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Good backpack for commuting

Old 07-11-13, 08:42 AM
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Icculus21
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Good backpack for commuting

Hey there - I recently started biking to work and am looking for a new pack to take my stuff for the commute, and also to use as a general backpack for a day trip or overnight.

It's a relatively short commute at about 6.5-7 miles. Fortunately we have showers here at work so I'm able to clean up and change every morning. Right now I'm using my 10+ year old North Face backpack. It's help up well throught the years, but it's starting to fall apart and it doesn't have compartments to separate shoes, clean clothes, toiletries, cell phone/wallet pockets, etc.

Just looking for someting reasonably priced, good quality, and meant for biking. I've checked out Deuter and Osprey which look like pretty good packs... didn't really come across other purpose-built packs.

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-13, 08:55 AM
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Do you need waterproof? My Aqua quest dry bag systems bag works well for that. Otherwise, really any backpack will do. I used a small/medium sized rock climbing bag for about 6 years, no idea what the brand was, but it held up really well.
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Old 07-11-13, 09:16 AM
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I have a Tumbuk2 backpack I happened onto. Works well but isn't all that cycling specific with the exception of a blinkie loop. I'd prefer a tiny bit more space but at that point I might as well put the panniers back on the bike.

Have you considered switching to panniers?

Loading a backpack down with weight increases the force placed on the soft bits on the posterior. Longer mileage with more weight = more "wear and tear". I do notice a difference when the weight is on the bike instead of on me.
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Old 07-11-13, 10:01 AM
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I'd say I've not met a good backpack that won't create a giant sweat spot on the back. I'm more of a panniers guy.

Try Deuter packs with the frame and a mesh back, that would provide some breathing room.
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Old 07-11-13, 10:39 AM
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I haven't considered panniers. I use a road bike which I wouldn't want weighed down for other rides and I like not having to attach/detach anything from the bike, just get up and go. Plus, I like to move and not be too leisurely and my commute can get windy, so being aero is a plus.

Deuter and Osprey have some sweaty-back mitigating features. But again I do shower when I get to work so it's not a huge deal. I suppose anything with multiple pockets and comfortable waist and chest straps, which probably leaves me with a pretty large selection in general!
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Old 07-11-13, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
Do you need waterproof? My Aqua quest dry bag systems bag works well for that. Otherwise, really any backpack will do. I used a small/medium sized rock climbing bag for about 6 years, no idea what the brand was, but it held up really well.
Waterproof would be nice in case I'm caught in the rain. If the forecast calls for rain I'd probably just take the subway that day, but there's always a chance. Some of these come with those pull-out rain covers. If it has it, great. If not, not big deal.
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Old 07-11-13, 11:30 AM
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I finally settled on the Deuter Race EXP Air and it has been the best backpack I've used so far for commuting, hands down. It keeps your back cool in the summer and has a rain cover for the winter.


Deuter Race EXP Air
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Old 07-11-13, 11:37 AM
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My Cross Check had a rack and trunk bag with panniers. I only ride hard, never really noodle around.

It does make the bike handle a little different when fully loaded but keeps the weight off me and keeps me a little more cooled by the wind. I've been surprised by the speeds I'd average while loaded: not too far off really. If its really hilly then yeah, you may go slower but assuming the same weight on the rack or on your back it should even out. I never felt a huge penalty in the wind compared to backpack.

I do have multiple bikes though so I'd use a different bike for fast road days.
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Old 07-11-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by shabbis View Post
I finally settled on the Deuter Race EXP Air and it has been the best backpack I've used so far for commuting, hands down. It keeps your back cool in the summer and has a rain cover for the winter.
This is on my Amazon wish list. A bit pricey, but a nice one! Glad to hear the air system works well. Does it come with the reservoir, and does it have some separated pockets on the inside (i.e. to separate shoes from clothes from bathroom stuff, etc)?
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Old 07-11-13, 11:56 AM
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If you need waterproofing you can always spray your favorite bag with NeverWet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZrjXSsfxMQ
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Old 07-11-13, 12:25 PM
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German,Rixen and Kaul, Klick Fix , has a seat post adapter and a backpack that mounts onto it
with a quick release mount,
so you have the back carry pack for the use off the bike, but you don't have to wear it while you are riding..

