I turned 54 yo Wednesday and have been commuting to work for the last 20 Years. My weapons of choice have always been a long wheel based bike with a rack, one pannier(tools, tubes, etc), a cargo netted soft shell lunch box on top of the rack, and a Timbuk2 messenger bag for cell phone, wallet, clothes and anything else I need to bring into work. It has been great. Up to this point I'd swear this is the best combination.
Well recently, I picked up an 86' Bianchi Squadra (entry level performance road bike (Columbus Steel)), and there was no way I could fit a rack on this bike without attaching it to the seat post. I contemplated ... but decided against it. Boy am I glad I did! I reorg'ed and started commuting with only the messenger bag. I can't properly describe how awesome it is to fly (18-20mph) through turns on the river bicycle path without even thinking. Don't get me wrong. I'm not the fastest, but respectively, it's flying to me!
On my birthday, my wife and kids got me an Osprey Viper 7. Basically a hydration pack. Obviously they don't know or pay much attention to my commuting :>) But you have to appreciate the gesture. The next day I was in REI to trade it in. I tried a bunch of packs and decided on the Koki Vespa. I used it today and it was great.
Here's my dilemma. REI didn't have it in stock, but I'm wondering if I should get the Osprey Momentum 26. I can't get over Osprey's lifetime guarantee. The salesman in REI acknowledged the Koki was new and unproven durability wise. Great design, but unproven.
I don't want this massive thing on my back that will be hot. That is why I've always been happy with my previous setup. But today it was 100 degrees and the Koki with its tensioned air-flow mesh back wasn't bad. It fits great and it is light. As a matter of fact it's one pound lighter than the Osprey 26. And .. since I removed the laptop carrying case it's even lighter.
I think I'm talking myself into keeping the Koki, but I'm looking for people who have experience with either: especially the Koki since nobody else seems to have one.
What attracts me to the Osprey is the warranty and the two pockets on the shoulder straps.
What kind of organization does the Vespa have in that front compartment? Neither site showed what that panel looked like.
Its has a couple good sized individual pockets that I put my eye glass case, wallet and cell phone in. Plus there's plenty of additional loose space. Above this section is a zippered compartment that drops down into the 1st section. And behind this is the largest zippered section. Like I said in my original post, I removed the laptop protector from this section, so there's considerably more space. I hope that makes sense?
As a bonus, there are two zippered pockets on the bottom. One has the dimensions of a checkbook. If anybody remembers what one of those are :>) The other is the compartment for the rain cover. It is faily concealed if that's important. I removed the rain cover also.
I'm really liking this backpack. Good organization without being overly complicated. I tend to lose and forget things if I have too many storage compartments.
And like MK313 said, if it works in 100 degree heat it should be a keeper.
And there are two good sized mesh ockets on the side. I think they are designed for water bottles but I'd probably use them for a light windbreaker or some other clothing. Especially if something got wet.
Some online company(wish I could recall the website ) makes a universal 'cage' that keeps the backside of the backpack off of your back. This allows for airflow keeping one's back cooler. Similar to the buffer for mandolin players that keeps the back of the instrument away from one's body for qreater volume.
Btw, as w/any commuting bag the 1st thing I do is coat them liberally w/Thompson's water sealer inside and out in addtion to bagging all contents w/plastic bags. Even if they're purported to be 'waterproof'. Saves alot of headaches in terms of ruined goods. YMMV.