Philadelphia. Bagmaker-in-training. Obsessed with backpacks and messenger bags.
Hey thanks for the question! You like the look of the welded postbag, but you want two straps, and waterproof?
The answer is the Sealline Urban Backpack.
Their site does NOT have good pictures (but I don’t have the rights to any), so go here. I think it matches the aesthetic of the welded postbag pretty well, it comes in nice colors, and it’s drop-it-in-the-river waterproof.
I used to climb. I wasn’t terribly good at it, but I had fun. I always had trouble with my terrible chalk bag - spilling chalk everywhere, breaking hardware, etc.
HANCHOR’s Kickstarter project for two new chalk bags looks to be just the ticket.
The first, called the Hula, is designed to deploy chalk in a 360-degree circle.
It’s got a unique filling method, as far as I’ve seen:
The second, the KANGAROO, is a combination chalk-ball and loose chalk holder:
Not that I climb anymore, but if I did, I would get one of these. HANCHOR is a tiny bagmaking company out of Taiwan, and they make amazing products. While I’ve never seen these bags in person, I did review one of HANCHOR’s messengers, the CHAMBER. My verdict? One of the best bags I’ve ever used. I’m willing to bet that same quality will translate to their chalk bags.
And so are they: If you don’t like the bag after you receive it, you can return it and they will give you a refund.
So if you climb, or you think you might want to climb, check out HANCHOR’S Kickstarter project.
Hey, thanks for the question!
Originally, I ordered some Chrome Kursks, but they don’t come in wide so they ended up being way too tight or long. Right now I’m trying out the New Balance Minimus 20v3 as my everyday shoe, including for riding daily to work. I picked them because before this, I was wearing Onitsuka Tigers, and they fell apart very quickly. The NBs have a much more rigid sole, but are also very comfortable while walking. I don’t know if the upper will be super durable, since there’s a lot of mesh involved.
Honestly, I can’t imagine these outlasting the Chrome 415s, though. So I’d talk to those guys about getting them repaired/replaced through their warranty. Maybe they can do something for you!
Let me know if you find something better!
Hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend!
If you didn’t get enough deals on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, rounding out the trifecta (after a day of rest) is Cyber Monday!
Here’s the sales still happening. I’ll update this as I discover more deals.
Velo City Bags: 25% off everything with code holidays2013
Chrome Bags: Crazy sale, 20-60% off, including $50 District and Delta backpacks.
Blaq: 20% off custom bags.
Timbuk2: up to 60% off almost everything.
Alchemy: 25% off everything.
Fabric Horse: Up to 20% off with code ANNUAL13
Thanks for the kind words!
I don’t have that much experience with Road Runner bags. I have seen one in person, once, but did not get much chance to play with it. The guy that I talked to about it was very happy with it, though.
Other minimalist rolltops you might consider:
Archive, which is a little big but really nice and custom made.
Blind Chic, which I also have no experience with but they’re really pretty.
Chrome also makes the Yalta, although I don’t really love the connected, yoke-style straps (like in the Chrome Brigadier).
All the rolltops I have and love are not day-pack size. There’s my Buck Products Knapp Sack, which is amazing and minimalist but not small.
Hope this helps!
I’m not just into bags, I must admit. Apparel is another one of my loves. Outerwear, especially cycling gear, is something I find myself looking at and thinking about a lot.
Chrome has a pretty awesome apparel line, and they offered to send me one of their Merino Cobra Hoodies for review. Admittedly, I jumped at the chance because I have been eyeing one of these hoodies for a long time. Now that I’ve been using it for nearly a month, I figure it’s time for a review.
Technical in Nature
Merino wool is a fascinating material. Typically, the first thing that comes to mind when people think wool is warmth and itchiness. But merino is different.
For one thing, its fibers are typically less than 24 microns in diameter, which makes it incredibly soft (Outlier has a t-shirt made of merino that’s 17.5 microns in diameter. It’s $98.)
Apart from its softness, however, merino wool is prized for a number of other reasons, as well. First off, merino wool has lanolin in it, which is a kind of oil with natural antibacterial properties. This helps to fight odor in technical apparel (in which people typically sweat heavily).
