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1/10/14

SealLine Urban backpack - Large £85 - The Bike List

 

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SealLine  Urban  backpack  -­  Large  £85 Tested by Oliver Laverack, tester for The Bike List As  a  cyclist  you  might  not  have  come  across SealLine  products  before.  This  Seattle-­based company  offers  a  range  of  dry  bags,  dry  sacks, dry  pack,  dry  duffle  bags,  waterproof  document cases,  so  basically  they're  experts  at  keeping your  stuff  dry  whilst  you're  out  and  about. The  backpack  we've  been  testing  is  part  of  their urban  range  which  includes  a  commuter  style shoulder  bag  and  a  weather-­proof  computer sleeve.  The  backpack  on  test  is  available  in  two sizes,  small  with  a  capacity  of  17  litres  and weighing  818g  and  large  with  a  significantly increased  capacity  of  37  litres  for  just  136  grams more  at  954g.  We've  been  testing  the  large version  which  is  perhaps  a  little  larger  than  the sort  of  bag  you  might  use  to  carry  your  gym  kit  if  37  litres  doesn't  mean much  to  you. For  those  that  like  to  organise  everything  carefully  inside  their  bag  with compartments  for  each  item  then  you'll  be  pleased  to  hear  that  SealLine make  an  organiser  that  slips  into  the  internal  plastic  sheet  that  forms  part  of the  back  frame.  Personally  I  find  bags  where  I'm  organising  everything  a little  frustrating  as  I'll  inevitably  forget  where  I've  put  my  camera,  glasses  or keys  and  end  up  having  to  search  every  pocket. In  space  terms  I've  been  able  to  fit  in  my  gym  kit…  so  shoes,  socks,  shorts, T-­shirt  and  also  smarter  clothes  for  going  out  afterwards  including  a  second pair  of  shoes,  jeans,  a  shirt  or  jumper  and  some  deodorant  etc.  Unlike  most traditional  bags  the  rectangular  shape  of  the  plain,  uninterrupted  space means  you  can  pack  a  lot  in  this  backpack.  There's  certainly  enough  room to  fit  everything  in  for  your  commute  to  work.  I've  even  lugged  my  fairly chunky  17"  laptop  around  in  this  bag  along  with  diary  and  lunch  when  I've been  nipping  around  London  to  different  meetings  on  my  bike,  and  there's room  to  spare. Having  tested  many  backpacks  of  the  same  size,  when  it  comes  to choosing  a  bag  before  heading  out  on  the  bike  or  I  need  to  carry  my  laptop www.thebikelist.co.uk/reviews/clothing-protection-bags/sealline-urban-backpack-large/

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1/10/14

SealLine Urban backpack - Large £85 - The Bike List

to  a  meeting,  this  bag  has  become  the  default  choice.  It's  incredibly versatile  (I  also  use  it  for  walking  and  driving),  and  the  uber  simple,  straight forward  closing  mechanism  is  perfect  for  getting  in  and  out  of  the  bag quickly.  This  is  essentially  an  aluminium  hook  on  a  thick  piece  of  elasticated fabric  that  pulls  over  the  bag  once  you've  rolled  the  material  down  and hooks  into  one  of  three  slots  on  the  front.  This  quickly  creates  a  secure water-­tight  seal.  I  do  have  to  confess  that  although  the  bag  has  stood  up  to a  few  downpours,  I  haven't  needed  to  cross  a  river  or  swim  from  one  island to  another  so  haven't  tested  the  waterproof  capabilities  of  this  bag  to  the full.  Once  securely  closed  I've  felt  confident  bouncing  around  over  pot  holes and  down  kerbs  as  the  secure  fastener  doesn't  move  at  all  once  hooked  in place. Being  such  a  solid  shape  gives  the  impression  that  this  bag  isn't  going  to  be comfortable  but  I  found  that  once  it  was  on  I  could  hardly  tell  it  was  there. Because  the  bag  keeps  its  shape,  once  filled,  the  material  doesn't  sit against  your  back  allowing  plenty  of  air  to  circulate.  The  pad  on  the  back again  doesn't  look  like  it  will  offer  much  comfort  but  I  found  it  well  placed and  the  holes  in  it  allow  for  extra  ventilation  where  you  sweat  the  most.  The straps  also  have  well-­placed  padding  on  the  inside  and  again,  holes  allow for  more  air  to  circulate.  The  straps  are  really  easy  to  adjust  on  the  fly should  you  want  to  hoik  one  shoulder  up  or  down  to  make  them  match,  and a  strap  in  the  middle  lets  you  buckle  everything  in  for  a  really  secure  fit.  If you're  carrying  the  bag  by  your  side  there's  also  a  neoprene  covered handle  which  is  very  comfortable  to  grip  even  when  the  bag  is  fully  loaded. My  only  gripe  with  this  bag  however  is  the  zip  pocket  on  the  front.  Once  you have  a  full  bag  (which  I  typically  do)  then  the  zip,  which  is  already  stiff, becomes  even  more  difficult  to  unzip.  Once  it's  open  you'll  do  well  to  fit anything  other  than  a  set  of  keys  or  a  smart  phone  in  there  and  you'll  have even  more  fun  getting  whatever  you've  put  in  there  out  again.  This  isn't  a major  issue  for  me  as  I  typically  just  use  that  pocket  for  keys  and  the tautness  of  the  fabric  actually  stops  them  rattling  around  which  is  a  plus. The  front  pocket  is  also  weatherproof  so  it  should  be  a  safe  for  your  smart phone  if  the  bag  isn't  over  full.  There  are  also  loop  holes  to  the  left  of  the pocket  which  are  ideal  for  clipping  rear  lights  to.  They'd  be  better  placed  on the  bottom  of  the  bag  instead  as  for  UK  roads  that's  the  wrong  side  but some  are  better  than  none. The  fabric  on  this  bag  is  similar  to  the  fabric  used  by  companies  such  as Ortlieb  and  Vaude  on  their  pannier  bags  which  gives  you  an  idea  as  to  how it  looks  and  feels  if  you've  seen  bags  from  those  companies.  It'll  also  give you  a  hint  as  to  how  tough  and  weather  proof  this  fabric  is.  The  fabric  is  so tough  that  it  took  about  three  months  of  regular  use  to  loose  its  rigidity. Price-­wise,  £85  is  a  decent  amount  of  money  for  what  looks  like  a  very simple  bag  but  this  backpack  is  very  robust  and  despite  having  been  used almost  daily  for  well  over  six  months  it  still  looks  almost  like  new.  There  is no  wear  on  the  super  tough  polyurethane-­coated  polyester  body  or  the coated  nylon  bottom.  The  bonded  seams  are  also  apparently  super  tough and  based  on  how  well  this  bag  has  performed  I  suspect  5-­10  years  of  use is  entirely  likely,  which  makes  the  price  more  than  fair. www.thebikelist.co.uk/reviews/clothing-protection-bags/sealline-urban-backpack-large/

