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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-22-14, 04:13 PM   #1
rekon
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Ventilated Backpack

Hello,

I’ve been commuting to work for nearly 6 months now! Yay! On top of that, just last weekend, I’ve sold my car and now we are a 1 car household! Ca-Ching!! $$$

Anyways, the problem I face when commuting to work is my JanSport backpack that I commute with. I need it for lunch, clothes, and a pump. Now that it’s hot, my back gets drenched with sweat by the time I get to work. I tried leaving clothes at work – that helped! But I still have to bring my lunch and I still have a sweaty back! Lol

Question – is there a backpack out there that has more ventilation than a standard JanSport backpack?

Note: I don’t want a rack on my bikes because A.) doesn’t fit on my road bike and B.) I go through trails with MTB and don’t want to damage it if I drop my bike or something.
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Old 07-22-14, 04:21 PM   #2
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I dont know how long your commute is, but until you find a suitable vented BP, you can put a bag of frozen peas in your current one, arranged to be against your back. I do that with a wet t-shirt and stay relatively, "un-hot"(?) for my 1/2 hour
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Old 07-22-14, 05:15 PM   #3
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You might be able to spend a lot of money to get a 'ventilated' backpack that actually works.

You may just have to deal with it, or switch to a rack and pannier.

I use a High Sierra that claims to have ventilation, but my back still gets sweaty.

I still prefer a backpack over rack and panniers for daily commuting.
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Old 07-22-14, 05:22 PM   #4
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A few years ago I tried using one of those mesh backrest things between my backpack and me, but it was cheap and ended up deforming. What I found was that the mesh pressed my shirt against my back so my loose shirt was now flat against my sweaty back and it couldn't cool. On my big bike I put the backpack on the back rack. What about a front-rack? On my road bike I wear the backpack but leave it long and loose and let it rest on the small of my back and not snug against my back. That works pretty well. But the coolest thing is that you've been bike commuting for nearly six months! go Go GO!

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Old 07-22-14, 05:37 PM   #5
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Question is there a backpack out there that has more ventilation than a standard JanSport backpack?
Yes there is...Check out Deuter Race Exp Air.
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Old 07-22-14, 05:47 PM   #6
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Yep, the Deuters are the gold standard for what you are asking. Surprisingly, the Timbuk2 I have been using lately (Especial Tres) is also really good. It's bigger, therefore heavier, but does a good job.
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Old 07-22-14, 07:07 PM   #7
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OP, you may want to consider taking a look at this thread that was started a few days ago (see link below). Lots of good recommendations; it has also led to me doing further research after looking into some of the other bags mentioned.

what backpack do you wear when cycling to work?

Last edited by Seano Hermano; 07-22-14 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
I dont know how long your commute is, but until you find a suitable vented BP, you can put a bag of frozen peas in your current one, arranged to be against your back. I do that with a wet t-shirt and stay relatively, "un-hot"(?) for my 1/2 hour
Nice! This sounds like a quick short term fix that I might try... My commute is about 1hr -1.5.hrs depending on which route I take.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:58 PM   #9
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OP, you may want to consider taking a look at this thread that was started a few days ago (see link below). Lots of good recommendations; it has also led to me doing further research after looking into some of the other bags mentioned.

what backpack do you wear when cycling to work?
Thanks I did see that thread but I specifically want a BP that prevents sweaty backs.

Last edited by rekon; 07-22-14 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 07-22-14, 11:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stdlrf11 View Post
You might be able to spend a lot of money to get a 'ventilated' backpack that actually works.

You may just have to deal with it, or switch to a rack and pannier.

I use a High Sierra that claims to have ventilation, but my back still gets sweaty.

I still prefer a backpack over rack and panniers for daily commuting.
Thanks! That's my fear.. A lot of these backpacks advertise air flow but I don't want to spend ~$100 on a back pack (e.g., Detuter Race Exp. Air) and find out it's BS.
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Old 07-23-14, 11:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rekon View Post
Thanks! That's my fear.. A lot of these backpacks advertise air flow but I don't want to spend ~$100 on a back pack (e.g., Detuter Race Exp. Air) and find out it's BS.
Yeah, you know, for the money they spend on marketing and the cost of their packs they sure do a craptastic job of explaining.

