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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    Best backpack for hot weather conditions (sweaty backs)

    I live in Vegas and am going to start commuting to work. Any good suggestions as far as breathable material or brands for backpacks that won't make your back too sweaty?

    I remember having a green canvas boy scout pack when I was a kid. Is canvas better than the synthetic material you see on most packs for 100 degree weather?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

  2. #2
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Rack and panniers. Period. Let the bike carry the weight. Your back will thank you (and me) later.
    ax0n: Geeky and bikey
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  3. #3
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    Saddle bags (aka panniers). I tried to wear a backpack and a messenger bag when I first started commuting (just going for a 15 mile ride home, went to work on the bus and only a couple of days a week), but it mostly irritated my shoulder aside from making me sweaty (to be fair, I have had previous shoulder problems). I then tried better planning for when I was driving to work and used a large Mountainsmith fanny pack and that worked much better. I have moved recently and now commute almost every day (only 7 miles each way now) and bought some panniers. I love them. As much as nicer day packs and fanny packs cost these days I think that the panniers weren't too extravagant (I bought Ortliebs) if one were purchasing something to use specifically for biking.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    I've been in the same position about 4 months ago. It's fall here and the temps are dropping now but still day times are in the 20C's and still sweaty if you hammer hard.

    Well when the summer started in Canada (I'm in Toronto and yes we can hit high temps dispite our stereotypical views on our winters ) we started hitting 30-45C temps here and that's with the humidex. You walk out and bam it's in your face. Well I did not have panniers as I like to move with my gear and panniers I've found you can't really lock them up making them more thieveable (sp?) if you're doing stop and go shopping or a movie and such later or locking it outside. I use a Deuter AC28 for my general purpose bag which hold 28L internal and can hold two water bottles outside, concealed rain cover, the side compression straps can also air in keeping the ***** barrel standing if you carry a carbine/short *****, internal 60/40 split divider which you can fully unzip for 100% use of the bag, my store carried two tone blue or two tone grey colors to pick from, suspended mesh back, hydration compatible and can take a 3L bladder (or put your Ulocks in there for center balance of the bag), and it has side loops for poles and such as it was designed for a hiker but because of the suspended mesh back any cyclist will greatly appreciate it as it's almost like nothing is on your back covering the wind from cooling it down. I have loaded this bag out to ~35-40lbs and did not see any signs of fatigue on the straps or seams after a week or two of useage which tells me the bag should be able to hump 40lbs no problem tho you may want to take 5lbs out if you want to take some stress off. The lower 40% of the bag (which if you look outside the bag that would be the lower zipper) has two zippers that you can position in the middle making putting a blinkie there easy without falling out unlike one way zippers that don't give you any room to put a blinkie unless you mod the bag.

    On the front of the bag you have a velcro'ed loop for hold the hydration tube but for those that like thier gadgets or pouches you can use that loop (horizontal) to clip a mp3 player/radio w speaker/FRS-GMRS radio comms/cellphone/PDA/camera there for quick access. The rest of the straps for attaching stuff are all vertical so you'll have to get a vertical pouch or make something vertical. The bag has chest and waist cinch straps to keep you locked in.

    I also have a Deuter Race Exp. for light trips where I'd want to have some bag to carry stuff. It has an expandable 3L zipper should you need to carry more stuff but zips up to give a slim small profile. This bag features the unique suspended open mesh back of the AC series, chest/waist straps, blinkie loop, concealed rain cover (if memory is correct reflective) , concealed helmet cover (non reflective), reflective rear and front strap logos for low light/night visiblity, hydration compatible, hydration hook on strap (no hortizontal velcro tho ), and side mesh pockets for quick access items. Most I think I've loaded this bag was ~20lbs but I'll be conservative and say ~13-15lbs and did not notice any stress on the straps.

    Both bags are excellent bags, holds up well to city/trail/offroad/curb-pothole jumping (realworld tested by me), for the style people the bags are stylish in looks with all the functions concealed outside to the normal person making it look slick when you need to use them, for the function people both bags (more the AC28) are fully functionable with lots of room and outside space to carry extra unexpected gear, for those like me that sweat rivers in the heat the open mesh bag really dumps heat. I've rode with both bags and without the bags in the 40-45C temps and I'll probably say with the bag you get 75-80% air venting where as without the bag you get 100% but using the old bags without this mesh suspended back you end up with probably ~20% or less air venting in the back.

    If you use a cycling jersey or any jersey shirt you'll probably get another 10% venting on all the numbers. I used to use a microfiber shirt with wicking capabilities thus why I gave those numbers above in my experience but once I got into cycling jerseys with something like 100 perforations per square inch I noticed a difference in temp cooling on the body as more air passes the shirtand all the tiny holes pulls the moisture out.

