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Backpack...New & Slightly Improved

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Backpack...New & Slightly Improved

Old 05-30-20, 11:52 AM
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BobbyG
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Backpack...New & Slightly Improved

After a comprehensive internet search including in-person evaluations at local stores I decided to replace my 7 year old backpack with the same model...a Swissgear 1696 ($59.99 from Swissgear.com)

https://www.swissgear.com/swissgear-...RoCeAEQAvD_BwE

I am used to the pocket and compartment layout which works for me (and is very similar to the Eastsport packs I had used previously). And the grommet arrangement is integral to the system I worked out for securing it to my back racks.

The Swissgear 1696 was incredibly tough hardy and secure for all seven years of all-season commuting, sun, snow and rain (with a plastic kitchen bag in the rain). The only issue was the side grommets which needed replacing, but I was using them in a manner for which they were not intended. Inexpensive press-to-install plastic grommets from the camping store replaced them as they failed.

The most used zipper began failing to keep the zipper teeth fastened, and while this is usually fixed by replacing the zipper slider I was told by local repair shops, the problem was actually some teeth separating from the fabric under a valence flap...and that was not worth repairing on a 7-year-old bag.

The new bag arrived yesterday and is identical except for the addition of a hanger loop at the top.

Although the bag has some reflective white piping, I added white reflective tape to the rear panel, same as before, but this time I added a strip of black and yellow caution tape to tie it in to the reflective tape of my main bike, and my helmet of the last year.

I woke up this morning with an idea to hopefully alleviate grommet fatigue...I made loops from some nylon camping cord and pushed them through the grommets, the knots keeping the loops from coming through. It's a simple elegant deployment that works with larger caliber clips than cannot fit through the grommets themselves.

It feels a little silly to get so excited about a new backpack, but with all that is going on in the world right now at the end of May 2020, it is nice to be able to not have any disruption to my backpack "system", especially since I have been fortunate enough to return to my usual, daily commute three weeks ago. I don't know how long it will last, but my wish is that everyone whose lives have been up-ended by Covid-19 be able to return to their old commute, or a new commute, or find a way to continue cycling in a regular fashion.


Black and yellow caution tape, helmet, bag, bike and fender.

The new loop.

The new D-clip arrangement.

The old D-clip setup.

How I carry my bag on my back racks:

Last edited by BobbyG; 05-30-20 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 06-07-20, 11:33 AM
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Grillparzer
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Cool bag! I like the built in attachment points. I use a Maxpedition Falcon II. Bought it about seven years ago and figured I would use it until I wore it out. So far I've broken one belt clip. It is going to outlast me.
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Old 06-07-20, 01:48 PM
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I have a couple of SWISS backpacks that I like. Great bags, good size, and durable.

I am a bit disappointed in color choices (many brands). For cyclists, and even pedestrians, bright colors are important. Yet, so many brands like black and dull colors.

The most common pack that I take is an old Camelback Mule. I think the bladder went bad a while ago and I haven't replaced it (it makes a nice pocket for papers & etc).

Mine is similar to this one. Unfortunately discontinued, and now getting well worn.



The size is small, but great for my needs. I like the two open top external pockets/compartments. And, I often have had way more stuffed into the pack than it was originally designed for.

I'd probably move the tiedowns around a bit. I never use the belt as a belt, but use the straps periodically, so better positioning for the two long straps would be good.
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Old 06-08-20, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Grillparzer View Post
Cool bag! I like the built in attachment points. I use a Maxpedition Falcon II. Bought it about seven years ago and figured I would use it until I wore it out. So far I've broken one belt clip. It is going to outlast me.
I heard the Maxpedition Falcon II made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. (Star wars humor.)

I think I actually saw that bag a one of the stores. If it had side pockets or a side bottle holder, I might have bought it. Big, roomy and tough!
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Old 06-08-20, 11:52 AM
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Cool setup!

Arkel makes a pretty nice Backpack that you can install on a rear rack.

https://www.arkel-od.com/bug-commuting-bag
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Old 06-08-20, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ChinookTx View Post
Cool setup!

Arkel makes a pretty nice Backpack that you can install on a rear rack.

https://www.arkel-od.com/bug-commuting-bag
I think I'd be happy with that. The optional laptop sleeve would give me extra internal dividers.
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Old 07-08-20, 06:45 PM
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Osprey makes a good cycling specific pack that i use regularly, forgot the model but Osprey doesn’t have many cycling specific ones so its easy to search.
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Old 07-08-20, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by myemptymind View Post
Osprey makes a good cycling specific pack that i use regularly, forgot the model but Osprey doesn’t have many cycling specific ones so its easy to search.
Probably the Radial. A Radial 26 was my go-to pack. Really well suited for commuting.
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Old 07-10-20, 05:21 AM
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Talking about Swiss gear. I have a vintage Swiss Army backpack, it's kind of hollow at the bottom of the backside and there's a wide tough leather strip from side to side that rests on the lower back. Somehow this makes the weight magically disappear. Best backpack design ever, at least for my posture.
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Old 07-10-20, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Talking about Swiss gear. I have a vintage Swiss Army backpack, it's kind of hollow at the bottom of the backside and there's a wide tough leather strip from side to side that rests on the lower back. Somehow this makes the weight magically disappear. Best backpack design ever, at least for my posture.
I wear my back pack when riding my rackless old road bike to work. I leave the straps long and let the bag rest on the small of my back, just above the tailbone. Not only does that keep the bag and it's weight from pulling on my shoulders, but it allows for air circulation along my upper back.

It sometimes feels like the bag may fall off to the side, but it never does, even when reaching for the downtube shifters.
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Old 07-10-20, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I wear my back pack when riding my rackless old road bike to work. I leave the straps long and let the bag rest on the small of my back, just above the tailbone. Not only does that keep the bag and it's weight from pulling on my shoulders, but it allows for air circulation along my upper back.

It sometimes feels like the bag may fall off to the side, but it never does, even when reaching for the downtube shifters.
I ride upright so that's much closer to what the backpack is designed for. I usually put it on the front rack anyway, but to be clear the strap doesn't go around the body. It's just a support, it works a bit like a spring and somehow transfers all the load on the lower body where you don't feel it. The right one is how it looks.
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