Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Panniers vs Backpack

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Panniers vs Backpack

Old 06-14-08, 11:04 PM
  #1  
mepi
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Panniers vs Backpack

I have always just used a backpack for commuting to work or to my van pool. Panniers are new to me and I have never used them. I have no problem just using a backpack and throwing all my work clothes, but is there an advantage to using panniers instead of backpacks?
mepi is offline  
Old 06-14-08, 11:18 PM
  #2  
freako
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Depends on how much weight and how far your going. There is an argument that back packs will make you top heavy thus more prone to accidents in emergency situations...but I don't put much stock in that.

If your currently using a backpack and have experienced no problems with an aching back then why switch to panniers? Work clothes are light in weight, I don't see an issue to continue using the backpack.
freako is offline  
Old 06-14-08, 11:21 PM
  #3  
heywood
Senior Member
 
heywood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Whitby, Ontario Canada
Posts: 469

Bikes: 2013 Brodie Section 8 , 2014 Easy Motion Neo City e-bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Panniers, no question. If you've used them you know why.
heywood is offline  
Old 06-14-08, 11:52 PM
  #4  
Ziemas
Senior Member
 
Ziemas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 10,082
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
There is a huge advantage to panniers. No sweaty back, no weight on your back, better movement of your body.
Ziemas is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 12:51 AM
  #5  
pluc
Senior Member
 
pluc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Montréal, QC, Canada
Posts: 389

Bikes: Surly 1x1 with Nexux 8 "Red line"

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You might also be interested in the ones that double as backpacks and shoulder bags.
pluc is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 01:22 AM
  #6  
jrockway
Just Another Perl Hacker
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 108

Bikes: Fisher Utopia, LeMond Versailles

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by pluc View Post
You might also be interested in the ones that double as backpacks and shoulder bags.
The Arkel Bug looks nice. I have some of their other panniers, and I love them. If you get something like this, then it can be a backpack when you want it to be and a pannier otherwise.

Basically, as other people have mentioned, panniers are generally nicer than backpacks. You can relax and let your bike carry the weight, instead of your back. I routinely use panniers for 40 pounds of groceries and I don't even notice the weight. I cringe to think what a backpack that heavy would be like
jrockway is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 01:22 AM
  #7  
Treespeed
Warning:Mild Peril
 
Treespeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Seattle Refugee in Los Angeles
Posts: 3,171

Bikes: Cilo, Surly Pacer, Kona Fire Mountain w/Bob Trailer, Scattante

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
As one who has used both the only benefit for panniers is with a big load. For work clothes Panniers are overkill and invite the rider to carry more stuff. Plus the weight of the rack and bags is much heavier than the weight of a backpack. Finally a backpack is usually much cheaper than a good rack and panniers combo.

I think it's always important to point out that you don't need a bunch of special equipment to commute.
__________________
Non semper erit aestas.
Treespeed is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 01:31 AM
  #8  
Vodalus
i won't f us over
 
Vodalus's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dublin, OH
Posts: 100

Bikes: Raleigh Detour 3.0, Specialized Allez SE

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
There is a huge advantage to panniers. No sweaty back, no weight on your back, better movement of your body.
+1
Vodalus is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 01:39 AM
  #9  
RT
The Weird Beard
 
RT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: COS
Posts: 8,554
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
For all of you who fart in the backpack's general direction and applaud the pannier, I do the same in reverse. I don't care if my back sweats (it's not that bad), or if the weight is on my back (better than on the bike), and I like my bike to be balanced and as light as possible. It's not for everyone

I recommend trying panniers and seeing what you like. One is not better than the other, we all have different preferences. And if anyone brings up the weight on the rider vs. weight on the bike argument, please do a BF search to look for numerous other threads on this topic.
RT is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 02:06 AM
  #10  
TRUMPHENT
Dave
 
TRUMPHENT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Homestead FL
Posts: 685

Bikes: Nashbar X-Cross 29r wheels front disc brake

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have opted to use my backpack on a few days where the commute to work was all against strong headwind. Panniers are aerodynamic disasters compared to a backpack.
TRUMPHENT is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 05:04 AM
  #11  
ironhorse3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 263

Bikes: Diamondback entry level.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Instead of a pannier that doubles as a backpack, I have just used the backpack on the bike carrier rack and works fine. Use bungee cords to hold it on. I don't think I'd leave panniers on the bike when parked (especially after having the bike stolen last week from job site). To make the back pack fit, you have to fold down the top 1/3 and tuck under. Be sure to tuck in and secure any straps from the backpack so they don't get churned into the wheel or chain.
ironhorse3 is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 05:33 AM
  #12  
jsb_hburg
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Camp Hill, PA
Posts: 11

Bikes: Trek 4300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Panniers take the load off my back, making it easier to ride and to react. I carry my work clothes in one and my rain gear and bike tools in the other. I have some room to bring other stuff home if needed, like a laptop.

Plus, I like to ride an additional 15 miles on the riverside bike path before going home. The panniers facilitate this and make the ride more enjoyable.
jsb_hburg is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 05:47 AM
  #13  
stevage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,503

Bikes: Specialized Tricross Sport 2009

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
>and I like my bike to be balanced and as light as possible.

Funny, for touring or general getting around, I agree with you, but for commuting I find bike balance doesn't matter as I'm going in straight lines on a very predetermined course. There's no real manoeuvring where it would be a problem.

Though, since I have a shower at work now, I'm tempted to try backpacking it once just as an experiment.

The other option no one has mentioned is a rack top bag. Slightly improves handling and aerodynamics.

I've also commuted a couple of times with just a handlebar bag.