They sell the Deuter Race Air at REI, if there's one near you you should be able to check one out in person -
Deuter Race EXP Air Bike Hydration Pack - 100 fl. oz. - Free Shipping at REI.com

That style of design (I've seen others use it) is the only thing that really keeps your back dry (note: keeps 95% of your back dry, the part where the non-mesh part of the pack contacts your back can still get sweaty, but it's a smallish area at the top and bottom, rather than your whole back).

The part that's in contact with your back is a mesh panel that breaths. Behind that is a curved plastic panel that makes up the back of the pack. That plastic piece makes sure there's always space between the mesh part on the back and the plastic panel, so air freely flows through the entire area.

It's the only design I've seen that actually keeps your back dry. All the other designs are more like "slightly less sweaty than otherwise".

It's been great for me on hikes, for mountain biking. The drawback of the design is that the hard plastic piece keeps the back from bending, so it's not great if you're riding a road bike that requires to you hunch over the handlebars a lot.

You can get racks that go on a road bike without rack braze-ons. Here's a pic of the Bontrager Lightweight rack on a full carbon Trek Domane with no rack mounts -


Axiom and Tubus also make similar racks that mount without rack mounts if you want something cheaper (Axiom) or more sophisticated (Tubus).

And there's other bag options as well - oversized seat bags, handlebar bags, top tube bags, frame bags, etc.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 07-23-14 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 07-23-14, 11:08 AM   #12
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P.S. This Youtube video demonstrates the part of about the mesh on the back -
Deuter Race EXP Air Hydration Pack, Lightweight Biking, Running & Adventure Racing Pack - YouTube
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Old 07-23-14, 11:21 AM   #13
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Not sure about your "dont want a rack" comments. A quick release seat post mounted rack will work on a road bike. I use one myself (though I am trying a regular backpack option now). Plsu with it being QR, using it on an MTB trail just take it off easily before you head to the trail.
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Old 07-23-14, 11:34 AM   #14
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Not sure about your "dont want a rack" comments. A quick release seat post mounted rack will work on a road bike. I use one myself (though I am trying a regular backpack option now). Plsu with it being QR, using it on an MTB trail just take it off easily before you head to the trail.
I'm not going to spend money on a rack if i can't use it on trail and road.
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Old 07-23-14, 11:55 AM   #15
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I'm not going to spend money on a rack if i can't use it on trail and road.
Please help the trail ignorant cyclist, what is the problem with using a rack equipped bike on trails?
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Old 07-23-14, 12:30 PM   #16
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Please help the trail ignorant cyclist, what is the problem with using a rack equipped bike on trails?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rekon View Post
Note: I don’t want a rack on my bikes because A.) doesn’t fit on my road bike and B.) I go through trails with MTB and don’t want to damage it if I drop my bike or something.
Unless and/or until the OP is ready to invest in a rack for each of his bikes (a QR *could* be damaged in a fall), a backpack would allow him to quickly and easily to select another bike should his primary rig be out of commissiion.
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Old 07-23-14, 12:32 PM   #17
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Get a saddlebag. No rack required. You can also get a bag support and / or a quick release if you want one.

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Old 07-23-14, 12:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
P.S. This Youtube video demonstrates the part of about the mesh on the back -
Deuter Race EXP Air Hydration Pack, Lightweight Biking, Running & Adventure Racing Pack - YouTube
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Yeah, you know, for the money they spend on marketing and the cost of their packs they sure do a craptastic job of explaining.

They sell the Deuter Race Air at REI, if there's one near you you should be able to check one out in person -
Deuter Race EXP Air Bike Hydration Pack - 100 fl. oz. - Free Shipping at REI.com

That style of design (I've seen others use it) is the only thing that really keeps your back dry (note: keeps 95% of your back dry, the part where the non-mesh part of the pack contacts your back can still get sweaty, but it's a smallish area at the top and bottom, rather than your whole back).

The part that's in contact with your back is a mesh panel that breaths. Behind that is a curved plastic panel that makes up the back of the pack. That plastic piece makes sure there's always space between the mesh part on the back and the plastic panel, so air freely flows through the entire area.

It's the only design I've seen that actually keeps your back dry. All the other designs are more like "slightly less sweaty than otherwise".

It's been great for me on hikes, for mountain biking. The drawback of the design is that the hard plastic piece keeps the back from bending, so it's not great if you're riding a road bike that requires to you hunch over the handlebars a lot.

You can get racks that go on a road bike without rack braze-ons. Here's a pic of the Bontrager Lightweight rack on a full carbon Trek Domane with no rack mounts -


Axiom and Tubus also make similar racks that mount without rack mounts if you want something cheaper (Axiom) or more sophisticated (Tubus).

