I am deciding where I want to go today, and what I need to take with me, and this seemed as good a time as any to dump my rack pack on the floor and possibly thin its contents.
The bag itself is a rolltop Timbuk2, I don’t think it’s made anymore. It’s insulated, as it’s intended to carry cold things. There’s a bottle opener on the other side, for which sadly I have no use, except to attach carabiners and such to.
I like the bag because it will hold a fuck of a lot, and a sack of groceries to boot. The top, when unrolled, is quite stiff and handily supports said groceries without sagging or drooping.
There are two closing pockets (fore and side) and one slip pocket in the rear with a restraining band above that could have stood being elasticised but isn’t. And plastic D-rings fore and aft for the included shoulder strap, which is nice for not leaving the bag on the bike when actually shopping.
It nominally fastens to the rack using two velcro tabs that close just beneath the rack, which is less than ideal in everyday use as there isn’t a lot of clearance between rack and tire. And tires are not generally clean, so fumbling with closures I cannot see while getting the backs of my fingers covered in road grime is annoying.
What I do instead (or in addition to, if carrying it full to brim), is lace two bungee cords through my rack and use those to hold it on. They clip up top, so easier to fasten/unfasten, though not quite as good in terms of getting in and out of the bag while it’s attached to the rack. So while it’s a trade-off in terms of pluses and minuses, it does add options.
From top left spiralling in, cloth case for pencils & pens, sketch notebook (moleskine field notes), tissues, phone, wallet, granola bar, sunglasses & case, cloth napkin, all-purpose bandana, stuffed rain/windbreaker, spare vape gear, shoulder strap, homemade tool roll, multi-head ratchet screwdriver, tire levers, bungee cord & map of Gabriola, tube patch kit, spoke wrench, small multi-screwdriver, carabiner, allen wrench, small spanner (Crescent wrench), pen for marking up the map, pill case for benedryl & migraine meds, emergency whistle, swiss army knife, contact lens drops, almost-useful headlamp, bluetooth earbuds & case, skookum semi-waterproof pouch, first aid pouch on top of cuff guard strap.
Not included because only sometimes: rolled-up ensolite pad for sitting where damp (west coast is wet most seasons) spare water bottle, double-walled travel tea mug, iDevice-of-the-day.
I very rarely carry either keys or lock, because that’s just the sort of island this is. All told, with the pack, it weighs about ten and a half pounds, mostly because of the tools. If I ever need to trim the weight down, I’d swap out the ratchet screwdriver for a pair of standard phillips and flat-head, but really it’s not the weight but the bulk that I struggle with. Minus the windbreaker, all of that will take up the bottom four inches of the pack, leaving between three and ten inches (unrolled) for whatever’s on that day.
Today I think I will leave out the windbreaker and add spare water, tea, iPad with new book, and go lose myself in the woods for a while.