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  1. #1
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    How would you carry a backpack on a rear rack?

    These days, I'm working on installing a rear rack on my bike and thinking about carrying options for various situations. Yes, I plan to get at least one pannier in the near future. However, I almost certainly will continue using a backpack for school while biking to and from there. So in order to avoid the disadvantages of riding with a backpack on my back, how should I carry a backpack on the rear rack?

    Here are some options I considered:
    1. Secure backpack to the rack using bungee cords or a bungee net
    2. Attach a collapsible (or not, I guess) basket/crate on the rear rack and simply drop the backpack inside

    You're welcome to chime in with alternatives to the above two options, but please remember that in this situation, using a backpack but carrying it on my bike and not on my back is the given condition to work with.
    Last edited by CornyBum; 11-17-09 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Made a mistake in the title. D'oh. :P

  2. #2
    Scan Me DallasSoxFan's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Dropping a backpack inside some sort of a container attached to a rack is what works best for me - simple and quick once you set up the system.

  4. #4
    n00b-sauce
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    When I was doing this, I would tie the two loose straps together and place the backpack on the rack with those straps on the underside, but with the tips hanging over the sides of the rack. Then I would just wrap two bungee cords around the rack/backpack to hold it down. Worked for a while. It wasn't so secure that I could hammer up a hill, but it got the job done for the year or so that I needed it too.
    I like to ride bikes. I miss living in the city though, where it was all a bike's ride away. City dwellers: appreciate it. :D

  5. #5
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Depending on how big your backpack is, a milk crate provides a lot of space. You could attach it to your rack using lengths of old inner tube to tie it on. (easy to detach if you need the rack for something else one day) This works great on my 20" wheel folder but not as well on some other bikes due to the rack positioning vs. the seat. Usually folding baskets go to one side of the rack, so you'd want a smallish backpack if you were going to use those.

  6. #6
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    Bike: Tricross Comp
    Rack: Blackburn Expedition
    Retention system: 4-hook 12' bungee net.
    Backpack: my teenager's hand-me-down WHITE! Roxy
    Wateproofing: garbage bag tucked into side compartment

    The beauty of this system is its flexibility - hook the net in various point to accomodate everchanging fullness of the backpack, and mine goes from bursting at the zippers to like two verrry large grapefruit. Fringe benefit - serves as a fender ;p). Second net for front rack (this one is Specialized) is inside the backpack. These nets compress to the size of tennis ball.

    Ride Safe

    SF
    I take great pride in my humility.

  7. #7
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    My system.
    Install time: 45 minutes
    cost: $3 framing angle; the rest commonly available for little or nothing.
    Durability: good. Been using this one for a year. Haven't had it come off the bike either.

    Back is a pair of framing angles from Ace (bent with a vise grip) and bungee held with zip ties


    Add something so you can lash the shoulder straps:


    Pick up some left-over Fastsigns and run some screws through the framing angles.
    Last edited by gerv; 11-17-09 at 03:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    My system.
    Install time: 45 minutes
    cost: $3 framing angle; the rest commonly available for little or nothing.
    Durability: good. Been using this one for a year. Haven't had it come off the bike either.

    Back is a pair of framing angles from Ace (bent with a vise grip) and bungee held with zip ties


    Add something so you can lash the shoulder straps:


    Pick up some left-over Fastsigns and run some screws through the framing angles.
    You wear your backpack with those metal things sticking out too?

    I thought about doing something like this but don't want the metal hooks jabbing me in the back. I also did the 'backpack strapped to the rack via bungees' deal and was a bust for me. I couldn't get my giant backpack to stay still and I just had to carry way more than this system would allow. I'm currently looking for the ultimate bag; messenger/man bag/pannier/laptop bag. So far, there aren't a lot of options that fit my criteria AND look cool (IMO), so the search continues.
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  9. #9
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryandood View Post
    You wear your backpack with those metal things sticking out too?

    I thought about doing something like this but don't want the metal hooks jabbing me in the back. I also did the 'backpack strapped to the rack via bungees' deal and was a bust for me. I couldn't get my giant backpack to stay still and I just had to carry way more than this system would allow. I'm currently looking for the ultimate bag; messenger/man bag/pannier/laptop bag. So far, there aren't a lot of options that fit my criteria AND look cool (IMO), so the search continues.
    Yes... I do walk with the metal sticking out. Most of the weight is at the bottom of the bag and that's what sticks in your back. (Although come to think of it, would make a nice back scratcher...) Although... mind you.. I am carrying only 12 pounds and I walk only a few hundred feet with it typically.

    The problem with strapping the bag to the rack with bungees is that it definitely tends to move and will eventually fall off.

    If your bag has something like rings or hooks, you could try attaching it with carabiners, providing there is something solid on the rack to lock them in. Those *may* work a bit better than bungees.

  10. #10
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    I can't say enough about Arkel products - I'm very impressed. I think their Bug Backpack would be right up your alley. It's pricey, but worth every penny IMHO.

    Gettin' my Fred on.

