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I'm soon to be starting a 15 mile commute (each way) to uni and I need a rucksack to carry a few things.

I need to be able to carry a pair of trousers, a top, underwear, pen, paper (plus an a4 sized book), calculator, charger, wallets, keys, phone and lunchbox (big enough for sandwich banana apple and orange).

10 litres is too small, but I'm thinking 22 (like the Osprey Talon) is too big.

I think the Deuter Race X could be a good one at 12litres, or would the Deuter Race EXP (12 litres but expandable to add another 3) be better?

I'm able to leave a towel, toiletries, shoes, lock and a few other things at uni - any opinions on what size bag I might need?

Cheers!

 

 

39 comments

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Paul7189 [18 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Cant help with sizing but i would say go for something like the Alpkit Gourdon.

They are out of stock at the moment but should be back in soon.

They are basically a roll top dry bag so the weather will not break through to your belongings and they are super lightweight. 

https://www.alpkit.com/products/gourdon-20

Bargain also!

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brooksby [2709 posts] 3 months ago
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Are you sure that you want to be able to carry only that specific stuff and nothing else at all, ever?

Do you ever buy a book or something, or other shopping? Nothing worse than finding you've no way to carry something home...

If you know that everything you really definitely absolutely need as a minimum load will fit in a 12 litre pack, then I'd suggest getting the 22 litre pack you mention (just in case).

Just my tuppenn'orth    3

PS: make sure you buy something properly waterproof!

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

My underpants are transported by a special hazmat disposal company.

Everything else goes in a 12l small backpack, but then I'm not transporting A4 files and schoolbooks. Personally I wouldn't pay a huge premium for waterproofness. In my experience nothing made of fabric remains waterproof for very long and there are always circumstances where you have to put damp stuff into the bag. Get a waterproof bag to put inside your bag as it were.

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wellsprop [514 posts] 3 months ago
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brooksby wrote:

Are you sure that you want to be able to carry only that specific stuff and nothing else at all, ever?

Do you ever buy a book or something, or other shopping? Nothing worse than finding you've no way to carry something home...

If you know that everything you really definitely absolutely need as a minimum load will fit in a 12 litre pack, then I'd suggest getting the 22 litre pack you mention (just in case).

Just my tuppenn'orth    3

PS: make sure you buy something properly waterproof!

Yeah, definitely no shopping, I'll probably have some small-ish books but that's it - certainly making me consider a slightly larger rucksack. I intend to drive in once a week anyway don't fancy cycling across the city and out to the countryside after a 7pm lecture in winter...

Mungecrundle wrote:

Everything else goes in a 12l small backpack, but then I'm not transporting A4 files and schoolbooks. Personally I wouldn't pay a huge premium for waterproofness. In my experience nothing made of fabric remains waterproof for very long and there are always circumstances where you have to put damp stuff into the bag. Get a waterproof bag to put inside your bag as it were.

I use a dry bag inside my existing rucksack that I used to use for commuting plus a high viz rain cover over the top, kept everything dry!

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bertisfantastic [15 posts] 3 months ago
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hawkinspeter [1139 posts] 3 months ago
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I recommend the ProViz 360 rucksack: https://www.provizsports.com/en-gb/reflect360-cycling-backpack.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6NjNBRDKARIsAFn3NMp0MowU-yU3f_0UQE6ngI4kFnkYyvTUrDiwrNhoH-8QGoqLXRxPROcaAhdcEALw_wcB#fo_c=1091&fo_k=b13809a845ce2c0459cddbdaed4aefcf&fo_s=gplauk

I typically have a change of clothes, waterproof trousers, an iPad, a lunchbox and usually some shopping as well.

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Simon E [3154 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I use a Deuter Speedlite 15 (15 L), I liked that it was light and had a low profile. It's very comfy but it's not waterproof, in fact it's pretty poor at resisting any moisture so I wouldn't recommend it for commuting. I probably should have gone for the Alpkit that Paul7189 linked to. Thanks for that.

