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What are the advantages of a messenger bag over, say, a backpack?

There is the obvious biker chic value, but I'd think that they load wouldn't be stable if you had to pull a quick manuever to avoid an obsticle, or if a gust of wind caught you?

I use a camelback, and that impedes my use of a backpack, so I'm playing with the idea of following the herd and purchashing a messenger bag and an actual water bottle, but need a little convincing.

I'm terribly uncool as it is, and folks will pick me out as a poser right away, even with a messenger bag. They don't even let me into Starbucks as it is.
 

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Use the search function. The backpack v. messenger bag v. rack/panniers debate rages.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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JaeBeam said:
What are the advantages of a messenger bag over, say, a backpack?

There is the obvious biker chic value, but I'd think that they load wouldn't be stable if you had to pull a quick manuever to avoid an obsticle, or if a gust of wind caught you?

I use a camelback, and that impedes my use of a backpack, so I'm playing with the idea of following the herd and purchashing a messenger bag and an actual water bottle, but need a little convincing.

I'm terribly uncool as it is, and folks will pick me out as a poser right away, even with a messenger bag. They don't even let me into Starbucks as it is.
Messenger bags are actually more stable than backpacks--when loaded correctly. With a messenger bag--you have to cinch the straps on the bag taught--and this keeps the load from shifting in the bag; you then cinch the under-arm strap and cross-chest strap so that it is comfy when riding and doesn't want to go anywhere (usually the load settles a bit so you have to tighten the chest strap a little more as you go). Thus it is much more stable than a backpack in the sense of not moving.

My Chrome Metropolis can fit up to 2 12-packs at want--something I wouldn't dare try thinking about with most backpacks. Usually I run out of ability to counterbalance my load long before I run out of space. As your increase load-you have to be much more clever in your bike handling-especially when you're a lightish person carrying a very heavy load.

My Chrome is also water and weather proof. Most backpacks aren't either
 

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I'd disagree that messenger bags are more stable than backpacks, but that's just my experience. Even with the secondary strap buckled, messenger bags will shift on you a lot more than a backpack will.

Messenger bags have one clear practical advantage over backpacks, as far as I can tell- they aren't as hot in the summer. their other advantage, as you've already figured out, is that they look cooler.

I used to have a chrome backpack- in the summer, it was like having an oven on my back. Now, I've got a chrome messenger bag and it's definitely less hot. Even less hot and more stable are panniers. However, they sit pretty high on the dork chart, should that be important to you.

Here's the important thing- buy what makes you most comfortable. Who cares if they snicker at you at starbucks- I mean, it's frikkin' starbucks for #$%@'s sake. Look like a poser and be happy.
 

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buck-50 said:
Messenger bags have one clear practical advantage over backpacks, as far as I can tell- they aren't as hot in the summer.
Not my experience. A huge, thick pice of thick fabric (be it a backpack or messenger bag) completely covering my back makes me sweaty. :(
 

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Room 1201 said:
My Chrome Metropolis can fit up to 2 12-packs at want--
It also comfortably holds a PBR 30 pack . . . if that's what you're into.
 

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Pablo said:
Not my experience. A huge, thick pice of thick fabric (be it a backpack or messenger bag) completely covering my back makes me sweaty. :(
It's funny- there really is no right answer. It goes to show that it's all personal preference.

I've been using my messenger bag a lot more this spring- it's been pretty cool here. But I went with panniers all winter and as soon as it gets hot, they'll come out again...
 

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Pablo said:
It also comfortably holds a PBR 30 pack . . . if that's what you're into.
PBR...the beer of wannabe hipsters everywhere.

//FWIW--It was cheap swill when I was in high school. :D
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
PBR...the beer of wannabe hipsters everywhere.

//FWIW--It was cheap swill when I was in high school. :D
I drank it in law school because a 30 pack was $15, I was poor, and PBR tastes like beer, as opposed to water.
 

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Pablo said:
I drank it in law school because a 30 pack was $15, I was poor, and PBR tastes like beer, as opposed to water.
Yeah it isn't awful, but I find it kinda funny that drinking PBR is a hipster status symbol now.
 

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CurbDestroyer said:
We had Buckhorn beer . . . it's ok once you skim the chunks off. :thumbsup:
We used to drink Stag--$3 a 12 pack, but you'd have the runs all next morning from it.
 

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I like messenger bags and I own three different sizes depending on my needs of the day. Anything on your back is going to be hot but I figure that is the price of carrying something when you ride your bike. The main feature that I like is the ease in getting something from inside the bag while you are still wearing it. Just swing it to the front and there you have it.

As for movement, I don't find that this is the case. With the three straps the load is stabilized on your back. I also like that my bags are waterproof for all weather riding. For some messenger bags are the way to go and for others, it is backpacks. I tried the back pack but the one I had kept hitting the back of my helmet or was in the way when I turned my head for a shoulder check. Obviously not a good backpack for riding a bike and there are backpacks that address these issues.
 
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