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Waterproof Commuter Bag

Old 11-01-17, 01:16 PM
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sreuter13
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Waterproof Commuter Bag

Hello!

I have been commuting by bike to work this year but have been away from home in a much warmer climate (California vs upstate New York).

I am moving back to Rochester to continue my studies and am planning on tackling a ~15 mile one way commute through the rain, snow, and sleet. Daily, I will need to carry a laptop, charger, lunch, change of clothes, and gear for all the lovely weather I will certainly encounter

For a bag set-up, I was thinking of getting a waterproof pannier for my gear, then use my grocery pannier to hold a normal backpack inside a dry-bag (i don't need a mega $150 waterproof backpack for everyday use) so I will not have to carry the backpack on my back while riding.

Any suggestions or advice on the topic would be very much appreciated!
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Old 11-01-17, 01:28 PM
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You won't appreciate this suggestion if you're trying to do things cheap: large Ortlieb pannier set. Something like a Bikepacker (Ortlieb Bike Packer PLUS Panniers ? TheTouringStore.com) will carry laptop, charger, books (do you still use those?) in one, and clothes and lunch in the other. Don't go swimming with them and the contents will stay dry.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:43 PM
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I have got one of these for longer rides (https://www.topeak.com/global/en/pro...MTXTrunkBagDXP) but I am trying to avoid using it for daily commuting in that I would need to carry a backpack to transfer the stuff once I get to school.

I am not opposed to a new backpack, I just don't like my back getting all sweaty with the one I currently ride with. Any suggestions on packs with minimal sweat factor?
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Old 11-01-17, 02:20 PM
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i had a very similar dilemma on a significantly smaller scale. i have a 6 mile one-way commute on days when i'd need a laptop.

in any case i went with whatever i had read would get me through most any condition i would face while commuting but not touring. i went with ortlieb sport packer plus as a pannier but i also picked up an Ortlieb office bag.

i always have one pannier on my bike on the left side at all times. it contains my rain gear, sweater, u lock and a beanie. i throw my lunch it on top of all of those things.

i only need my laptop one day a week so its not a big deal to bring it. it usually holds my laptop and school supplies plus clothes. i put this one on my right hand side. the ortlieb office bag has a roll top and is completely waterproof.

on other days, when i'm not commuting to school, i use both of teh sport packer pluses and carry my clothes and dress shoes on my right hand side. the sport packer plus doesn't have a roll top but is still waterproof however, its not as waterproof as a rolltop in the sense that you can't dunk it in water and it will float like the roll tops do. so i guess if you went with panniers, the roll tops are waterproof but for commuting - overkill.

i also think that your idea to get a grocer pannier and throw a backpack in it, is a good one but putting your bag in a dry bag in a pannier seems redundant when you can just get a shoulder strap for a pannier and carry your stuff that way.

i hope that helps.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sreuter13 View Post
I have got one of these for longer rides (https://www.topeak.com/global/en/pro...MTXTrunkBagDXP) but I am trying to avoid using it for daily commuting in that I would need to carry a backpack to transfer the stuff once I get to school.

I am not opposed to a new backpack, I just don't like my back getting all sweaty with the one I currently ride with. Any suggestions on packs with minimal sweat factor?

try and find a spring back backpack - i.e. osprey packs have a spring or trampoline style back to them. but those tend to be expensive and use specific.

i have one that i picked up from REI, it was just their REI Lookout. it has a foam back, but the ridges help to draw wind in towards the back. this is not great in the winter for two reasons. 1. the foam that is closest to your back traps heat which makes your back sweaty. 2. the foam rides that help draw in air (cold air) only help to freeze the sweaty part of your back. and in the summer, you just have a sweaty back.

i dont mind as i have showers at work but i prefer the pannier set up
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Old 11-01-17, 02:27 PM
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Banjo Brothers stuff is durable and good, and a lot cheaper than Ortlieb. I have both, and I like them both.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:28 PM
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In a similar thread I came up with this which works well for just the 15" laptop:
Pannier or backpack for commuting with 17 " laptop
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Old 11-01-17, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
In a similar thread I came up with this which works well for just the 15" laptop:
Pannier or backpack for commuting with 17 " laptop
do you have any other pictures or a better explanation for this? i think it looks pretty neat and easy to use.

how is the laptop protected from bumps jostles other than by the folder that is in?

and it looks like you secure it with a bungee? how do you prevent lateral movement? sorry for the questions looks like a great set up
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Old 11-01-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by srestrepo View Post
do you have any other pictures or a better explanation for this? i think it looks pretty neat and easy to use.

how is the laptop protected from bumps jostles other than by the folder that is in?

and it looks like you secure it with a bungee? how do you prevent lateral movement? sorry for the questions looks like a great set up
It's a tri-folding notebook folder so it has that extra padding, but nothing else. It doesn't shift with the strap cinched up tight.

Two steel hooks on top, through the rack, and that's a strap routed through the rack, behind the rack stays and seat stay and under the chain stay, with a buckle. No bungees other than holding the top pack on. Although now I use a small trunk bag instead of that pack, which is much neater and more convenient.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by srestrepo View Post

i also think that your idea to get a grocer pannier and throw a backpack in it, is a good one but putting your bag in a dry bag in a pannier seems redundant when you can just get a shoulder strap for a pannier and carry your stuff that way.

i hope that helps.
Thanks for the detailed response.

