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  1. #1
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    backpacks and rain

    For those commuters who use backpacks to carry their books or any other important things that can't get wet how do you combat the rain? I have a backpack but water seeps through. I have just put a plastic bag around everything, clothes and books mainly. Does anyone have a better suggestion or is what I'm doing a common thing among commuters?
    Life is short, focus on the things that do matter in life and don't forget the rest.

  2. #2
    Capoeirista
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    I thought all packs except for that mesh stuff was waterproof. Oh well. They sell weatherproofing spray if you want to go that route, or upgrade your pack to one that can handle the elements.

  3. #3
    eternalvoyage
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    Doubling or tripling the bags is sometimes worth doing. Even small holes can let some moisture in.

    A drybag inside the pack is another approach.

    A drybag secured to the top of a rack is another.

    Good waterproof panniers also work well. (Ortlieb is one brand.)

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    I thought it was waterproof. I can't put panniers on my bike because I don't have the mounts on the forks for them. Its a mountain bike that looks like the only new thing you can put on it are lights and disc brakes.
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  5. #5
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    I got a Timbuk2 messenger bag years ago solely because it was waterproof (in the rain sense, not the chuck in a river sense).

    My older backpacks were nowhere close to being even water-resistant, sprays or no.

    It's worked great! No lining with plastic bags required.

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    I think I found my saving grace!! http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/...RearRacks.html
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  7. #7
    Senior Member icemanbb's Avatar
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    Backpack Rain Covers

    You can buy backpack rain covers that are usually made with a coated nylon fabric. Campmor sells some generic ones, at a resonable price, and some vendors have rain covers made specifically for their brands. Even with a rain cover I still put any critical items in either a small dry bag or a zip lock baggie.
    "No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place." - Zen saying.

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    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
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    Banjo Brothers makes a Commuter Backpack that keeps the liner separate and removable so there's not even any stitching to let water in, according to them you're stuff will stay dry unless you like to ride under water.
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    I have one of these http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1196131864053

    or you can go for

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1196131959417

    depending on the size of your bag of course. I've never needed to use it, but it does cover my bag.

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    I use a poncho and wear my bag underneath. Dry bag, dry body, dry bike.

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    How do I know what size cover to get if I decide to get one? I bought a trail backpack but am using it for commuting because it has so much damn space!! Heres the one I got http://www.ebags.com/products/index....20Sierra_20007

    What size might be the best?
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  13. #13
    Senior Member madfiNch's Avatar
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    Chrome mess bag ftw!! My stuff never gets wet.

    Ortlieb makes some really good waterproof bags, too, but they're ugly (I think). But then again, you could throw them in a lake and your stuff would probably stay dry.

    Edit: If you're going to go with a rack, make sure that you get panniers that are actually waterproof. Not something that comes with a rain cover. When your stuff is at the back of your bike like that and low to the ground, everything sprays up onto it. A rain cover will end up trapping the water against the bag and your stuff will get wet - maybe not as wet as without the rain cover, but still wet. Especially in a downpour. I'm thinking about spending my birthday money on a set of Axiom panniers: http://www.axiomgear.com/product/bags/waterproof_bags/

    Good luck
    Last edited by madfiNch; 11-26-07 at 09:23 PM.

  14. #14
    the bike made me do it oneredstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrock View Post
    Banjo Brothers makes a Commuter Backpack that keeps the liner separate and removable so there's not even any stitching to let water in, according to them you're stuff will stay dry unless you like to ride under water.

    Yep, the Banjo Bros Commuter Backpack is the best bag I have ever used. Keeps everything dry even though I usually have nothing that can't get wet, and it holds a case of beer pretty darn nice! Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack

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    That banjo bros commuter backpack gets no style points. Wouldn't panniers block a lot of the gunk that usually gets in your chain?
    Life is short, focus on the things that do matter in life and don't forget the rest.

  16. #16
    Senior Member madfiNch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    That banjo bros commuter backpack gets no style points. Wouldn't panniers block a lot of the gunk that usually gets in your chain?
    I actually thought it looked good for a waterproof backpack. It's just too small for me..

