Folks new to bike commuting always ask me: how do I carry my stuff? The obvious initial choice is to carry a backpack.
But backpacks can cause the dreaded sweaty back (not ideal when you’re headed to the office). And they can put a lot of strain on your back and shoulders.
The next upgrade are panniers. These attach to a rack on the rear of your bicycle and allow you to carry all your gear while taking the load off your body. The problem with panniers, however, is that it’s difficult to carry them into the office (or store) once you get there.
The solution? A bag that converts from a backpack to a pannier!
The Two Wheel Gear 2.0 PLUS Pannier backpack quickly and easily moves from the bike to your back. It’s big enough to carry all your gear–laptop, lunch, library books, you name it.
Sounds cool, right? But how did it perform in real life? Find out in this review.
Review In A Nutshell
- Ideal for taking to the office or for running errands
- Padded, dedicated pocket for your laptop
- Comfortable straps and back
- Main compartment unzips all the way for easy loading/unloading
- Strap to carry your helmet
- 2 year warranty
- Not as big as a double sided pannier
Makes The Bike Life A Little Easier
A lot of times I’ll test a bike product for a few weeks or months, but then never use it again. It might be a great product but it just doesn’t fulfill my needs or fit my lifestyle.
The Two Wheel Gear 2.0 PLUS Pannier Backpack, on the other hand, is something that has already become a part of my daily life. There’s no way I’m getting rid of this thing once this review is finished.
Unlike most people probably reading this review, I don’t commute to an office each day. I work from home.
I do, however, make 95% of my trips by bicycle. On week days, I drop my son off and pick him up from school on my Radpower Radwagon. I go the grocery store, library, coffee shop, etc all on my bike.
And the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack goes all those places with me now. I can easily take my laptop to the park to work while my son plays. We stop on the way home and pick up groceries for dinner.
With traditional panniers, I’ve always had to use bags inside the panniers to carry items from the store to the bike or from the garage to the house. With the pannier backpack, I just pop it off the bike and carry it inside with me.
Whatever you go by bike–work, the gym, the bar–a pannier backpack just makes the bicycle lifestyle a little bit easier.
Holds A TON
The Two Wheel Gear 2.0 PLUS Pannier Backpack has 30L of interior storage space. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, just know that it’s a lot of room.
There are several pockets–a main compartment (with additional organization pockets), a laptop compartment, and two smaller front pockets. The main compartment unzips all of the way which I found really helpful for loading and unloading the backpack and finding my gear inside without having to dig. It’s big enough for gym shoes and a change of clothes, a few days worth of groceries, all your library books, or whatever else you might need to haul.
The top front pocket is just the right size to fit a phone or sunglasses and has a soft lining to keep them from getting scratched. The bottom front pocket is intended for an umbrella or lock. I didn’t use it for either, stashing my wallet in there instead.
The laptop compartment was big enough for my 15 inch laptop and did a good job of keeping it protected and dry. There are also bottle pockets on both sides of the pack, and latch spots on the front to secure your helmet.
While the 2.0 PLUS is impressively large, there were a few times (mostly at the grocery store) that I wished I had my double sided panniers instead. No matter how big a backpack is, it will never be as large as dual panniers.
Converts Quickly And Easily
It took me a few tries to get the hang of, but once you’ve got it, the 2.0 PLUS is a cinch to convert from backpack to pannier (and back again). You simply unbuckle the shoulder straps, tuck them into the rear pocket, and secure the latch to your rack. The whole thing takes 15 seconds or less.
One important thing to note, however, is that the latch system only works on “standard” racks (those with rails between 6-16 mm in width). If you have a longtail cargo bike, like I do, your rails may be too wide. I still managed to work around this, by strapping the pack to the rack via the backpack straps. It worked but wasn’t as quick or as elegant.
Add The Wet Sack For Even More Convenience
In addition to the pannier backpack, I also tested out the Two Wheel Gear Wet Sack. It’s a 5L zippered water proof bag that’s big enough to carry stinky gym shoes or dirty clothes. I liked using it to bike home from the pool with a wet swimsuit and towel inside. Throw the wet sack inside your backpack to further help separate and compartmentalize everything you need for your day.
For years, I’ve been using a wet bag intended for cloth diapers for just this purpose. It was nice to graduate to a bag intended for adult gear!
It’s been a wet fall where I live, and there have been several days where I’ve biked in the rain with the pannier backpack. Fortunately, the material is waterproof and kept my gear inside (including my laptop) totally dry–even in a major downpour.
Two Wheel Gear does offer a rain cover as well. Throwing it one is a good choice if you live in a particularly rainy climate and have a long commute. For the occasional rainstorm, however, you’ll be just fine without it.
Comfortable As A Backpack
The best thing about the Pannier Backpack is that it works well and doesn’t look dorky as a backpack. In fact, I think it looks more fashionable in real life than it does in the pictures.
It’s also comfortable as a backpack. The back is straight and hard so I didn’t get jabbed by the contents of the pack. The straps are slightly padded and comfortable as well.
In fact, I liked the pack so much, I used it as a carryon for a trip to Mexico. That says a lot if you can use a piece of gear for multiple purposes!
Bottom Line: A Tool To Help Your Bicycle Commute Go A Little Easier
Let’s admit it: biking more and driving less can be a challenge. It’s a worthy commitment, but it can still require extra effort and planning.
The Two Wheel Gear 2.0 Plus Pannier backpack helps make that commitment a little easier. It can hold everything you need for your day and converts quickly and easily. It’s a handy tool for the bike life.