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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310

    Good, Comfortable Backpack

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    I bit the bullet and sold my commuter, it just wasn't the bike for me. I still would like to occasionally hybrid commute home the 28 miles on my Cannondale until the funds are available for a Bike Friday I can double for commuting. I have a backpack but it isn't comfortable, anyone bike commute and use a pack? My Cannondale is carbon so a rack is not an option that I know of plus on weekends it is my road bike so I don't want to put anything on it.

    I only have to carry home jeans/pants, shirt, underwear/socks, shoes, wallet and Blackberry.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    I find backpacks on bikes to be uncomfortable, mostly because my helmet bumps the top of the bag when I'm in riding position, and because they limit my rear view when I turn to look behind me. I occasionally use my roadie to commute, rather than my dedicated commuter, and I carry my stuff in a messenger bag. It's more weight on one shoulder, but it doesn't bump my helmet, even when it's cinched high up on my right shoulder, and it doesn't block my line of sight when I turn my head to the left to look rearward.

    I have a Crumpler Super Snipe (discontinued model) that holds a change of clothes, shoes, and a few toiletries, wallet, keys, phone, etc. It's comfy enough for a few miles, but I'm quite happy to take it off my back once I arrive! I am more than pleased with its durability and performance, and definitely recommend the brand.

    I see that you're riding 28 miles....backpack is probably the way to go for weight distribution. Maybe take your helmet to the store with you and try a bunch of packs on?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    I have a Chrome Mini-Metro messenger bag that I use when out on my road or mountan bike, where I don't have my cargo rack mounted. They're a little pricey, but I find it's a lot more useful and comfortable than my old backpack when carrying just about any kind of load. One big advantage with the messenger bag is that like your backpack, your stuff stays right with you, whether on or off the bike -- but the load is distributed a little lower on your back, and your center of gravity is much lower, making you more stable and less wobbly on the bike.

    They come in several different sizes... I like the "mini-metro" for daily commuter usage, but also have one of the full-sized Metropolis models for when I really have to haul some freight...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    I use The North Face Recon backpack. It does almost anything well, is sectioned off sensibly, and has a padded compartment if I ever have to carry the laptop. The external mesh pouch will hold anything from a helmet, to my sweater, or lunch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    I just had a thought: I wonder if the whole backpack issue is why the Bell Citi commuter helmet has a more-rounded back than others? So that it doesn't bump the backpack? (I love the concept of that helmet- too bad Bells don't fit me!)

    Just rambling here....
    Last edited by Becky; 12-31-2008 at 12:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    I use a Timbuk2 laptop back pack when I commute. I do have a pannier for my clothing and toiletries, but when I have to take my laptop, I also use this backpack. It's quite comfortable. My commuter is set up the same as my road bike (same aero position), so I'm sure this would work as well if I were on my road bike, too. It's small enough to not get in the way, but large enough to hold my laptop and other stuff as necessary. It's also got a small channel that runs the lenght of my back (from head to butt) that allows air to flow underneath it. If I tip my head down for a second or two, the air flows right in and cools off nicely. It's really a smart design and a great backpack.

    In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about how this backpack has been through a LOT and it is holding up beautifully. I use it as my carry-on when I fly, too...because it can really hold a lot and it protects my laptop very well.

    This is a similiar one - but mine has one less compartment, so it's a little sleeker. I don't see in on Timbuk2's website though. I got mine through SAC for like $40, too.

    http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...track-day-pack
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Does a messenger bag remain stable and not bounce during climbing out of the saddle, or does it fly off to the side during cornering? That's my main reservation about them.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Does a messenger bag remain stable and not bounce during climbing out of the saddle, or does it fly off to the side during cornering? That's my main reservation about them.
    Any good messenger bag should come with or at least have an option for a stabilizer strap - it goes from the shoulder strap across your body back to the bag. It not only keeps the bag from sliding around your back when you turn, it also takes a lot of the weight off of your shoulder and puts it on your hips - much like a waist strap on a backpack. If you don't have a stabilizer then yeah - messenger bags will tend to want to swing around. With one they are nice and stable - better than a backpack if you ask me, as the weight is lower on your back and gives you a better center of gravity.

