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Any backpack lovers?

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Any backpack lovers?

Old 12-16-17, 07:51 PM
  #1  
Phamilton
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Any backpack lovers?

Hello,

My wife, daughter and I have been car-free for about 3 1/2 months.

I have been through multiple iterations of racks, baskets, a trailer, bags, and panniers, and I'm pretty sure that I've settled on the backpack.

Our grocery buying has just evolved to getting a day or two at a time, and we appreciate the menu flexibility. We are also lucky that the grocery store is 1 mile from home.

I used a backpack prior to being car free as I just didn't like having stuff in my pockets all the time and it allowed me to keep handy items with me wherever I go, comfort items like ibuprofen, chewing gum, an extra toothbrush, some paper towels or wet wipes, etc.

Using a backpack also makes multi-stop trips that much easier, especially at shopping malls or plazas where I can park my bike and walk the rest (no multiple trips back to the bike).

Not snobbing on bike-mounted luggage at all (obviously I own it and have used it) but just wondering if a backpack works for anybody else. For large items we still have the trailer but for 95% of what I carry, the backpack is ideal. While the one that I have is pretty decent, I'll be looking to upgrade in the next few months so if anyone has any brand/model recommendations I'd love to hear them as there are a lot of them out there. I want to get one that has a clip for a tail light, a pocket for a u-lock looks nice but I don't know how well they work in reality. I'd also like to have one that buckles across the front. Not sure what that feature is called. Needs to be able to carry a full-sized laptop.

Joseph
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Old 12-16-17, 08:56 PM
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Not to the Exclusion to every thing else.. [ I have a Dana Design Blaze (made 30 years ago) FWIW, & a dry bag, and a portage pack, bigger yet.]



OK, for you... personal anecdote noted..


but I take my panniers in to be filled with groceries, or the front bag on my Brompton, off when its locked up on the street..


Bike Courier bag is useful, and yes I have a back pack I use a lot. but not as easy getting 2 big bags on the bike.. its all useful ..

why dis other ones than your backpack ..? what does that get you?






....

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Old 12-16-17, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
OK, for you... personal anecdote noted..


but I take my panniers in to be filled with groceries, or the front bag on my Brompton, off when its locked up on the street..


Bike Courier bag is useful, and yes I have a back pack I use a lot. but not as easy getting 2 big bags on the bike.. its all useful ..

why dis other ones than your backpack ..? what does that get you?






....
You are mistaken. I said I don't snob on bike-mounted or other forms because I own and have used them.

It was not a long post, nor difficult to read. I'm looking for advice, not a fight. Is there something I've done wrong?
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Old 12-16-17, 09:24 PM
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I've never seen "snob" deployed as a verb before. I am going to have to try it.

My main objection to backpacks is they make my back all sweaty and sometimes make it hurt, but for short (say 5 miles) commutes it is fine. It is easier to put a laptop in a backpack than a pannier.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:35 PM
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Most of my biking is commuting and I don't use a backpack as it makes my back sweaty. Also, it's probably a bit less work to carry a heavy load on the bike rather than on your body. However if it works for you, that's great.

I've seen some young, sporty types say they don't like panniers because they prefer how the bike handles without them, especially if they are using a sporty road bike.

Last edited by cooker; 12-17-17 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I've never seen "snob" deployed as a verb before. I am going to have to try it
And I hadn't seen outright hostility in car-free before tonight.

I didn't ask you about your objection to backpacks either, I asked if anybody used them and what worked.

Last place I'll ever send someone for advice on car-free living is here.

I'll consider my thread closed and take my question elsewhere.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:50 PM
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how about a cargo bike , bakfiets is a big front loader, put the kid and the back pack bags in it
while the other spouse rides a 2nd bike?
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Old 12-16-17, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
And I hadn't seen outright hostility in car-free before tonight.

I didn't ask you about your objection to backpacks either, I asked if anybody used them and what worked.

Last place I'll ever send someone for advice on car-free living is here.

I'll consider my thread closed and take my question elsewhere.
None of what I wrote was meant to be hostile in any way. I am very sorry. And I am only a car-free wannabe, so I don't even represent the sub-forum.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:58 PM
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Backpacks? Sure! I've used backpacks for cycling in the past (and still prefer them for walking trips). I had a decent REI daypack that I bought when I was doing a lot of hiking. We also have a GoLite Jam Pack, which is nice because the top can be expanded to hold taller stuff. My significant other and I used to do walking trips for groceries with these two bags.

