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  1. #1
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    Messenger bag vs. backpack?

    I'm able to ride to work again! My question is: when I rode before I could leave my clothes at work (I had a real office, now I'm in a cube so I used a daypack to carry the misc. stuff I needed. Now I'll need to bring clothes with me. I'm looking at larger (2,000cu in) backpacks & considering a messenger bag. I liked wearing a backpack beacuse it felt like a part of me and moved when I did. Messenger bags seem like they'd flop around and not move with me but would possibly hold more (I'm considering the Timuk2 pro messenger medium). I don't want to put a rack on the bike, I'd rather move my body rather than muscle a loaded bike around. What are your thoughts and experiences?

  2. #2
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    I think a rack makes more sense, and I use a messenger bag because mine fits on the rack better. However, on the body, no brainer, backpack stays in place better. Hate the sweaty back though.

  3. #3
    drink slinger
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    Messenger bags are designed - surprise - for riding bikes. They have a chest strap that secures it fairly well to your body. Mine only tends to move around when I have it really overstuffed; otherwise it sits pretty solidly in the small of my back. I have a Timbuk2.

    I tried using a 2K ci backpack, but the top of it pressed against the back of my head on my road bike, so I gave up on it real quick. Maybe if I had a bike with a more upright riding position I would have had more success.
    Five is right out!

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  4. #4
    drink slinger
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    As a side note, when I worked in a cube, I had black and brown shoes, plus ties and a shoe shine kit in one of the closeable upper "shelves". I also had a good-sized full-length garment bag that I just hung up and used as a closet. Could hold 3 or 4 clean shirts and pairs of pants.
    Five is right out!

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  5. #5
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    After being a bike courier for almost 8 years and now being a devoted bike commuter with a 30 mile round-trip commute, I recommend the backpack. My shoulders will never be the same from that courier bag. I'm tellin' ya, there's nothing worse than lugging around an overstuffed courier bag. I took mine off when I got home from my last day of couriering and haven't put it on since! I found a great pack (made by deuter--why do germans engineer such great packs?) w/ a mesh thingie to keep it off my back and allow air to circulate. As a bonus, it keeps things like books from digging into my back which is a little sensitive after breaking it in September (got hit from behind on the way to work). I can stuff lots of clothes and shoes and shampoo bottles and notebooks in the backpack and still ride comfortably--I think it's maybe 1500 cu in, but I can't remember exactly. With creative packing, my clothes are not usually wrinkled. Ultimately though, I suppose it's all a matter of personal preference. Can you try both and decide which you like better?

  6. #6
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    Messenger. Get one with a chest strap, or don't get one at all. Really, feels light as air.
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  7. #7
    dbg
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    I feel more agile with a backpack than strapping all that weight to the bike. Below is my favorite. It has great features including mesh pads for air flow. And I consider a waist strap essential. This one is made by SwissGear (model: Synergy, $69 at BestBuy)

  8. #8
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    Depending on the day and the bike I am riding I will use either. Though I trnd to lean towards the messenger bag

  9. #9
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    one strap is not enough if you carry much weight. there are some packs that have a mesh back to keep it off your back so only the straps on your sholder and the pad on the bottom get any sweat. my last one was liek that. but I kept overstuffing it and killed the zipper. but if possibme use a rack it's so much nicer. I had to commute a year on my racing bike with a pack. what a pain when I had to carry 10 pounds.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    messenger bag, but make sure to get a strap pad...having that thick strap abrade your neck is not fun.

  11. #11
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    Messenger Bag. I have done the lot from paniers to backpacks to racks. There is nothing to compete with the messenger bag. Much better than anythign else in my opinion. I do an 19 mile round trip each day with one. I would consider the large Timbuk2 if I were you. That is the one I am using and I find that I rarely fill it but sometimes I need it if I have shirts, trousers, shoes etc.

    I have already posted extensively to another thread on this one. Look up my posts and you should find it.

    Brian

  12. #12
    Cyclist and village idiot ridealot's Avatar
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    Get a Chrome Metropolis. My wife got me one for Christmas. That bag is great. Comfortable, huge and seems well made. Carries everything I need.
    Fear is never boring

  13. #13
    Go fast, turn left... Essy's Avatar
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    I have both a Timbuk2 commuter bag and an el ocho messenger. The commuter doesn't have bike straps, and the messenger is too small to fit my laptop, two law books, and gym clothes in it all at the same time. (I think my textbook writers are paid by the word.) So I switched to a small internal framed hiking bag from Kelty. I get a little bit sweaty by the end of my 6 mile (one way) commute, but it was worth it to carry everything I needed. And if it was a particularly heavy day, I could use the waist strap to take the load off my back. .

  14. #14
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    Ex-messenger voting for BaileyWorks messenger bag. But it all depends on your riding style. If you need the chest strap to keep the bag on your back then just go with a backpack. But the whole thing about all of the weight being on one shoulder means you are riding too upright. If your riding correctly the weight will be on your back and move with you.