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1/10/14

SealLine Urban backpack - Large £85 - The Bike List

One  thing  that  I  did  notice  whilst  wearing  this  backpack,  apart  from  the  fact that  it  makes  the  wearer  look  like  a  London  courier,  is  the  number  of  looks and  comments  I  got  carrying  or  wearing  it.  In  particular  I've  had  a  couple  of comments  at  airports  from  people  that  liked  the  bag.  It  also  met  hand luggage  size  requirements  on  the  flights  I  was  on  which  was  another  plus for  me  and  shows  how  versatile  this  bag  is. Although  the  design  might  not  be  to  everyone's  tastes,  personally  I  rather like  the  robust  and  almost  utilitarian  look  of  this  backpack.  Given  the  great experience  I've  had  with  it  I  wouldn't  hesitate  to  recommend  this  SealLine backpack  to  anyone.  In  particular  it  is  ideal  for  commuters  and  couriers  who will  love  this  rugged  item  that  is  also  a  great  everyday  bag  regardless  of whether  you  are  cycling  or  not.

At  a  glance verdict Super  tough,  comfortable  versatile  and  waterproof  backpack  that’s great  on  and  off  the  bike.

value performance

SealLine  says: The  freedom  you  feel  after  clicking  into  your  pedals  beats  the  hell  out  of  waiting  in  traffic  any  day. Lightweight  and  rock-­solid,  our  RF-­welded  Backpacks  offer  seamless  all-­weather  commuter protection.  A  watertight  roll-­down  closure  with  QuickClip™  attachment  provides  easy  access,  and an  optional  organizer  slips  onto  the  internal  frame  sheet,  neutralizing  even  the  fattest  Monday-­ loads.  On  the  outside,  you  get  good  looks,  a  weatherproof  zip  pocket  and  our  Modular  Accessory Pocket  system  for  attaching  add-­ons  like  a  Zip  Pocket  or  Mobile  Electronic  Case.  A  light  clip-­loop helps  keep  you  visible  and  a  deluxe,  waterproof  and  ventilated  suspension  with  carry  handle  and stowable  waist  belt  keep  you  rolling  in  any  weather. Watertight:  Simple,  effective  roll-­top  closure  protects  from  the  elements. Easy  Access:  QuickClip  Closure  allows  for  one-­handed  access  to  your  stuff. Burly  fabrics:  RF-­welded,  PVC-­free  600D  PU-­coated  polyester  body  and  scrim-­reinforced urethane  detailing. Add-­on  Accessories:  Easily  attach  Mobile  Electronic  Cases  or  Zip  Pockets  to  the  external  M.A.P. System  or  add  the  Backpack  Organizer. Size:  L Color  Grey,  Red,  Orange,  Blue,  Green Width  10  in  /  25  cm Weight  2  lbs  1  oz  /  954  g Length  14.5  in  /  35.5  cm Height  23  in  /  58  cm Volume  2270  cu.  in  /  37  liters www.thebikelist.co.uk/reviews/clothing-protection-bags/sealline-urban-backpack-large/

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1/10/14

SealLine Urban backpack - Large £85 - The Bike List

PVC-­Free  X  X Closure  Roll-­down  Roll-­down Material(s)  600D  polyurethane  coated  polyester  body,  400D  HD  TPU  coated  nylon  bottom Country  of  Origin  Made  in  Seattle,  USA Supplier:  Cascade  Designs,  001  206  353  8814,  cascadedesigns.com/sealline

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January 2014 SealLine Media UKIRL