Ortlieb has smaller packs, but their new Atrak full size backpacks give us a few good ideas for mountain bikers or any cyclist who likes to travel light. If you’re headed out for a multi-day mountain bike epic and don’t want all the weight on the bike, these can roll and cinch down smaller than they appear. Or if you just like to throw all your gear into a waterproof duffel when traveling but don’t want to carry it like a normal duffel (because that sucks), these could work for both.
An adjustable shoulder harness system, waist belt with pockets and a plethora of compression straps should keep the pack tight and stable while riding.
Unlike most packs that open to the front or top, the Atrak has a full length zipper (like a duffel) that runs down the center of the back. Take it off, plop it on the ground and have full access to everything inside without getting your shoulder straps dirty. Inside are organizational pockets, something relatively new for Ortlieb, as are the outer mesh pockets for stashing stuff more quickly. Internal compressions straps help keep stuff from shifting during transport.
Wire framing helps it maintain its structure, and a hydration hose port seals around the hose and closes up when not in use to maintain their trademark waterproof qualities.
Plenty of accessories are available for purchase to customize it to suit your needs. The packs come in 25L, 35L and 45L sizes in black, red or mustard. Pricing TBD, available later this year.
The new Twin City Urban is a clever take on the messenger bag. When riding, the top flap covers the outside to expose the quick-release pannier clips. When you’re ready to head into the office or classroom, flop it over the other way to reveal the shoulder straps and cover the pannier clips. The pannier clip comes with inserts to fit rack tubes up to 16mm in diameter, and an optional 20mm hook is available separately. It’s made of PVC-free Cordura for a softer look and feel that’s still waterproof. Available in green, gray and dark blue. It has a 9L volume, so it’s sized more for tablets or Chromebooks than full laptops.
The new Ortlieb e-Mate Pannier is designed with e-bikes in mind, but…
…that extra battery storage compartment would also make a nice, padded wine bottle holder. It has a massive 16L capacity, is waterproof, and has built in structure so it will stand on its own to make it easier to load and unload. Reflectors add safety, and a built-in shoulder strap make this a great grocery getter. Keep checking Ortlieb.com for availability.
Amplifi debuted their E-Track mountain bike backpacks a couple years ago as a solution for carrying a spare e-bike battery along with you on the trail. It comes in two sizes, 17L and 23L, and includes back protection, goggle pocket, helmet clips and just about every other feature you’d want from a standard hydration pocket…plus a neoprene sleeve sized for Bosch and Shimano batteries.
Tons of straps and zippered pockets help keep the extra weight secure and stable and organize all the little stuff. Retail is €200 and even without a battery inside they look like a killer pack for big days.
The Internet of Things (IOT) has made its way to bikes. Last year, RoadwareZ showed off cycling jackets and vests with their LED panels synced to their navigation app. Simply search for your destination, choose the route you want, then hit go. The app uses your phone’s GPS to know where you are and automatically signal a turn on the back panel. Now, that tech is being added to backpacks and messenger bags, which we think is a better option for commuters in the summer when a jacket or vest would be too hot.
The app can also use your headphones to let you voice-command the turn signals in to action if you already know where you’re going and don’t want to have to set a route each time you ride. They also have built in safety features that can share your location with others. As of this post, their website was under construction, but they seem to be most active on Twitter.