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Recommend A Backpack For Commuting

Old 04-13-13, 08:24 PM
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jyl
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Recommend A Backpack For Commuting

I'm thinking about getting a backpack to replace my messenger bag. The bag has been shifting around on my back, if it is very full and I am riding hard with a lower position and a flatter back. It works fine in other circumstances, but when I'm in the drops, low, sprinting, the bag will shift toward my right and throw me off balance. This didn't used to happen but perhaps I am riding harder lately, I like to think so anyway.

My needs are: waterproof enough for a Portland winter, durable (I've had my messenger bag for 14 years), a bright color, either lots of reflective or able to have reflective tape applied (and stick well), won't shift around when low and sprinting, as low wind resistance as possible for a backpack, and it has to have as much volume as a "large" messenger bag.

What do you recommend?

I looked at an Ortlieb messenger backpack, it looked pretty good. I also saw a Chrome backpack, it is totally different but also looked promising. My messenger bag from Timbuktu has held up so well for all this time, that I'm interested in looking at their backpack too, but so far I've not seen one in the flesh.

Last edited by jyl; 04-13-13 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 04-13-13, 10:07 PM
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Get some sort of ACU Molle 3day assault pack. They have waist and shoulder straps, plenty of room, weather resistant, and plenty of room for attachments. The lower end ones, offical surplus not the civvie knockoffs are what you want. 50-70 bucks, id sew reflective materials on but tape would work I guess, and its not a god aweful messanger/fanny bag

And of course with the multiple straps + being army gear its made to sit well and be worn harder. I think you'd be impressed. Hell theres even a id/info clear pocket on the back for emergency info.
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Old 04-13-13, 10:46 PM
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Sticking with the 'tactical' theme, I'm loving the Rush 24 pack by 5.11- http://www.511tactical.com/All-Produ...-Backpack.html It's an incredibly well thought out pack that I think meets your requirements, with pockets and places for everything.

Large enough, well made, comfortable and stable. I regularly commute 4 miles each way with it loaded to around 20lbs. I'll notice the extra weight on a particularly tough uphill stretch, but never really notice the pack itself when riding.
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Old 04-13-13, 11:10 PM
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I like my Mission Workshop VX Sanction. Nice and waterproof and very light and will sit flat on your back when not full.. It isn't a bright color though. I was thinking about putting some reflective material on it, but got a bright taillight instead - I still may put some reflective tape on it.

http://missionworkshop.com/products/...x-rucksack.php
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Old 04-13-13, 11:31 PM
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Osprey and Deuter have several that might work for you. Banjo Brothers makes a commuter backpack that comes in 1500 and 2000 cubic inch sizes, both are available in black, white, or red, waterproof w/reflective stripes. They have a new one that features the same replaceable liner, but the bag is made out of canvas instead of Cordura.

Question- does that old T2 bag of yours have a cross strap? If it doesn't, that is why it is shifting on you.
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Old 04-14-13, 02:14 AM
  #6  
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Deuter backpacks are excellent. They have a frame to keep the bag off your back and allow airflow.
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Old 04-14-13, 02:30 AM
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I like my Camelback Alpine(?) pack. It has a waist belt which I keep the ends connected by wrapping around the bag. On the occasions when I have a heavy load that waist belt is nice in taking the weight off my shoulders. There are a lot of specialty packs which I'm sure work better, but if you're on a budget, there are a lot of waterproof bags, especially military style, that will fit your needs.
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Old 04-14-13, 05:20 AM
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i use an Osprey Flapjack. easily holds as much as my large Timbuk2 messbag. (Timbuk2 Large: 1403ci, Flapjack: 1526ci) very comfortable, padded ridges on back to allow circulation. waterproof, with drawstring inner liner.

only wish there was a version without a laptop sleeve.

stock, it only has small reflective tabs, but i keep some reflective patches and/or short 'tails' of reflective tape around that i can safety pin to bags.
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Old 04-14-13, 07:13 AM
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My messenger bag does have the cross strap and I use it. I don't completely understand why it is shifting. As mentioned, it didn't used to. I'm filling it fuller nowadays, and riding harder and with a flatter back. That's the only changes I can think of.

Oh - I use a helmet mirror, and nowadays my messenger bag blocks my view to the rear. I have to twist my body or sit up a bit, to get a look at what SUV is not seeing me. I think that also has to do with fuller bag/lower position. Do the backpacks mentioned block a helmet mirror's view as well?

Last edited by jyl; 04-14-13 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 04-14-13, 11:42 AM
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I got a drybag daypack from REI 25 years ago, it has an oval bottom.
and was found to be big enough for my mandolin case..

You.. Could add a sternum strap.. between the shoulder straps ..

I think it was actually made by Seattle Sports.

Need to carry More ? Portage Pack. I got one from Cascade Designs, 'Pro' pack.
works in my Bike Trailer .. once secured in the trailer , If needed , I can wear the trailer too.


I own a Timbuk2 messenger bag.. it included a cross strap., a TriGlide on a loop was included
when the side seam was sewn.. the other end is a sliding loop around the main shoulder strap.

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Old 04-16-13, 05:57 PM
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I've looked around some, and am leaning toward a custom backpack from local Portland bag maker Black Star. They can customize pretty much everything.

Thinking
- Medium width or even small width
- Extra 6" of length
- Flap top
- Compression straps on the sides

The idea is I can get a narrow bag (better aero, less blocking of my helmet mirror), that still has plenty of volume (from the extra length), that can be cinched down as flat as the load allows (aero again).

