Backpack vs Courier bag

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby misterhorsey » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:02 pm

So I went and got a crumpler bag.

Without having tried one on, I thought they were really overpriced. But seeing as I work around the corner from one of their stores, and the competition could only show me their wares via websites, I went in and tried it on and bought one.

Super comfy. Really good quality construction. I can see that the price is justified for the amount of work that goes into it.

Not sure if its as comfortable as a backpack, but its great for a lighter load.
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by BNA » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:22 pm

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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby fitnhealthy » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:22 pm

Which one did you get?
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby nickobec » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:18 pm

misterhorsey wrote:Super comfy. Really good quality construction. I can see that the price is justified for the amount of work that goes into it.


Originally Crumpler was designed and made by couriers for couriers. I believe the made by changed a few years ago.

My Part and Parcel in almost 4 years old and is beginning to show signs of almost daily abuse. Previous bags last less than 12 months, + all but one unsuitable for riding.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Matty » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:32 pm

As nickobec said Crumpler was started by a three couriers who couldn't find a bag they liked. They are marketed as being very durable as can be seen in this video. Originally I think they were all made in Australia too. Over time the brand seems to have evolved into more of a fashion enterprise, which isn't a bad thing as I love their bags. The European range (which is separate from the Australian range) has some pretty cool designs and I wish we could get them here.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby misterhorsey » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:12 pm

fitnhealthy wrote:Which one did you get?


I got the barney rustle. In red.

https://www.crumpler.com.au/flash/flash ... br22a.html

I actually still don't really like the style, but it was the smallest courier bag they had with a back reflective stripe and a third leg.

I really jam packed it tonight with clothes and a smallish grocery shop and it wasn't the comfiest experience (compared to a backpack), but it may need to soften it a bit.

I also need to figure out how to clip the third leg on without dislocating my left shoulder!!!
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby fitnhealthy » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:44 pm

Thanks misterhorsey, I'm still not sure what to get. I just want something to carry all my girly things when I want to go window shopping or to the cinema without having to take a pannier and my shoulder bag swings all over the place. The crumplers look good, but more expensive then the knog handlebar bag I was looking at. Decisions, decisions. I thought a std messenger bag with the waist strap might be cheap, but haven't found one yet.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Fletcher » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:18 pm

I"m currently racking my brains about which way to go. Blew all my dough on the bike last week and couldn't afford to buy a rack or messenger/courier bag. As a result I"m hating my old 90s backpack for the discomfort and sweating, and this week I'll either buy the messenger bag ($150 at DJs in Canberra - the only local distributor that I know of) or I'll buy a rack. I know a couple of cyclists who swear by those Crumpler messenger bags after suffering under backpacks for a long time.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Zynster » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:36 pm

I commute on my racer with an Axio hardshell backpack which holds my 17" Macbook. It's quite comfortable on the drops as the weight is evenly distributed. I'm so used to it now it feels weird riding without it.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby misterhorsey » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:44 pm

Fletcher wrote:I"m currently racking my brains about which way to go. Blew all my dough on the bike last week and couldn't afford to buy a rack or messenger/courier bag. As a result I"m hating my old 90s backpack for the discomfort and sweating, and this week I'll either buy the messenger bag ($150 at DJs in Canberra - the only local distributor that I know of) or I'll buy a rack. I know a couple of cyclists who swear by those Crumpler messenger bags after suffering under backpacks for a long time.


The messenger bag isn't going to do anything to alleviate the sweating.

A backpack with a rigid raised arc to it keep off your back is excellent for dealing with sweat, if you don't want racks.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby smeg » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:00 pm

i ride to work with a bag i made, goes round your waist and sits on your butt-lower back, (similar to a bum bag but larger) compartment is about 5inch x 5 inch x15 inches wide, with reflective material sewn on, i wear overalls at work and have a shower and locker there, so i generally only have to take undies, socks, food, keys wallet etc and winter gear on the way home. lots more comfortable than a backpack. doesn't seem to be a problem with sweat.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Fletcher » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:20 am

I picked up a nice little number made by Cat. Been using it for a fortnight now, and have solved my backpack/messenger bag dilemma for only $40(from a bag shop). Its the size of a small backpack, triangular in shape, with one thick, padded shoulder strap and a waist strap which clips on when I'm on the bike. It sits pretty low on the back, and seems to put any weight in a comfy place. It holds pretty much everything I need for a day & works a treat(so long as I leave work shoes, pants & towell at the office - but who wants to carry that s&*% on the bike anyway). THe other night I did a small grocery shop on the way home, including a bottle of red & carton of milk. I had to physically abuse the bag to fit everything in, made it heavy, but proved it's possible & up to it. Give it 4/5.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Hoffyrider » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:13 pm

I use a Dueter Air comfort (now out of production, I think). Benefits are: air flow between back and bag, waist and chest straps (so the thing does not move around when I'm out of the saddle), side pockets (good for garage remote - I can get it out on the "fly"), fairly low profile, in-built rain cover.

Of course I would love to ride to work without any bag but the old deuter is not a bad comprise.

Dueters are expensive (about $160) but are long lasting, my current bag is like new after 6 years. I just throw it in the washing machine when the wife complains about its smell.

I used panniers in the 1980's - I did not like how panniers changed the bike's handling.

I've never ridden with a courier bag - Do they move around on your back ???
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Fletcher » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:28 pm

I've done a search, and apparently my new Caterpillar bag thing is called an Explorer Sling Day Pack. Not quite up to Crumpler quality, but not bad either. $40 very, very well spent. :D

I'd say it isn't waterproof though. That's what people pay $150 to Crumpler for.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby psy » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:16 pm

Been using a backpack for my commuting since April. The backpack was one I used to use for Uni many many years ago, so was hardly in tip-top condition when I started out on the bike.

