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Commuter Bag

danielschipper's picture

By danielschipper - Posted on 08 February 2016

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi NobMobers,

I'm planning to start commuting into the CBD from Forestville 1 day per week. I'll be doing in & out in a day and unlikely to be in the city again during the week. SO I'm looking for a bag that can hold all my stuff for a day; MacBook Pro, work clothes, work shoes, lunch, towel, etc.

I've had a look at the following bag and looks good:

If any one has either a review of this bag or could offer advice on other bags that work well for you it would be greatly appreciated.


ahein's picture

You will have a lot of weight on your back carrying that all into the city

freddofrog's picture

Looks pretty good. Only issue is the hip belt has zero padding and that's where 80% of the weight should be borne, especially if you're carry all that stuff.

And I prefer having small pockets on the hip belt to store keys, security card, phone etc. That way you don't have to take of your pack every time you have to access doors, house, bike lock, answer phone etc.

staffe's picture

I use a Rip Curl F-Light 33 with pretty much the same as you intend to carry except the towel, I leave that one at work. That's a 33 litre bag and it is pretty full so don't go for something to small.

It's got a very good laptop compartment close to the back and along the back has moulded plastic strips to help with a little bit of air circulation.

I've thrown the bag in the washing machine a few times and it comes out un-stinky and in good condition. Dunno if all bags are machine washable, this one certainly is and that is an important feature.

Then a high visibility cover on the bag which I bought separately form CRC hoping it'll help me stay in one piece.

Happy commuting!

hawkeye's picture

I found carrying all that on my back was not good for it.

What worked for me was rear rack and panniers. Sure, a bit less aero but I arrived with less heat stress, no stinky sweat drenched backpack, and no back pain.

And rack and panniers is worth extra points for commuter cup racing, especially when you pass roadies going Parriwi Rd Evil

DudeistPriest's picture

As a very recent pannier convert I can vouch for their awesomeness. Much better than carrying stuff on your back.

danielschipper's picture

How quick are the panniers to put on / remove?

Will likely start on my do it all MTB and then perhaps move to a road bike later. Will still want to do the odd weekend / non-commute road ride though.

In short if it's a "quick release" type fitting then pannier could be the way to go.

DudeistPriest's picture

With my Topeak set-up the rack is bolted to the frame and the bag/pannier clips on and off in about 2 seconds:

hawkeye's picture

Rack bolts on, Ortlieb panniers have spring loaded quick release so they will lift off when you grab the carry strap, but will not shake off.

They are very secure and come with inserts for different size rack tubes so they don't rattle or pound on the rack and fatigue the metal at the attachment point. Savvy design as you'd expect from the Germans.

Mine are roll-top and water proof so no fears foe the gear inside in bad weather. They survived my infamous crash in 2009 with just a slight scuff, so pretty tough.

markleby's picture

make sure you can fit a rack to your bike. Most hybrid bikes will have mounting bolts, but high-end MTBs might not (particularly if rear suspension). the rack might come with clamps etc, but that's a bad option, IMHO.

might be best to find a cheap second hand hybrid or older MTB... that way you can store it without worrying AND use panniers

markleby's picture

make sure you can fit a rack to your bike. Most hybrid bikes will have mounting bolts, but high-end MTBs might not (particularly if rear suspension). the rack might come with clamps etc, but that's a bad option, IMHO.

might be best to find a cheap second hand hybrid or older MTB... that way you can store it without worrying AND use panniers

fairy1's picture

I have a Deuter Giga something, it's not very good. I was tossing up between Deuter and STM and picked the wrong bag, STM are much nicer.

Ian_A's picture

I use a Deuter Futura 30. It's OK with the mesh and frame thing that keeps it off your back a little. The problem with it is that if you are descending on the roadie in the drops your helmet hits the frame in the top of the bag.
I recently did a long mtb ride wearing it; carrying about 5L of water, shit loads of food, spares and tools and it was OK but not ideal.
The problem is when you have a load in it, you can't really ride out of the saddle at all. Even just standing up for the little pinch climb makes the bag sway and feel awkward.

