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// Picking Bags for the Long Ride

Riding a 300 mile (500 km) unsupported ride through Italy requires some planning. Beyond route planning and hotel reservations figuring out how to bring just enough stuff with you on a road bike to get by for 4 days isn't the easiest task. Racks and panniers are out of the question as the my 85 Colnago doesn't have rack mounts and the aesthetics just don't cut it. So I have been looking at packs.

Cycling packs are mostly designed for commuting and not long distance riding. What I need is a bag that isn't too big but will allow me to carry what I need for a few days (1 pair shorts, 4 t-shirts, 4 pairs underwear, light shoes, 1 extra pair of cycling shorts, 4 pairs cycling socks, 2 jerseys, arm warmers, leg warmers, shell, Garmin and iPhone charger, paper map of Italy, some snacks and a dopp kit). It should have an aerodynamic shape, allow for strap adjustment so I can get down off of my neck, and fit closely on my back. It should have some form of waist belt so it doesn't bounce around but not too tight so it keeps me from breathing.

Incase Messenger Backpack

Incase Messenger Backpack

A design collaboration between Incase and the guys at MASH. This bag is beautifully designed with the commuter in mind. It has a faux fur lined computer compartment, spacious but probably too big main interior compartment and comfortable straps. The material is nice and smooth and gives a good aerodynamic feel. But, it doesn't have a waist belt and the shoulder straps do not allow for adjustment so the bag will rest low on your shoulders and away from your neck. I would pick it if I was commuting to work but not for a long ride. Its the perfect fixie cyclist bag

Price: $149.95

Construction: Unspecified Nylon Construction

Size and weight: 42L, weight unspecified

Holds up to a 17in MacBook Pro

Further details at Incase

Mission Workshop The Rambler Roll Top Backpack


This bag is a nice compromise between a large bag and a compact tactical pack. It starts of small and expands to double its size with out a increase in weight. The shoulder straps are comfortable and adjust for a low profile position on the shoulders. The bag is shorter and wider than the TAD FAST Pack but the materials are smooth and give off a nice aerodynamic finish. Feel like a backpack but optimized for the cyclist. You wouldn't expect anything less from these former Chrome guys.

Price: $239

Construction: Unspecified Nylon Construction

Size and Weight: 22L expands to 44L, 3.7lbs (1.67kg)

Optional Waist Belt available for $30

Further details at Mission Workshop

Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed

Tad Fast Pack Litespeed

This bag feels like a bullet on your back. Although it is made from rough Cordura nylon, the slim shape and small size fits perfectly on your back. The shoulder straps keep it low on your shoulders and it comes a waist belts that helps keep it stable and transfers weight off of your shoulders. Big plus is that it also come with a water bladder compartment so it serves as a hydration unit as well as storage. This is the kind of bag a Navy Seal would carry on long bike ride. Triple Aught Design has been known for their urban tactical gear but this pack makes the cross-over. I would like to see made out of ripstop sail cloth for a more bike friendly aerodynamic feel but with its lower weight and smaller size I think that this is bag for me.

Price: $239

Construction: 1000 Denier DuPont Cordura

Size and Weight: 21.30L, 3.5lbs (1.58kg)

Further info at Triple Aught Design

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