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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-22-06, 12:40 PM   #1
fwh32720
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Camelbak for Commuting?

I originally posted this question in the mountain bike section, and my needs have changed. I want to buy a camelbak to take with me if I go on a long bike ride, and I also want a backpack for commuting. I am trying to figure out if I can simply get one bag to fulfill both needs. I have a about a 13 mile round trip commute to work. I will need to bring my lunch and a set of scrubs with underwear with me. Would that all fit in a M.U.L.E. along with tools and a couple spare tires? Or will the MULE be too small. Maybe I should get a Camelback Blowfish?

My MTB post lead to a majority of people going with the M.U.L.E.

Can I have a do it all backpack, or should I look at buying two different items.

Sorry ahead of time to the people that have already seen this discussion.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:04 PM   #2
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On long rides a big Camelback can become a burden-a real pain in the back, plus I don't really like things on my back when riding; so I got the smallest Camelback, the Rogue, which holds 60ozs and is not anywhere near as heavy as the others; and as a bonus it's the cheapest.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:10 PM   #3
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I have a 100 oz Blowfish. Mine's kinda narrow although I could probably squeeze scrubs, socks and undies in there along w/ the tools, etc. I bring, but for my commuting load (laptop, notepad, files, tools, clothes, etc.) I'd need a real backpack and just use a reservoir that I could slide into the backpack.

I've used it on long rides and the weight obviously starts to disappear the longer you ride cuz u transfer it from your back to your stomach.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:16 PM   #4
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I can get most everything I need into my 10 year old HAWG. This includes tools clothes and lunch. My brother just got a Nalgene pack (don't know which one) that would easily fit commuting gear. The nice thing about the Nalgene was the large access hole for easier cleaning. Many hiking daypacks have insulated slots (hydration ready) and other such features. I like the external straps that allow raingear etc. to ride on the outside when necessary. When its hot out I strap the backpack to my rear rack. Lately (cooler weather) I pur the camelback on my back. This makes it easier to jump curbs etc. When it rains I strap a rubbermaid bin to the rack. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:21 PM   #5
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I've had my Camelbak Blowfish for about 18 months and I love it. Empty it really is pretty light and it's well designed. My commute is only 4 miles each way so I don't need water, but on my longer rides it's nice to have the tube there. The blowfish has become my everyday backpack as well, beating out my messenger bag and a jansport.
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Old 09-22-06, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuolumne
I can get most everything I need into my 10 year old HAWG. This includes tools clothes and lunch. My brother just got a Nalgene pack (don't know which one) that would easily fit commuting gear. The nice thing about the Nalgene was the large access hole for easier cleaning. Many hiking daypacks have insulated slots (hydration ready) and other such features. I like the external straps that allow raingear etc. to ride on the outside when necessary. When its hot out I strap the backpack to my rear rack. Lately (cooler weather) I pur the camelback on my back. This makes it easier to jump curbs etc. When it rains I strap a rubbermaid bin to the rack. Good luck.
You would rather be at Yosimite National Park?
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Old 09-22-06, 04:29 PM   #7
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my generic 'hydration pack' has replaced all of my other bags as far a wallet, keys, tools, phone, etc. i have a 100 oz reservoir in there, so there usually isn't much extra room, but i love it. it's great to have water literally right there, all the time.
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Old 09-22-06, 05:21 PM   #8
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I ride with the biggest CamelBack they offer (sorry don't recall the name) ~170 miles commuting each week. It's big enough to carry spare tubes, tools, my shoes and in a pinch more clothes. It is not perfect, if I use the center strap I find it begins to cut off circulation to my arms on long climbs, but you get used to it. In fact I now ride with it on weekend 60+ mile rides as I can no longer stand reaching for bottles in cages.
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Old 09-22-06, 06:15 PM   #9
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I have a Camelback Lobo - 70z. I carry one tube, 2 CO2, and a pair of latex glvoes up top, CO2 pump in side pocket made for same. Today I had a pair of socks and my cable lock. Yesterday I carried a bottle of red wine home. It probably wouldn't carry lunch and scrubs.
My commute is usually one-way 12 miles and I'll consume 32 - 50 oz. I couldn't drink from a water bottle while moving.
I also have a $8 nashbar triangle in my frame.
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Old 09-22-06, 07:41 PM   #10
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I have the H.A.W.G. (916 cu. in. of cargo room) and the BFM (2550 cu. in. of cargo room, as far as I am aware, the biggest one they make) and use both almost daily. Different applications, the H.A.W.G. I carry all day at work with water, a rainsuit and miscellaneous things I might need during the day. The BFM is my general purpose, go everywhere, bag. I'm of the opinion that it's better to err on the side of too big rather than too small and wind up in situations where you have to tie stuff on the outside of your pack. Besides, all the CamelBaks I've seen have cinch straps so that you can compress it down, to some degree, if you don't fill it up.

