ridden with one. They don't slide about and whatnot? Messenger bags attract me for their cross-straps and padded straps.
08-13-02, 04:51 PM
thbirks is right about using a backpack. I've carried 12-packs of beer and all sorts of groceries in my knapsack over considerable distances with little more than slightly sore shoulders. Booey--as you sound interested in messenger bags over backpacks, I though I'd pass on a tip. In Oregon Cycling a few months back I read about Ron's Messenger Bags, which is a local outfit right in PDX. It might be worth checking out. I think you can get their info at Citybikes on Ankeny, which incidentally has a large selection of Timbuktu messenger bags, as well as panniers, racks, trunk bags, etc.
cool I'll go to city bikes today! Thanks for the recommendation
08-13-02, 05:00 PM
I've used a Timbuk2 for years and have carried everything from groceries and plants to bike wheels (I don't have a padded shoulder strap). The key is to pack a messenger back properly, carry it high on your back and strap that baby down - like when you saddle a horse. You will know when you have the bag set-up properly, even with a phenomenally heavy load, the bag is balanced and tight - you can jump, turn hard, etc. There is a reason messengers use them.
08-13-02, 05:04 PM
My backpack will sway from side to side when fully loaded. The commuter bags usually include a waist strap to eliminate this swaying and foam padding on the backside to let your back breathe. Both a backpack and a messenger bag will work. If you've got a backpack sitting around though, give it a try.
thbirks, I concur. I definately want the foam and cross strap system. A lot of the other bags (crumpler, chrome, etc) look more padded and have bigger straps than timbuk2. How do they compair?
By commuter bags do you mean messenger bags?
08-13-02, 05:30 PM
actually I meant commuter-type backpacks, like Treks Capacitor or these from Vaude. These don't seem to have the waist straps though.
I haven't used any other messenger bags. So I can't comment on the others. I know some of the couriers in Philly prefer this bag.
sorry, not a direct link. It's listed under products as "messenger bag"
08-14-02, 10:09 AM
I own a Timbuktu El Ocho (without the padded shoulder strap). I use it mostly for quick trips and light loads. I have been very pleased with this bag and would recommend it to anyone. Note that messenger bags "work" better when packed mostly full.
I also own a Camelbak Rimrunner hydration pack. This pack has both a sternum strap and a waist belt. It is slightly warmer than the El Ocho in the summer, but it carries a heavy load better than the messenger bag. I use this pack for running (it's intended purpose) and bicycling. I routinely carry 20lbs of stuff (yes I weighed it) with no problems at all. I don't fill the hydration bladder when cycling.
Since you are only going a short distance, either option will work for you. I would not lash the computer to a rack because the beating you will give the laptop will shorten it's life. Timbuktu offers a padded sleeve for laptops as an option on their bags.
08-14-02, 10:09 AM
Have you considered a saddle bag or a rack and panniers. That way you wouldn't have to carry anything on your back. Carradice makes extremely large saddlebags (up to 24 liter capacity) which could easily carry your laptop and then some. A rack and panniers may cost a little more, but they also would let you carry a lot more.
In the words of another poster "
Since you are only going a short distance, either option will work for you. I would not lash the computer to a rack because the beating you will give the laptop will shorten it's life. "
I love my laptop, bumps and heavy vibration are baaaad :)
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