    The Deuter bags have been recommended many times before on the forum and that is why I got them after reading up on it, asking about the features and checking out my local shop for the bags I fell in love with the functions and also slickness of the Race Exp. bag with the helmet cover and rain cover all concealed which no one knows it's there but I have used them both before and people seemed amazed how slick and quick I was able to take them out and cover the bag while everyone else was running for cover. The helmet cover is not some one piece sewn in item it has two hooks which you hook tot he side loops to secure the helmet. This is good because it allows you to position the helmet the way you want then have the helmet cover stretch to conform over the helmet to hold it in. You basically hook one side in, put the helmet in, then hook the other side on the bag. Removing is quick.

    Both the bags rain covers are removeable should you want to hang dry them else where. I forgot to mention the AC28 rain cover and bag does not have any reflecto material and that you will have to add yourself. For those that like concealment/camo because the rain covers come off you can take that to a sew/fabric shop and get some camo material and have the shop use the original cover as a pattern to make a new one.

    Oh yes the website for Deuter is here.

    Edit: I live in a semi-hilly area. I am always forced up a hill to get back home (I live on a hill) and thus some what surrounded by minor and large hills (~35-45degree are my two local steep ones blocks away) so take take that into consideration with my input on the bags and venting. On the flats it would be cooler for sure.

    If you get both bags get the grey two tone color. It compliments both bags and the big/small bag combo gives you the best flex combo but if you only had to make one purchase I would go withthe AC28 for it's general purpose use/function/space. You will soon love the bag and want another one one you try it and know why.
    Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 09-30-07 at 04:09 PM.
    Zero_Enigma

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    Get a nashbar townie basket for $10 on sale. stick the backpack in there during the ride. Use a bungee cord to stretch over the pack to keep it from bouncing out (I cut a small hole in the top edge to hook the bungee and hold my pack in the townie basket. The wald baskets work well for this too, but they are very heavy. the townie is a near-perfect product IMHO

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ax0n View Post
    Rack and panniers. Period. Let the bike carry the weight. Your back will thank you (and me) later.
    totally aggree. I had been riding with a backpack for some time but it really takes a toll on my back especially when I pick up 10-15lbs of groceries.

    My ride is much more enjoyable now not to mention a lot less sweaty (even though I had a mesh backpack).

  7. #7
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2 View Post
    nashbar townie basket
    They don't sell those any more! I have one, and it's great, but when I went to order another they were not on the site. I've checked back a few times, no luck. Soma has a nice one, but the Nashbar ones were so cheap! There are other similar ones out there--REI, Jandd, Arkel (i think?) but they're all $50US or more.

  8. #8
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    I got a Deuter AC32 and it was worth every penny. I'm commuting daily with a laptop, change of clothes, books, and other odds and ends. I highly, highly recommend it.

  9. #9
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Deuter backpacks are the shizzle... barring one nof those I'd look at getting a rack and paniers.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    When I don't use a rack and panniers I use my Deuter.

  11. #11
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler View Post
    I live in Vegas and am going to start commuting to work. Any good suggestions as far as breathable material or brands for backpacks that won't make your back too sweaty?

    I remember having a green canvas boy scout pack when I was a kid. Is canvas better than the synthetic material you see on most packs for 100 degree weather?
    Courier bag
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  12. #12
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    A shoulder bag with a very long strap also works. Adjust it so that the top of the bag is near waist level when you are leaned over the bike. This also lowers the center of gravity of the load significantly.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  13. #13
    Senior Member iqaro's Avatar
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    Racks and panniers do the job... carry the weight and let breeze cool yourself...

  14. #14
    LOOK, a bike! LOOK! LOOK!
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    I have a helly hansen pack with some great ventilation and polypropylene strap material that wicks sweat. Look for that strap material and you're going to be pretty well off

  15. #15
    Amateur stunt driver D0ugB's Avatar
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    Osprey Stratos 18 -- It ventilates well and it has held up for ~ 18 months including one wreck.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member thdave's Avatar
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    This pannier basket is high quality and works well. You can put a lot in it. I have one very similar, and it has never come off my rack.

    http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='3657-00'
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thdave View Post
    This pannier basket is high quality and works well. You can put a lot in it. I have one very similar, and it has never come off my rack.

    http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='3657-00'
    Fixed link above to clickable working link.

    http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='3657-00'
    Zero_Enigma

  18. #18
    Railgun of Patience WhiteRabbit's Avatar
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    I like using a "grocery bag"style pannier to carry my shoulder bag in. I can just drop my bag in it in the morning and pull it out when I get where I am going.

  19. #19
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    Man purse
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  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    sincity-
    Do you change clothes at work?
    If you do I find in dry desert conditions that I've never had a backsweat issue with messenger style bags. They keep the sun off you back and provide some shade at worst. The few times I've used a backpack I didn't notice either.
    Al

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