Like any basic woman in America, I am obsessed with bags! Add in the fact that I race bikes, have a 8 y/o son and own way too many clothes/shoes, and you have the perfect storm of bag needs.
Travel is a big part of my life, but admittedly, I am not the most organized gal. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from racing my bike is that organization will make or break you. This sport reqiures so much equipment. Even when I’m driving to a local criterium, it’s like I’m packing for a cross country trip. From kits to socks, helmets, glasses, sport mixes, recovery drinks, bottles and shoes…the list goes on for race day packing. It’s critical to know exactly where your stuff is when you show up day of or unpack at a motel/host house. After all, showing up well-prepared is half the battle!
I recently did a few road trips using North St. Bags (www.northstbags.com). They are a rad company based out of Portland, OR and all their products are handmade in the US. All bags are made with durable 1000 denier CORDURA® nylon for outer shell and, although most products are made to order, they ship within 1-4 days. Here’s my bag arsenal:
Davis Day Pack ($99 USD)
This medium-sized 20L volume backpack is ideal for casual commuting. It has a waterproof X-Pac sailcloth liner. With a roll-top and one small outer pouch with a taped zipper, it’s durable in all-weather, yet light-weight (only weighs 1lb. 4oz.). The inner lining is white which I loved because it made it easier to see my stuff (in the past I’ve used solid black commuter bags which was like digging through a black hole for a pair of socks). The packs are made to order, so there are a few customizations you can make with velcro-in bag pockets and different waist belt sizes (Sm 30″-38″ Lg 40″-48″).
The longest I rode with the Davis was a ~60 mile commute to a local bike race. It was extra hot that day with temps close to 100 degrees and I packed a ton of stuff for a product giveaway.
Local Austin people will know the Dam Loop, which was what my buddy and I rode to get to the race–lots of sweating with ~3,000 feet of climbing. The bag held up well, my stuff stayed sweat-free and I felt like it was secure on my back even when I stood up out of the saddle to climb. Because it is so lightweight, however, the straps have minimal material so they dug into my shoulders–definitely felt some fatigue through my neck/shoulders towards the end of the ride, but to be fair, I was riding a long, difficult route.
I’d say this guy is better for a casual work commute. It’ll keep your clothes dry. There is also a side sleeve pocket for your lock.
Pittock Travel Pouches ($40 USD for set of 3)
These are all great for small stuff that I tend to lose.
Small: 4.5″ x 6″ – I use this as a wallet on bike long rides. It holds my cards, lipstick, spare tube, tire lever and Co2 cartridges. It fits well in my jersey pocket.
Medium: 9″ x 6″ – I’m using this one as a makeup bag.
Large: 9″ x 11″ – My son’s iPad goes in here.
Scout Duffle Bag
Comes with X-pacTM VX21 Waterproof Line, adjustable shoulder strap, interior zipper pocket and lanyard. There is an optional bicycle kit for mounting on handlebars for $10-$40.
11 ($69 USD) – This bag is small (11” length, 6.5” diameter and 6.9 L capacity) but perfect for walking around town. This basically became my purse.
14 ($79 USD) – This bag is medium (14” length, 8” diameter and 15 L capacity) and great for day trips, however I was attempting to use it as my bag for clothes for long race weekends–it was too small. There is a larger 21″ length bag that I would suggest if you are needing a few days worth of clothes/kits.
Pioneer 9 Hip Pack ($57)
Dimensions: 9” x 6” x 3”, capacity: 2.65 liters, weight: 5.7oz.
I’ve used this more than any other bag and I’m convinced I cannot live without it. This pack is perfect for a casual ride or hike when you want to carry a few things, but don’t want to wear a jersey or carry a backpack. The weight is in your hips, so neck and shoulders are free. It’s great for bike races because you can keep your phone, gels, pins, numbers etc organized and within reach while you warm up or ride back and forth to the port-a-potties. It comes in a few belt sizes: Small 28″-37″ and Large 36″-52″and there is a bike handlebar kit upgrade option. The exterior is also water/sweat resistant. I really want to try out the 12″ pack because I’m convinced I could use it as an everyday purse.
Pack your bags!
All in all, these are durable, high-quality bags. I love the different color options and versatility that comes with their customization options. They are a bit expensive, but they are handmade in the US so they will likely last forever. It’s cool when a company seems to understand your needs. The folks at North St. are about that hiking/biking/travel life and it shows in the love and time they put into each bag. Time to start planning my next trip! Where will you go?