For the dry-bag, it would be for my backpack in the grocery pannier. Without any protection, the pack and my laptop will be soaked. Therefore I am thinking a $10 dry-bag will keep water out and keep the convince of just throwing it in there on the way to and from school.

I like your pannier supply set up and that is a good list of items to keep stocked and ready to go on the bike.

Probably will go for the Banjo Brothers water proof pannier as a Christmas gift idea for my winter homecoming.
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Old 11-01-17, 04:09 PM
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For WAY less than $150, you can set yourself up with a kittier. Plastic is completely waterproof.
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Old 11-02-17, 09:24 AM
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cycling on a rainy day makes you feel real good
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Old 11-02-17, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
For WAY less than $150, you can set yourself up with a kittier. Plastic is completely waterproof.

This is amazing , 100% building up some of these when I get home. I might add some padding/rubber on the inside of the bucket to protect my bag and stop it from making noise over the bumps.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:18 AM
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Glad I could finally inspire somebody! Rubber padding for delicates is a good idea.

I will note that, over a few years of daily use, the hinge of the lid has started to develop some cracks that let a tiny bit of water in. But if you have a cat and get a regular supply of these empty buckets, it's a cinch to just replace the lid, say, annually. I don't have a cat, but I find the empty buckets by the dumpster once in a while. I've got 4 at this point, two that I have installed hooks/bungees onto, two just because they're great for storing stuff.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Glad I could finally inspire somebody! Rubber padding for delicates is a good idea.

I will note that, over a few years of daily use, the hinge of the lid has started to develop some cracks that let a tiny bit of water in. But if you have a cat and get a regular supply of these empty buckets, it's a cinch to just replace the lid, say, annually. I don't have a cat, but I find the empty buckets by the dumpster once in a while. I've got 4 at this point, two that I have installed hooks/bungees onto, two just because they're great for storing stuff.
I do not own a cat, but I was thinking of either asking a neighbor or finding another plastic storage container at a hardware store to use. I figure take my backpack to the store, find a container it will it in, then build up the pannier from there.
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Old 11-02-17, 11:00 AM
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This is a helpful guide. He had square buckets, mine are rectangular. And his square lids are not hinged (so probably more leakproof). Also, his buckets were easy to debrand by taking off the plastic sheet of labeling. Mine had "TIDY CAT" molded and painted everywhere, so I sanded it down and spray painted it with grey primer, then applied reflective stickers ("3M Conspicuity" ordered from eBay, then cut up with an Xacto knife)

Apparently it is likely you can find suitable lidded buckets at home despot or lowes or something.
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Old 11-02-17, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
For WAY less than $150, you can set yourself up with a kittier. Plastic is completely waterproof.
Originally Posted by sreuter13 View Post
This is amazing , 100% building up some of these when I get home. I might add some padding/rubber on the inside of the bucket to protect my bag and stop it from making noise over the bumps.
A variation, I've always thought that using cut-down half-cylinder waste buckets (trash baskets) rather than square or rectangular boxes would be more aero and look better, and also probably a lot lighter.

Last edited by wphamilton; 11-02-17 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 11-02-17, 01:09 PM
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FYI, Ortlieb back-roller (Cordura) is waterproof for sure: had a water bottle leak last week...

Another lesson learned.
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Old 11-02-17, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
A variation, I've always thought that using cut-down half-cylinder waste buckets (trash baskets) rather than square or rectangular boxes would be more aero and look better, and also probably a lot lighter.

That sounds like a good option. I would just be concerned with getting a good seal on the lid after cutting the bin in half. I guess they would work perfectly for an open top design though.

I am thinking of modifying some pelican cases for a bullet proof design. Might be a little heavy/overkill for a road bike though.
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Old 11-02-17, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikewolf View Post
FYI, Ortlieb back-roller (Cordura) is waterproof for sure: had a water bottle leak last week...

Another lesson learned.
RIP what ever was in that backpack with you water bottle, hope it was not anything too expensive.
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Old 11-02-17, 02:06 PM
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Thank you.

Luckely it happened to be a very small bottle of water, and the puncture was tiny. So not too much water leaked into my pannier. Nothing beyond repair :-)
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Old 11-02-17, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by sreuter13 View Post
That sounds like a good option. I would just be concerned with getting a good seal on the lid after cutting the bin in half. I guess they would work perfectly for an open top design though.

I am thinking of modifying some pelican cases for a bullet proof design. Might be a little heavy/overkill for a road bike though.
Hard to find one at a decent price also unless you randomly see it in Walmart or something, which I now remember is why I never tried it.
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Old 11-02-17, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikewolf View Post
FYI, Ortlieb back-roller (Cordura) is waterproof for sure: had a water bottle leak last week...
lol reminds me of one time when one of my kids decided to put some eggs into my Nashbar Daytrekkers. That didn't end well.
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Old 11-03-17, 07:38 PM
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I've been commuting in upstate NY for the last couple of years. I carry my laptop and stuff inside an Osprey 34L Radial pack https://www.ospreypacks.com/us/en/pr...-RADIAL34.html

Even with the worst rain, my stuff is always dry. And it has lots of neat features for cycling such as a u-lock compartment and a helmet holder. It is a wonderful pack. I strongly recommend it.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
Banjo Brothers stuff is durable and good, and a lot cheaper than Ortlieb. I have both, and I like them both.
I've been commuting for 2 years with Banjo Brothers panniers and I have been caught in a few downpours and the inside of the bag has been completely dry.
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