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  1. #1
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    My current backpack isn't cutting it. I need your advice.

    I recently moved from being right by my school's campus and my work to a place a few miles away. The backpack I've been using in the resulting commute (http://www.ebags.com/product/kelty/r...ductid=1240806) isn't cutting it, and I want to get a replacement. I've been looking into messenger bags and cycling-specific backpacks, but I'm just getting more and more confused. Can anyone offer me their advice?

    The bags I've looked at the most are the Chrome Citizen, which seems to be held in high regard, and the Ortlieb Messenger Bag Classic (http://www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-53.htm) -- though I'm also tempted by Bailey Works and Mission Workshop...

    I just want something comfortable and waterproof that can handle large-ish loads.

    Thanks

    Edit: I should add I'm only looking at backpacks and messenger bags because I will have to lock up the bike unattended while I'm on campus.
    Last edited by Stanczyk; 08-01-10 at 10:17 PM. Reason: adding something

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    Check out the Ortlieb Downtown.
    It's a messenger bag with rack attachments.
    Also if you are looking at Ortlieb products, check Wayne's selection at the Touring Store.
    Super nice guy and he runs some good deals.
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen
    I believe that in this case "solid meh" means "so 'meh' that it could never be anything more than 'meh', and yet also no less than 'meh' -- in a word, exactly 'meh'"

  3. #3
    Surf Bum
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    There is also the ergon backpack designed to keep the weight on your hips and not your back - http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/bd2

    The Osprey Talon is also very popular with the mountain bike guys - I love mine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Deuter and Vaude both make backpacks that maintain an air space between the load and your back. They also have straps across the chest to keep the shoulder straps in position

  5. #5
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    I've been carrying one of these messenger bags on bicycle and motorbike since 1993.

    http://www.crumplerbags.com/Lite/Eng...d---CS19A.html

    Same bag has lasted me all that time which speaks volumes about the quality of the product. The advantages of messenger style is that you can swing the whole thing around the front and access stuff inside without taking the bag off. There's also a bottom clip that can secure your bag when you need to absorb any rough terrain. This bag is big enough to fit a 15" macbook pro, a folder of documents, my lunch and a change of clothes pretty well (albeit overweight) and is still expandable if you want to try stuffing it more.

    The drawback with cycling with something on my back to work is that I end up being a sweaty mess which sucks on the days that I don't have time to shower and change. I have since switched to:

    http://www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-6.htm

    The 5" thick one was enough for my needs. I got a pair from Wayne at www.thetouringstore.com (Thanks Wayne!) for a great price and excellent service. These panniers are just enough to to store my lappie, a light riding jacket and my lunch. If you need more volume, the bike packer plus is great. All the Ortliebs have the best, most secure rack system that you can detach instantly that I've seen. IMHO it's worth a little more cash to buy quality and convenience.
    __
    -chris.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    Deuter and Vaude both make backpacks that maintain an air space between the load and your back. They also have straps across the chest to keep the shoulder straps in position
    My Deuter has been great. The air space and the tight fit are excellent for cycling or running.

  7. #7
    Senior Member metabike's Avatar
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    I've been using this for my commute and have been real happy with it: http://www.rei.com/product/780465.

  8. #8
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    As a former backpack wearer, I suggest ... panniers.

  10. #10
    Soma Lover
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
    As a former backpack wearer, I suggest ... panniers.
    +1.

    I switched to a pair of small panniers, ≈16 liters each, ten years ago with a burrito wrap tool roll-up bungeed to the top of the rack.

    I will never go back.

  11. #11
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    I was surprised how much I liked panniers, and how easy they were to use.

    I use mine for clean clothes coming in, dirties going out, groceries, etc. All-purpose handy.

    I don't even know they are there.

  12. #12
    Senior Member csimons's Avatar
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    You mentioned you were only looking at backpacks and messenger bags because you need to lock the bike up on campus. I don't mean to blatantly ignore this, but you may want to check out racks, as there are smaller bags than panniers that can be dismounted easily and quickly. One of the bags you are looking at is ~ $130. A Topeak Explorer rack is totally decent and costs less than $30.[1] Decent panniers start at $30,[2] and smaller 'trunk bags' are available as well, which are even more mobile. Moving from a backpack to a rack would also make for more comfortable and less sweaty riding.

    [1] http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Mtx+Bags.aspx
    [2] http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Panniers.aspx
    2009 Windsor Wellington

  13. #13
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    I'm a pannier man myself. On the pricier side, but very high quality. I'm quite happy with mine for commuting, also found out it fits a 12-pack of beer quite handily.
    http://www.arkel.ca/ca_e/bug-cummuting-bag.html

    As for cycling-specific backpacks, my wife has a cycling backpack from MEC. In any case, I wore it on an unfamiliar bike with a big load for a few hours once. Unfamiliar as in it was a road bike and I'm used to a flat-bar hybrid. It worked very well, I felt very stable and didn't get a sore back. My back did get quite sweaty though.
    Last edited by aglauser; 08-05-10 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Added link now that MEC site is back up.

  14. #14
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    This newbie has been using a backpack but the other day I tried a messager bag. The messenger bag didn't work because it keep sliding around, and makeing me adjust it, and that was throwing me off balance. However, after reading through this thread. the quality messenger bags have STABILITY straps. The one I had, didn't have one.. Will try the messenger bag again, a better one that is..

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