I switched over to messenger bags for cycling about 10 years ago because I find them easier than backpacks both for dealing with oddly shaped objects (bulk toilet paper, cake, bike wheels...) and because they work well with my preferred riding style (a more "aggressive" position, with drop bars.)
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Old 12-16-17, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
None of what I wrote was meant to be hostile in any way. I am very sorry. And I am only a car-free wannabe, so I don't even represent the sub-forum.
The perceived hostility was from fietsbob, I think I was frustrated that the very first replies I got seemed a little anti-backpack which was illogical to me because I believe that when someone is asking for recommendations of a certain thing, if someone can't make a recommendation then it's perhaps best to say nothing at all rather than to speak against the thing they're asking about.
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Old 12-16-17, 10:19 PM
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Looks like I'm a little touchy tonight. Apologies to all, thanks to those who replied.
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Old 12-16-17, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
The perceived hostility was from fietsbob,
I put him on my ignore list awhile ago.
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Old 12-16-17, 10:51 PM
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I'm not car free but used to backpack often. I have no opinion reference messenger bags, I've never used them so I won't speak to them.

When I ride the bike and must carry something hat weighs less than 35ish pounds, I use an REI lookout pack. Very comfortable, durable pack. It doesn't have a spring or trampoline type back that is comfortable but that also means it doesn't have reduced carrying capacity like those style bags would have. It had a zipper closure that allows approximately 80% of the bag to open all the way up so I can access almost anything inside of it unlike roll type bags.

I have used a roll type bag, but it was a while ago and can't remember the model. The advantages there were massive carrying capacity and durability - no zipper to worry about. This might be something you consider for grocery runs and such especially if you're shopping for one or two days.

Also, I'll say that none of the bags that I've carried a lot of stuff in were very big while riding a bike. The biggest was 45 liters as a backpack. I had a 75 liter bag that was a monster and borderline impractical. Especially since you have a trailer.

Look for good straps and strong strap attachment points and if it matters to you, try the bag on and see if the store can fill it with weight and volume so you can see what it's like if you have to turn your head while riding.

There are many brands but I tend to find that Gregory, North Face, Deuter and Osprey backpacking bags have all served me well.

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-17, 01:07 AM
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Backpack lover here. They carry a lot, and I've never had too much of a sweaty back problem in many years of use. As for brands, I'm not fussy. Obviously you can spend a lot of money and get a beautiful one. But I've also been happy with the ones you buy at discount stores. In August (back-to-school) they all go on sale, so that's a good time to get a new one.

Right now I'm using a messenger bag that I inherited from my grandson. It's a little more stylish than a backpack and holds almowt as much. But for heavy loads, I prefer distributing the weight on both shoulders with a backpack.
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Old 12-17-17, 04:13 AM
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These days I use a canvas duffle bag, basically a vertical cylindrical sack with one shoulder strap. I put on the mousetrap front rack when on the (upright) bike. That works great. But the best back pack I ever had was a vintage Swiss army bag, I guess I still own it, I just can't find since the last time I moved house. It's very well made, it can hold a lot, you could go on a backpacking vacation with it but it's much more compact with less straps than a travellers backpack. It's also comfortable around one shoulder which is very important to me. But the really great thing is that is has an underside that arches around your back, between the sides of the arch there's a wide leather strap slightly tensioned that rests on the lower back. That does not only transfer the weight from the shoulders to the hips, it makes most of the weight disappear. Much more than any backpack with a belt and front buckle, which isn't very comfortable when cycling or with walking in winter clothes.

It worked with a flat bar hybrid also, allthough upright suits it's best just like walking, but I don't know about drop bars. I have no idea why that design hasn't been copied much, but if the Swiss army thought it was a good idea mid 20th century, it can't be all about a perfect match between my body and the bag because I'm not build like the average Swiss soldier from those days.
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Old 12-17-17, 04:17 AM
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With no intended aggression:

I use backpacks exclusively, and favor the top loading rucksack type. For big shops I pull out the ALICE pack.
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Old 12-17-17, 04:47 AM
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I use a backpack frequently, but only when traveling on foot. For the bicycle other means of hauling stuff such as racks, panniers, cargo trailer are a lot more comfortable and convenient.
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Old 12-17-17, 09:58 AM
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I often carry a backpack when I'm on foot, and occaisionally while riding a bike, but only for short distances.

I prefer the weight lower, and not on me.