    Again, the best advice is too leave as much of your crap at work as possible, especially the shoes. I have a brown and black pair that I alternate that have never even seen my home.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bidaci's Avatar
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    I use the Reebok Slingbag. I found that a backpack was always ackward when I needed to find something quickly. This is a good compromise between the two that works well for me.
    Bill

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  16. #16
    Better than you since 83! junioroverlord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    don't listen to these messenger bag dolts. you wanna carry 20 or more lbs on one shoulder or 2? also the messenger bags tend to get in the view path of glass/helmetmounted mirrors.

    go with a back pack and get a rack to put the pack on.

    dank makes nice back packs.
    20 pounds is too much for one shoulder? You really are frail arent you?
    "Riding bikes on the street is the fuggin jam!" Juvi-Kyle

  17. #17
    Enjoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg
    I feel more agile with a backpack than strapping all that weight to the bike. Below is my favorite. It has great features including mesh pads for air flow. And I consider a waist strap essential. This one is made by SwissGear (model: Synergy, $69 at BestBuy)
    Nice look'n pack. How much does it weigh?

  18. #18
    MADE IN TAIWAN wangster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    try carrying that 20lbs for a long while. i dare you to ride and walk everywhere you go with 40lbs in a messenger bag. i have to do that so i use a back pack.

    why would you carry 40lbs of crap with you everywhere you go. Lets be realistic here, 20lbs is a lot of crap already, unless you are a super studious student and carry ALL your books with you, you won't be carrying 20lbs. I carry my laptop, change of clothes and shoes with me plus some random notebooks and other crap and it's still under 20lbs all in a manhattan portage bag and it's more than enough. Most backpack zippers can't handle too much weight anyways and you can't store things neatly enough. if you have to have a shirt and pant, it'll get wrinkled easily in a backpack. Go with a nice messenger bag, it'll carry everything you need and more. Timbuk2, manhattan portage and chrome are the bigger companies and they make very nice bags in varying sizes.

  19. #19
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    I tried a messenger bag and I hated it. It flopped around no matter what I did. Now I have a Camelbak Feratta which is as big as any backpack, bigger if I drain the water out of it.

    Where I live, a lot of people do 30 mile round trip commutes on road bikes and I don't see any of them with messenger bags, they all use backpacks or racks.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    try carrying that 20lbs for a long while. i dare you to ride and walk everywhere you go with 40lbs in a messenger bag. i have to do that so i use a back pack.


    40lbs??!!! that's how much my pack weighs when i do a week of back country hiking! What can you possibly be carrying around that weighs that much? For me it's 2 changes of clothes, food for seven days, tent, sleeping bag, mess kit, stove, etc...

    FWIW i have the medium size Timbuk2 that i got for valentine's day. It's good stuff, and it's big enough to take on weekend travel trips (non bike). It's also very comfortable, and on the bike i haven't had any trouble with it shifting aruond. The sternum strap works perfectly. My only complaint is that it's hot. I sweat buckets so having a non-breathable material on my back for a long time is icky. Rides under 10mi or so, or at a slow pace aren't bad though. I greatly prefer it to my EMS backpack, even though it holds slightly less. And to whomever recommended the strappad, i second that.
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  21. #21
    Enjoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by wangster
    you can't store things neatly enough. if you have to have a shirt and pant, it'll get wrinkled easily in a backpack.
    My mommy didn't teach me how to fold so I learned from the Brits. Many Brit cyclists will tell you that if you fold or roll clothes to the size of the pack, the stuff won't wrinkle. I lauged till I tried it. I can carry a dress button down shirt, silk or regular...no wrinkles at all. Same with dress pants.

  22. #22
    Go fast, turn left... Essy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wangster
    why would you carry 40lbs of crap with you everywhere you go. Lets be realistic here, 20lbs is a lot of crap already, unless you are a super studious student and carry ALL your books with you, you won't be carrying 20lbs. I carry my laptop, change of clothes and shoes with me plus some random notebooks and other crap and it's still under 20lbs all in a manhattan portage bag and it's more than enough. Most backpack zippers can't handle too much weight anyways and you can't store things neatly enough. if you have to have a shirt and pant, it'll get wrinkled easily in a backpack. Go with a nice messenger bag, it'll carry everything you need and more. Timbuk2, manhattan portage and chrome are the bigger companies and they make very nice bags in varying sizes.

    Apple PowerBook - 5.6 lbs
    2 law textbooks - ~5 lbs each, so 10 lbs
    Shoes, gym shorts, shirt, sports bra, etc - ~3-4 lbs
    Powercord, ethernet cable, pens - 1lb
    Bike Lock & cable (because mine didn't come with a bike attachment) - ~5 lbs
    Water bottle, food, random crap - ~2 lbs

    Being conservative, since sometimes I have to bring all of my books home, this is easily over 20lbs. No backpack failures yet!! Or back failures. All thanks to Kelty!
    *sitting by the mail, waiting for my sponsorship check*

    And trust me, I am not super studious I just live a distance from home.

  23. #23
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    I have a large Timbuk2 pro messenger bag. With 20lb. of stuff in it, it just didn't work (in terms of size or weight) for 21 miles a day, so I went back to my panniers. Great with less stuff in it for less distance, though.

    Should have bought the medium.
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  24. #24
    dbg
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    Nice look'n pack. How much does it weigh?
    re: SwissGear Synergy by Wenger laptop backback (swiss army knife folks)

    Sorry for the delay. Don't know the weight (don't want to dump it out and measure I guess) but it's comparable or lighter than other laptop backpacks. I carry my laptop and files with me both ways every day. Loaded total usualy exceeds 25 lbs. On the rare days when I don't take a backpack, I feel like I'm barely touching the ground and can't wait to devour those hills with extreme prejudice

  25. #25
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I like my Specialized messenger bag.

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