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

More backpack advice wanted

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.

More backpack advice wanted

Old 12-05-08, 11:54 PM
  #1  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
Thread Starter
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,852

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 274 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 2 Posts
More backpack advice wanted

First, to all of the mess bag lovers and pannier people, this about what I think is best for me (backpack). Decent mess bags are out of my budget, and I don't ride year 'round, so panniers would be a waste IMO.

I currently have two backpacks (Dakine, Ful) that have unfortunately, ceased to fulfill my needs. At the beginning of this semester, I bought these 'packs, w/no intention of hauling my laptop. But today, the last day before finals week, I needed to take my laptop to work so that I could do some homework in my downtime. Just have done that earlier in the semester!

So, now I need a little input, preferably from those w/experience with these two models:

-Banjo Brothers Large Waterproof. I have not seen this in person, and frankly it's main attraction for me, is the waterproofness. (I've seen the video that R.L.@bikecommuters.com did).
-Targus XL that I spotted at Best Buy. It's got just the right amount of organization w/o being so compartmentalized as to not be of any real use to me. Thing is designed somewhat (as far as I can tell) like a tri transition bag.

My work schedule and next semester's class schedule (and the bus ride between the two) greatly increases my time commitment, I'm lucky to get in a few miles in the saddle on the weekends (weather permitting). FTW, I picked my schedule to minimize the amount of books to lug around: one course M and W a.m., then one course each T, Th, and F evenings.

Any input would be appreciated, but know that budget isn't that great. $100 or less, preferably $ 75 or less.
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 01:22 AM
  #2  
ryan.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 62
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm not familiar with those models, but I can suggest the north face backpacks. I've been using one for the past year (toting books, laptop, lunch, etc) and it has held up extremely well. Searching sites such as altrec.com and backcountry.com will yield considerably lower prices then in sporting good stores (~$40-80).

Ryan
ryan. is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 11:49 AM
  #3  
PLyTheMan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 71
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a Dakine Terminal that works well.

https://www.usoutdoorstore.com/outlet...-backpack.html

I got it for ~$25 from Steep And Cheap or Whiskey Militia... It has a laptop pocket in the back that is nicely padded and is a beast at 2100 cu. in. I can carry my laptop, a book, and a change of clothes to school with me without too much trouble (though I don't because all that **** is freakin heavy). It's not waterproof but unless you're in a torrential downpour the laptop is burried enough that it should be good. My only complaint with it is a serious lack of loops on the back. I'd like someplace to clip my helmet to or a blinkie but the front is pretty smooth. The mesh waterbottle pocket though is pretty large so I can easily stuff my mittens/hat/facemask in there to grab if I get cold on a ride. The front pockets have smaller pockets inside for organizing stuff that I find handy.

Thats what I'm rocking now, probably getting some panniers though just to get some weight of my back.
PLyTheMan is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 01:43 PM
  #4  
paulwwalters
beatz down lo|seatz up hi
 
paulwwalters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 1,062

Bikes: A 2007 Trek 4300. 22.5", 1981 Trek 610 24" (61cm)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Banjo Brothers Medium is what I have. You'll need a laptop sleeve to put in it. One of the best backpacks for the price, and would be great even were the price much higher.

I'd also recommend Timbuk2. They make backpacks, I was looking at one at my LBS today and honestly it's pretty cool. I believe they all have laptop compartments.
I don't think these are waterproof though.

If you want waterproof (though not necessarily laptop-specific):
Banjo Brothers
Chrome
Lemolo
Chicago Wig
ReLoad
Seagull

Laptop specific (but not necessarily waterproof):
Timbuk2
Targus
Booq
paulwwalters is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 03:52 PM
  #5  
harleyfrog
An Army of Fred
 
harleyfrog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lost South of Nowhere East of Edan On the Waterfront Far from the Madding Crowd (Biloxi, MS)
Posts: 1,003

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Crossroads Trail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
As a hiker, I can tell you to look for a sternum strap and a hip belt to distribute the weight off your shoulders and on to your body and hips (which are better suited to carrying loads). Also check for air flow between the pack and you. Just my two cents.
harleyfrog is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 05:37 PM
  #6  
paulwwalters
beatz down lo|seatz up hi
 
paulwwalters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 1,062

Bikes: A 2007 Trek 4300. 22.5", 1981 Trek 610 24" (61cm)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
I can tell you to look for a sternum strap and a hip belt
Most definitely. And my Banjo Bros. pack is so much more secure than my Targus laptop bag... I didn't know what I was missing!
paulwwalters is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 05:43 PM
  #7  
Poguemahone
Vello Kombi, baby
 
Poguemahone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Je suis ici
Posts: 5,321

Bikes: 1973 Eisentraut; 1970s Richard Sachs; 1978 Alfio Bonnano; 1967 Peugeot PX10

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by ryan. View Post
I'm not familiar with those models, but I can suggest the north face backpacks. I've been using one for the past year (toting books, laptop, lunch, etc) and it has held up extremely well. Searching sites such as altrec.com and backcountry.com will yield considerably lower prices then in sporting good stores (~$40-80).