In addition, it’s excellent for moisture wicking. This means that it draws sweat away from the skin, keeping the wearer dryer and warmer. And lastly, wool absorbs up to a third of its weight in water while still feeling dry. These features combine to make merino wool great for temperature regulation.
All this creates a great experience for the wearer. Merino wool is an excellent technical fabric - keeping the user warm, dry, shedding (light) amounts of water. This translates to comfort and convenience on and off the bike.
How awesome is it that one of the best technical materials you can get is naturally produced? Synthetics are amazing, but I think it’s kinda cool that natural materials can hold their own as well.
The Cut of my Jib
The hoodie I received was a size large. I am a short (5’6”), stocky (190 lbs) guy, and it fit snugly without feeling tight or uncomfortable. It has two front pockets that are very roomy. I especially liked the fact that they were zippered - it made me trust them so much more, knowing that the stuff I put in them couldn’t pop out while riding. Cargo security is a must on a bike.
The hoodie is clearly articulated for movement. Riding while wearing it is absolutely comfortable and without issue. The hood does not interfere with a backpack or messenger bag any worse than a normal hood would (and there’s a non-hooded version if you’d like).
Wearing a short sleeve t-shirt underneath was fine, although the sleeves seem a bit tapered, so wearing a long sleeve t-shirt underneath it took some fiddling (or maybe I just have awesome forearms?!). The sleeves are a bit longer that a typical hoodie would be.
The main zipper is a metal YKK, extremely smooth and easy to use. The pocket zippers are also metal YKKs although they’re black and sewn in an invisible style.
The hood has an elastic pull string, which I kept accidentally snapping myself in the face with whenever I’d brush my chest with my hand (seriously, this happened like 5 or 6 times). So I removed it. I don’t know who actually pulls their hoods tight anyway, but I would definitely have preferred a non-elastic pullstring.
The hoodie’s got three main features that set it apart from the average zip-up hoodie.
First off, apart from the articulation discussed above, the sleeves have other functional design elements. They’ve got thumb holes, which were nice for keeping my hands a little warmer, especially while riding in autumn weather. Certainly not going to replace gloves, but comfortable and helped a little.
Another neat feature of the sleeves: A zippered mesh stash pocket with a key leash. Big enough for your ID, credit cards, or other small items, it is REALLY nice to have everything easy access. And the key tether was a nice touch - I put my spare bike lock and house key on it, so that I have a backup set (and an easy access set) for while I ride.
One thing I DIDN’T like about the key tether - the inner pocket was so roomy and loose that it made fishing for the keys difficult sometimes. I would reach in, and sometimes took me a few seconds to disentangle my keys from the pocket itself. Not a huge deal, but it would be awesome to see Chrome address this with either stiffer fabric or less roominess in the pocket.
The last feature of the hoodie worth noting: The rear cargo pocket. Opens on both sides, decently sized for cycling tools, accessories, or small cargo. You could absolutely throw a spare tube, a CO2 pump, and a few tools in there. I would not recommend too much weight, since the pocket’s made of mesh, but it was awesome for throwing stuff back there and riding without a bag (I used it for my phone, a DVD, and some other odds and ends).
The Ultimate Cycling Hoodie?
After wearing the Cobra for a month nonstop, I can say that it’s the best hoodie I’ve ever worn.
There are absolutely features I would like to change. As I mentioned, the key pocket would be more useful with a more structured design, and the elastic in the hoodie was so bad I removed it.
But at $160, the Cobra appears to be the cheapest in its class. And let me tell you, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Construction has been great so far (a few loose threads but nothing major), and the sweatshirt is just darn comfortable.
I will admit this is not a cheap sweatshirt. But if you think you could swing the price, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Pick one up here.
[Editor’s note/disclosure: I was not told to return the hoodie, so I assume I get to keep it. I’ll let you know if that changes.]
…are gonna kill me.
There’s Beruf, Guu Watanabe, SAG, Fredrik Packers, Resistant… Time to take my collection next level.