I'd recommend a 20L bag so you have a bit of spare capacity for the days when you need to carry additional items or do some shopping on the way home. My kids both use cheap 20L rucksacks from Millets which do the job well.

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 3 months ago
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Limiting factor for me is being able to get a laptop in.

I used to use a Lowe Alpine Pax 15, but was a very tight fit and I could barely zip it up.

These days, I use a Berghaus Remote 25, which is perfect - only niggle is the base fabric could do with being a bit beefier for being put on the floor. Laptop is in a padded neoprene sleeve and have an Aldi hi-viz cover over the top, which is fine for a light shower. If it looks like proper rain, I put everything inside plastic bags.

My advice is to go for something slightly bigger than you need, but with compression straps to take up the slack.

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wellsprop [514 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for all the replies  1

Definitely thinking of something between 15 and 20L now, just need one with compression straps...

Think I need to go to the local bike shops again :p

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lazyusername [105 posts] 3 months ago
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http://www.wiggle.co.uk/osprey-momentum-32/

 

This is very good, could have got away with the smaller version, 26L 

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CygnusX1 [637 posts] 3 months ago
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Mungecrundle wrote:

My underpants are transported by a special hazmat disposal company.

The comments on this site always have something to make me chortle on a monday morning!

Sounds like the OP needs a properly waterproof bag like these from OverBoard:

http://www.over-board.co.uk/backpacks/waterproof-backpacks.html

I've the 20L pro-sports model and never seen a drop of water on the inside, but its too bog for my daily commute.  Or perhaps, you might want to consider roll-top panniers:

http://www.over-board.co.uk/dry-bags/waterproof-bike-panniers.html

(Other brands - e.g. Ortlieb - are available)

Like Mungerundle, I roll my clothes into a lightweight dry bag and stick them in a small (non-waterproof) backpack. Outside the drybag the pack contains a minipump, lightweight waterproof etc.

The drybag keeps my clothes clean and dry even if I pull everything out to fix a puncture at the side of the road in a torrential downpour. They are also useful for keeping wet stuff inside your bag from soaking everything else.    

My drybags from LifeVenture and Exped both work well:

http://www.outdoorgb.com/p/Exped_8L_Bright_Fold_Drybag/?SelectedItem=715029

 

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CygnusX1 [637 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
wellsprop wrote:

Thanks for all the replies  1

Definitely thinking of something between 15 and 20L now, just need one with compression straps...

Think I need to go to the local bike shops again :p

If you go down the compression strap route, make sure you can tuck the ends in - nothing more annoying than a loose strap flapping against your bag in the wind (except perhaps a loose strap that ges caught in a wheel, and sends you over the bars).

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sergius [471 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

DHB slice 30L (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb-slice-30l-rucksack/)

 

Best rucksack I've ever bought, has all the pockets you will ever need and a built-in high-vis and waterproof cover.

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number9dream [39 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I have a Deuter and 2 Ospreys - while both have waterproof covers i find the Deuter, despite supposedly being cycling specific sits too high up and interferes with my helmet (if you know what i mean). Whether it's that specific model or not i dont know but i have no such problems with the Ospreys I have.  So my advice is to try first if possible.  

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davel [1998 posts] 3 months ago
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I got this 18L drybag and it has handled my commute for a year (same distance as you'll be doing) without flinching. Looks brand new after a wipe/enough of a downpour. https://huubdesign.com/collections/triathlon-bags/products/huub-triathlo...

£70, but I'm a wally of a triathlete who has to spend a certain % of his income each year on stuff that there are cheaper versions of.

I'm sure that there'll be decent stuff half its price, but I never bothered looking because HUUB make Good Shit, and I'm a wally of a triathlete who...

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Wafty Crank [12 posts] 3 months ago
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I've been using a DHB 25l waterproof rucksack for the last 6 months and it's superb. It's just one of those roll-top jobs but it's light and completely waterproof.

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Duncann [1158 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

For that distance of commute, I'd really prefer panniers to a rucksack. Some panniers have straps so they can be carried like a holdall, or even a rucksack too.

