You could literally transport tropical fish in Polaris Aquanought courier bag thanks to its seamlessly welded, waterproof old-boots-tough construction. With 80s-style neon livery it's more akin to a pannier than a messenger satchel so you won't be an undercover cyclist once you hit the office.
Tipping the scales at a substantial 850g, the Aquanought is fashioned from sonic welded PVC that feels as though it would survive a nuclear holocaust, let alone mean city streets. There are no LED tabs or other refinements but the beefy webbed shoulder and waist straps could provide a home for lights. The yellow and black colourway and large, reflective lettering seem visible to around 250 metres. A roll-top closure locks out torrential downpours - even directing a pressure washer at ours for seven minutes couldn't breach the seals.
Inside there's a huge single compartment, which comfortably swallows camera equipment, tripod, change of clothes, armoured cable lock, A4 pad, two pencil cases (one for stationary, the other brimming with tools) full sized pump and substantial lunch.
Wide shoulder and waist straps keep sway to an absolute minimum and bike handling doesn't seem to be affected at all. Things turn distinctly sweaty in milder weather though, as the fabric is not at all breathable. Brushes with brickwork, buses and hedges have made little impression on the fabric, and grime is quickly wiped off with a damp cloth. It also survived a low temperature machine wash with soap flakes.
Good value old school messenger satchel but there are better designs for desk bound nine-to-five commuters.
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Make and model: Polaris Aquanought Courier Bag
Size tested: Fluro
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Fully waterproof backpack
- Welded seam technology
- 20 litre capacity
- Unique dual fastening system - waterproof
zip and roll top closure
- Reflective patch on front
- Internal clips to attach accessories
- Shoulder and waist straps for added security."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sonic welded PVC construction. Single, zippered, roll top 20 litre compartment. Essentially a twenty litre, soft-shell pannier worn accross the rider.
Fine when moderately laden over shorter distances.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Aquanought is a delightfully straightforward messenger satchel that keeps cargo safe and dry come hell and indeed high water. However, PVC doesn't breathe so becomes noticeably sweaty worn for longer periods.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Simple, rugged and genuinely weatherproof construction -brilliant for hauling cargo around town.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Noticeably sweatier than similar designs worn over comparable distances and the material accelerates odour, particularly clothing and/or foodstuffs, which is unlikely to be welcome in open plan offices.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Quite possibly.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)