The Hybrid Backpack is a product designed to help you carry odd-sized items on your bicycle without having to transport them in a backpack, pannier or trailer.
The idea here is that by carrying large items on the back of your bike, you can eliminate the weight of carrying a pack on your back – thus reducing back pain, increasing the control you have over your bike, and decreasing the amount of sweat you create while cycling.
The idea behind the Hybrid Backpack is a good one, but the execution leaves much to be desired. In this review, I will attempt to show you 1) how the Hybrid Backpack works and 2) explain why this is a product that has a long ways to go before it ever finds a market.
To start, the manufacturer suggests that the items you might carry using the Hybrid Backpack include:
- A Backpack
- Shoulder Bag
- Books and Binders
- Cases of Water
- Boxes of Different Sizes
- Odd Shaped Objects
- Cases Of Beer
The Hybrid Backpack works by attaching the product (a black fabric shaped something like an arrow) to the rear rack of your bicycle. To do this, there are a series of Velcro straps that need to be set in place. Watch the video below (from the manufacturer) for more details:
Once the Hybrid Backpack as been secured to your bicycle’s rear rack, you then use the three long straps mounted to the front, rear and side of the rack to secure your belongings to your bike. In the images below, I have mounted a black camera bag to the rear of my bicycle using the Hybrid Backpack.
As you can see in the images above, the Hybrid Backpack does do a good job of securing the camera bag to the rear rack of the bike. And the fact that the color of the camera bag matches the color of the Hybrid Backpack does make for a somewhat fashionable profile.
After attempting the ride with my camera bag in stow, I tried attaching a large pannier to the Hybrid Backpack (just to see how it would handle the large, odd shape). Once again, the Backpack did a good job of keeping the pannier in place on the back of my bike. The three straps kept the pannier in place while riding and the large rear reflector might be nice for alerting passing vehicles of my presence.
Despite the fact that the Hybrid Backpack performed as it should, I couldn’t help but think to myself that the product was nothing more than an over-engineered bungee cord. In reality, it is little more than three straps hung over the rear rack of my bicycle.
So, I thought to myself, “I’m going to try riding my bike with the pannier mounted to my rear rack, but this time I’m just going to use bungee cords.”
In the photos below you can see that I have removed the Hybrid Backpack from my bicycle and am instead using two blue bungee cords to secure the waterproof pannier to my rear rack.
While the bungees caused the pannier to wiggle around a bit more than it did using the Hybrid Backpack, the bungees performed the basically same function. I imagine that if I had performed this test with three simple straps from my local hardware store, the results would almost identically mimic those of the Hybrid Backpack product.
It was this bungee test that really made me think, “This is something I would never use.”
In the end, the advantages of the Hybrid Backpack include:
- Being able to secure items to the rear rack of your bike.
- The fabric that is stretched over the rear rack of your bike works like a fender, to deflect rain, mud and snow.
- It has a nice big reflector on the back so as to alert passing vehicles of your presence.
The Disadvantages of the Hybrid Backpack are that:
- It’s way too difficult to attach and remove from the bicycle. There are way too many straps and buckles.
- It is little more than an over-engineered bungee cord. A cheap set of bungee cords or adjustable straps frm your local hardware store can perform the same basic function.
- It doesn’t fit perfectly on every type of rear bicycle rack.
- The way it attaches to the bike does not allow you to attach panniers to the sides of your bicycle. It would be nice if you could use a set of panniers in addition to the product.
- It is something that I could make myself.
- It costs way too much ($39.99 + $12.95 for shipping and handling). I might pay $10-$15 for the product, but not much more.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
For more information on the Hybrid Backpack, please visit: www.hybridbackpack.com
Review Status: The product featured in this review was sent to me for free for the purpose of this review.