As a year-round bike commuter, finding a backpack that fits my needs has been a challenge. I often haul a lot of stuff, typically carrying a laptop, compact camera, change of clothes, shoes, make-up and other random items. A pack that supports the weight, keeps things organized and can withstand the wet weather in Portland is incredibly important.
The problem: most cycling bags marketed towards commuters leave out a waist belt. Having had neck and back issues in the past, a pack that supports the weight using my hips is an absolute necessity. It’s surprising to me that all these features have been so difficult to find outside of the hiking and mountain biking genre.
I encountered an early model of the Showers Pass Transit Backpack almost a year ago, and it was love at first sight. The pack is loaded with features — everything I was looking for plus some additional unique elements. I knew this was going to be my next commuter pack — it was just a matter of waiting for them to make it.
Made of 840 denier ballistic strength nylon, the Transit has a single side TPU coating, welded seams and waterproof zippers keep the rain out.
Other features include:
- 3m Reflective trim
- Light loop on back
- 4 Red LED Beacon Lights included
- Adjustable sternum strap (can be removed)
- 13.75″ width, 20″ height”, 8″ depth
The most interesting aspect of the Transit is its unique form factor. It has a bit of structure so it supports itself when unloading and loading cargo, but it’s the cavernous opening that makes it so usable. The light gray liner makes it easy to locate small items at the bottom, but more importantly you can actually see everything you carry. There are multiple pockets, slots and pouches inside for organization and I have no problems carrying a laptop, makeup, lunch and riding clothes, while still having room left over.
I was amazed by how many pockets Showers Pass jammed into this pack. There really is a place for everything.
On the bike
Riding with this pack has been a very positive experience — it looks like it should be heavy but it’s not. It carries weight well, planting it on my hips without a hint of pack sway. The straps have nice thick padding, preventing any sort of digging into my shoulders or clothing. I’ve ridden almost 20 miles in one stint with this pack fully loaded and was surprised I didn’t rack up uncomfortable back pain.
There are a number of great commuter friendly features to aid in visibility. Reflective elements are positioned all around the bag to enhance visibility from any angle. In addition, it features unique LED lights in four different locations that have been integrated into the bag.
I love the attention to detail on this pack; I store my iphone in the hip strap pocket while riding.
The waist belt and sternum strap are both removable for those that prefer to go without. If anything, that would be the only thing I’d change. I’ve had the sternum strap come off, and I would prefer it was permanently affixed. Riders that utilize crowded public transit could also have issues squeezing through tight spaces while wearing the pack, but the carrying handle makes it easy to tote.
Disclaimer: I was recruited as talent for the marketing video, so I had the opportunity to wear the other model, the Utility Pack as well.
The Transit Waterproof Backpack lists for $264.00. Check it out at ShowersPass.com