I've got a R.E.load small civilian, and it's great except for carrying heavy loads while walking, so I'm looking at getting a backpack. It needs to be waterproof, comfortable, sturdy, and have a few smaller pockets (so the Ortlieb is out).
The Ranchero and Ivan are appealing because they're way cheaper, but the straps on the Ranchero look a little flimsy where they attach to the bag, and I don't like the pocket setup as much as the Midpack. But from reading in this forum, it sounds like the Midpack may have some potential leakage issues and problems with things falling out (and it's expensive).
So does anyone have any input on the quality/useability of these bags?
I have an Ivan, it's great and has a lot of room. It has been waterproof through the rains here in the Bay Area lately, but blocks your sight if you are in the drops and try to look to either side (the roll top extends a bit too far). You can lower the bag but it feels like any weight is pulling you away from the handlebar...choose wisely...
i've been in this same situation. i want a backpack, but i don't want to pay out the ass for a r.e.load like i did for my mess bag. don't get me wrong, r.e.load makes great stuff and if i had the money i would totally support them... but i think i'm gonna scoop up a chrome when i have the opportunity.
I used to use the Ivan, until it got stolen from my school locker, and I recently replaced it with the Ranchero. Personally, I like the Ranchero much better. It is easier to get things in and out of, and is more comfortable, especially when loaded up. It could be because I'm a girl and my upper body/shoulders are different than what they might have designed the straps for, but the straps on the Ranchero sit a little bit more square than the Ivan. The Ivan straps sat too high up on the muscle that leads from your neck to your shoulders, and carrying more than 2 things in my bag was painful. Also, I feel like even though the Ivan is 200 cu in. bigger than the Ranchero, I have been able to get more things in my Ranchero. Also, even though I have a long torso (I'm 5'11), the Ivan sat too low and would catch on my seat if I dismounted quickly, which doesn't happen with the Ranchero. I tried on the BackBone too, but it was too big for my commuting needs, and also too big for me to see over my shoulder. Even though the foam back of the Ranchero is the same as the Ivan, I feel the Ranchero doesn't get as hot.
I looked at the MidPack, but since I was from SF and have been familiar with the Chrome shop and was able to try the bags on, and also liked the looks beter, I've always gone with Chrome bags. Regardless of the brand or money though, go with what feels best on your back.
okay here's a question for someone with a chrome backpack... i like to keep my u-lock on my chest under my mess bag strap when i'm riding. do chrome backpacks have an easy to access place to keep a u-lock?
like somewhere as easy to grab as my current spot (right on my chest)?
do you have to take the bag off to get your u-lock out?
I got the ranchero. It happily holds two six packs, a couple of pounds of fish, and a few pounds of miscellaneous crap and then some, and it's still comfortable. A u-lock may fit in the straps which have some velcro things on them, but I through mine in the bag. The only thing that sorta bugs me is some of the outside pockets aren't fully lined, so I could see water getting in a nasty nasty downpour (but I haven't tested it yet - may not be an issue).
i can't thank you enough. i waited over a year to purchase my chrome bag.
i did research and all that jazz forever it seems. it's scary parting with that kind of money when i don't know how something fits or what actual size it is. even though the numbers give a good indication... just better to hold it in person. so, i was already to buy the ivan but i did one last freak out check and viola people started giving reviews on the ivan vs. the ranchero. your blog sold me. solely on what you said i chose the ranchero. i have carried messenger bags for years and now my left side is jacked all to hell. i decided to look into what the messengers use... i have had mine two days now. out of the box i jammed it full, with the bag i was carrying pre-mail and tons of other errand stuff. i love it.
im small so i have a few issues. like, chest stabilizing straps are at my ribs, so i can't use them even at the very top of the option...but it is still really comfortable. i can't wait to check it out for my longer rides.
xmacdonaldx you helped me make the decision. you were the only girl so thanks a ton for writing. P.s. i see how the roll top would impede vision. the ranchero is perfect. ride safely, but keep riding. em