When it comes to cycling accessories, the backpack is my favorite one. I use one every single day, both on and off the bike. I need a bag that will hold up over the long haul, is comfortable, waterproof, and will hold all the things I need on a day to day basis and still have room for a six pack and some food on the way home. Until now, that bag for me, has been the Chrome Pawn roll top. That quickly changed when I received the Flaptop backpack from Inside Line Equipment.
ILE, based in the San Francisco Bay area, create and produce high quality, hand made bags here in the USA with a cycling focus. Their product lineup consists of rack bags, backpacks, photography bags, and accessories such as a saddle bag.
For full details and the review of their Flaptop messenger backpack, hit the jump.
The Flaptop backpack is made using the usual 1000D Cordura, and has a vinyl liner. The design consists of one large main compartment, a secondary zippered sleeve with a sealed zipper, two vertical exterior pockets (each with small organizational pockets within), and two external side pockets, one on each side with compression straps. All of this is (minus the side pockets) is covered by the large flap to keep everything inside dry and secure.
The large interior pocket is vinyl lined, and has three small accessory pockets ringing the top. These are perfect for all the small things I like to have quick access to, like blinky lights, chapstick, sunglasses, phone, etc… The rest of the compartment is usually filled with two to three spare tubes, rain jacket and pants, and a small umbrella with plenty of room to space for my coffee, lunch and helmet each day.
The secondary zippered sleeve finds itself holding my iPad or laptop most days, along with headphones and any other gadgets I may be toting. In the colder weather, it gets a pair of gloves and a hat as well.
The vertical exterior pockets get tools, sunglasses, and random other stuff I probably don’t need on a day to day basis, but keep with me anyways. And those two side pockets, they’re perfect for holding a u-lock and bottle. A tripod or light stand will fit as well if you use the top compression strap to hold it in place.
Now for the ace up its sleeve…the large flap normally velcros down to stay in place. However, undo the long compression straps that are tucked away on each side and you now have the option to wrap up and carry a large package, or even a set of wheels.
When it comes to wearing the Flaptop, you are blessed with a nicely padded back, thick curved shoulder straps, a chest stabilizer, and it even has a removable waist belt. Comfort has never been an issue for me with this bag, no matter the load weight or terrain I am riding on. The bag sits well on my back, and is very stable when riding thanks to both the chest and waist straps.
The construction of this ILE gem is most excellent. All stitching, seams, and materials are without flaw up to this point. With daily use over several months the bag is showing no signs of wear. I would expect this bag to last for years with no issues.
If messenger bags just aren’t doing the trick for you, or if you’re just looking for a good quality daily use (and then some) bag, look no further than the Flaptop from ILE. $280 makes this your very own.