Workout backpack vs running backpack
I’ve gone through quite a few different backpacks in 8 years of personal training and I can say that the Vaude Bike Alpin is the best workout backpack I have used.
As an outdoor personal trainer, I carry my work on my back. All day. And although I mostly focus on body weight exercise (calisthenics), there’s still a variety of equipment to carry in my backpack. Plus, when I have finished with clients for the day, I do need to take the same backpack on a workout with me. That can include hill runs, plyometrics and various bodyweight exercises such as inverted rows, pull-ups and burpees. So the pack goes through more of a 360 degree workout than just running
What else is required of a workout back pack? For me, it needs to hold: a full set of resistance bands, water bottle, boxing mitts and pads. Also, an anorak, spare socks or t-shirt, some post workout food, and client notes. Even some ankle/wrist weights or other small training weight.
The best way to wear a workout backpack
When rucksack-manufacturers start designing daypacks, they tend to lose the hip belt. Or at least any kind of useful, wide and padded belt. This Vaude has both a moderately, padded hip belt plus a sternum strap.
These two elements are essential for getting the pack to sit on the hips first and foremost, not the shoulders. With weight pulling down on the shoulders, tension arises and travels up the neck of the course of a day. By loosening the shoulder straps, then sitting the hip belt around the pelvis structure, then pulling the sternum strap tight, the pack’s weight is more evenly distributed along the length of the spine. This pack’s lightweight metal frame helps a great deal too without feeling like you’re hauling around a shopping trolley.
I like compartments and this pack has several including one inside the main compartment which will hold a laptop or tablet. If you’re training on the way to work – say, a commuter run – then this pack will preserve work clothes away from smelly training gear. The separate floor compartment is ideal for wet/sweaty/dirty items, or even a pair of shoes if packed right.
At the top of this back pack is an easily-accessible trio of compartments, made easily-accessible by the absence of a flip-over lid. I prefer this in a daypack. The flip-over lid on bigger packs works well as a rain cover when hiking all day. But for commuting/workout usage it’s overkill. Especially when the Bike Alpin also comes with its own full rain cover, stuffed into the bottom-most compartment.
These top-loading pockets are extremely useful when you want to stop and pull out your phone from the pack, or small change, or house keys.
To summarise: this is a versatile pack, not just for biking (which I don’t). Great construction and after two years of solid use still looking pretty good.