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  1. #1
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    Bike Commuting Packs

    I know people will say just use a messenger bag, but I don't really like them, plus I have some specific requirements.

    I'm looking for a replacement pack, but haven't found anything suitable.

    Currently, I have an old Camebak TransAlp that kicks ass, but it's pretty much dead. Most of the zippers no longer stay together and it has a number of holes. After 5 years of year-round commuting, it's dying.

    I love this pack because:
    - It has 4 seperate compartments:
    - 1 for bike tools, tubes, lights, etc,
    - 1 for bad weather gear, pant, jacket, arm/leg warmers, etc
    - 1 for cell phone, wallet, keys, glasses
    - and 1 big one for changes of clothes
    - plus mesh pockets for shoes, gloves, bottles, etc
    - Rain cover

    Anyway, I can't find a good replacement. I can't find anyone that carries the new TransAlps to see what they look like. I've looked at the Pearl Izumi Velocipak (or something) and if just doesn't have enough storage.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    - Stephen Jones

  2. #2
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    I found one by vaude that was nice. it has a mesh suspension back so you get airflow and only the straps and where the pack its on your lower back get sweaty. big inner compartmet with two pockets inside. two outside side pockets that you can reach whe riding built in rain cover and two zipper outer pockets.

  3. #3
    xyz
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    Senior Member xyz's Avatar
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    Have you ever tried panniers? I use to use a pack, I will never go back.
    Ride a Bike
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  4. #4
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stdjones
    I know people will say just use a messenger bag, but I don't really like them
    You don't like people?

    But seriously, there are many backpacks in the 25-35 litre range, any of those should be big enough for commuting. Personally, I use backpack (a Halti Traveller 30) only on occasional rides and only in winter. Most of the time I use panniers. You will find many threads here discussing various pannier types and their pros and cons.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  5. #5
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    I have purchased from these guys http://www.shopslms.com/backpacks-ca...-products.html. They are pretty good and have the whole Camelbak line.

    I had a RimRunner that I loved for 3 years. I replaced it with a North Face Recon II pack. The RimRunner fit better than the North Face pack. The padding in on the back of the RimRunner compressed too much and began to chafe my back when I ran. It is still a great pack for everything but running. My daughter uses it for a schoolbag now.

    Dan
    There is nothing homlier than the face on your last dime.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member d2create's Avatar
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    Have you tried a Chrome Bag?
    2008 Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
    Pics and Specs Here!

    2010 Specialized Rockhopper 29er

  7. #7
    Junior Member ZarrSadus's Avatar
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    I use this which I picked up from Sam's Club for 19.99

    http://auctions.samsclub.com/Scripts...LotNo=77336541

    It's Jansport so I trust the quality, the back compartment is big enough to fit the day's change of clothes in and has the outside compartments that I store a tool kit, wallet, cellphone, etc.

    The only disadvantage would be to someone who needs to carry a lot of clothes with them as it's about half the size of a normal backpack. Plus if you have the water resevoir and clothes it can probably be pretty bulky. For my commute I just don't fill up the water pack and use water bottles mounted on the frame.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tree Trunk's Avatar
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    I have tried backpacks on my commute but always go back to my el-cheapo Performance pannier bag. I have one bike that is dedicated for my commute so it's the only bike I have that requires a rack. Backpacks have always been too much trouble for me. Yesterday, I couldn't ride my commuter (I need a new chainring and am waiting for time to get to the store for a replacement) and rode my MB instead. I just wore a jersey with back pockets and wore the clothes I already keep at work. The jersey held my keys, wallet, lunch, and underwear!
    There have to be bicycles in heaven!

  9. #9
    Senior Member bpave777's Avatar
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    d2create wrote:
    > Have you tried a Chrome Bag?

    personally i love Chrome Bags. they're awesome for volume. my Chrome backpack has 2400 cu. in. capacity. (http://www.chromebags.com/backbone.php). plus everyone at Chrome is real nice. i pass them daily on my commute.

    the downside to both my Chrome messenger bag and backpack is the weight. alone they are close to 4 pounds empty. when i've got my laptop and all my gear in mine it's too heavy for everyday. i just figured this out after a few months of trying various bags.

    work today gave me a Kensington backpack that has good shoulder padding and some hard plastic (adjustable) built in for lumbar. it's real nice. It's much lighter than the Chrome bags. no character though. looks like just a geeky laptop backpack.

    i need panniers, i know. problem is that my bike doesn't have any braze ons or eyelets for racks. i'm working on getting myself a new frame for commuting, but until then it's my cx and road bike for commuting, and begging work for a lighter laptop.

