By Stan Purdum
- Fully and quickly convertible from pannier to backpack
- Includes padded tech-sleeve insert
- Strong locking hooks for attaching bag to bike rack
- Padded shoulder straps, foam padding and a chest strap when in backpack mode
- Five-year warranty
- Top of bag looks untidy when rolled closed without a full load inside
- Not all the good features of this bag are immediately obvious. A video on Craft Cadence’s website showing the features would be useful.
Weight: 2.4 pounds (bag) + 3.5 ounces (internal insert)
Volume: 25 Liters
How obtained: Sample from Craft Cadence
RBR advertiser: No
I’ve seldom found products that claim to work for two competing functions fully suitable for either one. The Craft Cadence’s Pannier Backpack Convertible, however, which is both a pannier and a backpack, gets high marks for both uses.
Craft Cadence is a UK company that promises delivery of their products within 5-9 working days anywhere in the world. They also give 1 percent of the order value of each sale to nonprofits that work to “make the world a little better.”
The Pannier Backpack Convertible is a full-fledged pannier with adjustable grip-tight buckles that work with almost any rear rack. It’s also an excellent backpack with padded shoulder straps, foam padding against your back and a chest strap.
In either mode, the internal padded insert, in high-viz yellow, with seven compartments and a key hook, provides solid protection for a laptop (up to 17 inches), other electronic accessories and assorted desk supplies. The insert is fully removable, so you don’t have to take it along when you don’t need it, but when you do, it stays securely in place in the bag thanks to two Velcro strips on the back of the insert that pair with strips on the inside of the bag. Obviously, with the insert, and coupled with the fact that the bag is waterproof, the Pannier Backpack Convertible is highly useful for people commuting to work. Without the insert, it’s a good general pannier for bike travelers and a good backpack for day trips.
A weak point in some panniers is that they attach to bike racks only by means of a pair of hooks and are held in place by a stretchy cord that attaches elsewhere on the rack. Once, when rolling over a bump while riding in traffic, I had one of those kind of panniers bounce off my bike and onto the road. Fortunately, the driver behind me was alert and stopped while I moved my bike to the side of the road and then retrieved the pannier, but it could easily have been run over or snagged on my rear wheel spokes and pitched me off the bike. Craft Cadence’s bag hooks, however, have latches that prevent the bag from detaching. The latches are easily operated by means of a strap, but once on the bike rack, the hooks stay engaged until the rider unlocks them.
My first thought when looking at the bag is that the hooks would be in the way and poking into my back when the bag was converted to its backpack function. But then I noticed a padded flap below the hooks that can be raised to cover the hooks. So I filled the pack and put it on my back, and found the flap sufficient to keep the hooks from bothering my back. When switching the bag back to a pannier, the shoulder straps slide out of sight into a zippered pocket on the back of the bag.
The Craft Cadence bag is waterproof, made from 600D polyester with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating and seamless welding construction. It has a roll top that you secure with straps and buckles. The front side of the bag has a large, zippered pocket and a series of five MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) strap loops for attaching miscellaneous items (the Craft Cadence site shows a D lock through two of the loops). There’s also a water bottle pocket on the side of the bag, which is especially useful when using the bag on an ebike, where some of the space traditionally used to mount water bottles is now occupied by a battery.
The bag is quite roomy — it offers 25 liters of space — which leads to my only complaint: When using the bag with less than a full load in it, the top doesn’t roll down as tidily as it does when filled up (to see what I mean, compare my photos of the closed bag with those on the Craft Cadence site). This is a small matter, however, and even when not as snugly fitted, the top still keeps water out.
The bag comes with a five-year warranty.
Stan Purdum has ridden several long-distance bike trips, including an across-America ride recounted in his book Roll Around Heaven All Day, and a trek on U.S. 62, from Niagara Falls, New York, to El Paso, Texas, the subject of his book Playing in Traffic. Stan, a freelance writer and editor, lives in Ohio. See more at www.StanPurdum.com.