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adamrice 12-04-19 10:46 AM

Backpack recommendations
I use a backpack to carry my commuting load, and my backpack is wearing out, so I'm looking for a replacement. Not going to switch to panniers.

For 8 of my 10 one-way trips, I can get away with a very minimal load; on Monday morning and Friday evening, I carry more stuff to/from work.

I'm currently using an older (2010?) Camelbak Blowfish. Like: a minimum of dangly strap ends, expands to accept larger loads, not too big. Dislike: not quite big enough for the larger loads I need to carry. I think its max capacity is 18 L. It's not waterproof, but water intrusion hasn't been a problem in the rain I've ridden through.

Nice to have: laptop compartment, extra compartment for small stuff, a few internal pockets. I carry a cable lock in my bag and would like a good place for that. Not looking to break the bank, but I'll spend money for good quality.

Darth Lefty 12-04-19 04:08 PM

I'm still wearing out my 2nd Blowfish. Camelbak doesn't seem to make it any more. They make two, MULE and HAWG, that are about the same volume as the Blowfish before and after the expansion. They do make a couple of bigger ones. They also make bike specific versions that have longer straps and carry the pack lower. That said, the raison d'Ítre of a Camelbak is carrying water. The 3L bladder in the pack takes up a lot of it when loaded. Do you need to do that? Right now, I don't. My commute is short and I keep the tank empty. I keep it in there anyhow because I don't use it just for commuting.

For traveling I have a gigantic complicated bag supplied by my employer with my laptop and I hate it all the time, not just when cycling. It's overcomplicated and floppy. I see people traveling with NF bags that are just a little larger than a bookbag, and envy them.

Is the laptop daily or weekend? If your bike has a rack you could add a pannier that you only carry once a week, that time you need it, and limit it to your extra stuff.

Bigbus 12-04-19 04:16 PM

I use a Canon backpack that has a nice padded and sealed laptop compartment. I don't trust my laptop in the panniers. I use a genuine military issue pack for trail riding/packing. It carries everything from survival gear to luxury items (yeah right). I've done wilderness EMT and S&R so hence the huge pack. But for around town, I love the Canon. Good quality and utility for a fair price. I should add. The last time I went pack hunting I was overwhelmed by the selection available and all the neat features you can find. But quality was always an issue. Good luck

bpcyclist 12-04-19 05:50 PM

Been super happy with the large size of this:

wolfchild 12-04-19 07:03 PM

I have Timbuk2 Rouge and I like it a lot.

BobbyG 12-05-19 07:30 AM

In the world of tactical gear, a "front backpack" is called a "front rig".

Many backpackers will carry a second, smaller backpack in front, up high.

Call it a chest pack, a front pack, a front rig or whatever...

If you are set on carrying your goods on your person in place of using a rack or panniers, and you need an enormous volume...I would consider a conventionally large back pack and a smaller front rig.

adamrice 12-05-19 09:27 AM

I don't need or want an enormous volume--my ideal bag would hold about 12 L, and expand to about double that. Even a 24-L bag is on the small side.

Nyah 12-05-19 09:45 AM

I put my backpack in a wire basket that's fastened to the top of the rear rack. Works fantastic. The basket requires that you adjust to the larger step-over but, it's not a big deal for me.

ChesterCounty 12-05-19 10:30 AM

Just bought an Osprey Metreon. Its not cheap though I think it was recently on sale at REI. The bag is on the larger size but compresses down nicely when not loaded up., It does have a laptop pocket. External pocket for bike lock. Worth a look and again when not loaded compresses down to feel well below its size.

noglider 12-05-19 01:07 PM

My wife gave me her Osprey backpack. I'm very grateful, as I now use it every day. The internal frame makes it feel lighter than it is.

Chr0m0ly 12-08-19 02:42 PM

I really like the Mountainsmith Day lumbar pack with strappets.
It's a large fannypack with additional should straps for stability. Since it rides low, it helps a lot with back ventilation.
If you use the compression straps better than this guy, it snugs down very compactly, but still expands a ton. Ugly teal colored ones from the 90's pop up on eBay for 25 bucks or so.

grolby 12-08-19 07:38 PM

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 21234529)
My wife gave me her Osprey backpack. I'm very grateful, as I now use it every day. The internal frame makes it feel lighter than it is.

I'll also recommend Osprey. They make cycling and multi sport backpacks in a range of sizes, and the fit and security is excellent when riding. I have a Talon 11, which in the S/M size is more like 9L. Thatís quite small, but I bought this backpack to be compact enough that I could wear it to combine training rides with commuting. My larger capacity backpack is a Timbuk2 Swig at about 22L, but I like my Osprey so much that I would consider replacing that with a Syncro 20 or Talon 22 for when I need to carry a laptop or other bulkier items.

noglider 12-08-19 08:26 PM

Wow, that's interesting, Chr0m0ly. I'll bear that in mind. I have a weak back and strong hips, not surprisingly.

adamrice 12-08-19 10:31 PM

Thanks, all. Osprey Metron on order. I looked at a lot of options, but getting real-world feedback here is really useful.

Chr0m0ly 12-10-19 08:03 PM

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 21238331)
Wow, that's interesting, Chr0m0ly. I'll bear that in mind. I have a weak back and strong hips, not surprisingly.

I've tried using an Osprey Stratus 24 with the trampoline mesh frame, and that's good, but I keep going back to the Day pack. With the low ride it's really stable on the bike. When you stand on the pedals there's nothing to flop around on your shoulders.
I'm back in school, and it will fit a three ring binder, a text book or two, and my cheap little laptop. Plus a tool kit and U lock.
That gets heavy, so I try not to put all that stuff at once, but it'll fit if I need it too.

woodcraft 12-12-19 10:15 PM

+2 Osprey. I've been using a Talon 22, which has nice mesh airflow back panel.

Others are more laptop-specific.

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