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  1. #1
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Backpack or messenger bag while riding a hybrid?

    Age old question with a twist. After much thought, I've decided that panniers just aren't my thing at this point in life. That being said, I do need a way to carry my stuff while on the bike.

    I've been interested in mess bags for a while, but have as yet to pull the trigger on one. Mainly because I think that since a mess bag is designed to rest on your back while riding (best done in a more aero position- a la road bike with drops), using one while riding in a more upright position on a hybrid, they wouldn't be as comfortable/practical. I could be wrong.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    I have used both a messenger bag and a backpack and I prefer the backpack. My commute takes almost 90 minutes, and the messenger bag on one shoulder would hurt my back after a while.
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  3. #3
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    The advantage of a messenger bag is that you can put stuff in and take stuff out without removing the bag. The strap is loosened and the bag hangs from your shoulder while you access the contents. It's very convenient, but if you don't need to get in and out of your bag frequently, a backpack will balance the load better, over two shoulders.

    Many messengers choose backpacks instead of sling bags because they spread the load over both shoulders. I carry a large Chrome backpack when I'm working, but I rarely put my deliveries in it, so it stays on my back most of the time. I have this one.
    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/...rge.html?c=104

  4. #4
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    I know you said that panniers were not your thing..but check this out.. Not water proof but works awesome, and they sell a cover for riding in the rain..

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    The advantage of a messenger bag is that you can put stuff in and take stuff out without removing the bag. The strap is loosened and the bag hangs from your shoulder while you access the contents. It's very convenient, but if you don't need to get in and out of your bag frequently, a backpack will balance the load better, over two shoulders.

    Many messengers choose backpacks instead of sling bags because they spread the load over both shoulders. I carry a large Chrome backpack when I'm working, but I rarely put my deliveries in it, so it stays on my back most of the time. I have this one.
    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/...rge.html?c=104
    Dang and I thought my bag was a big one...

  6. #6
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    24x20x7, it holds less than the large Chrome messenger bag, 26x15x7. More than half of a Xerox box can fit in the single strap bag with the rest of it sticking out. Only a small box will fit in the large Chrome backpack.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    I know you said that panniers were not your thing..but check this out.. Not water proof but works awesome, and they sell a cover for riding in the rain..
    1. I've seen the trunks with drop down panniers. I'm not a big fan of them. They rob the core bag of usable everyday space to stow the panniers when they aren't deployed.
    2. The rain cover is an additional cost- which also takes up space in the bag when not in use.
    3. If that thing was fully loaded, I'd imagine it would be a little awkward to carry off of the bike...

  8. #8
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    24x20x7, it holds less than my large Chrome messenger bag, 26x15x7. More than half of a Xerox box can fit in the single strap bag with the rest of it sticking out. Only a small box will fit in the large Chrome backpack.
    Question (though I may already know, but just forgot): what do you ride? As in how aggressive of a posture do have? This is my current rig http://klassickona.com/oldgold/2006/smoke.htm and just wondering if my posture on it would be too vertical for a mess bag to ride comfortably?

  9. #9
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    No, you can ride bolt upright with a messenger bag. A real messenger bag will have a strap that can be quickly cinched up to keep the bag from swinging around while riding.

    In my opinion, a single strap bag is a bad choice for you regardless of the angle of your back. A double strap bag is not good for your back either, but less likely to cause problems. Rack and panniers is what you should be using.

  10. #10
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    1. I've seen the trunks with drop down panniers. I'm not a big fan of them. They rob the core bag of usable everyday space to stow the panniers when they aren't deployed.
    2. The rain cover is an additional cost- which also takes up space in the bag when not in use.
    3. If that thing was fully loaded, I'd imagine it would be a little awkward to carry off of the bike...
    Fully loaded yes it is, but I have had 60 pounds in it. Try that with a back pack or messenger bag..The cover for rain is very compact.
    You would never notice it...and the core bag stays the same.. with or without panniers opened. Even expands if you open it up..but
    as you said it is not your thing . Richard

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    No, you can ride bolt upright with a messenger bag. A real messenger bag will have a strap that can be quickly cinched up to keep the bag from swinging around while riding.

    In my opinion, a single strap bag is a bad choice for you regardless of the angle of your back. A double strap bag is not good for your back either, but less likely to cause problems. Rack and panniers is what you should be using.
    Wow, sounds like what the commuters would say . Having done grocery runs and trips to Blockbuster with grocery panniers and saddlebag panniers, I do like how my back feels with the weight off. However, they aren't practical in my multi-modal commute. With the stuff on my back, it's far easier to sprint to a bus, dismount, place bike on the rack, and board. With panniers or rack trunk, there would be additional steps/time- unless using QR systems, which can get pricey.

    Btw, I saw your Mill Valley in another thread- nice rig. The guys at Sun & Ski are doing their best to sell me one of those....

  12. #12
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    I bought another Marin, but I'm not sure I like Marin bikes. There is something sketchy about them. Seriously, don't buy one because I did, the jury is still out. Don't buy a Chrome bag either. I bought the large messenger style and large backpack on pro deal, but they still cost too much. They are heavy bags, but last a long time.

    It sounds like you want to try a single strap bag. Go for it. I have a large Chrome messenger bag. I haven't used it on the bike in years but I use it as carry on when I fly, a couple times a year. It's a useful item that will probably outlive me.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Yeah, I do want to try a single strap. However, the last 3 out of 4 packs I've bought have ended up as replacements for the Wally World Bag Shaped Objects my wife buys for the kids. The ful lasted the entire junior year of the oldest, then she got the Ogio I had bought for myself to use for school (she's off to college- and took it with her), and my Dakine is now in the hands of the 9th grader...

    So as much as I want to venture into the mess bag realm, I think I'll stick to backpacks for now. Never know when I'm gonna have to replace those cheap things, and the kids need 2 straps with the loads they have to haul around when there are no lockers available.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    1. I've seen the trunks with drop down panniers. I'm not a big fan of them. They rob the core bag of usable everyday space to stow the panniers when they aren't deployed.
    2. The rain cover is an additional cost- which also takes up space in the bag when not in use.
    3. If that thing was fully loaded, I'd imagine it would be a little awkward to carry off of the bike...
    Well this is not a thread about racks & panniers but since it came up this just happens to be the the system I use. This is my bag regardless if I ride my bike or drive my pickup into work. It is about the handiest bag I have ever owned. It is rare I use the drop downs but the compartments the the panniers fold into are very useful storage compartments for all kinds of things. it is all about your personal lifestyle, for me this was the best route to go.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member iManda's Avatar
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    You can have both, and on sale to boot. It is, as they say, a dessert topping AND a floor wax.

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    I zip tied a small wire basket about the same size as my rear rack and use one of those net things to cover it. The basket will hold almost anything I would need for commuting to work including my laptop bag and also has enough room for a full grocery bag. The elastic net keeps things in. I hate having something on my back when I ride.

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