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Goldfever4 [388 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I'd go for a tailpack if it weren't for the size of the book. No heavier than a backpack but keeps the weight off your back and should be 100% waterproof. Much lighter than a pannier arrangement.

Two things to consider with backpacks - First, I'd recommend using a Hump cover on any backpack - adds waterproofing and visibility to pretty much any backpack and you can take it off so you don't look like too much of a dork at your destination. If you did that, waterproofing on the bag itself shouldn't be so important so that opens more design types to you.

Second, when I've done my 20mi commute with a backpack, it's only been with a Vaude 17l backpack which has a frame that spaces the bag away from my back to retain some airflow - limits the sweatmachine. Worth considering that side of things too.

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TypeVertigo [421 posts] 3 months ago
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I just came from a trip to Paris and bought a Samsonite Paradiver Light L+ laptop backpack. In yellow. 

//farm5.staticflickr.com/4356/36892249046_71483fe761_b.jpg)

I'm a sucker for yellow bags, and the thing's usefully weather-resistant, with a tarpaulin-like material and rubber lining along the zippers. It's rated for about 24L; there's a smaller L version that gives up 5L. It's got a rather trim profile for a rucksack its size, and usefully "hugs" its load against your back closer than, say, a 28L Deuter Giga - despite having only a sternum strap.

//farm5.staticflickr.com/4409/36892250896_362bc3bf6c_b.jpg)

My only real complaint is the top carry handle. It's set a little too far up the top. When bent over on a road bike it tends to rub on your nape, which can be irritating since it's textured for grip, but can be dealt with in a few creative ways I suppose. Also no reflectives.

Not particularly cycling-specific mind you, and it will serve you better riding on a more upright bike, but pretty damn good considering. Cost me 96 euros.

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Simboid [95 posts] 3 months ago
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Paul7189 wrote:

Cant help with sizing but i would say go for something like the Alpkit Gourdon.

They are out of stock at the moment but should be back in soon.

They are basically a roll top dry bag so the weather will not break through to your belongings and they are super lightweight. 

https://www.alpkit.com/products/gourdon-20

Bargain also!

 

Seconded.

I have the old Gourdon 20 in fluo yellow and it's superior to anything at twice the price. It's very durable, extremely light and totally waterproof and the elasticated cording across it keeps the volume down if you've not much in. The mesh pockets are reachable and the straps are comfortable. It's worth waiting until they come back in stock.

Don't really see the point of a drybag if you can have a wearable drybag instead. You'll still have a waterlogged, heavy, expensive Deuter to deal with even if the contents are dry.

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ooldbaker [127 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Careful with sizing . I went first for a ebay cheap bag which was stated to be 28L. It lasted about 6 months before the zips broke. I then went for one from a more reputable source which was 20L I thought it might be too small but when I got it, it was way bigger than the supposedly 28L one.

I carry shopping and it is as big a bag as I can carry fully filled. I wouldn't want a bigger one but then it is 20 hilly miles to and from the supermarket for me.

I don't know if they still have them but I found one which is just big enough for my D-Lock and wallet and perhaps two or three small items from a shop. Its not waterproof or anything but it cost a full £2 from Tesco. Pound for Pound it is probably the best buy I have ever made. It might look silly (I think it was intended for 5 year olds) but it is perfect if I don't want to take the big bag you can carry it in a pocket if empty.

My advice is go for YKK zips as they just last longer and several other bags broke there relatively quickly.

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Nat Jas Moe [174 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

20l waterproof backpack no zips, good price, very waterproof, from overboard. I also have the 30l but find it very big and only use it on the odd occation when I need the extra space, go for the 20l it will be enough.

http://www.over-board.co.uk/classic-waterproof-backpack-20-litres.html

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srchar [707 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

My very similar requirements were fulfilled by a Deuter Race 15 pack up until it suffered terminal rips and tears in an off a few months ago. I replaced it with a Rapha item that was cheap in the sale, because I liked the idea of all the pockets and compartments. I'm on the verge of binning it off for another Deuter. The pockets and compartments are restrictive and take up too much space!