  10. #10
    Senior Member neuronbliss's Avatar
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    Over the summer I purchased a trans-alp on eBay. Brand new, $80. http://www.camelbak.com/rec/cb_prod....product_id=208

    Looks like there is two on eBay right now.

  11. #11
    Vancouver, BC leftnotracks's Avatar
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    I like the looks of the Osprey Echo and the Osprey Epic. I've been wanting an Osprey pack ever since I saw one on the back of a fellow BCer I met in Jakarta.

  12. #12
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    Just put on a rack, have the backpack bungeed to it. This morning during the commute the pack shifted, only enough to make me wonder where the noise was coming from; could have been dangerous though.

    Guess I'll have to wear it until the panniers come in. Lone Peak from Ebay.

  13. #13
    The 'net ruined cycling ajkloss42's Avatar
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    I, and a pack of other commuters I know, went with North Face Recon packs (which have apparently been upgraded to Recon II...). It's a bit embarrasing when we're together. Sigh. Anyway, I liked it well enough when I was using it, but I mostly used the water bottle pockets for keys, the helmet pocket for tools/tires/etc. and then the innards for other stuff. Like most packs, it has a bunch of pockets inside. I've since upgraded to a Jandd bag on a Headland seatpost rack for day to day commuting or when I need to haul a load (meaning three weeks of food and clothes), a Bikes-at-work 32" trailer. I do not miss having a load on my back while riding at all, and the seatpost rack is a nice compromise as it comes off a bit quicker than a full rack or panniers and has enough capacity for tires, tubes, cellphone, extra gloves, and other commuter goodies.

  14. #14
    Cyclocrosser.
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    I saw the title and thought this was going to be like a pack of cyclists. That'd be sweet! Call it Bike Pooling.

    I saw a really sweet bag in the newest Bicycling. www.reloadbags.com
    Woot: 'bLog

  15. #15
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    PainTrain,

    Get a basket to go on top of that rack and then use bungee cords or pieces of old tubes to keep the backpack inside. Wald makes a good cheap one. This set up is popular in Europe becuase you can easily take the backpack with you to class or work after locking the bike and you can shop on the way home, put whatever you buy in basket and wear the pack on your back for the rest of way home.

    It's cheap and low tech and it works for a lot of commuters!

  16. #16
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    Go the rack route. I've been commuting for about 14 years. I used Cannondales until they were destroyed in a crash with a car couple of years ago. After months of searching, I was directed to Arkel bags at www.panniers.com by someone in a bike newsgroup. For me the T-42 model was just about perfect. The left and right bags are slightly different. They both have large main pockets which let me store my clothes with no wrinkling. Smaller pockets allow me to organize things so, for example, one holds keys and other items I frequently need quickly. On the other bag the same pocket holds tools and other items that get dirty and, I hope, I don't need often. Another pocket can be snapped off so I can take my wallet and leave the bike and bags. Both have mesh pockets. Arkel makes a number of other bags. Take a look. Ohh I said just about perfect--I really wish they had straps on the back that I could hang a pair of LED blinking lights from.

  17. #17
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Hey I like packs also. I have to catch a trian then get on another bike, so a backpack is the best. Check out Deuter (http://www.deuterusa.com/). I use the Futura 28. That's about 28L or 1700CU. You may get away with a smaller one. It has 2 good size compartments, 1 small and 2 mesh side pockets. It only sits on your back in 3 small areas, mesh rear panels for air flow, so you won't sweat as much. Made by a German Co.(I think in Nam) Charlie

  18. #18
    Jim
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    I've been using a Kelty Torrey 1900 for the last couple of months. I got it in January '04 at REI on salve for $70. It has a 2 liter water bag, which has been nice in the warmer weather, but it sure adds a lot of weight; over 4 lbs when full.

    I carry a laptop and full change of clothes most days. Shoes go in the water bottle pouches, a camp towel in a ziplock bag between the laptop and my back. At first I was using this because I already had it and until I decided on a rack, but am finding it very flexible. I'm not sure I'm going to get a rack, now. Besides, carrying a laptop on a rack is not recommended due to the vibration and shock.

    Having a pack with a waist belt and sternum strap make a BIG difference in keeping the load stable. At this point, I will probably opt for this through the winter, although I may change my mind when the weather warms up. The only draw back so far is the lack of ventilation on my back.

