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Commuter backpack

Old 01-22-09, 11:04 PM
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jely1990
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Commuter backpack

Well my school commute is 2-3 miles and I'm looking at getting a North Face Solaris 35.
Now, my question is, will the waist strap on the Solaris 35 get uncomfortable for riding? I was looking at it and it seems like it might impede my ability to be hunched down (I ride in the drops). So just wondering if anyone has any experience with that sort of thing. Oh and here's a link to what it looks like: http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/...olaris-35.html
Thanks.
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Old 01-22-09, 11:36 PM
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Back pack waist straps generally serve two purposes.

1. When back packing, the waist strap allows you to shift much of the pack weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. Giving your shoulders a rest.

2. When mountain biking and you take a tumble, it keeps the pack on you rather than bouncing up against your head.

If it bothers you when road riding, just don't use the waist strap. I bend mine around the bottom back side of the pack and connect the buckle, so it stays out of my way.
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Old 01-22-09, 11:39 PM
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I never use the belly strap when cycling--just when walking.
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Old 01-22-09, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Back pack waist straps generally serve two purposes.

1. When back packing, the waist strap allows you to shift much of the pack weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. Giving your shoulders a rest.

2. When mountain biking and you take a tumble, it keeps the pack on you rather than bouncing up against your head.

If it bothers you when road riding, just don't use the waist strap. I bend mine around the bottom back side of the pack and connect the buckle, so it stays out of my way.
Yeah I planned on getting it for hiking and short weekend trips as well as for school. Thanks for the tip about bending behind myself, I didn't think of that.
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Old 01-22-09, 11:56 PM
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if you weren't using it for hiking i'd suggest a messenger bag. not because the cool kids do it, but because they can hold a ton of stuff. especially with the flap. most have a stabilization strap that goes from the strap to the bag to keep it in place. some come with shoulder pads too. they might even work for hiking, never tried it.
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Old 01-23-09, 12:01 AM
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If you just want something for bike rear rack an paniers
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Old 01-23-09, 02:36 AM
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Seems like a nice bag. As iwegian said, if you weren't going to use it for hiking, I'd also suggest a messenger. bag. They're great for on-the-bike use, of course. If you want a backpack that's great on the bike, I've read really good reviews about Ergon:

http://www.bikecommuters.com/2008/02...ckpack-review/

Then there are the really nice messenger backpacks:

http://www.chromebags.com/products/bags/packs/

But a rack and panniers are far superior to carrying the load on your back.
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Old 01-23-09, 06:00 AM
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I can't say I agree with the messenger bag pluggers. I have never noticed and great difference with a stabilization strap. It might make the bag 10% less irritating. Especially when you have to get out of the saddle, having any signifigant weight in the messenger bag tends to be unwieldy.

I much prefer my small backpack that I also use for hiking. It has a sculpted back so it is comfortable even when in the drops, and it fits so close there is no danger of it 'flying up and hitting me in the back of the head.'

One downside to a backpack. VERY sweaty back.

But I also have to agree with a rack and panniers being the very best, most comfortable option.
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Old 01-23-09, 08:08 AM
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I ride everywhere with my backpack, in fact I feel a little strange when the rare occation comes up that I don't have it on. I hate the hip belt, since that is what it is for, resting on your hips so the weight of your gear is transfered off your shoulders which just doesn't happen when riding a bike. I do however use the sternum strap, it pulls the two shoulder straps together so when they are tight the load is extremely stable even if its heavy or awkward.
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Old 01-23-09, 08:14 AM
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My only additional suggestion is that you make sure the shoulder straps are adjustable in terms of width. I ended up with a rotator cuff injury from the straps being set too wide on my commuting backpack.

+1 on the sternum strap (my Crumpler backpack has one), which lets me bring the straps closer together, both to avoid the shoulder injury and to keep the backpack from moving around.
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Old 01-24-09, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
Seems like a nice bag. As iwegian said, if you weren't going to use it for hiking, I'd also suggest a messenger. bag. They're great for on-the-bike use, of course. If you want a backpack that's great on the bike, I've read really good reviews about Ergon:

http://www.bikecommuters.com/2008/02...ckpack-review/

Then there are the really nice messenger backpacks:

http://www.chromebags.com/products/bags/packs/

But a rack and panniers are far superior to carrying the load on your back.