I'd be confident in saying that it's seen its last days, so I thought I'd give my Crumpler (with a 3rd leg) a go on the bike today. The thinking was that if it worked out ok - I'd save some $'s on a new backpack that I didn't need.

Have to say I'm pretty much converted, and I'll be using the Crumpler from now on. :)
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Fletcher » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:20 pm

Have to say I'm pretty much converted, and I'll be using the Crumpler from now on.


My brother has been commuting in Melbs for years with a backpack, and bought a crumpler few months ago. He's sold on it, and wouldn't use anthing else now.

Does anyone here know if the Barney Blankets can be bought for less than $150 in Melbourne, as theres a Crumpler store in those parts?
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Fletcher » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:47 pm

I finally went and bought a Crumpler Barney Rustle Blanket. It's bigger than my Caterpillar thingy (which is good and comfortable, but small and not waterproof), comfortable, durable and it doesn't move around on my back with the extra strap. It really is an excellent product. I visited family in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and found my brother nad nephew both using the same bag for commuting.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Bantam Roosta » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:47 pm

dant wrote:Image

Could this setup be used on a carbon seat post? I like the idea, but not sure if I can do it.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:12 pm

I wouldn't do it meself Roosta.
No argument about the strength or durability of CF posts, but acting as a rack mount was prolly beyond the scope of the seatpost designers.

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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby dant » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:18 pm

Bantam, Mulger is right. It actually says on the packaging not to use the rack on carbon seatposts. I specifically remember ruling out the top Giant CRX because it had a carbon seatpost (and I decided to go fixed). Maybe change out your seatpost? I am amazed at the number of people that want to sweat like buggery with a bag on their back. Best thing about this setup is that I can transfer it between bikes (as you can with a bag of course) and I can remove it for weekend rides (as you can with a bag). Very free ride though.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Bantam Roosta » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:09 pm

Yeah, thanks for the replies. I've been thinking about getting a new seat post. Could also look at a super comfy seat to go with it for my commutes.

It's either that or continuing with the backpack at this stage.
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby TheMickeyBlue » Wed May 12, 2010 1:32 pm

Hey Guys,

I got myself a Chrome Metropolis (a large courier bag) years ago. Just awesome, I take it camping, weekend interstate trips, everything where I need to take a whole bunch of stuff. The only drawback is that it can hold so much stuff its uncomfortable for me to use totally full on the bike (and as someone earlier mentioned, when you have the space, chances are you'll fill it with something), so I'm looking at a 2 strap courier backpack for when I need to hold so much stuff. I've chosen against panniers as I want to weight againt my core and not hanging off my bike.

I also currently use a Black Wolf backpack with a mesh back but I don't really have sweat issues with the shoulder bag anyway. It just can't hold 1 or 2 pairs of shoes, towel, locks, and a massive amount of food (my standard gear list).

So if you want a courier bag and don't like Crumpler, look at Chrome (I got a bigger Chrome bag from a US based website for cheaper than Crumpler), or also Timbuk2 if thats more your thing (can be customisable in terms of colours and other stuff)..

hope this helps
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Spork! » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:29 pm

Hope this isn't necroposting - thread isn't that old...
I was debating backpack v's panniers for commuting. Leaning towards backpack for several reasons - now I'm torn between messenger bag or backpack. Looks like both are popular with different people. Really like the look of some of the leather courier bags, would suit my position at work, but also tempted by some of the camelbak range of backpacks with the added advantage of hands-free hydration. Don't have a lot of gear to carry, as I plan on driving 1-2 days/week and taking ironed shirts and trousers that way instead of trying to keep them nice in a bag. Can use work towels, have own office to keep toiletries in and fresh uniforms and shoes in. Work provides my main meal, so just need to take snacks and sometimes some (a4 size) paperwork, keys, phone, undies, socks, rain vest and somewhere to put unneeded arm / leg warmers, jackets etc. depending on weather each way.
Perhaps I should start a poll...
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Cinder » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:14 pm

I'm a courier bag man my self, it started because I was trying to be like all the cool kids, now I do it because I find backpacks annoying when cycling.

When I'm out on the MTB my Camelbak annoys the living hell out of me...
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby alexander » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:10 pm

I've tried both for my commute, first it was Crumpler beez knees messenger, the biggest messenger they had, but it kinda lacked a few features, then I designed my own, using seagull bags as my template, and got them to make it for me. Then after I sold my crumpler, I was without a messenger bag till the Seagull arrived, so I used my backpack. Goddamn it was annoying having the massive lump protruding from my back like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

If you're doing longer rides, get panniers, and for shorter rides, get a messenger bag. Non cycling specific backpacks should never be used for commuting in my opinion. (nb; chrome, ortlieb, seagull, crumpler, BOG, Skinsgrowsback, all make cycling specific backpacks, that I cannot comment on).
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Re: Backpack vs Courier bag

Postby Spork! » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:00 pm

Hmm. used a small backpack for commuting way back when - still have it, but looks pretty daggy now. Have a courier type bag I use for work, maybe a bit small for my needs (Won't fit a laptop or unfolded A4 paper). Will try a trip with said satchel lightly loaded and see how I like it, if I do prefer it to the backpack I will spend up on a bigger one to suit my needs. I guess at my age that me using a courier bag would automatically make them un-hip, and they haven't even caught on here (Lonny) yet. :D
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