And there's other bag options as well - oversized seat bags, handlebar bags, top tube bags, frame bags, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Unless and/or until the OP is ready to invest in a rack for each of his bikes (a QR *could* be damaged in a fall), a backpack would allow him to quickly and easily to select another bike should his primary rig be out of commissiion.
My thoughts exactly! 1. I don't want to spend time changing the rack to each bike every time I switch routes. 2. buying racks for each bike is out of the option 3. during the trails i fall and drop my bike quite often when going really fast downhill or on a steep climb where i loose my grip and forget to clip out. It's not ignorance dude I just don't want a rack.
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Old 07-23-14, 12:44 PM   #19
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Unless and/or until the OP is ready to invest in a rack for each of his bikes (a QR *could* be damaged in a fall), a backpack would allow him to quickly and easily to select another bike should his primary rig be out of commissiion.

Racks are cheap, even the QR ones. I have one $12 rack on my MTB and a $29 QR one for my road bike. Panniers can be moved between them. As for crashing, don't crash. If you do and its hard enough to damage the rack, consider how such a crash would impact a backpack and its contents. So its just a trade off, its always just a trade off.

But it is the OP's bike and commute so its his choice. We are just offering our opinion
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Old 07-23-14, 01:30 PM   #20
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Quite a few Osprey's have mesh ventilated backs. They call it Airspeed and Airspeed Suspension Back Panel. I'm guessing that the Airspeed Suspension is the one that keeps it off your back. My old TNF hydration pack also has the "Airspeed Suspension" type of mesh paneling that keeps the actual compartment off my back. I forget what the name of the TNF pack is.

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Old 07-23-14, 05:24 PM   #21
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A lot of these backpacks advertise air flow but I don't want to spend ~$100 on a back pack (e.g., Detuter Race Exp. Air) and find out it's BS.
There is no backpack out there which will keep you 100% sweat free... But some packs are better and more comfortable then others. If you think that Deuter packs are BS then just take the cheap route and use a plastic bag filled with ice cubes or frozen peas...For me personally I don't give a **** about getting sweaty and I just use a messenger bag.
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Old 07-23-14, 05:50 PM   #22
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My thoughts exactly! 1. I don't want to spend time changing the rack to each bike every time I switch routes. 2. buying racks for each bike is out of the option 3. during the trails i fall and drop my bike quite often when going really fast downhill or on a steep climb where i loose my grip and forget to clip out. It's not ignorance dude I just don't want a rack.
Lol, it sounds like you don't want a rack for emotional reasons. That's fine. Half my post is about about the best pack option. Do whatever you think will make you happiest, my post illustrates the best options I know of for either.
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Old 07-23-14, 07:16 PM   #23
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My partner has an Osprey with the air-frame (50L Exos for backpacking, so a bit of a different beast), it works, but it's not magic. I've hiked with it for a bit and it does a pretty good job of keeping sweat down, but you still sweat. It's not BS, but it still pales in comparison to the lack of sweat you get with a rack and panniers. Iff you've ruled those out, they might be your next best option.
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Old 07-24-14, 09:09 AM   #24
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Thanks everyone for the help! I checked out the Detuter at REI. I really liked it. I'm going to go back and get it this weekend. I like the suspended back and the mesh straps. I feel like this bag is going to help a lot!

I understand nothing is going to keep me 100% dry... but if i can get 50%+ more dry I'd be happy! I tried on some Ospreys at performance and they felt like they wouldn't help much. It had a mesh on the back but it was right against your back and I felt wouldn't reduce sweat.

On the Detuter, I really liked the trampoline-like backing that helps keep most of the contents off your back!
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Old 07-24-14, 10:24 AM   #25
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Thanks everyone for the help! I checked out the Detuter at REI. I really liked it. I'm going to go back and get it this weekend. I like the suspended back and the mesh straps. I feel like this bag is going to help a lot!

I understand nothing is going to keep me 100% dry... but if i can get 50%+ more dry I'd be happy! I tried on some Ospreys at performance and they felt like they wouldn't help much. It had a mesh on the back but it was right against your back and I felt wouldn't reduce sweat.

On the Detuter, I really liked the trampoline-like backing that helps keep most of the contents off your back!
Glad to hear you found something you like. :-) REI also had a very long return policy (I think a year?) - if you wear it for a week or two and decide it's not an improvement, it's no problem to return it. (Though I personally think it's your best option pack-wise.)
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