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ktache [627 posts] 3 months ago
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Timbuk2 large courier bag.  Bit bigger, but good compression and you can really fill it.

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tugglesthegreat [53 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
sergius wrote:

DHB slice 30L (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb-slice-30l-rucksack/)

 

Best rucksack I've ever bought, has all the pockets you will ever need and a built-in high-vis and waterproof cover.

I was shopping around for a commuting rucksack over a year a go and saw this.  I was a bit worried at the low price tag but the rucksack is going strong.  I commute 4 days a week and it has done probably 4K miles of commuting.  All the Zips are still working and no problems so far.

I have my waterproof in the main compartment with my work clothes, tools, inner tubes and bits and bobs in the front pocket and my money and keys in the top pocket.  I use the the high viz cover every day, and the pack feels secure in use.

At less than 30 quid it is a bargain. 

 

 

 

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gthornton101 [158 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Deuter Cross Air. 20l with expandable zip to take it up to 22l (or 24l maybe?) if you anything extra to squash in there.

I've found the air mesh back invalubale in reducing the sweaty back on my commute, and it's very comfortable.  Fluoro rain cover too.  Had mine 3+ years and still going strong.

For me it comfortably fits change of clothes for the office (minus shoes which I leave under my desk), lunch, wallet+keys, pump/inner tubes/multi tool etc, plus emergency waterproof jacket/overshoes when weather demands.

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wellsprop [514 posts] 3 months ago
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Yep, definitely after a 20L now based on the views shared here. 15 sounds like I'd just be able to manage and the 30L is way too much. 20 should be a decent compromise and not leave me wanting more room.

Just now after a 20L at a decent price!

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NorthEastJimmy [95 posts] 3 months ago
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I used to have the Osprey Momemtum 26 and it was perfect.  Used it everyday for 5 years in all weathers.  You could even overload it and it was still comfy to wear!  The backing material failed first and then the zips so replaced it a few months ago.

Dissapointed with the Momemtum 32, it's nothing like the old style and could never get it to fit the same as the 26.  After a few weeks I decided that it was also way too big.

I got the Osprey Syncro 15 a few weeks ago and love it.  I'm suprised how much I can fit in; full uniform, large amount of lunch, snacks and fruit, paramo jacket & windblocker jacket, small dry bag with punture repair kit, inner tube, pump, tool kit ect.  It's like that bag out of Marry Poppins!

Still got the 32 for any days I need to carry another set of clothing for trips to the pub/cinema ect.

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wellsprop [514 posts] 3 months ago
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NorthEastJimmy wrote:

I used to have the Osprey Momemtum 26 and it was perfect.  Used it everyday for 5 years in all weathers.  You could even overload it and it was still comfy to wear!  The backing material failed first and then the zips so replaced it a few months ago.

Dissapointed with the Momemtum 32, it's nothing like the old style and could never get it to fit the same as the 26.  After a few weeks I decided that it was also way too big.

I got the Osprey Syncro 15 a few weeks ago and love it.  I'm suprised how much I can fit in; full uniform, large amount of lunch, snacks and fruit, paramo jacket & windblocker jacket, small dry bag with punture repair kit, inner tube, pump, tool kit ect.  It's like that bag out of Marry Poppins!

Still got the 32 for any days I need to carry another set of clothing for trips to the pub/cinema ect.

Think I'm going for an Opsrey Escapist 18. 15L should be just enough for paper, a change of clothes and food, upping it to 18 should give me a bit of room for when I need to bring a couple more things.

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fatsmoker [28 posts] 3 months ago
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I hope you don't have to fill it to the full 20litres very often. I managed with a 6L backpack from Aldi for 3 years and wouldn't have wanted to go any bigger just because of the weight. Adding a bottle of wine a couple of times made my back ache over 15 miles.  Recently switched to  6l saddle bag which squashed my work shirts, but stops my back sweating. 

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