the sweat evaporation, off your back is a rather large cooling surface to not be able to use ,
Blocked by sticking a Pack on it while you ride.

https://www.klickfix.com/index.php?lang=en

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-11-13 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 07-11-13, 05:07 PM
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For high end, Kriega maybe? I have one I got for motorcycling. Very heavy build quality, hydration bladder integration and very secure straps and a design made to fit for a rider. The only down side is they are heavy...


https://www.kriega.us/r25-motorcycle-backpack/
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Old 07-11-13, 07:20 PM
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I used a Jansport Revolt 32 which I bought at TJ Maxx for about $30, but that was a few years ago. Decent ventilation when properly situated on the back. My commute was about 5 miles when I was using it although I eventually switched to a rack with panniers.
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Old 07-11-13, 07:46 PM
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I'm really close to buying one of these. Puts the weight down on your hips.

Ergon BX2
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Old 07-11-13, 08:02 PM
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Why do you need to carry your shoes when you commute to work. Since shoes are bulky to carry in the backpack, may I suggest that would leave a pair of work shoes in the office. That way you only need to carry shirt, pants, etc. Anyway, I have been using Mountainsmiith backpacks because they have good hip support. But when I'm on my bike, I use panniers.
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Old 07-11-13, 08:17 PM
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+=1 on keeping the shoes at work. I have shoes, shower stuff and a towel at work. I have to bring in a small towel weekly but my everyday consists of a change of clothes and my air laptop and that is about it. Have no problem with a 30 mi RT.

I have a Mission Workshop VX Sanction backpack and love it. It is waterproof, the quality is excellent, and it is very light. It is pricey though, but I got it as a present and cost was paid.

https://missionworkshop.com/products/...x-rucksack.php

Good hunting!
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Old 07-12-13, 12:41 AM
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If you're on a budget go with banjo bros products! If not on a budget check out the handmade bags messengers use. Ask for more info
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Old 07-12-13, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by WorldPax View Post
I'm really close to buying one of these. Puts the weight down on your hips.

Ergon BX2
That looks like a nice bag - similar to the purpose built bags from Deuter or Osprey.
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Old 07-12-13, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by TiBikeGuy View Post
...may I suggest that would leave a pair of work shoes in the office. That way you only need to carry shirt, pants, etc. Anyway, I have been using Mountainsmiith backpacks because they have good hip support. But when I'm on my bike, I use panniers.
Yeah definitely - that's a great point. I'll definitely leave them here. I don't even use them on weekends, they're just work shoes.
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Old 07-12-13, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
+=1 on keeping the shoes at work. I have shoes, shower stuff and a towel at work. I have to bring in a small towel weekly but my everyday consists of a change of clothes and my air laptop and that is about it...
I keep all my shower/bathroom stuff at work, and they also supply us with towels which is fantastic - it's like a hotel bathroom. After taking shoes out of the equation it'll pretty much be my clothes and personal stuff like wallet, phone, sunglasses, keys...
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Old 07-12-13, 07:33 AM
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I just ordered the Deuter Race EXP Air based what I was looking for - air flow, rain protection with the cover, and size. Seems smallish, but I just fold all my clothes into my work pants. Then I carry clothes for the ride home - shorts and shirt. Shouldn't have a problem with the size.

I think I'll eventually buy a rack late Summer, early Fall.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Icculus21 View Post
I haven't considered panniers. I use a road bike which I wouldn't want weighed down for other rides and I like not having to attach/detach anything from the bike, just get up and go. Plus, I like to move and not be too leisurely and my commute can get windy, so being aero is a plus.

