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I carry a 15" laptop, headphones, tablet and other misc items in my backpack during the bike ride. This makes me sweaty in the back.

Are there 'breathable' backpacks specifically meant for bike riding that would reduce the sweatiness?

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    Not a pack and not and not posted as an answer. Way more comfortable not riding with a pack. ortleib.com/… – paparazzo Sep 10 '14 at 21:41
  • possible duplicate of Rec for bike backpack with side zipper into main compartment and a dozen other questions, please learn to use search. – mattnz Sep 10 '14 at 21:43
  • I've tried a few various rucksacks over the years touted as "breathable" etc but in practice none of them really made any difference. Perhaps I am too sweaty to get any benefit. A record style bag with one strap might help: if the bag doesn't cover your whole back then it should be less sweaty. – adey_888 Sep 11 '14 at 1:10
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Nothing works as well as panniers for keeping your back dry, that said, Deuter backpacks have an "AirMesh" that places a mesh wire (laminated) against your back with space between the backpack itself and your back for improved air circulation. It works reasonably well as I used this with a laptop for a few years until I smartened up and went with panniers.

Deuter 3D Airmesh

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    I've seen these but never used one - it looks like it would shift the load quite a long way from your back. I'm used to packing rucksacks with the heaviest stuff low and close (from hiking but it holds if you have to ride with it -- it's more stable). – Chris H Sep 11 '14 at 9:06
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    I never noticed the load shifting more than a regular design. The air gap reduces substantially when you actually put the pack on and it flexes to the form of your back. The internal frame keeps things stable. My only complaint is reduced storage space relative to a backpack of comparable total size. – Rider_X Sep 11 '14 at 16:19
  • I think what cracks me up about these bags is that for females they just added a flower. LOL – Majed Sep 11 '14 at 16:48
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The easiest solution is to get the stuff off your back (put the backpack on a rack/basket or use panniers with a rack).

However, lots of companies make "active backpacks" which are designed to prevent back sweat, usually with some extra spacers or something so that the backpack is not completely in contact with your back, such as this timbuk2 bag.

Messenger bags also work to some extent, since they have lower contact area with your back.

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  • Have not used that one, but can tell you from vast experience with backpacks, you will get a sweaty with it. Truly "active" people usually care more about weight distribution and load shifting than a bit of sweat, so you need to look for something targeting commuter/city users. – mattnz Sep 11 '14 at 8:18
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I use this one: enter image description here

More images here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=quechua+forclaz+22

It has a breathable back and a special hole for water bag.

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I have a MEC Air Hike backpack that I use when I'm on my bike that doesn't have racks. They seem to have changed the design a bit since I bought it. Mine has smaller bumps on the back all over the back. Looks like this new design offers even more breathability. This backpack also has a somewhat stiff back, which I find great for cycling. You can just throw stuff into the pack, and don't have to worry about it jabbing you in the back. The waist belt and chest strap help keep it from flopping around on your back. Mine is also hydration compatible. Too bad they don't appear to sell that model anymore.

enter image description here

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Your best chance of relief is a design that features many small pads on the back to help ( as best they can ) keep your back away from the heart of the pack and let some air circulate.

Here are just a few examples, but there are no doubt many more out there:

http://www.ortliebusa.com/prodInfo.asp?pid=322&cid=2

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/commute_1/radial_34

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Here is the backpack I use. I live in Minnesota so we need to worry about hot 30c and cold -30c - This backpack breaths well, but of course you will sweat when it is 30c. This works for everyday use as well as bike commuting

enter image description here

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I have a breathable backpack from Vaude. It helps a bit, but if you get sweaty during the ride, your shirt still gets wet with sweat wherever the straps are.

Panniers work much, much better.

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