14 May 2019

Gear: Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible PLUS+

For the past month and a bit, I have been using the new Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible PLUS+ as my daily bag going to and from work. In a nutshell, this bag is a larger version of the original Pannier Backpack Convertible, with a couple additional features that I'll go over here in a bit. Click HERE to read my review of the original Pannier Backpack Convertible.

This bag is designed to be both a backpack and a pannier (i.e. it attaches to a bike rack). And it is great at both! It is comfortable to carry as a backpack and attaches to a bicycle rack quickly and securely as a pannier. Converting from one to the other takes a few seconds. More on that in my review of the original Pannier Backpack Convertible.

I loved the original Pannier Backpack Convertible. It was a well made, beautifully designed bag, that I described as looking stylish enough to carry into the office and rugged enough to handle being attached to a bicycle. But it was small. I couldn't fit everything I needed inside (lunch, laptop, and a change of clothes). This new version fixes that and a few other criticisms I had with the original.

So let's great straight to the things I like. First, capacity. The greatly improved capacity on this bag is awesome - it has a 30L capacity. And when comparing it to the original (which has a 24L capacity), it is easy to see the difference.

I can easily fit a change of clothes, my lunch, my laptop, and still have room for a few other things. In fact, I can even take this bag on short overnight work trips, without needing to take another bag. Even better, the bag doesn't feel bigger on my back. However, I do feel it when it's on my bike. The extra size and weight are apparent. But that, of course, is the trade-off for more capacity.

Second, rather than having the laptop tucked against the back of the main compartment, there is now a dedicated laptop compartment. With the original, it was difficult to pull a laptop in and out, especially if the bag was full. But not anymore. Getting to the office, I don't have to open my dirty clothes compartment to pull out my laptop. Going through airport security, I have easy access to my laptop without unpacking the main compartment. Overall, this is a fantastic upgrade to the design here.

Third, I love the new KLICKfix Kompakt Rail Mounting System. Attaching the bag to my bike is faster and feels more secure than the original system. Plain and simple, it is easier to use and works better. The only possible criticism is that it is slightly thicker; therefore, I can feel it, albeit very slightly, when carrying it on my back (i.e. in backpack mode). It's definitely not uncomfortable - just enough to remind me that there is a latching system there.

And as with all Two Wheel Gear products, the bag is incredibly well constructed. The stitching is precise and well done. The zippers have a sturdy, high-quality feel. Just by using this bag over the past month, I feel like it will last a long time.

My one gripe is that the bottom of the laptop compartment is not padded. So if you put the bag down heavily, or drop your laptop into the compartment, you do risk clunking the corner of your laptop on the ground. To remediate, I throw my laptop in a sleeve before dropping it in the bag.

One of the things I consistently appreciate about Two Wheel Gear products is that they have enough professional polish to carry into the office, and enough ruggedness to handle the bike ride in. They really do nail the perfect balance between polished and rugged.

As for the colour, I got this bag in the waxed canvas, as opposed to the charcoal grey that I usually get (that all my other Two Wheel Gear bags are in). I know other folks that have other bags in waxed canvas and absolutely love it. While I do love the look and feel of it, I feel like it shows scuffs and dirt really easily. One of the benefits of the charcoal grey is that the bag never looks dirty. So while it is definitely a preference, and the bag is available in either colour, I would suggest the charcoal grey to hide the dirt at bit. Again, that is purely preference.

Overall, this bag is a great improvement to what was already a great bag. It now has the extra space, capacity, and organization that I needed. Definitely a recommended buy from me.

Here are links to my reviews of other Two Wheel Gear products:
- The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier
- Pannier Backpack Convertible (original)
- Convertible Bike Briefcase

Coming soon: Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag

Full disclaimer: I am a Two Wheel Gear Brand Ambassador. I was provided with this bag by Two Wheel Gear for the purposes of this review.

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