Like many cyclists, I’m forever searching for a rucksack that is ideal for my commute to work five days a week: one that will allow me to carry my suit jacket, shirt, trousers, pants, socks, shoes, towel, shower gel, shaving gel, deodorant to work in a convenient and practical carrier.
It’s a long list of items – and that’s why my search goes on. Many companies have tried to find the answer but most commuters have found one fault with each.
The latest company to attempt to solve the cycle commuter’s luggage issue is one best known for making suitcases – Antler. They certainly have experience in creating space for lots of luggage, but in the Antler Ultimate Commuter they’ve created a rucksack which they promise will give “a crease-free commute”.
That is of course the main problem we have – getting clothes to work isn’t usually the issue, it’s getting clothes to work crease-free that causes issues. The press release for the Ultimate Commuter promises just that, as well as some things you would expect – padded straps, back-support, high-vis straps; and some things that might surprise you – a coat hanger, an internal shoe bag and another for toiletries.
A suit carrier on your back
The shape of the bag is just like a folded suit carrier, so it’s quite large in size and the company claims that you could actually carry enough shirts and suits for a whole week, rather than taking fresh clothes in each day.
The space inside, is surprising when you open the bag for the first time. Zips are everywhere – for shoes, toiletries on the inside, for your mobile on the outside, and many that I still don’t know what they are there for.
The most suit carrier-esque aspect is of course the coat hanger, a useful and practical design aspect and one that makes it quite clear how the bag should be used.
Being waterproof, there’s no need for a waterproof rucksack cover. The rain falls off without touching your suit, which is always nice to know.
Practical and impractical at the same time
This bag has been designed and built on its practicality. Yet, I find myself feeling that there is something very impractical about it. With all the space inside, and all the many different compartments, it’s unsurprising that the bag is big. But it’s the width of the bag, that comes from quite literally hanging a suit jacket inside it, that has caused me a couple of issues.
It won’t have escaped your notice that London is a congested place, and thanks to Wiggo, the Olympics, the Boris Bikes and the cycle superhighways, more and more Londoners are cycling. As a result, when cycling in a pelaton of sorts, I’ve been nudged a couple of times due to the width of the bag. Nothing major, but as a cyclist who likes to keep himself to himself, being nudged in the side has caused a couple of slight wobbles.
Aside from that, the size of the bag can make it quite uncomfortable on longer commutes, and it’s not a bag where you can shift the weight around. My commute is to one of two offices during the week, one being a fairly long ride, and I think I’ll be saving this bag for the shorter of the two commutes.
[See also: Roundup of suit bags for cyclists]
Joins the ranks of other good commuter bags – but it’s not perfect
All that said, when I got to work this bag was perhaps more useful than when it was on my back – everything has its space, meaning there is no routing around for your deodorant can.
There is a lot going for the Antler Ultimate Commuter, and while I don’t think it’ll blow people away, at around £75, it’s not completely unaffordable and with 31 litres of space, you certainly get a lot of space for your buck.