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

Temporary commuter backpack...suggestions?

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.

Temporary commuter backpack...suggestions?

Old 08-06-12, 09:59 PM
  #1  
Solis91
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Temporary commuter backpack...suggestions?

Hey all. I am interested in purchasing a backpack for my daily errands, to college, and other commuting that I do. I currently use a regular jansport school backpack, Cu in 1500. It usually does the job just about although I would like to upgrade size a little, also the backpack hurts after a while. I was wondering if any of you could refer me to a decent backpack that you guys thought was a good purchase in the past.

Would anyone share their thoughts of owning a banjo brothers or a timbuk2 backpack? From my own research those are the brands I've found so far
My budget is about 120 or less unfortunately, although I do want it to just last me a good year or two if possible.

I will be transferring out to the bay area in a semester so maybe next year I will look into getting a MWS.
I usually carry some change of clothes, tools, books, maybe some groceries, helmet...depending on the day.
Traveling...etc.
What are your guys' opinion on medium to large size backpacks? (1500 - 2000 cu in)


Anyways, thanks in advance.
Solis91 is offline  
Old 08-06-12, 10:13 PM
  #2  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,853

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 270 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had a Large Banjo Brothers backpack in black (since traded for a trunk bag with another BF member). The thing was huge, lacked organization, and was HOT. I currently have an Ogio Politan and a Dakine Lg Campus (which appears to be even bigger now), as well a Banjo Brothers mess bag and a Knog sling bag. The Dakine is the most versatile of the bunch.

Since your Jansport is sufficient, you could save a bit of cash and just mount a basket or crate to your rear rack and put the backpack in while riding the bike.
__________________
Community guidelines

Last edited by no1mad; 08-07-12 at 12:57 AM.
no1mad is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 12:34 AM
  #3  
buck65
cherish the day
 
buck65's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: South Pasadena, CA
Posts: 364

Bikes: Rivendel Sam Hillborne, SOMA San Marcos

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been using a North Face Recon bag for hiking, light camping, and bike commuting for the past 3 years. The Recon backpack has thickly padded shoulder straps that I find comfortable. During commutes when I take my heavy/bulky laptop home, I tend to clasp the buckles across my chest. By doing this, I have noticed very little fatigue even when the bag is loaded with 25 pounds of stuff. I typically carry clothing, a stack of papers (for grading since I'm a teacher), my lunch containers, cable & u-lock, coffee thermos, Klean Kanteen water jug, and phone/keys/wallet in my bag. I can also fit in my laptop, however I rarely take it home unless it's at the end of a semester. Despite all of the sweat, dust, and scratches, my backpack is in great shape and I can easily see another 5 years of use out of it.
buck65 is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 09:22 AM
  #4  
flipped4bikes
ROM 6:23
 
flipped4bikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Coastal Maine
Posts: 1,713

Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp, Lemond Tourmalet, Bridgestone MB-5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would recommend the Timbuk2 Track II backpack. 1700 ci, large outer stash for your helmet, two inner compartments, and a laptop sleeve. The ventilated back panel will keep you cooler than a normal backpack. It's also lighter and less bulky than most, but still has a lot of features. Though listed at $89, I found mine for only $39 at my local sports outfitter.
flipped4bikes is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 09:44 AM
  #5  
kangchen
Member
 
kangchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Harlem, NY
Posts: 30

Bikes: Specialized Vita Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by flipped4bikes View Post
I would recommend the Timbuk2 Track II backpack. 1700 ci, large outer stash for your helmet, two inner compartments, and a laptop sleeve. The ventilated back panel will keep you cooler than a normal backpack. It's also lighter and less bulky than most, but still has a lot of features. Though listed at $89, I found mine for only $39 at my local sports outfitter.
I also have the Timbuk2 Track II backpack and I love it. It (the green one, at least) is on sale for $54 on the site right now.

They haven't published my review for it yet but this is what I wrote about it:

Your Rating: 4 stars
Headline: A bag doing it's job!

Pros : Comfortable, Roomy, Durable, Attractive Design
Cons : No reflectors, Unnecessary accessory
Best Uses : Commuting, Cycling, School, Travel
Describe Yourself : Career
Primary use : Personal
Was this a gift? : No

I commute by bike to work & school and needed a pack better than the hand-me-down backpack I got from my husband's college days. I went with the Track II. So far, it's been great! It works well on the bike and I also took it for a 3 day car-camping trip and it had plenty of room for my clothes & toiletries. I haven't had the opportunity to use it in a downpour yet so don't know how it will hold up in those conditions.

