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A rugged pannier that wears well as a backpack. Yes, this is happening. A pet project of Timbuk2's cycling-enthused design team, the Deploy Pack Pannier doesn't make you choose; it's a great backpack and a great pannier. Super secure hook and loop pannier attachment offers a dead simple on and off, while clever back paneling and air mesh straps make it legitimately comfortable on your back. And its coolest feature? The bike tube roll-top closure system. Stretchy and secure, with a streamlined look.
Back pad protects against mounting hardware
total volume: 28 l Size (W x H x D): 28 x 16 x 46
Support System: Airmesh back cushions and shoulder straps compartments: Storage compartment with magnetic closure, Main compartment with side zipped laptop access belts & straps: Adjustable shoulder straps and chest strap Closing System: Roll closure with hook additional mounts: 2 drinking bottles, Light Special Features: Reflective Elements Build: Without back protector
The main pro is that it's the best looking pannier backpack on the market. I really wish there were more pros because I really wanted to keep this bag. Unfortunately I soon realised all the cons and had to send it back. I'm writing this comment in the hope that someone from Timbuk2's design team sees this and comes up with a better solution.
The biggest con is the pannier hook system on the reverse side of the bag. The hooks fit well onto my rack, however in order to lock them securely, you need to turn the hooks until the loop closes completely and unfortunately, due to the thick girth of my rack and the narrow girth of the hooks, I simply cannot lock the bag onto the bike. Timbuk2 do not mention this when you buy the bag, nor do they provide replacement hooks for larger racks. Cycling without the hooks secured is very dangerous as any slight bump on the road will send the bag flying off into the street below. Furthermore the strap at the bottom of the bag to secure it to the bottom end of the rack is fiddly and tedious, and is not a quick solution when you want to get on and off the bike. Timbuk2 ought to look at companies like Ortlieb who know what they're doing when it comes to this.
The rolltop opening to the bag looks very nice and makes sense in terms of keeping the bag's contents dry, but it's also impractical because it takes too long to open and close the bag when you have to un-clip these tedious hooks and then roll the bag open before you can access what you need. There should be a quick open clasp that we can use as well. When I'm travelling I like to keep my camera inside the bag and if I need to suddenly take a photo, I like to be able to swing the bag round and quickly retrieve my camera before it's too late and the moment has passed. Unfortunately if I'd kept this bag I'd have missed too many potential photographs...
Furthermore although the bag looks large the rolltop opening does not stretch open very far, which makes fitting any bulkier items inside impossible. I tried taking it shopping and couldn’t fit half the stuff through the tight opening – all of which would have fitted in my old North Face bag of exactly the same size. Useless!
I also find it annoying that it only fits laptops up to 13” large. I have both a 14” and a 15” laptop and it’s frustrating that neither fit inside the laptop compartment. Would it really have been so hard to allow space for these very common sized laptops? Many normal backpacks of the same capacity allow space for these sizes, so I don’t see why this one can’t.
Last thing – it’s not easy to keep the bag organised. If you like to stay well organised, this bag does not help. There’s one “large” compartment and one “small” compartment on the outside of the bag. This means you have to dump all your smaller stuff into this one compartment, which also has no zip so there is no way to properly secure it. There should be many more compartments, outside and on the inside of the bag. If I want to keep my keys or other small and precious/expensive items somewhere, I don’t feel comfortable keeping them in this easy to open outer compartment.
All in all, it’s an exceptionally beautiful bag, but it’s also exceptionally expensive – and for what?