Thanks for the link to the Ergon pack, I'll look at that too when making a decision. And I plan on using it for hiking too, so I probably won't be getting a messenger bag.

Originally Posted by Lizzylou View Post
I can't say I agree with the messenger bag pluggers. I have never noticed and great difference with a stabilization strap. It might make the bag 10% less irritating. Especially when you have to get out of the saddle, having any signifigant weight in the messenger bag tends to be unwieldy.

I much prefer my small backpack that I also use for hiking. It has a sculpted back so it is comfortable even when in the drops, and it fits so close there is no danger of it 'flying up and hitting me in the back of the head.'

One downside to a backpack. VERY sweaty back.

But I also have to agree with a rack and panniers being the very best, most comfortable option.

Ya I was riding last summer with a small Camelbak and my back was always soaked even after shorter 6 mile or less rides. But North Face advertises that it has some back sweat saver technology. It's like a vent or something, but if I get the pack and it turns out to ineffective I'll just pack a shirt to change into.


Originally Posted by Dtuns
If you just want something for bike rear rack an paniers

I was considering that, but then I realized that I'm commuting to school so it's not exactly a place to be leaving panniers on my bike.

Thanks to everyone that replied as well. I decided to get the Solaris 35
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Old 01-24-09, 09:06 AM
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Another option in conjunction w/backpack: a crate of some kind on the rear rack. I've got a milk crate that I used before I got my new backpack. The new bag doesn't fit. But I think I've found a solution to the sweaty back. An idea that I am whole heartedly recycling from one of the members here. Use one of those flat crates that vending machine companies use to haul their bottled beverages in.

There was one that was left behind at work. My backpack fit, so if that flat crate is still there when I clock out on Monday, I am going to *repurpose* that bit of plastic.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:10 AM
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To ride in the drops I let out the shoulder straps and tighten the belt enough to pull the pack down a bit on my back. Otherwise it rubs the back of my helmet.
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Old 01-24-09, 01:12 PM
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I use a North Face chamelion. A bit smaller than your packbut it works for me.
North Face logo at top of pack, I covered it with a sticker, otherwise I was
tempted to put a "South Face" logo on the bottom of the pack.
I don't dig the company logo trend on clothing and gear.
A wheelchair guy hailed me at a grocery store.
"Hey LL Bean can you reach that upper shelf for me"
I'd rather be called F-face, it's less pretentious.
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Old 01-24-09, 03:35 PM
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If you plan to ride in all types of weather, I recommend a waterproof backpack or a backpack that comes with a rain cover. I own an Ortlieb Flight backpack that is lightweight, waterproof, and it has a suspension frame to prevent sweaty back. You can read my review by clicking on the link at the bottom.

Other companies that make backpacks for all-weather commuting are Deuter (come with rain covers), Ergon (BC-3 model is weatherproof), Seal Line, Banjo Brothers, Chrome Bags, Reload Bags, Freight Baggage, and Seagull Bags. The last three are small companies that do a lot of custom stuff. I own a medium sized Freight Baggage backpack that I've been quite pleased with so far. It is massive!

Ortlieb Flight 27 Backpack Review
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Old 01-24-09, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken Wind View Post
If you plan to ride in all types of weather, I recommend a waterproof backpack or a backpack that comes with a rain cover. I own an Ortlieb Flight backpack that is lightweight, waterproof, and it has a suspension frame to prevent sweaty back. You can read my review by clicking on the link at the bottom.

Other companies that make backpacks for all-weather commuting are Deuter (come with rain covers), Ergon (BC-3 model is weatherproof), Seal Line, Banjo Brothers, Chrome Bags, Reload Bags, Freight Baggage, and Seagull Bags. The last three are small companies that do a lot of custom stuff. I own a medium sized Freight Baggage backpack that I've been quite pleased with so far. It is massive!

