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Old 05-19-15, 10:36 AM   #1
rms13
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Laptop backpack

I'm looking for suggestions for a backpack to hold a 14-15" laptop and a change of clothes. My commute is short (5 miles) and ride a road bike with no braze ons and have no need for a rack. And if I get a bag from Timbuk2 that is around $100-130 range I can get my job to buy it for me so that limits my choices.

I was looking at this messenger/backpack.

Ace Laptop Backpack Messenger Bag

I like the fact that it converts from messenger to backpack but then I see some cycling specific ones:

Madrone Cycling Laptop Backpack

My main question is what makes a backpack "cycling specific" and what advantage would I have with that one over the other if any?
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Old 05-19-15, 10:41 AM   #2
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My main question is what makes a backpack "cycling specific" and what advantage would I have with that one over the other if any?
Seems to be mostly addition of geegaws like helmet or lock holders, and deletion of useful items like bottle or phone holders.

I am currently trying out one of these it is less bad, more useful, than other cycling packs I have tried. It sacrifices less space to cycling features that I won't use. But still not a substitute for a full on daypack that I would use for a hike.
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Old 05-19-15, 10:48 AM   #3
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Seems to be mostly addition of geegaws like helmet or lock holders, and deletion of useful items like bottle or phone holders.

I am currently trying out one of these it is less bad, more useful, than other cycling packs I have tried. It sacrifices less space to cycling features that I won't use. But still not a substitute for a full on daypack that I would use for a hike.
That's a nice looking bag. I figure that cycling backpacks are designed to sit on your back in a more optimized position for riding??? Although that sounds like some good marketing
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Old 05-19-15, 10:51 AM   #4
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No backpack is going to be as comfortable as using on bike storage.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ustomerReviews

I commute and tour on a road bike using one of those.

If I were going to commute to a job and had to bring my laptop to and from, and for some reason couldn't leave it at the work place, I would use that rack and bungee cord any old piece of **** backpack to it, with the laptop inside.

That way my back won't be covered in sweat when I get to work.
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Old 05-19-15, 10:51 AM   #5
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That's a nice looking bag. I figure that cycling backpacks are designed to sit on your back in a more optimized position for riding??? Although that sounds like some good marketing
Oh I forgot the reason I can't use the daypack that I like on the bike: it has some internal rigidity stuff that digs deep into my neck when I try to hold my head up on the bike. So yeah, not digging into your neck when you are riding is also a good feature. This green one I actually can set to dig into my neck but if I move the straps to make it less good off the bike I can get it into a zone where it is not in my way on the bike. Or, I'm not in its way, 'cause I'm the one moving, it stays put.
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Old 05-19-15, 10:55 AM   #6
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I have a cycling specific backpack and the main feature I was looking for was weatherproofness since I ride in all weather. Some backpacks have a rain cover but I didn't want to have mess with one of those.

It still has a water bottle "pocket" which can also house a u-lock. It has a cellphone holder as well but it's a few years old and was designed for smaller phones.

A couple of other more bike specific features are reflective stripes and a strap to hold a tail light.

Unlike most backpacks, it doesn't have a ton of different storage compartments. It has a couple of pockets on the front for smaller items like keys, cords, spare lights, pens, etc. Then there is a single monstrous compartment that is used for everything else. This works pretty well for me since it allows me to carry large items if I need to. I put my 15" laptop into its own case that isn't much more than a sleeve with a couple of pockets and a shoulder strap. Then I drop that into the backpack with a change of clothes, lunch, and whatever else I need to carry.

Banjo Brother's Commuter Backpack

They also have a "metro" model which has a built in laptop sleeve. I opted not to get this and have a separate bag/sleeve for the laptop so I could carry that around on its own without needing the whole backpack.