  11. #11
    Freewheelin' Fred dwilbur3's Avatar
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    Delta Cargo Net. The best $8 I ever spent on a bike.

  12. #12
    n00b-sauce
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    The ultimate one, IMO, is the Bug from Arkel. But, that's a little pricey...
    http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/bac...asp?fl=1&site=
    Edit: removed pic, previous poster beat me to it
    I like to ride bikes. I miss living in the city though, where it was all a bike's ride away. City dwellers: appreciate it. :D

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your help, guys. I'm not comfortable with the do-it-yourself backpack/pannier conversions due to my lack of skill in such things, concern for the backpack's construction, and comfort in wearing a backpack with such an improvised system, if it should work out. The bungee net method seems to be limited to lighter, smaller backpacks. Would a bungee net be good enough to secure a backpack filled with textbooks, binders, and smaller items? A rack-mounted container seems pretty safe, although it would take up the rack and need to be removed for other cargo options.

  14. #14
    imi
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    To keep backpack webbing out of the way, the "water knot" can be very useful:

    http://www.animatedknots.com/waterknot/index.php

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornyBum View Post
    The bungee net method seems to be limited to lighter, smaller backpacks. Would a bungee net be good enough to secure a backpack filled with textbooks, binders, and smaller items? A rack-mounted container seems pretty safe, although it would take up the rack and need to be removed for other cargo options.
    I wouldn't, unless you can make sure the net is pulled taught or items in the pack are well packed.

    Weight or size by themselves are not a problem (after all, I hauled home a watermelon on a front rack once), shifting weight is, and books are heavy items that tend to shift. My pack is pretty hefty at times, but it is full of clothes, lunch, some cans - items that behave as solid object.

    Sorry

    SF
    I take great pride in my humility.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    Bottom of the page. Quick release and take about 5 second to remove.

    Get the "Super tourist" rack (www.nashbar.com has them) so you can run a pannier AND the basket at the same time.

    http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags
    You cant have a signature unless it fits in this box

  17. #17
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldranger View Post
    dropping a backpack inside some sort of a container attached to a rack is what works best for me - simple and quick once you set up the system.
    +100
    That, and cargo net.

  18. #18
    Day trip lover mr geeker's Avatar
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    assorted strech cords, pcs about $5 bucks at walgreens
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  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DallasSoxFan View Post
    I am always looking at existing baggage and pondering how I could use them for my bikes...

    With a pair of the right backpacks you could sling them together and fashion a simple lower retainer to keep them secure... I have gone as far as thinking that that you could remove the straps if the bags were only going to be used for bike use.

    You could also attach a basket to the top of the rear rack to hold a backpack or pick up some Wald collapsible baskets... these are just awesome.

    I use motorcycle bags on my long bike and these are a sling type and have converted an old briefcase into a use-able bike bag by adding pannier clips... it holds an amazing amount of stuff and is sufficient for most of my commuting and small errands. The clips cost 6.00 and the install only took a few minutes.


  20. #20
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    Bottom of the page. Quick release and take about 5 second to remove.

    Get the "Super tourist" rack (www.nashbar.com has them) so you can run a pannier AND the basket at the same time.

    http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags
    +1 on the ^rack. Thinking about getting one myself.

    Depending on just how big your backpack is, a milk crate may or may not work. But if you can snag one of those flat crates used by vending machine companies, that would increase the overall area of the main deck. I remember a BF member posting a pic of carrying home a pumpkin on a flat Coke crate. I would try and search for it, but ya know....
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  21. #21
    Senior Member ambrisdelighted's Avatar
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    I have the Wald folding baskets, and they're fantastic when you're using them, and a pain in the a** when you're not. They're mega heavy and the latch that holds the baskets up while they're folded always catches or rips the bags when I'm trying to take them out of the basket.

    IMHO, if I were just going to be lugging around a backpack to school, I would get one of those plastic milk crates and put that on my rear rack. Sooo much lighter and easier to use with plenty of space. They're very popular on my campus

  22. #22
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    There is also this. More permanent and way more secure. But if you're planning on running panniers in the future, you will definitely need to get a touring rack with the second rail below the main deck. And your backpack may not fit inside it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  23. #23
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    I use wald foldingn rear racks. I simply put the backpack (my son's acutally fully of books for sixth grade) in the basket.....and use a mult-hook bungie over the top
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  24. #24
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    A bungee net didn't work for me - the hooks kept slipping off the net.

    Most of the time I just drop my backpack in my Jannd grocery panniers. I keep the panniers on the bike, except when I need to switch to the babyseat. I drop my U-lock in there too.

    But for while there I had a couple of those lightweight spring-type mountain carbiner/key rings attached to the loop top on my backpack and the bottom of one shoulder strap. I'd clip the backpack to the rack and wrapped a single bungee around the middle to keep it from slipping from side to side. But these days, it's faster to just drop the bag in my panniers.

  25. #25
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    Rixen & Kaul sells a few backpacks that attach to the seatpost with a klickfix adapter. I've been using the Meta Freepack small for a couple years now - It's great! You can click on my flickr link below to see some pics.

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