Steve
stevage is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 06:29 AM
  #14  
PurpleK
Velocipedic Practitioner
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 488

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Bianchi Volpe, Trek 5000, Santana Arriva tandem, Pashley Sovereign, among others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've found Wald folding baskets to work great on my commuter. They're out of the way when I don't need them and the attachments are so that I don't have to worry about anyone lifting them off the bike when I'm not around. When I commute, I just drop my bag in the basket and go. No tie downs, no straps, no sweaty back, no worries.
https://www.waldsports.com/index.cfm/...ingbasket.html

Another alternative I've found works for me is the bicycle business pannier. It attaches like a pannier, is easily removable and large enough to carry any clothes I may need and keep them wrinkle free when packed correctly.
https://inertiadesigns.com/catalog/pr...roducts_id=168
PurpleK is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 06:40 AM
  #15  
pinkpowa
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
There is a huge advantage to panniers. No sweaty back, no weight on your back, better movement of your body.
+1

Love my ortliebs, so much better than my backback!
pinkpowa is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 06:41 AM
  #16  
Pig_Chaser
Senior Member
 
Pig_Chaser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 1,143

Bikes: '07 Giant OCR3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just feel "freer" when using rack and pannier. Plus there's the sweaty back thing, i also find that the backpack interferes with my helmet mounted 'take-a-look' mirror. My $0.02
Pig_Chaser is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 06:50 AM
  #17  
BA Commuter
Comfortably Numb!
 
BA Commuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: East Jabip
Posts: 943

Bikes: Jamis Commuter 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use a single Metro pannier from Performance. It clips on and off in seconds and holds everything I need to commute. Panniers increase the Fred factor, but IMO make commuting easier.

As a few have said, the backpack is more streamlined and ususally cost less than panniers and you don't need a rack. There's not a right answer, just what works for you...
BA Commuter is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 08:05 AM
  #18  
mr jones
Senior Member
 
mr jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South FL
Posts: 114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
There is a huge advantage to panniers. No sweaty back, no weight on your back, better movement of your body.
Originally Posted by pluc View Post
You might also be interested in the ones that double as backpacks and shoulder bags.
Agreed!

I just switched over to panniers from a backpack. Bought a cheap, on-sale pair from Nashbar, I love them! No way I'm going back to a backpack. It's hot in FL, and it is so nice to have fresh air on your back! Now being new to "commuting" and what not, I was skeptical about panniers and bought a cheap pair (which work perfectly fine!), but now I know they're totally worth it, I wish I would have spent the money on a pannier-backpack style, as pluc and jrockway has mentioned; would be a more convenient way of carrying a pannier around town...though my current panniers do have a handle that I can carry them as a brief case.
mr jones is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 08:36 AM
  #19  
keiththesnake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 583
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Milk crate. Just drop your backpack in it and ride.
keiththesnake is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 09:11 AM
  #20  
goalieMN
Got Scotch?
 
goalieMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minnetonka, MN
Posts: 277

Bikes: QR Kilo, Specialized Crossroads

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by TRUMPHENT View Post
I have opted to use my backpack on a few days where the commute to work was all against strong headwind. Panniers are aerodynamic disasters compared to a backpack.
Yup, that one disadvantage is truly there. That said, I commute on a single-speed, and the usual nightly 10-mile ride home directly into the west wind only makes me stronger when I am out on my "real" bike.

I personally don't mind a backpack in the heat, but in the winter, it is trunk rack or panniers all the way. I actually just use them year-round now, but it wouldn't be a big deal to use the backpack in warm weather for me. I just hate wearing a backpack over a jacket and base-layers when it is freezing or below. I really, really hate it.
goalieMN is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 09:15 AM
  #21  
Carl214
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by keiththesnake View Post
Milk crate. Just drop your backpack in it and ride.
Absolutely! I rode this way for years. A milk crate is fine; I actually preferred a wire basket obtained from my LBS - I think it was designed for a handlebar basket. Attach it to the rear rack with zipties, put a small bungee across the top, and you're good. Just drop your regular backpack in and go!

I have since moved to the Arkel Bug for commuting, as I was looking for a bit more stability provided by keeping the weight (laptop, textbooks, clothes, lunch) at axle-height. It is a very nice pannier and an ok backpack - no waist strap for instance to heavy loads are awkward as a backpack. Not very many functions like internal pockets either.
Carl214 is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 10:09 AM
  #22  
mepi
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the info. Right now, my commute is only 8 miles each way and I do not carry much weight in my backpack. I will do a little more research on the different types mentioned and give them a try. Thanks again.
mepi is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 11:23 AM
  #23  
margoC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: georgia
Posts: 345

Bikes: Caloi MTB, Raleigh heritage international

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 7 Posts
I just installed a topeak trunk bag. It has handles on a couple sides plus a detachable shoulder strap in case you want to carry it like that. It also has two fold out panniers in case I need more room. I havn't had a chance to use it for work but I am looking forward to ridding myself of the backpack. My lunch and lock will fit better in the trunk as well.

It has a rail that slides into the matching rack and clips to the front. I have a differant bike with larger panniers but that is not needed for my work commute.
margoC is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 12:33 PM
  #24  
Brian C.
Senior Member
 
Brian C.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just put a rear rack on my road bike (now other roadies shun me ) but the other night I rode home with the backpack on, because I didn't have bungees to hold it on the rack. On the ride home I got right hooked by a van, my helmet save my head, my backpack saved my back.

+1 for backpacks full of work clothes!

I do want to get a trunk bag, i was hoping for one for father's day but I got Yankees tickets instead.

+1 Yankees!

I'll have to buy my own trunk bag.
Brian C. is offline  
Old 06-15-08, 01:59 PM
  #25  
dee-vee
vegan powered
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chico, Ca
Posts: 385
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use both. Nice weather I ride my nicer bike that has no rack so I use a backpack. My winter bike I use panniers.
dee-vee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.