    Jim

  19. #19
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    my only concern so far with packs (i have only really tried messenger bags) is waterproof storage.

    my old timbuk2 was mostly waterproof but if it really poured my stuff got damp (and it was too small, i had a little one).

    when it was time to get a new bag with more room, someone turned me on to crumpler bags from austrailia. i ended up getting the bees knees (the largest one they have), and let me tell you THIS is a bombproof bag.

    it is pretty damn heavy, but nothing inside has ever gotten wet and with the way it is built i don't think i'll need another bag till i retire!

    good stuff if your in the market for a courrier sack!

  20. #20
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    I've now commuted through a blowing torrent for 45 minutes with the Lone Peaks, only minimal water on my work clothes. There was a bit of accumulation in the bottoms which I soaked up easily enough. Considering the weather system made national news, I can't complain.

  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I just lined all the pockets in my old Kirkland panniers with large ziplock bags... keeps everything dry and nothing falls out of the little holes that have now developed in those 20+ year old bags.

    I gotta get serious about getting new Panniers.... I hear they now have reflective stripes on 'em.

    Every time I check the LBS they tout some single pocket system that you stuff with little bags... Great if you are touring, sucks for commuting. I like lots o'pockets for day to day organization.

    BTW as an aside, the Kirkland Panniers had a great system for holding the Panniers on... hooks at the top and spring loaded (not bungie, actual springs) clips that grab the bottom of the rack. They have never let go. 20+ years!

  22. #22
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    I use a Carradice saddlebag and really like it. Today I had one pocket with my repair tools/spare tube, another with my wallet, cell, keys and in the main compartment clothes and 3 frozen lunches and had lots of room leftover. Probably wouldn't work so great on a laptop though. Been through downpours with no leakage. I really like not having the weight on my back ... esp in hot Texas. I hope we get one day below 90 this week, I'm getting sick of it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phiber
    I saw the title and thought this was going to be like a pack of cyclists. That'd be sweet! Call it Bike Pooling.
    I've bikepooled before. In college a friend and I lived near eachother and worked at the same place. When we had the same shift, I'd often see him riding and we'd bikepool to work. It was pretty cool, safety in numbers, we'd try out new routes. We seemed to get in less trouble for being late if we were BOTH late, it was wierd. So how do we find other bike commuters to bikepool with? Who's going to make a website where you can put in your route and find others that ride similar route around the same time? Might be easier for people to get into commuting if they could bikepool with seasoned pros too.

    Back on topic now, I prefer rack and panniers. I also have a rack trunk for days when I don't need to carry the laptop or something else huge. Before I got the rack and trunk I didn't mind the backpack all that much, but since I've gotten that load of my back, I really, really like it. Now I even think twice about putting my tiny little camelback on my back. "Hrm...do I really need that much water? Can I get by with 1 bottle instead?"

  24. #24
    Senior Member bpave777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paniolo
    I use a Carradice saddlebag and really like it. Today I had one pocket with my repair tools/spare tube, another with my wallet, cell, keys and in the main compartment clothes and 3 frozen lunches and had lots of room leftover. Probably wouldn't work so great on a laptop though. Been through downpours with no leakage. I really like not having the weight on my back ... esp in hot Texas. I hope we get one day below 90 this week, I'm getting sick of it.
    what model Carradice do you use Paniolo? i just bought the Carradice Bike Bureau (haven't received it yet). i've got a laptop, and i'm planning on fitting it, along with the usual equipment:
    Tube
    Pump
    Lunch
    Jacket[s]
    Nalgene water bottle
    arm warmers/warm gloves
    Louis Vuitton planner (ha! i'm such an a*hole)

    i'm thinking of getting the Super C Saddlebag too. not sure if it'll fit my laptop though. i like the ones that attach to the back of the seat. it'd be a good excuse to get a Brooks saddle too. there are some good looking ones sold through Rivendell's site:
    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/baggage_racks/

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    I use REI panniers for commuting. Not these exactly, but an older model. Luckily, they were a birthday gift from a very generous friend.
    Best present ever.



    The compact size of these panniers make them a great choice for your 'round-town errands, short tours, or as front panniers on extended trips.
    Basic top-loading design has a large opening for easy access to gear
    Zippered top pocket provides extra storage and helps secure the load with its tension compression system
    Made of ballistic nylon with a polyurethane coating for durability and splash protection; day-glow lining makes contents easier to see
    Reflective piping increases your visibility at night



    Each of my panniers has 2 zipper compartments and a front mesh zipper pouch. I can fit my lunch, extra shoes, extra layers, personal items, bike lock, pump, and patch kit. Plus I can bungee cord something else to the top of the rack if I need to.

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