I haven't tried the Osprey momentum bag designed for cycling, but I have other Osprey backpacks and travel packs, and am impressed by the thought they have put into their design. Were I to get a backpack for cycling I would definately look at Osprey.

By the way, snob is a verb in French, snober, it means to look down on something or someone. On these forums many posters look down on backpack wearers.
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Old 12-17-17, 10:18 AM
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When I carry my laptop to work I don't put it right on the bike as I think it might get some jolts, so in that case I use a padded briefcase with a long strap, so it hangs quite low on my back, like a messenger bag, to minimize back sweat. The strap has to go over your head so it crosses your torso, not just on one side the way you might do it when you're walking with it. Occasionally it shifts out of position but it's easy to push it back.

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Old 12-17-17, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
On these forums many posters look down on backpack wearers.
No they don't.
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Old 12-17-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
No they don't.
That was a bad choice of words on my part. But on the touring forum, you will find very little support for backpacks. In all my touring years, I have encountered one tourer with a backpack. Ive talked to some people who used a backpack on their first tour, but not their second. Long distance cyclists or randonneurs seem to prefer front bags.

If I were commuting on a pure road machine, I'd probably carry some things in a backpack.

For groceries I can get the equivalent of a full grocery bag in a long flap saddle bag and a front bag.

For beer, I use the trailer.

Last edited by ironwood; 12-17-17 at 01:14 PM. Reason: capitalization
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Old 12-17-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
That was a bad choice of words on my part. But on the touring forum, you will find very little support for backpacks. In all my touring years, I have encountered one tourer with a backpack. Ive talked to some people who used a backpack on their first tour, but not their second. Long distance cyclists or randonneurs seem to prefer front bags.

If I were commuting on a pure road machine, I'd probably carry some things in a backpack.

For groceries I can get the equivalent of a full grocery bag in a long flap saddle bag and a front bag.

For beer, I use the trailer.
Honestly, what does touring have to do with commuting? No one commutes for days at a time, or carries a tent.

Sure, both are about carrying stuff with you on a bike, but touring is about doing it efficiently and comfortably because of the mileage, while commuting involves more expediency, including using workman type hauling bikes that would be terrible to ride 80 miles on.
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Old 12-17-17, 02:44 PM
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I use both panniers (front LowRider and rear also if I go 4) or either of two backpacks; a cheap big cloth fabric bag that is relatively miserable but holds a lot and the small Black Diamond. The Black Diamond is a joy to ride with; good pad and ventilation, stays put very well and basically isn't there unless really loaded. I;ve had it probably 6 years now and it shows zero signs if any wear at all.

I customized my Black Diamond with some braided synthetic twine to secure the U-pock run through the sleeve at the top (to keep the heavy lock up against the sleeve and the loop sticking out) and lots of white 3-M reflective tape forming a big rectangle over the bottom and lower back. (I ride bent over enough that the reflecting material that comes on the back is only useful for search and rescue.)

Ben
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Old 12-17-17, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Honestly, what does touring have to do with commuting? No one commutes for days at a time, or carries a tent.

Sure, both are about carrying stuff with you on a bike, but touring is about doing it efficiently and comfortably because of the mileage, while commuting involves more expediency, including using workman type hauling bikes that would be terrible to ride 80 miles on.
I was a commuter before I started touring. At one time I used a backpack while commuting, then I got a rear rack and then panniers. Sometimes I had to carry a lot of things to work, and carrying stuff on my bike instead of my back was, and is, better for me, but not for everyone.
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Old 12-17-17, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Backpack lover here. They carry a lot, and I've never had too much of a sweaty back problem in many years of use. As for brands, I'm not fussy. Obviously you can spend a lot of money and get a beautiful one. But I've also been happy with the ones you buy at discount stores. In August (back-to-school) they all go on sale, so that's a good time to get a new one.

Right now I'm using a messenger bag that I inherited from my grandson. It's a little more stylish than a backpack and holds almowt as much. But for heavy loads, I prefer distributing the weight on both shoulders with a backpack.
+1

I used my back pack an hour ago to do dry my clothes at the laundromat. My dryer is broken so I have no choice but to use the laundromat or hang the clothes in my carless garage! I would suggest the OP attach a blinky to the back of the pack for safety reasons. This is the main reason I prefer using a back pack over a messenger bag.

People at the laundromat bring whole shopping carts but then you have to walk back home. I'm in and out real fast! If you use backpacks and load them to capacity each day, you'll go through a number of them as zippers start to fail.

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