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Waterproof commuter backpack?

Old 05-02-19, 07:03 PM
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The 585
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Waterproof commuter backpack?

I'm going to start bike commuting next month and would love to get some suggestions on a good commuter backpack for my needs! I'll be riding 8 miles each way on a paved multi-use trail. I'd like something waterproof in case I get caught in rain. It'll need to be able to hold my lunch, phone, keys, wallet, dress shoes, pants, shirt, underwear, socks, tie, body wipes, and U-Lock. Something that could double as a backpack for hiking would be great.

And for those of you who do this type of commuting, what do you do with your smelly athletic clothes upon changing? I'd like to avoid cross-contamination between my clean dress clothes and sweaty clothes....

Advice and recommendations appreciated!
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Old 05-02-19, 10:48 PM
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What's your budget?
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Old 05-03-19, 05:49 AM
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Waterproof commuter backpack?
Originally Posted by The 585 View Post
I'm going to start bike commuting next month and would love to get some suggestions on a good commuter backpack for my needs! I'll be riding 8 miles each way on a paved multi-use trail.

I'd like something waterproof in case I get caught in rain. It'll need to be able to hold my lunch, phone, keys, wallet, dress shoes, pants, shirt, underwear, socks, tie, body wipes, and U-Lock. Something that could double as a backpack for hiking would be great.

And for those of you who do this type of commuting, what do you do with your smelly athletic clothes upon changing? I'd like to avoid cross-contamination between my clean dress clothes and sweaty clothes....

Advice and recommendations appreciated!
Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
What's your budget?
For anticipated rainy weather, I put items not to get wet in plastic bags; also good to separate clean from dirty. My backpack is lightweight. However, I mostly ride with a voluminous seatbag, or panniers, not particularly waterproof either.

You could also transport and exchange clean and dirty clothes via periodic car trips to and from work if feasible.

I also have an Ortlieb roller pannier, IMO the ultimate in waterproof, but I prefer bags with compartments.
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Old 05-03-19, 06:06 AM
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Thanks, guys. I'm looking to stay around $100 for a good quality bag. Panniers are not an option because I'll be riding my Surly Pacer (road bike geometry) which I want to keep rack-less for when I just want to ride.
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Old 05-03-19, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by The 585 View Post
Thanks, guys. I'm looking to stay around $100 for a good quality bag. Panniers are not an option because I'll be riding my Surly Pacer (road bike geometry) which I want to keep rack-less for when I just want to ride.
I recently posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
FYA, after years of searching:...[follow the link for other options]
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I use my carbon fiber endurance bike (Specialized S-Works) [without eyelets for a rear rack] for commuting, and my best solution has been to use a seat mounted (not seatpost) Arkel 15 Liter Bikepack.

I have sufficient room to carry just about everything I need. I might add a lightweight backpack for bulky, but light items.
But costs ~ $200, though a lesser volume, 9 L model is available.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-03-19 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 05-03-19, 10:58 AM
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If you are going for a backpack, look in places like REI

Doesn't have to be a bike backpack.

You can also get waterproof covers to put on just about any back pack. The down side is the part that lays against your back is still exposed to water dripping down your back. That can be mitigated with a hand towel placed in the back of the bag to give you a barrier layer.

And you can spray water proofing on them to further protect contents.

Obviously a fully waterproof bag is going to do a better job. But if you're on a budget you can reasonably waterproof just about any bag for about $30 in materials (cover and can of spray waterproofing)
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Old 05-03-19, 11:06 AM
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As far as smelly clothes when you get to work....

First off you'll sweat less after a while. Your body will get used to the daily ride and you just won't sweat as much. Plus if you can ride the bulk of the ride without stopping you'll stay pretty dry as the wind will dry up the sweat before it stinks you up. It's when you stop that you start to get wet.

Second, take a shower before work (assuming you can't take on when you get there) and just dry off quickly when you get there while you're changing. Sweat by itself isn't stinky. Old rotting sweat is. Get the sweat off your body right away and you wont' have that nasty smell. (Probably) The towel you use will need to be washed regularly though.

Third, stop sweating BEFORE you change into the work clothes. If you change immediately, you'll still be sweating. If you want 5 minutes to cool down, you won't sweat into the work clothes.

Fourth, it never hurts to leave a deodorant or non obnoxious scented spray at work.