Ryan
I have a North Face pack, with ample room, that has seen heavy use for twenty plus years. Alas, they don't make the model any longer; it was really just a super tough duffel bag with no zippers (except one for the small top pocket) and shoulder straps. This was from the days when all North Face made was serious mountaineering equipment.

At the time I bought it, I was going thru a pack every six months to a year. I went into a mountaineering shop and asked for something with as few zippers as possible and built like a tank. I paid a premium-- about twenty bucks more than the regular packs-- but if you average out the number of packs I was going thru and the lifespan of this thing, it was really quite cheap.

So my advice: as few zippers as possible and built like a tank.
__________________
"It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

Waste your money! Buy my comic book!
Poguemahone is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 06:37 PM
  #8  
InfiniteRegress
Infinite Regress
 
InfiniteRegress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 341

Bikes: Dahon Speed Pro TT (2008), Jamis Aurora Cyclocross (2005), Trek WSD 2100 (2007)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I used messenger bags for years and still use my Timbuk2 bag in the summer time when I don't have to carry around as much weight. However, some significant back issues arose as a result of scoliosis and some other issues and I was told that I had to be more careful about distributing the weight more evenly when biking - therefore meaning that a backpack was my best option. I use a North Face backpack and find that it works better than anything. You should really stick to a day pack of some sort because it's going to be lightweight AND have the adjustable strapping system that is a necessity if you're biking with it (sternum strap and hip belts are a must). My North Face bag (Recon model) also has a separate pouch for throwing in a laptop (which I do sometimes). My pack has proved to be extremely water proof, even during the heaviest of downpours. The outermost pocket in the front is great for stashing bike gloves and other items that you need to get to quickly. Hope this helps!
InfiniteRegress is offline  
Old 12-06-08, 08:06 PM
  #9  
paulwwalters
beatz down lo|seatz up hi
 
paulwwalters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 1,062

Bikes: A 2007 Trek 4300. 22.5", 1981 Trek 610 24" (61cm)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The Banjo Brothers pack has 1 zipper, it's for a small outside pocket. The rest is velcro and buckles.
paulwwalters is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 02:59 AM
  #10  
steveknight
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: portland or
Posts: 1,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
why are panniers out because you don't ride year around? myself I think it sucks having a backpack on while riding. too hot and just does not feel good.
steveknight is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 03:25 AM
  #11  
Ken Wind
VOTE FOR KEN WIND
 
Ken Wind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 984
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've heard that Deuter makes excellent backpacks. Their day packs all have dedicated laptop compartments, and one of them even comes with a removable sleeve. You can purchase rain covers for their bags as well. They also make a series of backpacks designed for alpine bike touring, which go by the name TransAlpine. These bags come with rain covers.
Ken Wind is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 06:13 AM
  #12  
LucasA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ken Wind View Post
I've heard that Deuter makes excellent backpacks. Their day packs all have dedicated laptop compartments, and one of them even comes with a removable sleeve. You can purchase rain covers for their bags as well. They also make a series of backpacks designed for alpine bike touring, which go by the name TransAlpine. These bags come with rain covers.
I have a Deuter Futura 28

https://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/sho...8_10000001_-1_

And its nothing short of amazing. The laptop compartment on this one is actually designed for a water bladder, so depending on what you are doing, you can change out.

It has an integrated rain cover that kept it bone dry through a thunderstorm I was walking in.

It has frame that keeps the pack off your back to help ventilate. Your back will sweat, but if you are wearing breathable fabric and this it really reduces it.

Awesome bag.
LucasA is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 06:25 AM
  #13  
icedmocha 
There's time now
 
icedmocha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: On a stack of books, PA
Posts: 764
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4091 Post(s)
Liked 161 Times in 112 Posts
https://www.thewaterproofstore.com/backpacks.html
icedmocha is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 07:05 AM
  #14  
JHG57
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You might also want to look at Backpacks designed for Motorcyclists since we have the same challenges. A link to one, but there are many https://www.webbikeworld.com/r4/mobil...ptop-backpack/
JHG57 is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 07:06 AM
  #15  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
Thread Starter
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,852

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 274 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 2 Posts
To all, thanks for the responses so far!