Their bags look very waterproof (inner waterproof bag sits inside the coated Cordura shell).

Won't be cheap but could be the last bag I buy.
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Old 04-17-13, 07:31 PM
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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...ar-pack-system

I use a Osprey Momentum currently, and it's pretty sick.
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Old 04-18-13, 04:21 PM
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I'm just saying... some off-road motorcyclists rock backpacks but most street-riders use panniers. When you are carrying insane amounts of load on (in?) a single-track vehicle, hanging the weight on your iron horse has some real benefits. The o.p. is at one of those "save points" where s/he can make a change in the status quo and maybe learn a better way of doing a familiar task. I used to carry a full back-pack. It is no longer made -- a Hydrapack El Borrachio. Nice pack. Still have it, but I am now using a minimal back-pack for just flat repair and basic roadside emergencies. Everything else goes in the rack trunk. I have panniers for even heavier loads. Once I loaded the panniers and put the rack trunk on top, even though my panniers already have a center section that goes on top of the rack.

My commute bike was a full on touring bike in its previous incarnation so it has all kinds of mounting points for the rack. No 'p' clamps or extra long mounting bolts because your eyelets have to do double duty holding on your fender and holding up your rack. Solid weight carrying ability and my arms, shoulders and hands are thanking me as they slowly come back to life. YMMV.

H
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Old 04-24-13, 08:39 AM
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Very nice for the price.
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Old 04-24-13, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I'm thinking about getting a backpack to replace my messenger bag. The bag has been shifting around on my back, if it is very full and I am riding hard with a lower position and a flatter back. It works fine in other circumstances, but when I'm in the drops, low, sprinting, the bag will shift toward my right and throw me off balance. This didn't used to happen but perhaps I am riding harder lately, I like to think so anyway.

My needs are: waterproof enough for a Portland winter, durable (I've had my messenger bag for 14 years), a bright color, either lots of reflective or able to have reflective tape applied (and stick well), won't shift around when low and sprinting, as low wind resistance as possible for a backpack, and it has to have as much volume as a "large" messenger bag.

What do you recommend?

I looked at an Ortlieb messenger backpack, it looked pretty good. I also saw a Chrome backpack, it is totally different but also looked promising. My messenger bag from Timbuktu has held up so well for all this time, that I'm interested in looking at their backpack too, but so far I've not seen one in the flesh.
Have you considered panniers? You can get a seatpost-mounted rack if you don't want to (or can't) permanently attach a rack. You take a small hit in aerodyamics (although not so much if you're in a full crouch as the bag on your back comes into view of the wind), but it means you don't have anything on your back and it's easier to balance the bike as the weight is lower.

Not ideal for everyone, but I thought I'd throw it out there...
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Old 04-24-13, 11:59 AM
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I use a cheap one from Wal-mart. It's an Outdoors Products Vortex backpack ($25.00-see website below) and it allows me to carry a full change of clothes, shoes included, and my laptop. See the way I use it on my website for more detail. I saw a Columbia backpack at a store for $119.00, and all it had that mine didn't was a rain cover (I use a kitchen trash bag).


http://outdoorproducts.com/vortex-day-pack/
http://garypolly.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-28-13, 12:08 PM
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This is a great thread. I found it by searching because I am in the same boat. However, my commuter/errand bike is a FS Giant Trance. I ride with the suspension locked out and road tires. It is by far the most comfortable ride on the road I have experienced. The downside is that racks are pretty much a non-starter for me. I could go cargo trailer for big loads, but for smaller trips including quick grocery runs I need a backpack.
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Old 04-28-13, 01:11 PM
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In My old memory banks there was a stretched Mesh backpanel and tensile bent frame to stretch the panel .

Design.. IDK if any still do that..

The panel stretched as it is would let the sweaty t shirt breathe ..
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Old 04-29-13, 03:49 PM
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I heart my deuter bags.
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Old 04-30-13, 03:54 PM
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I've been using a Deuter Race Exp Air for over a year now through the warm Portland summers and the rainy Portland, uh, rest of the year. It has the suspension system to float off your back in the summer and has a nice rain cover for the winter.

I had the Chrome Soma and Banjo Bros Metro bags before that and both were way too hot for year round riding.
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Old 04-30-13, 04:02 PM
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I have my wife's old Bivouac back pack from Ann Arbor from when she was in college. It's yellow and I have a reflective stripe that I have Velcro'd around it. Can't complain as it holds everything and is visible when riding. But it is starting to show it's age, but the construction is pretty solid.
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Old 05-21-13, 07:42 PM
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Update - I just ordered an Ortlieb Pro 2 in red from REI's 25% off sale.

http://m.rei.com/mt/www.rei.com/prod...n_jtt_redirect

How my thinking went, with help from this thread and you guys:
- my Timbuktu large messenger bag has been great for 12 years, I'll get a T2 backpack and customize the colors
- the T2 bag looks a little too small, I'd better look around some
- [look look look look]
- there is a great custom bag maker here, I'll get him to make me a bag perfectly matched to my needs
- [price out all the features I want]
- err, $350 is a lot to spend, maybe I'd better buy a ready-made bag and make sure I like cycling with a backpack before spending that much
- [try on an Ortlieb Velocity]
- I like Ortlieb stuff and it is waterproof enough for Portland winters, but I'd like just a bit more organization
- hey, the Pro 2 has a couple of pockets and I can use the hydration pouch as a pocket, plus it is big
- ooo, sale!

I hope I like it! I'll let you all know.
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