Also....don't wear a cotton t shirt. Get a breathable polyester shirt that will wick away moisture and let the air flow through. This will keep you cooler and dryer (not dry...but dryer) so less sweat to deal with. (Or a lycra bike jersey if you must...but I highly advise against these things because I'm stubborn and refuse to wear one...but they work). But not a cotton t shirt as they will soak up the sweat and hold onto it. Wal Mart has dry wicking shirts in neon colors for safety. They are cheap.
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Old 05-03-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by The 585 View Post
Thanks, guys. I'm looking to stay around $100 for a good quality bag. Panniers are not an option because I'll be riding my Surly Pacer (road bike geometry) which I want to keep rack-less for when I just want to ride.
I don't think you will find a waterproof backpack for $100. You could get one with a rain cover. like the Osprey Radial/ The rain cover is in a zippered compartment under the bag:

https://www.rei.com/product/105830/o...6-cycling-pack

I have it and use it often in the summer heat. Has lots of convenient commuting features (stands up on any surface for loading, etc.)

I also have a waterproof bag that is not as technical but is pricey:

https://missionworkshop.com/products...ksack-backpack

They also have lower priced waterproof bags

I know either of these brands will last you a very long time.
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Old 05-03-19, 05:54 PM
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An inexpensive dry bag inside your current backpack works too. 15$ solves the problem. That said, .59c garbage bags work too. I got a new drybag bp for Christmas, and that works as expected. 40 to 200 depending on brand, etc. I put it in my crate on the back for weather free worry sometimes. I do not like overheating so using it on your back may be a deal breaker.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by schiavonec View Post
An inexpensive dry bag inside your current backpack works too. 15$ solves the problem. That said, .59c garbage bags work too. I got a new drybag bp for Christmas, and that works as expected. 40 to 200 depending on brand, etc. I put it in my crate on the back for weather free worry sometimes. I do not like overheating so using it on your back may be a deal breaker.
A bag from a loaf of bread and a rubber band is good too. Also for placing over a compression sack for some additional protection.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:32 AM
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a Portage pack is a dry bag with shoulder straps.. they tend to be big ..

But here is one made for 'commuting'

30 years ago I got a simpler one , I use it for carrying my mandolin in its wooden case, in PNW rain.

brands : Sealine, Seattle sports 'Bolt' shows MSRP @ $85..

REI sells them ..




[NB: Summer, your back will get very sweaty..]



....

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-04-19 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:53 AM
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Lots of good advice to follow in this thread!

As someone who's commuted on a motorbike daily, and ridden all bikes extensively throughout the year in Ireland, I feel I have a lot of credibility in this area

Two things I've learned: 1) you cannot avoid getting wet; 2) use ziploc bags / plastic liners for things you absolutely must keep dry (passport, paperwork, laptop, phone, shoes, underwear, socks, etc.)

Generic "dry bags" (as you'd use kayaking / canoeing) can be inexpensive and do work well, but are bulky. Still, ziploc bags should be used inside them, for any electronic gear or paperwork, and "over-doing-it" is no harm.

But expensive bags (Ortlieb, or Kriega, for example) are generally worth it.

If, in advance, you embrace the idea that you'll get wet, you won't be disappointed later; and for precious items, always use a fresh ziploc bag.
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Old 05-04-19, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
a Portage pack is a dry bag with shoulder straps.. they tend to be big ..

But here is one made for 'commuting'

30 years ago I got a simpler one , I use it for carrying my mandolin in its wooden case, in PNW rain.

brands : Sealine, Seattle sports 'Bolt' shows MSRP @ $85..

REI sells them ..








....
These look great, I think that's exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks for all the recommendations!
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Old 05-05-19, 03:49 AM
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I've seen some interesting waterproof things at Walmart and then seen very similar products at REI rebranded for 3 to 4 times the cost.
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Old 05-07-19, 08:51 PM
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You can pick up a Chrome Industries Barrage Cargo backpack on sale for $128.00. It’s worth every penny. Bombproof construction, and your stuff will never ever get wet. Best commuter backpack ever made.
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Old 05-08-19, 06:11 PM
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Myself, to prevent my bike clothes from getting smelly, luckily I have an office so behind the door, I have three hooks on the door and two on the wall. I hang on hangers my bike clothes and with the door open, have a fan blowing on the space between the door and the wall so my clothes dries really fast. Once I get home, I also get out the bike clothes right away, hang them to dry and have a fan blowing on them. Even after a week, my clothes have absolutely no smells, although I have ridden in them for two hours a day.

For a backpack, can't help you there because I use a bag trunk, which has a waterproof cover for heavy rain (the bag is water resistant but that cover is waterproof).
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Old 05-09-19, 10:42 AM
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I also find that airing clothes out makes a big difference. I also found that washing my gloves as frequently as possible is important because they get stinkier than socks.