Pros:
- the external flap for helmet and/or wet raincoat is a great idea
- the sternum strap
- trusty & durable material
- straps are particularly comfortable

Cons/improvements:
- the u-lock pocket should have a cinch for when it's holding a water bottle or other items
- the bottle opener is a fun party trick but difficult to use and unnecessary -- I wish I could remove it
- no reflector straps
- the "easy-access" pocket on the very front of the bag (under the external flap) is on the opposite side of the u-lock pocket. This is annoying when the keys to the u-lock are thrown into that pocket b/c you wind up having to take off the entire backpack to deal with removing the u-lock and then removing the keys RATHER than being able to sling it off one shoulder and remove both items
kangchen is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 10:16 AM
  #6  
MK313
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 782
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Osprey packs get great reviews for riding. I second the suggstion to get a rack & strap the backpack onto that. I do it for my commute every day & it works great. You can get a rear rack pretty cheap (unless you have a dueal suspension bike or something unusual) & then continue using the Jansport.
MK313 is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 11:36 AM
  #7  
Solis91
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks everybody for the input so far...For those of you with the timbuk track, Does the ventilated backs really work?
They dont have to be 100% anti sweat just help get air flow through the back to help prevent it abit.

Thats one major problem that I have with my backpack, is that I sweat up a storm under the backpack only.

Also I wonder if the straps hurt while carrying a decent load...? My backpack will give me problems only after about 30 minutes and will continue an after effect of hurt...
Solis91 is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 11:42 AM
  #8  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,853

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 270 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Look for a pack that has a lumbar/waist strap. By tranferring the weight to your hips, your back and shoulders won't complain near as much. However, depending on your build and posture while riding, using a waist strap can be problematic on the bike.
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 12:13 PM
  #9  
kangchen
Member
 
kangchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Harlem, NY
Posts: 30

Bikes: Specialized Vita Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Solis91 View Post
Thanks everybody for the input so far...For those of you with the timbuk track, Does the ventilated backs really work?
They dont have to be 100% anti sweat just help get air flow through the back to help prevent it abit.

Thats one major problem that I have with my backpack, is that I sweat up a storm under the backpack only.

Also I wonder if the straps hurt while carrying a decent load...? My backpack will give me problems only after about 30 minutes and will continue an after effect of hurt...
Yea, the Track II has a sternum strap that helps with carrying a heavy load. Yesterday I rode home with a whole new set of sheets for a full sized bed (in packaging), my work clothes, two textbooks, my iPad, toiletries, a binder, and the u-lock home and felt great. The only thing is that it gets big and boxy the more you cram in there so it does feel different and I look kinda dorky.

The ventilated back works well for me. On the old North Face I used to use I would also sweat up a storm; the Track II will be wet with sweat when you are done but it's noticeably different than with my old pack.
kangchen is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 12:15 PM
  #10  
kangchen
Member
 
kangchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Harlem, NY
Posts: 30

Bikes: Specialized Vita Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Also, it dries faster from the sweat and doesn't get as stinky as with other bags that are not ventilated
kangchen is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 11:38 PM
  #11  
Solis91
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It seems like timbuk has the good features down for a reasonable price and what I need it for...


Just wondering
Has anyone tried the timbuk2 phoenix?
Solis91 is offline  
Old 08-07-12, 11:44 PM
  #12  
Face Palm
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 224
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use a messenger bag, not back-pack, but just a quick tip. I needed a new bag, and just scored a really nice Timbuk2 on Ebay for about a 1/4 of retail cost. It was very slightly used per the listing, but when i got it, it seemed brand new. Even came with an unused cross strap.

So, when you narrow your choices down, might be worth taking a day or two to cruise Ebay for whatever brand you're looking for. I got pretty lucky, and even got the colors I wanted, even the waxed canvas I was looking for. But, as with anything, YMMV...
Face Palm is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 12:34 PM
  #13  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Posts: 5,681
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 267 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Solis91 View Post
Hey all. I am interested in purchasing a backpack for my daily errands, to college, and other commuting that I do. I currently use a regular jansport school backpack, Cu in 1500. It usually does the job just about although I would like to upgrade size a little, also the backpack hurts after a while. I was wondering if any of you could refer me to a decent backpack that you guys thought was a good purchase in the past.
A rack and pannier are _much_ more pleasant. No weight on your body and the best airflow you can get.

