I commute around 50 miles each week with my laptop and mini u-luck, plus some random things like a fresh t-shirt, kindle, power supply, bike tools. Occasionally I pick up a few grocery items on the way home. I take weekend trips.
As for my current setup, I own a messenger-style Timbuk2 laptop bag (the Command), but it hasn't been doing the job for me. The bag shifts to my side when I ride unless I cinch it so tight it makes me uncomfortable around my collarbone/neck/shoulder. Capacity and organization-wise, it's great, but I am thinking of selling it because I enjoy cycling more when I use my much smaller but not so tough MONO Expander Pack. The capacity and organization on this backpack is not bad, the laptop protection is great, the design is beautiful, but the toughness is nowhere near a true cycling bag.
I'm looking for the perfect cycling backpack that will be:
2) won't shift around while riding,
3) will protect my laptop with adequate padding and is weatherproof
4) has at least 20L capacity (so it can handle what I'd pack for weekend trips) but isn't so huge it would feel bulky around town
5) aesthetically pleasing?
I'm hoping you guys know of a bag that I don't, because I've already done quite a bit of research. I've looked at and almost purchased:
1) Chrome Soyuz
2) Chrome Bravo
3) Chrome Welded Rucksack (new for Chrome's Spring line)
4) Timbuk2 Swig
5) Timbuk2 Q
6) Mission Workshop Rambler
7) Fitzroy VX
8) Mission Workshop R2 or R6 + Arkiv Laptop Case
PROS and CONS of each:
Chrome Soyuz: PROS - laptop pocket with side-access, organizational pockets, u-lock pocket, waterproof main compartment, chest strap, accessory loops on straps, super tough material. CONS - main compartment is too deep and rolltop opening is too narrow, can't easily find things. Built in China.
Chrome Bravo: PROS - expandable upwards, laptop pocket, organizational pocket, waterproof main compartment, external compression straps, chest strap, accessory loops on straps, super tough material. CONS - main compartment is expandable, but potentially awkward for cycling when looking behind for cars. Made in China.
Chrome Welded Rucksack: PROS - all of the above for Chrome. Laptop functions as a separate case with organizational loops. CONS - not expandable, a bit small.
Timbuk2 Swig: PROS - laptop pocket with side access and drop protection, lots of organizational potential, chest strap, cheap. CONS - the style is "hip," not really my thing. I am more into the muted, minimal look.
Timbuk2 Q: PROS - same as above. CONS - same as above, plus it doesn't seem as tough as Chrome or Mission Workshop.
Mission Workshop Rambler: PROS - doubles in size and compresses down very nicely, great fit, chest strap, laptop compartment, very high quality stitching, urethane-coated zippers, super tough material, beautiful bag, lifetime warranty... and made in the USA. CONS - no organizational pockets, everything goes straight to the bottom of the abyss of the bag, including the laptop compartment which means no drop protection. Expensive as hell.
Mission Workshop Fitzroy/Fitzroy VX: PROS - all of the Rambler qualities except doubling in size. CONS - same, laptop compartment seems like an afterthought. Expensive as hell!
Mission Workshop R2 or R6 + Arkiv Laptop Case: PROS - all of the Rambler qualities except doubling in size. The most aesthetically pleasing of all the bags. Laptop sleeve also functions as a separate case, which is nice but not necessary. CONS - even more expensive!!!!! Have to sell a kidney for this one especially if I want the other accessory pockets...
I know this may seem like overkill but I figure if there is anyone who understands, it is the cycling community...