Need commuting backpack suggestions
I need some suggestions for a backpack for fast paced daily commute (20mph+ x 12 miles). Lightness and comfort are top priorities. I have a thin build if that makes a difference.
Making a kilometer blurry
Get a small back-country skiing pack. I've had a Lowe-Alpine for a decade. Compression straps are essential. The ski-tip pockets are perfect for water bottles. The crampon pocket is good for my helmet or wet/bulky stuff.
Bonus: I used it for a lot of back-country skiing when I lived in Utah.
I was given one of these REI Ultralight day packs for a gift once and now I use it for almost all my day hiking in the mountains, bike rides when I need to carry some gear, etc.. It weighs next to nothing but yet is strong, has good shoulder straps and it even has a water bladder compartment. It is also cheap. I have a whole stack of backpacks on my basement shelf but this is the one I use.
Making a kilometer blurry
Yeah, that REI pack looks functional, but after having compression straps, I don't think I could do without. It's so much easier to balance and distribute the load and have it stay there when I'm sprinting all-out on into a bus' draft or trying to make a light. I'm able to make the pack quite flat on my back, without the stuff all settling at the bottom.
Here's a good deal on a pack with compression straps: http://www.rei.com/product/747527
This one is closest to what I have now, and is priced at about what I paid 10 years ago for mine: http://www.rei.com/product/739679
That flap pocket is extremely useful. This pack is pretty big, but with 2 pairs of compression straps and a compression lid, it will shrink around your load. This is the pack I would buy today if I needed a replacement.
Does it have to be a backpack? I would recommend a messenger bag before a backpack - much easier to ride with and puts the weight in the right spot on your back.
I spent a year or so commuting about 15 miles round trip and used a Timbuk2 that I loved. It has a huge open space (enough for a laptop, clothes, a lock, etc) that is easily accessible and it kept my things dry, has reflective strips, and a spot for hanging a flashing light too.
I borrowed a Chrome Backbone bag from my roommate once (he's a bike messenger) and it was possibly the best backpack I've ever used. The only problem is that it's too large vertically and made it uncomfortable to wear my lock around my waist while using it. But if you don't use a chain lock, it's near perfect.
Not an internet law-maker
I use a Timbuk2 pro backpack because I commute at night a lot and it has a very large reflective area
Originally Posted by kwrides
I found one cheap on ebay.
Originally Posted by BudFox
That sounds exactly like me...20+ mph commuting speed for 8-30 miles, depending on what route I take. I travel way too light and fast for a messenger bag. A basic backpack works really well if you dont' carry more than a few pounds in it, such as a shirt, pair or pants, and maybe your lunch. It stays put and doesn't put much pressure on your back. For bigger loads, like books and laptop computers, I'd definately go with a messenger bag. I've been using a cheapo backpack that I bought from Kmart more than 5 years ago and other than looking really non-trendy, its given me no reason to compain. Its getting time for something new, however.