I originally was attracted to the bags in my OP because they are larger than my current bag (that, combined with the fact that my current one doesn't have a waist/hip belt). But I now realize that extra volume would just be wasted space. It's all vertical, so I would have to put something on top of the books, and remove it every time I reached for a book, or put it under the books and have to remove the books to get to it.

Unless I get a bigger laptop w/17" screen, I don't need a bigger bag, just one that better designed. I could re-purpose my Dakine bag. (It's the Campus-Lg w/insulated cooler pocket). I could use that cooler pocket for the laptop's power cord, for example. But it would still be nice to have a 'pack w/waist belt.

I popped over to Jandd's site, and spotted their Admon 'pack. It is has just about all of the features that I'm looking for.
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 10:31 AM
  #16  
capejohn
Senior Member
 
capejohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,867

Bikes: Giant easy e, Priority Onyx, Scott Sub 40, Marin Belvedere Commuter

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 25 Posts
I own panniers and backpacks. Both are good and either will do, but I alway choose the backpack. No reason. Just do. I bought one online last year for cheap, and use an inexpensive cover in bad weather.
capejohn is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 10:32 AM
  #17  
Yan 
Senior Member
 
Yan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,397
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1008 Post(s)
Liked 248 Times in 164 Posts
I've used a Targus CityGear Chicago laptop backpack. While it is huge and definitely not suitable for cycling, I can testify that Targus sells well made backpacks.
Yan is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 11:24 AM
  #18  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
Thread Starter
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,852

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 274 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Yan View Post
I've used a Targus CityGear Chicago laptop backpack. While it is huge and definitely not suitable for cycling, I can testify that Targus sells well made backpacks.
Thanks for the testimonial on Targus.

To those who question why I'm looking for a new backpack instead of panniers: practicality. Due to distances I have to cover and the work/school schedules, I currently am not using my bike for any part of the commute (feel free to flame me if you desire), but that will change when I can afford to put a hitch/rack on my wife's car. That cost can't be justified right now, so I have to plan accordingly.
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Old 12-07-08, 11:35 PM
  #19  
littlefoot
Senior Member
 
littlefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Upstate, S.C.
Posts: 493

Bikes: Many all steel.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've not tried their stuff personally but 'detours' has some products that have been recomended to me in the past. Might check them out.
littlefoot is offline  
Old 12-08-08, 11:15 PM
  #20  
joshwa
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Frankfort, KY
Posts: 33

Bikes: 2008 Schwinn Fastback

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i ride with a Targus backpack that is designed for laptops. don't carry a laptop just happened to have this bag sitting around. i like it because it is compact but will still hold a good amount of stuff and has wide padded shoulder straps. has a nice little padded area with velcro enclosure should i want to carry laptop. will probably be switching to topeak rack/bag combo this summer because of back sweat and other issues, but that's personal preference. if looking for a laptop bag i can highly recommend Targus.
joshwa is offline  
Old 12-08-08, 11:20 PM
  #21  
jwbnyc
Señor Wences
 
jwbnyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,035
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Deuter makes packs that work great on a bike.
jwbnyc is offline  
Old 12-09-08, 07:05 AM
  #22  
Zaneluke
Senior Member
 
Zaneluke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Germantown MD
Posts: 279

Bikes: Trek Y-5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have the banjo bros large one. Love it, i can cram all sorts of junk in it.
Zaneluke is offline  
Old 12-09-08, 07:36 AM
  #23  
rotharpunc
BEHOLD! THE MANTICORE!
 
rotharpunc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: 54914
Posts: 1,797
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I got one of these in black awhile back:
https://cgi.ebay.com/3-Day-ASSAULT-PA...3%3A1|294%3A50

has hip and chest support, a hydration pouch against the back that will fit a larger laptop, and pretty easy to organize. Comfortable to ride with on a bike, even loaded heavily thanks to thick straps and the supporting straps. I pretty much carry it everywhere.
rotharpunc is offline  
Old 12-09-08, 11:24 AM
  #24  
Pinyon
Senior Member
 
Pinyon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 1,380
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Keep it simple, and keep it safe. I would seriously consider getting a bike rack with a cheap trunk bag for most uses (can get both at used sports stores or attic sales for almost nothing). Most of the people that I know that carry a computer on the bike use a medium-to-large sized bike messenger bag, like the ones made by Timbuk2 (shoulder strap, with around-the-waist strap to keep it from sliding in front). They are waterproof too.

Pinyon is offline  
Old 12-09-08, 05:07 PM
  #25  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
Thread Starter
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,852

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 274 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 2 Posts
Let me ask another question: Is it more practical to get a 'pack that has more organization, but is not waterproof (thus have to keep track of a rain cover), or a bag that is waterproof, but maybe not as versatile?
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.