Carlosdjakal's picture

Have a look at this 5.11 Tactical Rush24 Backpack.
There is a smaller or larger one as well.

StanTheMan's picture

Ive been commuting for about 2.5 years now on the daily basis.
I use an IT backpack. It is very solid.
I know some peeps don't like using backpack for various reasons. Weak lower back. sweat in summer & so on.
It needs to be solid, have lots of padding on the back (as already mentioned) & the straps as you will be carrying significant weight. yes mine gets pretty skanky but it just goes through the wash on the regular basis.
I carry up to 15 kg depending on day. Monday mornings & Friday afternoons in particular.
I find a chest strap important. It just helps distribute the weight a little. or stops a lot of the weight going to the lower back.
I have 2 back packs. The solid one & a lightweight one for the days I do intervals to keep up more with the mad-hatters. Just for the basics. Lunch, towel, wallet & stuff for a flat.

i can't tell what brand mine is unfortunately. Its bright red. That's all I know.But it cost me about $80 on sell out(was $150). so its prolly no longer available anyway.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

Depending on how much you need to stop you clothes from creasing these can be a good option.

C3PO's picture

The most important thing for commuting are disc brakes - simply for Sydney weather & drivers. Then good lights.
After that do whatever you can to leave your shoes, toiletries, etc at work. Get a locker, leave a bag in a cupboard do whatever. Commuting is so much more enjoyable without lugging these heavy & bulky things in each day. If you don't have a second pair of work shoes, belt, etc I'd say spend money here before you buy panniers.
After that the bag v panniers doesn't really matter.
I have a Deuter 32 AG. Pros = it's bullet proof, great rain cover, mesh keeps it off your back & a nice little zip pocket on your hip for keys. Cons = no separate laptop section & as above on the roady it comes up against your helmet.
I ride a hard tail with slicks. Nice to be able to jump a gutter or go rough on the odd occasion it's required. Not sure you can do that with panniers.

freddofrog's picture

I have panniers but prefer backpack. I jump kerbs, ride limestone river wall etc to make the commute less mundane. Stuff in panniers are loose so even a 2 foot drop off a wall will make your laptop wanting a panadol.

Ash C's picture

Checkout chrome bags.

I have the citizen. I used it on a motorbike for 3 years with a laptop and documents in it in all weather conditions, no problems at all. I have since used the bag for a daily bike commute for the last 3 years. Even in torrential rain my work clothes stay dry. It looks the same as the day I purchased it. My Deuter air Mtb bag is awesome but it can't hold a candle to the quality of the chrome bag.

hawkeye's picture

Truth be told I don't use the panniers since I gave up the laptop for a desktop computer after a change in role at work. No need to carry a laptop, so I leave a suit and shoes at work and just bring in shirts, smalls and a towel on Mondays, and leave with them on Fridays.

If I was having to move between sites on a daily basis I'd need a different strategy. And probably a different bike.

danielschipper's picture

Yeah another strategy sounds like the plan..... looks like the office I'm at isn't geared towards contractors who would like to ride to work (grrr) so access to bike storage / gym for showers etc isn;t looking likely.

I guess I'll need to start getting up with the birds and doing some pre-work riding.

Dee's picture

That's pretty rough denying you access to the bicycle facilities.

If you are still in the market for a commuter back pack I can recommend the Deuter Superbike 18 EXP

It has a built in rain cover, helmet holder and vest for those unexpected showers. Plenty of extra pockets and a laptop section inside. It also can expand which is great for taking a bit extra like shoes but can go slim for most of the time which I like.

I'm not a fan of panniers unless you have a second bike for them. The rack really effects the handling so if you want to go for a bit of a trail ride, the rack will drag you down.

Also have a Deuter triangle bag which fits inside the frame and is awesome for holding the essentials like tools, tubes, your phone and wallet. This way I can commute ultra light after transporting the clothes on Monday Smiling

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