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Old 05-19-15, 11:04 AM   #7
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That's a nice looking bag. I figure that cycling backpacks are designed to sit on your back in a more optimized position for riding??? Although that sounds like some good marketing
I think that can be a challenge since different types of bikes have different kinds of riding positions. You want something with a chest and a waist strap to keep it from moving around too much, but lots of traditional backpacks have those.
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Old 05-19-15, 11:50 AM   #8
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I think that a backpack is the best way to carry a computer. It gives you the best prevention from physical shocks. I learned carrying military IC chips by bike. Zero failures from carrying the chips in a backpack.

Your body's mass takes up much of the shocks, and you can get up off the saddle for really bad bumps.

I use a Jansport Big Student. Capacious, multiple pockets, but not cycling specific.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:59 PM   #9
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I like these! Little America Backpack | Herschel Supply Co USA

There are lots of colors, not too many pockets.
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Old 05-19-15, 03:19 PM   #10
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I got an awesome new Zixtro tactical backpack (with laptop compartment!) for $6 on eBay...
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Old 05-19-15, 03:47 PM   #11
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If I were going to commute to a job and had to bring my laptop to and from, and for some reason couldn't leave it at the work place...
I think this is the question that needs to be answered, @rms13. This is the 21st century, and we have the Internet and Google Docs and thumb drives. Why in the world does anyone need to schlepp a computer back and forth to work anymore?
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Old 05-19-15, 03:52 PM   #12
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I think this is the question that needs to be answered, @rms13. This is the 21st century, and we have the Internet and Google Docs and thumb drives. Why in the world does anyone need to schlepp a computer back and forth to work anymore?
My work likes to think if there is a natural disaster that prevents us from getting to the office, we will continue to work from home (and we can't work from our own computers for various reasons). They have it documented as a part of our Disaster Recovery plan, and we are required to lug the darn thing back and forth.

I've still been using the Targus bag they gave me when I was hired but need to get something waterproof for sure (been dodging storms this week).
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Old 05-19-15, 04:35 PM   #13
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I think this is the question that needs to be answered, @rms13. This is the 21st century, and we have the Internet and Google Docs and thumb drives. Why in the world does anyone need to schlepp a computer back and forth to work anymore?
My kid's playing video games on the home computer all the time.
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Old 05-19-15, 05:30 PM   #14
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I think this is the question that needs to be answered, @rms13. This is the 21st century, and we have the Internet and Google Docs and thumb drives. Why in the world does anyone need to schlepp a computer back and forth to work anymore?
In my case I'm a software developer in a shop that uses a diverse set of tools and virtual machines. I don't want the work of keeping two machines in sync in terms of setup. Also, my organization is willing to spend more on a computer than I am so even when my work computer is about old enough to need replacing, it's still typically better than what we've got at home.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:53 PM   #15
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Amazon.com: Swissgear Laptop Backpack Fits Most 17-Inch Laptops: Computers & Accessories
This is what I bought last year. My main criteria was to emulate the pocket and compartment layout of my outgoing backpack. I don't carry a laptop, but I could, as this has a pocket and a strap to secure the laptop in its compartment. This is a very sturdy, well-built bag and while water-resistant it's not waterproof. I find it comfortable, and my technique on my roadbike is to leave the straps long and let it rest on the small of my back. I hooked a D-Clip on the handle to hold my helmet when not riding. And as you can see in the photo there are two grommets or eyelets on each side. I ran a D-Clip through the pair on each side and this helps secure my backpack to the bungees when I carry it on the back rack of my other two bikes. I would agree that wearing a backpack would provide a more shock-free ride to a laptop than would carrying it on a back rack. However, one of my bikes has wire-frame Wald folding baskets on the side of the rear rack, and I have carried a laptop in a padded case in the basket and it did a nice job of cushioning shocks. I once carried my laptop and an old 4-track cassette recorder in the other basket and both still work!
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Old 05-19-15, 08:59 PM   #16
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Sounds like a lot of trouble, lugging a computer back and forth on a bike. Question I ask myself is "Will I actually work on it when I get home?" Answer here is "Hell no!". So, I leave the work gear at work and ride with as little weight as possible.
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Old 05-19-15, 09:11 PM   #17
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In my case I'm a software developer in a shop that uses a diverse set of tools and virtual machines. I don't want the work of keeping two machines in sync in terms of setup. Also, my organization is willing to spend more on a computer than I am so even when my work computer is about old enough to need replacing, it's still typically better than what we've got at home.
Sure, I do similar work and there would be no interest from either party in having all the same tools installed on my home PC. So we just remote in to our work PCs from home and continue on if we won't be coming in. Judging by the responses, I guess not everyone's employer is as with-it as mine. (We do plenty of secure work, too.)
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Old 05-19-15, 09:18 PM   #18
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Virtually all office-use and home computers are connected via a web-like network (once called the World Wide Web... now called the Internet). So.... the real question is if you can take a laptop home and do your job on the laptop.... why pedal yourself back into the office everyday?