I usually use a cycling backpack by Timbuk2. It's discontinued so I won't recommend the specific model. The design makes a good amount of sense, being narrow. It's comfortable to wear. One downside is that it's very floppy, so packing is an annoying activity. It's not the least bit waterproof, so I use plastic bags inside when I need to. This saves weight.
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Old 05-10-19, 01:14 AM
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I'm partial to ARC'TERYX stuff. Run around €100 for a decent rucksack. Can argue with the build or durability.
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Old 05-10-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I'm partial to ARC'TERYX stuff. Run around €100 for a decent rucksack. Can argue with the build or durability.
The caché around that brand is annoying, but if their bags are as good as the jacket I have, then maybe the prices really are worth it.
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Old 05-10-19, 12:42 PM
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I doubt the price is anywhere near $100, but the Ortleib backpacks, if made as well as their panniers, will be a completely waterproof bag for decades of hard use. I have their front paniers. Got them in 1999. 10 years of commuting several days/week year 'round and shopping, I "retired" them and bought new ones. (Actually just bought new replacement hardware and set them up to be rear panniers, not fronts. Became my farmer's market and touring pannier should I do another.

Only repair the bags themselves have ever needed was for a 1" slice made by a very sharp knife. Standard rafting repair and it is like new. I can fill those now 20 year old bags with water at the well and carry the water home. (Haven't but simply because I've never needed to.)

Ben
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Old 05-10-19, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
You can pick up a Chrome Industries Barrage Cargo backpack on sale for $128.00. It’s worth every penny. Bombproof construction, and your stuff will never ever get wet. Best commuter backpack ever made.
Second the Chrome bags. I've commuted with a Prawn roll-top bag for 8 years or so and never had a drop of water get inside any of the pockets through the worst GA thunderstorms. Even the two outside pockets have kept cell phones and wallets dry in torrential rain.
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Old 05-10-19, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The caché around that brand is annoying, but if their bags are as good as the jacket I have, then maybe the prices really are worth it.
Their jackets are the best at their high albeit not crazy pricepoint; full stop.

I think the rucksack market is more competitive as the absolute pricepoint is lower but I have found the technical quality topnotch. I purchased an all-black bag on purpose as I find many of the other style with Arc'teryx and among other brands such as Osprey very off-puting. I'm not in Legend of Zelda, not am I German raver from the 90s, so keep it minimal and one colour in style.

I always thought that precise word was spelt cachet, but perhaps I am mistaken as I don't speak any French.
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Old 05-10-19, 03:41 PM
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Maybe you're right and it's cachet.
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Old 05-11-19, 12:35 PM
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I use an Osprey Momentum 26 while commuting on a carbon drop bar roadie. I've been through a couple of Chrome bags - and a pair of shoes as well - but find their pricing is not commensurate with the average performance and build quality.

On Mondays I pack:

Scrubs
Lunch for the week (1lb deli meat, deli sliced cheese, tortillas, frozen burritos, mustard)
Shoes
1 liter Thermos of yerba mate
Tube and a flat kit
Cards, money, phone

Lately the weather has been volatile as we transition to spring, so often I also have cycling socks and a jersey to switch out for the ride back. The pack comes with a rain cover which works great, but for unexpected precipitation I wrap all of my junk up in plastic bags. I'm starting another degree later this month and will be lugging all of the above plus textbooks and will have no problems with moisture or cargo room. It's not a cheap backpack, but it will last many years.
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Old 05-11-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jack k View Post
I use an Osprey Momentum 26 while commuting on a carbon drop bar roadie. I've been through a couple of Chrome bags - and a pair of shoes as well - but find their pricing is not commensurate with the average performance and build quality.

On Mondays I pack:

Scrubs
Lunch for the week (1lb deli meat, deli sliced cheese, tortillas, frozen burritos, mustard)
Shoes
1 liter Thermos of yerba mate
Tube and a flat kit
Cards, money, phone

Lately the weather has been volatile as we transition to spring, so often I also have cycling socks and a jersey to switch out for the ride back. The pack comes with a rain cover which works great, but for unexpected precipitation I wrap all of my junk up in plastic bags. I'm starting another degree later this month and will be lugging all of the above plus textbooks and will have no problems with moisture or cargo room. It's not a cheap backpack, but it will last many years.
I really appreciate the quality of the Osprey line of rucksucks. I'm just struck by how garish they tend to be. Great if I'm in the Alps and need to get found by air after an avalanche but not so good for a daily commute. Also, the colour-retention of the brightly coloured packs seems to fade after a few years. Thus, I went with an all-black Arc'terx which still looks good 9 years later.

What are you studying that requires scrubs? I spent some time teaching medical professionals at university.
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