Ortlieb Flight 27 Backpack Review
Yep I plan I riding in all types of weather so I guess if I look into the Solaris 35 more and find out it's not waterproof I'll check out your suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-09, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Another option in conjunction w/backpack: a crate of some kind on the rear rack. I've got a milk crate that I used before I got my new backpack. The new bag doesn't fit. But I think I've found a solution to the sweaty back. An idea that I am whole heartedly recycling from one of the members here. Use one of those flat crates that vending machine companies use to haul their bottled beverages in.

There was one that was left behind at work. My backpack fit, so if that flat crate is still there when I clock out on Monday, I am going to *repurpose* that bit of plastic.
+1/2

I used a milkcrate for a year, then got a wald rear basket and never looked back at top-heavy milkcrate sway ever again. Now i use a timbuk2 backpack which i'm very satisfied with. No waist strap but even with weight the shoulder straps and pack hug my back when i'm riding and doesn't move around. If my back gets sweaty I just stick the backpack in the rear basket.

So for me, backpack+rear basket is perfect since I can just take my stuff with me easily and stick it in my basket when I don't feel like wearing it.
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Old 01-26-09, 07:04 PM
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I use a Targus backpack, mainly because I usually haul my laptop back an forth each day, and the Targus is durable and pads the computer well. I actually bungee the backpack on my bike rack...It works for me.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:11 PM
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Also check out the Osprey Talon 22, it has room for a bladder as well.
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Old 01-26-09, 09:29 PM
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I've had the Marmot Zephyr for a while now, and it's a good pack. Like many others, I never wear the hip strap while riding, only the sternum strap. Zephyr's got a bladder pouch and an airflow suspension frame (crucial).

Only negative IMO is that as handy as the back flap is for stuffing my jacket, scanners, cable boxes, other large items into... it has to be unclipped in order to easily load the main compartment.

Here's a link. I scored mine for $70. Make sure you try it on somewhere before you buy. Half the people who've tried mine on couldn't stand it.

http://marmot.com/fall_2008/equipmen...nfo/technology
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Old 01-26-09, 09:34 PM
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My backpack of choice.http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Prod...&viewAll=False
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Old 01-26-09, 09:51 PM
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Just a heads up, there is no such thing as a sweat free backpack.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jely1990 View Post
Thanks for the link to the Ergon pack, I'll look at that too when making a decision. And I plan on using it for hiking too, so I probably won't be getting a messenger bag.


Ya I was riding last summer with a small Camelbak and my back was always soaked even after shorter 6 mile or less rides. But North Face advertises that it has some back sweat saver technology. It's like a vent or something, but if I get the pack and it turns out to ineffective I'll just pack a shirt to change into.



I was considering that, but then I realized that I'm commuting to school so it's not exactly a place to be leaving panniers on my bike.

Thanks to everyone that replied as well. I decided to get the Solaris 35
Many Panniers come with a shoulder strap and a means of hooking the pannier set together. Pull them off the bike, clip them together, hook on the shoulder stap and your good to go!
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Old 01-31-09, 03:21 PM
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I decided I needed a new backpack for commuting because my old North Face pack was just too big for my body. I went to Hudson Trail (our local outdoor store) and explained that I needed something smaller for biking commuting and got this:

So far, this seems to be the perfect commuting backpack for me. Light, large enough for some papers and a change of clothes, and a nice hip belt with a side pouch to keep my fare card and phone. The best part is that it comes with a built-in pack cover for when you get caught in the rain. Sweet....
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Old 01-31-09, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AlphaGeek View Post
I use a Targus backpack, mainly because I usually haul my laptop back an forth each day, and the Targus is durable and pads the computer well. I actually bungee the backpack on my bike rack...It works for me.
I was wondering why no one had really said anything like this. I am actually going to use some straps that I got for strapping down large equipment/furniture.

Something like this. https://www.saabparts.net/product_in...bf8c04263df9ba

Then you can just hook it to the rack and crank until it's tight enough for you. I have two, so I'm not worried about anything slipping or wiggling loose.
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