    The panniers aren't going to help your chain much if at all. They really just end up over the cassette part of the back wheel. You'd be better off investing in a chain cover..

  17. #17
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    Get a roll top dry bag and use it as a pack liner. Or for the cheap solution, a kitchen-size garbage sack.
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  18. #18
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    Waterproof backpack covers. REI sells them in numerous sizes for less than 10 dollars.

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    I switched to mess bags back in my motorcycle days because I got tired of putting plastic bags around everything in my backpack when it started to rain. Spray-on waterproofing only works so well because water still gets in through the seams.

    The way to go is a proper weather-proof backpack,mess bag,or pannier system. Timbuk 2 bags can be had for $50 shipped off eBay and outlet sites. Backpacks can be had from Chrome,SealLine,Ortlieb,etc. Google is your friend for finding them. Just about any bike can be fitted with a rack. Axiom and Topeak make MTB and disc-specific racks. There are also seatpost mount racks.

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  20. #20
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    Related to this thread: are there any good waterproof laptop backpacks? Like, ones with actual padding in the laptop compartment.

    edit: I currently have this backpack, which is great, but definitely NOT waterproof at all.
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  21. #21
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    Old Man Mountain makes some great racks. I think you'd be happy with them.

    In my experience, it's often a relief to get the weight off your back. The lower center of gravity, improved movement and agility, lightened weight on your sit bones (which can make a real difference), and better air circulation all make for a better ride.

    There are some excellent waterproof backpacks now. Backpackers are using them. Backpacking and ultralight backpacking websites would be good places to find recommendations. Some of them are very well designed, durable, and truly waterproof.

    A drybag inside your existing pack would also do it.

    With a couple of side-release accessory straps, you can easily secure the pack to the top of the rack.

    ****
    [If you tie the straps in place and leave them on the rack, it makes it quicker. They're always right there, ready to click in. This also makes things much more secure -- there is no slipping or shifting of the straps, and it makes a big difference. (It's one of the more useful little tricks I have found.)]

  22. #22
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    For those commuters who use backpacks to carry their books or any other important things that can't get wet how do you combat the rain? I have a backpack but water seeps through. I have just put a plastic bag around everything, clothes and books mainly. Does anyone have a better suggestion or is what I'm doing a common thing among commuters?
    Unless you have something against them, milk crates are worth considering. They make it extremely easy to load and unload. They're probable the most convenient of all. There is another recent thread on this forum that has some pictures. They can look pretty good; they are sturdy; and they are very useful.

    The elongated ones are probably a bit more useful, and they make it easier to lay most daypacks down inside, rather than standing them upright.

    ****
    The other thread:

    3+ ways to carry cargo: but what about handling?

  23. #23
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    www.chromebags.com Look at the Roll Top Backpacks - they are water proof. I have one of their mess bags, and they are very water resistant.

    www.seallinegear.com Seal Line does waterproof gear for kayakers and boaters, but have a "urban" line that looks pretty good.

    http://www.whitemountain.com.au/back...in_covers.html I searched 'waterproof backpack covers' and found this link, but you could probably just go to your local Army Surplus or REI and find something similar.

    -C

  24. #24
    eternalvoyage
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    It's probably an individual thing, but in my own experience, having weight on top of the rack is not a big deal, if you don't make it one. You adapt. You get used to it. It becomes second nature, or normal. Same with panniers.

    (The exception is when you use very heavy loads, and you have a wobbly rack or mounting system. Not good. Fortunately, though, it's easy to avoid this with a good, solid rack and secure mounting.)

    ****
    Someone mentioned backpacks that have built-in hooks, so they can be attached to the racks just like panniers.

    ****
    I've used panniers quite a bit, and they are good in many ways; but there is always a slight inconvenience loading and unloading.

    The exception to this is when the pannier is extra large, and the backpack slides in and out easily. Then it's not bad at all.

    The Xtracycle system is quick -- as with the milk crate, you can just set something down inside.

    There are open-top panniers and wire racks that allow for the same.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Jurgen's Avatar
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    Isn't the problem with most backpacks their exposed zippers more so than the material or seams not being waterproof/resistant?

    Messenger backs are really great for that reason.

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