Deuter and Osprey have some sweaty-back mitigating features. But again I do shower when I get to work so it's not a huge deal. I suppose anything with multiple pockets and comfortable waist and chest straps, which probably leaves me with a pretty large selection in general!
I see someone already kinda mentioned this, but if there's space at work to leave stuff (like you have a desk) the absolute best solution is just to leave your change of clothes at work. Shoes never need to be taken home and washed, pants last at least a week, and the shirt depends on how much you sweat and what kind of job you have, but if you're not biking every single day rain or shine you can just bring in several shirts, then take them home on days you drive and wash them. Honestly - since I worked at a desk in a temperature controlled environment, it's a while between when I actually wash my 1 shirt. Obviously if I worked outside a shirt wouldn't last more than a day.

You can get an underseat bag that will let you wrap your keys, phone, wallet in a shirt or small towel and carry it in the bag. Or a handlebar bag. Or just carry them in a jersey pocket or your pants pocket (though don't carry your keys and phone in the same pocket or you'll scratch the crap out of your screen).

I've tried a backpack on my road bike - a Deuter with a back that was really nice for airflow (mesh with a plastic backing behind it that kept the backpack off your back) but it's always a pain. Especially on a road bike where you bend over, it's awkward to wear a backpack (it's a lot easier on my mountain bike). I couldn't carry much in the bag because of the airflow design, and getting a bag with worse airflow meant a sweaty back. Etc etc...it was just a real pain.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Something else I remembered because my dad has one, if you can keep your shoes and pants at work (if we're talking heavier pants like jeans), there are also seatpost bags that would carry a shirt, a lightweight pair of pants, and any keys / phone / etc.

Detours rear cycle bag -
https://www.amazon.com/Detours-23301-...tpost+bag+bike

Topeak DynaPack Bicycle Seat Post Mount Bag with Fixer
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-DynaPac...tpost+bag+bike

Last edited by PaulRivers; 07-12-13 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 07-12-13, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nudave2005 View Post
I just ordered the Deuter Race EXP Air based what I was looking for - air flow, rain protection with the cover, and size. Seems smallish, but I just fold all my clothes into my work pants. Then I carry clothes for the ride home - shorts and shirt. Shouldn't have a problem with the size.

I think I'll eventually buy a rack late Summer, early Fall.
Nice - that's on my short list based on the research I've done - let me know how it is.
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Old 07-12-13, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
...if there's space at work to leave stuff...leave your change of clothes at work.... the shirt depends on how much you sweat and what kind of job you have, but if you're not biking every single day rain or shine you can just bring in several shirts, then take them home on days you drive and wash them. Honestly - since I worked at a desk in a temperature controlled environment, it's a while between when I actually wash my 1 shirt...

...Something else I remembered because my dad has one... there are also seatpost bags that would carry a shirt, a lightweight pair of pants, and any keys / phone / etc.

Detours rear cycle bag -
https://www.amazon.com/Detours-23301-...tpost+bag+bike

Topeak DynaPack Bicycle Seat Post Mount Bag with Fixer
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-DynaPac...tpost+bag+bike
I have my own office so leaving things at work is not an issue. I intend to bike in all conditions accept inclimate weather or bitter cold (or until I develope ED). Unfortunately, if not on a bike I'm riding the subway/walking, so it's hot and a pain in the ass to carry things. It is a good idea though to bring in a few pants/shirts for the week and then take everything home on Friday. Shoes and shower stuff stay at work.

Those seatpost bags are pretty cool, I don't think I've seen those. Looks like a good balance between backpack and panniers, especially that Topeak with a quick release. I'll definitely have to consider something like that.
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Old 07-18-13, 07:24 AM
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Short little review on the Deuter Race Exp Air.

It is small. I can only fit my work clothes and going home commute clothes, and then its a squeeze. I don't believe my shoes would fit, but I keep those at work anyway. I haven't had the chance to use it in the rain, but with the heat today and humidity this morning it did a fairly good job of keeping my back somewhat dry. I wear an undershirt, which was soaked but the outer wicking shirt was dry'ish. Compared to yesterdays commute with my Jansport traditional backpack, both shirts would be soaked. So there is an improvement there. I did feel air at times going over my back. I'd definitely recommend it if you aren't looking for a lot of stuff to carry. This afternoon I plan on just wearing the wicking shirt to see how the backpack performs. I ordered it from Wiggle, was shipped free from the UK via DHL. They had the lowest price I could find at $88 and change.
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