A running backpack that DOESN'T move.
May 22, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I need recommendations for a running backpack that's just big enough for my work clothing and DOES NOT BOUNCE!

I want to start running my commute to and from work. I currently usually take the train, but we're talking four [gently sloping up hill] miles. What's been stopping me is logistics. I'll shower and change at my gym and then walk across the street to work. This is definitely not a long enough run to need water. I love my camelback, though (and am showing it to you) because nothing bounces around. Shoes stay at work. Gym has towels, shampoo, hairdryers, etc. (Sadly, the permanent lockers have a LONG waiting list). I need this backpack to:
hold my work clothing
hold a very pared down make up back and hairbrush
hold a very pared down purse (wallet, phone, key, gum, daily meds)
not move at all when I'm running in it. AT ALL.

Recommendations from Amazon or others that make shipping returns free and easy are most preferred.
posted by atomicstone to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a runner. I hate backpacks, but when I need to run with one, I actually just use my camelback, but just take out the bladder. I can fit a pared down make up case, hairbrush, deodorant, a shirt, skirt and sweater. I leave my work shoes at work under my desk or in a drawer.
posted by floweredfish at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2012

Any reason not to go with one of the larger Camelbak systems? I would guess that the bouncing has more to do with the gear inside the pack moving around. If you know the Camelbak strap system can keep your current one firmly secured to your back, then you just need to make sure the actual pack straps are tightened down enough to keep the contents of the bag from moving while you run. (I have one of the above-linked M.U.L.E. packs and I absolutely love it for hiking. I've never tried running with it, though.)
posted by Osrinith at 10:35 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the trail running hydration pack without the bladder. I own this one from Nathan, which is female-specific in size/proportions.
posted by soleiluna at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2012

Make sure whatever backpack you use is one you don't mind being sweaty day after day. (For example: Can you throw it in the washing machine? Do you require it for non-exercise activities?)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:23 AM on May 22, 2012

I have real trouble with bags that shift when they shouldn't. I've never been terribly happy with backpacks for this reason. What has worked for me very well is a series of messenger bags, specifically ones with a wide shoulder strap and an adjustable cross strap. My current best option is from timbuk2 and I go further to strap down items inside so they don't jostle within the bag.
posted by mce at 1:44 PM on May 22, 2012

Yeah, the sweaty aspect is of note. I notice I get drastically more sweaty/icky when running with a backpack on, since the footprint on your body is fairly large. The contents of your bag (clothes/makeup) may need to be in large ziplock bags to keep them from absorbing the sweat/stink.
posted by soleiluna at 1:45 PM on May 22, 2012

I run hiking trails in a Camelbak MULE. If I've got it adjusted right it doesn't bounce. The only annoyance I have is early in the run while my drink is still cold, I can hear the ice rattling around.

I used to have a Camelbak Charm and I gave it away in frustration. The combination of waist and sternum straps are where it's at, and the Charm lacks a waist strap (though IIRC one is sold as an accessory.)
posted by workerant at 1:49 PM on May 22, 2012

I use something like this: http://www.acquiremag.com/sports/sporting-goods/the-north-face-erace-boa.php or when I need a bit more space I have a Deuter pack like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deuter-Cycling-Back-Pack-Compact-Pinstripe/dp/B004GLBYRC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1337728975&sr=8-5.

Both are very strong, and fit tightly when the straps are pulled tight. I can't say that they DO NOT BOUNCE (they do, a little) - but I have run a long way in both, and are the best I've found...
posted by mjg123 at 4:30 PM on May 22, 2012

6 weeks ago I picked up Osprey's Raptor Hydration Pack. I can cram a full 3Litres, a change of clothes, a pack towel, a stick of deodorant, my keys, phone, headphones, and 2 bars - if I need it to. Normally, I put in enough water for me to recover from rowing or lifting for an hour (generally 2L) and I store the rest of my gear. The hydration pack has a semi-stiff frame that form fits. I can say that the pack does not move. Period.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:10 PM on May 22, 2012

Thanks for all of the suggestions. After looking around at the advice you gave, I've ordered the Osprey Talon 11. It should arrive tomorrow and I'll try it out Friday. I'll update the thread with my thoughts for future running backpack users.
posted by atomicstone at 6:51 AM on May 23, 2012

So, for future running-commute-backpack searchers: the Osprey Talon 11 is perfect for my needs. Plenty of space, different kinds of pockets, rigid enough internal frame and narrow shape fits perfectly on my back. And those combined with a sternum and waist strap means it does. not. bounce. Also, the straps are these cool double looped things [a feature of ll Osprey bags, I think?] so you are never re-threading webbing and never have low hanging webbing straps to trip you up. WIN
posted by atomicstone at 8:23 PM on May 29, 2012

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