I regret failing to make that concession for my first couple decades of riding.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 12:48 PM
  #14  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 214 Times in 178 Posts
put a basket on the bike to put the [whatever] backpack into while you ride.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 01:16 PM
  #15  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,112
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
A rack and pannier are _much_ more pleasant. No weight on your body and the best airflow you can get.

I regret failing to make that concession for my first couple decades of riding.
There are various downsides to panniers that have been outlined before so I won't bother to go through them. I was a messenger bag user for a long time and switched to panniers after a shoulder injury. That lasted only a few months and I ended up using a backpack instead. Not saying there aren't substantial advantages to using panniers but I'm not sure they're a good fit for a college student who needs something to run errands with and is on a budget. Panniers aren't so great when the ride is over and you need to carry your stuff.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 01:31 PM
  #16  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,112
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I will defend the Banjo Bros commuter backpack a little. It's hot. It's heavier than it seems it should be and it does lack organization but I think that last item is actually a plus.

The major feature I needed in a backpack was something that was weatherproof. That eliminates a whole bunch of them including the Timbuk2 Track 2 (I'm pretty sure).

The Banjo Bros backpack is like a huge water proof grocery bag with straps. There is a zippered pouch on the front and smaller one with a velcro flap for a cover. There's also a few pen holders. In addition there is a handy pocket on the side that you can reach while wearing the pack. I can't remember if this is optional or not but mine has a cell phone holder on one of the straps which is pretty handy. It would be great improvement if it had two of those side pockets instead of one. Maybe the newer ones do.

As for the lack of organization, as a former mess bag user I prefer one large compartment rather than having 2 or more smaller ones. This provides the greatest amount of flexibility in terms of what you can carry. It does require more thought when you pack.

Most weatherproof backpacks feature a roll top which unfortunately creates these little wings that can be hard to see over when you look behind you. The Banjo Bros design greatly reduces (but doesn't eliminate) the size of these wings for better site lines.

It is hot. The padded Back does little for air flow. Newer models may have improved on this. Otherwise it's pretty comfortable. It has both a sternum strap and a removable waist strap.

For a weatherproof bag on a budget, it's hard to beat. If you don't care about that, then you have a lot more options.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 06:18 PM
  #17  
Solis91
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
After this week, I've realized that my main concerns are going to be comfort and space....my jansport straps are too much for me..its uncomfortable. And then space for things like my helmet for when I'm not riding is key as well.. it would be nice to have a place to strap it on the backpack..

The rack and panniers seem nice but wouldnt really match what I need it for.

The timbuk website claims that they are water resistant, and I actually like the rolltop look so thats a plus...although I do look over my shoulder alot if they are hard to see with.
Solis91 is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 06:58 PM
  #18  
flipped4bikes
ROM 6:23
 
flipped4bikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Coastal Maine
Posts: 1,713

Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp, Lemond Tourmalet, Bridgestone MB-5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I looked at the Phoenix at the store I bought the Track II. I liked it, but it wasn't on sale and really didn't want to spend that kind of money. It's larger and has more features, and that makes it another pound heavier. It doesn't seem like much, but the pack has that much more material. If the the laptop hammock, rolltop, water resistance are important to you, is it worth the extra bulk and expense?

I think that all Timbuk2 packs have the ventilated back panel. Seems to work fine like I said. My commute is only 4.5 miles and I do sweat during it. However this pack won't make you more sweaty than other packs can.
flipped4bikes is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 07:30 PM
  #19  
no1mad 
Thunder Whisperer
 
no1mad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NE OK
Posts: 8,853

Bikes: '06 Kona Smoke

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 270 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Solis91 View Post
After this week, I've realized that my main concerns are going to be comfort and space....my jansport straps are too much for me..its uncomfortable. And then space for things like my helmet for when I'm not riding is key as well.. it would be nice to have a place to strap it on the backpack..

The rack and panniers seem nice but wouldnt really match what I need it for.