    btw - I use a medium size Timbuktu myself. It holds my clothes (no shoes, I keep those in my locker at work), my lock, and my SLR camera (I'm a photogrpaher) with plenty of room to spare. I've put a case of cat food in there in addition to the other things at times...... (no I don't go far that way - it weighs 20lbs )
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Does a messenger bag remain stable and not bounce during climbing out of the saddle, or does it fly off to the side during cornering? That's my main reservation about them.
    The Chrome bags have the main strap that goes over your left shoulder, and under that there's a little stabilizer strap that comes up under your left armpit to hold the bag in place. If you've got the stabilizer strap clipped in, the bag is very stable, even when you're doing the bike messenger tricks. If not, then yes, it'll try to slide up under your right arm.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    When I commuted with a pack, I used the REI Singular pack. It is a single strap pack that goes across your back and keeps the weight lower down on your trunk. I found this to be very comfortable for me. I find courrier bags to be very uncomfortable - even with the strap, I found them to be unstable and they stick me in all the wrong places.
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    I am considering taking the bladder out of my old Camelbak and using it. Although it is only a 56 oz I think by rolling the clothes I can make them fit and then I have the better shaped pack that will fit my back. I only ride home so those clothes can get real wrinkly and I could care less. Only issue I am struggling with is shoes. I am thinking I will keep flip flops in my desk to put on come for 4:00 when I sneak away to change. I hate changing on my floor and sashaying out in my lycra, I go down to the next floor on the way out. Road shoes would be dangerous with concrete stairs! I have considered putting my Smarty pedals on the roadie so I can just wear my mountain bike shoes but I would miss my Keos come Saturdays and am not inclined to swap pedals weekly.

    I will eventually get another dedicated commuter (maybe) but right now I will improvise.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I commuted once with my 50-oz Platypus pack (no bladder). There was room for my aerobics clothes (shorts and light top) ONLY - shoes and CD's live in my locker at the gym, and I wore the same bra and socks for my class that I did to ride. Also I picked up two packages of pita bread from the store. I really had to jam them in. No way would long pants fit in there.

    For shoes, I used to sometimes carry those flat cloth Chinese shoes. They hardly take any space - less than flip flops even, and you don't have to take your socks off to put them on.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    Hmm that stinks. I am planning to ride home Wednesday and will probably for now use my old backpack. The real problem is width in the summer because it is Texas and dang hot. My backpack is just one found at Target, so I thought maybe something made for activity would be better for air flow. Right now it is cool and I don't think it would be an issue. I never had my helmet hit the pack so that is a non-issue. I have a gift card to REI so maybe I can go shopping this weekend and really look at some of your suggestion.
    Last edited by Aggie_Ama; 01-05-2009 at 06:55 AM.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    I manage fine with my Ultimate Direction Diva Hydration Pack on my bike with some clothing in it and a bunch of tools... I'm not sure if it would be big enough for as much as you carry, but without the hydration bag in it definitely. I find it more comfortable than the north face or dakine hydration bags that I have to use for cycling. The dakine ones I hate cycling, but I use them skiing no problem.

    My current favorite daypack is the osprey atmos 35 (they have a female version, the aeriel or ariel something like that) - the ospreys have an arched back system which holds the pack away from your back (they just have a mesh that's next to your back, then an arched frame and you put stuff in the pack... It allows airflow between your back & the pack and makes it very comfortable. It's also a light pack. The arch can make it odd to pack depending on what you want to go in there, but what your describing would be fine. I haven't tried it cycling, but I love it hiking. I just usually think it's overkill for cycling for a few hours.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    238
    I have no idea if they still have them or not, but I bought a bag at Walmart a couple of years ago that was very very slim (almost like the Camelback pack) but has surprisingly deep pockets. Another idea...I went to an army surplus store and found a great messenger type bag andd a backpack that was awesome! It fit everything including my work shoes and wasn't bulky. I now carry a Timbuk2 laptop messenger when i carry a lot and one of their x-small messengers I got on sale at a shop here i town that was going out of business. Timbuk2 is having a sale right now with stuff up to 65% off if you wanna check it out. The also have something called an Outtawhack backpack that is a messenger style back with backpack like straps and a cross strap I think. Might wanna check there. Okay, I'm done.
    Gray
    Re-examine all that you have been told... dismiss that which insults your soul.
    Walt Whitman

    My blog: A Gamut of Interests

 

 

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