Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Extra room for rent

Just got to test out a new Mission Workshop backpack. I have to say it arrived at an opportune moment, just in time for my equivalent to moving day.

The Vandal, their larger bag has a serious number of pockets and expansion sections (6 separate sections total). At first sight you might wonder why. Before filling it, it stays a relatively sleek backpack that doesn't feel like a parachute. Once you've hit your 5th supply stop for the day it quickly becomes a happy addition to the family. Unzip the middle expansion section and find a smile inside. Keep adding stuff, keep riding, no worries about how to carry the next add-on.

It, and it's slightly smaller version (The Rambler) are designed by the founders of Chrome. It's also made in the US by a contractor that also specializes in military equipment. If we could get all the defense contractors to start making bike stuff instead of war stuff we would really have a win win situation.

I carried everything in the pic above minus the table and chairs*. It was heavy, but stayed well balanced without the feeling of being pulled over backwards. The weight stayed in line with my center of gravity and the reinforced back eliminated all jabs from sharp cargo.

As for things I would have added? A quick loop or easy to reach pocket for stashing a U-lock (mine fits where the belt loop would go, but it is a bad spot when loaded). There is a lot going on with the bag though, so maybe I missed it. Also the compression straps have a locking mechanism that work great, but are a little difficult to release.

All in all a great bag to have when you are ready to carry a bag that adapts from medium to XXL, when you need the extra room, or unexpectedly encounter lots of extra stuff you really want to take home. I also plan to take it on future train and d. diving missions. It's tough, waterproof, and adaptable.

*that is my old backpack (Ortlieb Packman Pro) I dropped right inside the new backpack, all the clothes and rain gear for a camping trip, old skool trainer, 7lbs misc food, 12 pack misc beer, book, and u-lock. There was still room for more.

Mission Workshop has some messenger bags in the works as well. Look for them soon.