The timbuk website claims that they are water resistant, and I actually like the rolltop look so thats a plus...although I do look over my shoulder alot if they are hard to see with.
Note that you carry your helmet on the outside of your current backpack- just fasten it the haul loop at the top of the bag. I think I was also the first to point out that you could put your current bag on the rack. Below is a pic of what I did. The bag is a large Banjo Brothers pack that I folded/rolled up a bit, then realized that doing so wasn't necessary- so long as the majority of the bag (and all of the straps) are nestled inside the crate, a little bit of overhang won't hurt a thing.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
10171623..jpg (96.2 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg
10171627..jpg (96.9 KB, 25 views)
__________________
Community guidelines
no1mad is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 07:30 PM
  #20  
Solis91
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by flipped4bikes View Post
I looked at the Phoenix at the store I bought the Track II. I liked it, but it wasn't on sale and really didn't want to spend that kind of money. It's larger and has more features, and that makes it another pound heavier. It doesn't seem like much, but the pack has that much more material. If the the laptop hammock, rolltop, water resistance are important to you, is it worth the extra bulk and expense?

I think that all Timbuk2 packs have the ventilated back panel. Seems to work fine like I said. My commute is only 4.5 miles and I do sweat during it. However this pack won't make you more sweaty than other packs can.
How do you feel after the commute? In terms of straps and comfort wise...particularly your back/shoulders...

Yeah the one I am eye'in is the silver/black/blue track II, and thats 50 bucks on amazon so that seems like a pretty good deal, judging by what you guys are saying about it.

Two things I might ask is how does it feel to have a helmet or something equivalent strapped to the back? does it FEEL bulky, or is it manageable?

also if you have any pictures you would like to share of your track II.
All I see are the websites pictures for this backpack..Its alot more beneficial to see pictures from actual commuters than those who just try to advertise it..


thanks
Solis91 is offline  
Old 08-08-12, 07:48 PM
  #21  
bhchdh 
Senior Member
 
bhchdh's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hampton Roads VA
Posts: 1,789

Bikes: '07 Trek 520, '09 Gary Fisher Triton, '04 Trek 8000, '85 Trek 500, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 510, '88 Trek 660, '92 Trek 930, Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Have you considered a rack and something like the Arkel Bug ?
http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...ing-bag-1.html
__________________
"When I hear another express an opinion, which is not mine, I say to myself, He has a right to his opinion, as I to mine; why should I question it. His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixot to bring all men by force of argument, to one opinion? If a fact be misstated, it is probable he is gratified by a belief of it, and I have no right to deprive him of the gratification."

T. Jefferson
bhchdh is offline  
Old 08-09-12, 07:41 AM
  #22  
kangchen
Member
 
kangchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Harlem, NY
Posts: 30

Bikes: Specialized Vita Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The pack is great for the commute. I don't feel any pain after my ride in my back or shoulders.

Re: helmet strapped in, it depends on how much is in the bag. If it's too packed you're not going to be able to put the helmet in the flap. If it's somewhat packed, you'll be able to get it in and you might feel a little bulky turning corners or (if you're like me) knocking things off shelves at the deli. If the pack is light, the helmet fits in there like a breeze and you won't even notice that it's there.

I don't have any pictures and today all it's got is a change of clothes in there so it's not much to show. However, I would say that it is pretty much exactly like it is on their website. If I ever get a picture of it packed to the max, I'll be sure to post ... but you may have made your decision by then.
kangchen is offline  
Old 08-09-12, 01:48 PM
  #23  
kangchen
Member
 
kangchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Harlem, NY
Posts: 30

Bikes: Specialized Vita Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I realized I have one (tiny) picture of the backpack w/ the helmet strapped in. Baguette not included.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
bike.jpg (101.5 KB, 36 views)
kangchen is offline  
Old 08-09-12, 01:57 PM
  #24  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Posts: 5,681
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 267 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Solis91 View Post
After this week, I've realized that my main concerns are going to be comfort and space....my jansport straps are too much for me..its uncomfortable. And then space for things like my helmet for when I'm not riding is key as well.. it would be nice to have a place to strap it on the backpack..

The rack and panniers seem nice but wouldnt really match what I need it for.
You can buy panniers with shoulder or backpack straps for transporting your stuff off the bike in sizes big enough to hold everything.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 08-09-12, 02:17 PM
  #25  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,112
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
Have you considered a rack and something like the Arkel Bug ?
http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categ...ing-bag-1.html
It's an interesting approach but if you ever ride in soggy conditions the thought of throwing a wet and grimy pannier on your back isn't too appealing. It's also over his budget.

If you really want the weight off your back while riding, I like the idea of using a basket and tossing the backpack in it. That way you can use any backpack you want.
tjspiel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.