More and more people... even some in light manufacturing... are finding their job can more easily be done from home.
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Old 05-19-15, 10:02 PM   #19
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Sure, I do similar work and there would be no interest from either party in having all the same tools installed on my home PC. So we just remote in to our work PCs from home and continue on if we won't be coming in. Judging by the responses, I guess not everyone's employer is as with-it as mine. (We do plenty of secure work, too.)
Remoting is optional but not optimal.

If the work isn't very graphic intensive then it can work pretty well.

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Old 05-19-15, 10:13 PM   #20
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Virtually all office-use and home computers are connected via a web-like network (once called the World Wide Web... now called the Internet). So.... the real question is if you can take a laptop home and do your job on the laptop.... why pedal yourself back into the office everyday?

More and more people... even some in light manufacturing... are finding their job can more easily be done from home.
Sometimes I can be more productive at home but collaboration suffers. Face to face is a very effective and efficient way to communicate.

For me the ideal situation is to be able to work at home when I really need to put my head down and grind something out. I do not have a home office though so there are too many distractions if there are other people around the house during the day. I've spent a day at the library before instead.

Late evenings after everyone else has gone to bed can be my most productive time.

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Old 05-19-15, 10:24 PM   #21
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I don't know if it's cycling specific but I use an Osprey Momentum 34 for commuting. It has a padded section for a laptop and plenty of storage. I only bring my laptop home if I'm going to be travelling as it's lighter than my home laptop. I don't have any problem carrying the laptop although normally I just bring an iPad back and forth. The Osprey comes with a lifetime warranty and I'd recommend it or an equivalent model (not sure if they still make the Momentum).

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Old 05-19-15, 10:25 PM   #22
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Sometimes I can be more productive at home but collaboration suffers. Face to face is a very effective and efficient way to communicate.
So pick-up your phone, link it to your big screen TV, and facetime your collaborators. Or start a company bowling night, or cycling club, or whatever to build comradery.
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Old 05-19-15, 11:10 PM   #23
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Remoting is optional but not optimal.

If the work isn't very graphic intensive then it can work pretty well.
For sure! Working at home at all is something you avoid if you can (unless that's where your office is.) That's why I don't see the need to lug a computer back and forth everyday.
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Old 05-20-15, 09:50 AM   #24
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I think this is the question that needs to be answered, @rms13. This is the 21st century, and we have the Internet and Google Docs and thumb drives. Why in the world does anyone need to schlepp a computer back and forth to work anymore?
Good point.

I actually have two backpacks, the aforementioned Zixtro and a super lightweight. I bring my computer home for the weekend only, so I use the Zixtro for that; otherwise it stays in the office and I use the lightweight for whatever book I am reading and other odds and ends...
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Old 05-20-15, 10:02 AM   #25
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My main question is what makes a backpack "cycling specific" and what advantage would I have with that one over the other if any?
for someplace like Glendale Cal LA I would think something with a Mesh back and separated standing away from the body of the bag would be more comfortable

As the sweaty T shirt would be able to evaporate thru the Mesh..

up here a waxed canvas bag , backpack with a sternum strap is what my comrade uses.. ( prior Surface 3 is what he has). uses wi-fi at our favorite bar
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