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Ya, what ATP said...!
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I was in a commute challenge last year and my team won. We all got these as prizes. I love the bag because it's small and very cycling specific. Good reflection, waterproof rainfly, waste and chest straps and lots of little pockets for stuff. Was previously using a Rudy Project backpack that was OK but this one is really comfy. There is a loop on the bottom rear for a second blinky which is great for defense. Check it out if you have an REI by you.

Novara E.T.A. Backpack - Free Shipping at REI.com
 

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I've got a few timbuk2 messenger bags. I use a small most of the time, if I need to carry more, I use the Large. And the XL for when I need to carry 3-4 sixers of beer & sundries :D You can often find crumpler & timbuk2 bags on clearance online.
The don't have a lot of reflective stuff on 'em, but I have a roll of SOLAS tape the I use on bike items to brigthen 'em up a bit.

I currently don't have a long commute, but have never liked the sweaty back syndrome a backpack provides. In my southern climate, it's mid-70's & humid by May at 7am. You need a cross-strap on the messenger type of bags, which any decent bag will come with. The cross strap keeps it on your backside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've got a few timbuk2 messenger bags. I use a small most of the time, if I need to carry more, I use the Large. And the XL for when I need to carry 3-4 sixers of beer & sundries :D You can often find crumpler & timbuk2 bags on clearance online.
The don't have a lot of reflective stuff on 'em, but I have a roll of SOLAS tape the I use on bike items to brigthen 'em up a bit.

I currently don't have a long commute, but have never liked the sweaty back syndrome a backpack provides. In my southern climate, it's mid-70's & humid by May at 7am. You need a cross-strap on the messenger type of bags, which any decent bag will come with. The cross strap keeps it on your backside.
Thanks logbiter, I will need a bag that has good storage space to hold lunch and a spare shirt. SOLAS tape seems Loke a good investment as well.
 

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As far as carrying lunch and a few small items, what is a functional commuter bag? I work night shift so I would like a bag with reflective material. Thanks in advance for any advice.
I always used a trunk pack on a rear rack. I got one of those little soft-sided foam "lunch box" units and that kept things well protected and upright (in the case of leftovers, etc.). I used a backpack for a few years and really didn't like it both for the sweaty back problem in the summer and the fact that it didn't keep my lunch upright.
 

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As far as carrying lunch and a few small items, what is a functional commuter bag? I work night shift so I would like a bag with reflective material. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Handlebar bags work great for that purpose but they do interfere with lights, Minoura does make a bar extender riser that you can mount lights to that will bring the light up higher and above handlebar bags; see: Minoura Japan ? SG-200 you would probably be safer using the long version. I happen to like the Topeak line of handlebar bags, but there are other good bags out there too, for your purpose I would get the DryBag to make sure things didn't get wet when it rained, see: Topeak® Cycling Accessories ? Products - handlebar DryBag (2), Black The cool thing about this bag is if you ever decide to do a long ride you can slip a map into the clear plastic sleeve, and it comes off easily, and has a shoulder strap so you can easily carry it.

If you don't like the idea of a handlebar bag then a trunk bag and a trunk rack works great too.

By the way, the Topeak bag does come with reflective stripping, BUT DO NOT RELY on reflective stuff, active lighting has been proven to be more effective then passive lighting. Therefore make sure you have good lighting. This does not mean not to use reflective gear it simply means not to rely on it. I have two front lights and 4 rear lights plus reflective gear, but I rely on the lights, the reflective stuff is just additional precautions.
 

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I use a Zimbales saddlebag with a Carradice Bagman seat rack. Rack is minimal material to support the bag with a quick release of fast on/off. It can be used with any saddle with or without rear eyelets.It can also be completely removed or installed within 4 minutes with 2 Allen wrenches.
 

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I"m another who doesn't like backpacks on the bike. I use a large fanny pack for personal items and sometimes lunch, and if I have more to carry it's either strapped to the rear rack or in panniers. The lumbar pack down on my hips I find much more comfortable than anything on the shoulders, and I add reflective tape and clip on a couple of blinker lights for visibility.
 

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Also, if we're getting down to nitty gritty here, what do people use as far as panniers or saddle bags goes? I am trying to keep my commuting load off my back to avoid arriving with a drenched back/chest stripe/strap stains.
 

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Also, if we're getting down to nitty gritty here, what do people use as far as panniers or saddle bags goes? I am trying to keep my commuting load off my back to avoid arriving with a drenched back/chest stripe/strap stains.
When I use to commute to work on a bike I simply used the Topeak Tour Guide DX bag. But I didn't carry clothes in it or on my bike, I would drive in about twice a week and take my clothes for the week. Problem with this bag, and with all handlebar bags is that they stick up over the top of the bars making handlebar lights useless to use UNLESS you got a Minoura light holder bar extender, this thing attaches to the bar, the light then attaches to the bar on the extender, and the extender rises above the bag so the light is above the bag.

When I do weekend tours I use Ortlieb panniers on the rear, the handlebar bag on the front.
 

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I will second the Novara ETA backpack. It is a great pack that you can fit quite a bit of stuff in. I ride with a laptop in the hydration sleeve, clothes, lunch and a towel with room to spare.
 

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I like the Deuter bags - specifically the ones with the air-mesh system that allows for airflow between the bulk of the bag and your back. They have lots of different sizes, features, etc.

I have some messenger type bags but don't use them for anything other than short trips around town. Backpacks stay put and center the load much better in my experience. Messenger bags tend to shift around a lot.
 

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Sluggo
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Agree with logbiter. Can't beat timbuk2. Have a medium and a large, both have served me very well over the years. Guess I'm fortunate as they stay put without the cross-strap. Roomy and water resistant. Picked them up at close out sales.
 

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Also, if we're getting down to nitty gritty here, what do people use as far as panniers or saddle bags goes? I am trying to keep my commuting load off my back to avoid arriving with a drenched back/chest stripe/strap stains.
See post #8. Also any of Carradice bags will do you well. Topeak trunk bags and panniers will serve many years.
 

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Not to thread jack this or anything....but are any of these bags big enough to carry a full load as in work clothes/shoes, locks (2-3), lunch, etc.?

I have an older 5-star laptop bag, but it doesn't have the center clips the center clips and it's less than breathable to say the best about it. It does have enough room for all my stuff with 2 big sections (2 1/2 sections if you count the inner-laptop pocket), and 3 little pockets for nicknacks along the front.
 

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Not to thread jack this or anything....but are any of these bags big enough to carry a full load as in work clothes/shoes, locks (2-3), lunch, etc.?
Pearl Izumi used to make a bag that was big enough for your load. I commuted with one for years and gave it to my little bro to help get him started on commuting a couple years ago. I have been looking for a replacement and the Shimano bags look good to me. Specifically the Tsukinist - that is probably going to be my next commuting bag when I start a new gig with a commute next month.
 

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Get a rack that attaches to your seatpost. Get a bag that you can attach to the rack. Its so much better than a messenger bag or backpack. I have an additional post and saddle, so I can swap out the post with a rack on it pretty quickly when I don't feel like riding with it.
 
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