I'm hesitant to recommend a specific model because because Camelbak makes so many different ones and because there are so many other manufacturers in that market these days, except to say that the M.U.L.E. might be too small for what you described.

But that being said, I typically don't carry anything on my back when I'm riding. The BFM usually rides in my Burley Flatbed Trailer along with whatever else I might be carrying or whatever I find on the roadside that I want to keep.
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Old 09-23-06, 12:46 AM   #11
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Thanks keep the advice comming my way!
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Old 09-23-06, 11:06 PM   #12
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I picked up a unused cameback blowfish at a yard sale for 10.00. I thought to myself "what the heck I cant go wrong for ten bucks". I rarely use the hydration bladder but I really like it as a backpack. Its well thought out and comfortable as far as packs go, I like its narrow oval profile, since I use a road bike and it offers less resistance compared to the square types when in the drops. I was hoping it would be cooler with the air flow channels in back, well it is but not a great deal more than regular non bike specific packs. I still sweat but I think thats true of all backpacks, messenger bags also. Anyway i commute 30 miles with a blowfish and a fairly large saddlebag and its gotten to the point where I feel naked without it.

Last edited by cabaray; 09-24-06 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 09-24-06, 01:07 AM   #13
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I've got the 3 liter unBottle, which fits in either my backpack or messenger bag. its probably on the side of too big, but there's no rule against keeping it significantly less than full, just squeeze the air out. I really like it over using a water bottle. The water stays colder and I can much more safely access it.
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Old 09-24-06, 08:03 AM   #14
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I used a CamelBack Mule on my commutes for over a year but found that I much prefer a rack & pannniers. I can carry much more stuff when needed and the load is at a lower center of gravity than so bike handling is much better. Also, I don't have that big sweaty patch on my back/clothes when I arrive at work. Besides, I don't need that huge water capacity on my 20 mile / 1 hr commute.
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Old 09-24-06, 08:50 AM   #15
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I use the HAWG on long rides or hot rides when the 100oz capacity is handy. The bottles get warm fast, the camelback keeps fluids cold for a long time. When not using the camelack, I use a seatpost bag and the standard bottle for fluids. The ideal is to only carry the bottle and underseat bag with tube and patch kit but most of my mileage is commuting.
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Old 09-25-06, 05:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fwh32720
You would rather be at Yosimite National Park?
No one has ever asked! Yes, those are the approximate coordinates for the cloud's rest. Forget about the valley, and things are pretty crouded even a day out. I've spent a lot of time trekking around the back country...one May there was a 5 day stretch where we saw nobody at all. It's hard to find that kind of solitude these days.
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Old 09-29-06, 09:56 PM   #17
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I bought a Camelbak Blowfish. It is in the mail, and I will update eveyone when it gets here. The MULE seemed small for commuting. Thanks for all your input.
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Old 09-30-06, 02:03 AM   #18
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My cycling bag (a small Lamar helmut carrier backpack) doesn't have a hydration tank, but I've been told by camelback fans that that a great aftermarket sanitation accessory is the 'windpipe' powered tank cleaner.
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Old 09-30-06, 09:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuolumne
No one has ever asked! Yes, those are the approximate coordinates for the cloud's rest. Forget about the valley, and things are pretty crouded even a day out. I've spent a lot of time trekking around the back country...one May there was a 5 day stretch where we saw nobody at all. It's hard to find that kind of solitude these days.
My wife and I hiked from the valley to the top of Cloud's Rest a couple of years ago. It was beautiful up there.
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Old 09-30-06, 09:30 AM   #20
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My wife and I hiked from the valley to the top of Cloud's Rest a couple of years ago. It was beautiful up there.
and I used a camelback mule on that hike. For commuting I think it would be a bit limited on storage space.
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Old 09-30-06, 01:52 PM   #21
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I am in the Army, and on my last deployment I had the wonderful opportunity to try out several designs for free. IMHO, here are my recommendations.
1. Camelbak motherlode.
2. Camelbak stealth, use racks, or backpack/mess bag on top of it.
3. backpack or mess bag with camelbak res. inside.
I would definitely not get the MULE. All I can fit into it are extra goggles, 2 M4 magazines, and 4 field dressings. In civilian terms...not much at all.
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Old 09-30-06, 01:57 PM   #22
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I use this with 70oz or 100oz bladders. Works great.

http://www.fastbacksystem.com/page9/page9.html
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Old 09-30-06, 05:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fwh32720
I bought a Camelbak Blowfish. It is in the mail, and I will update eveyone when it gets here. The MULE seemed small for commuting. Thanks for all your input.

I think this is a good choice, I have one and I love it. I don't commute but I take it eveywhere I go. I have water with me all the time and it holds my wallet, keys, lunch and anything else I need to carry. I do use it on all my rides, anywhere from 60 to 125 miles a week.
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