Compact Bags for the Cyclist: ChicoBag Review
ChicoBag™ makes great little compact bags made of recycled materials that can be transformed into a commuter’s best tool when needed: a backpack or messenger bag for carrying items when needed. Picture this scenario: you are out on your bike and pass by the farmer’s market, a garage sale, or a friend’s house and then find yourself in need of carrying home some irrestible item that you simply must have right then. If you have only a plastic grocery sack with which to carry your item, it can be quite awkward. But these great little bags from ChicoBag™ can go from purse-sized bag to backpack or messenger bag and save the day. How well do they perform? We gave bags to two college students and they thoroughly used them for a month and give us their complete reviews which are below.
I have had the opportunity to use the bag five or six times and there are things that I like and things that could be changed. First, I really love how compact it is and I think this concept is hugely important to the commuter cyclist. I have just stuffed it into my saddle bag, or clipped it to my water bottle holder and its size is just great, and easy to take out and stuff back down. I also like the magnetic clips because it is not bulky like a zipper but I still feel like my stuff is secure and safe. I also like the material because it is durable and reliable; I don’t feel like I need to take special care of it. In fact it has actually taken a bit of a beating and it is holding up very well!
A few cons: even at the strap’s smallest setting the bag rides very low and I have found myself moving it around on my back a lot in order to prevent it from hitting the tire, the strap needs to be able to get very tight seeing as it is intended to sit high up on a cyclist’s back. The other issue is that the bag continually slips forward from my back to my side while I am riding. This could be due to either the slippery material that it is made out of, or maybe the shape of the strap and/or bag itself. Either way I have found myself worrying about whether or not it is going to slip forward on me while I am riding along.
Those are my two suggestions, but I really do think that it is a great bag and the concept of having it compactable is absolutely fantastic, and much needed in the women’s cycling community.
This bag starts out as a roughly fist sized pouch that can be strapped to anything. This bag then turns into what appears to be a backpack. Without anything in it the bag is not noticeably heavy. The fact that is made from nearly 100% recycled everything helps relieve my guilty conscience for existing and buying things and using resources. Given this start, I had very high expectations for the bag and wanted it to function as well as a regular backpack. I stuffed it full of books, pencils, pens and a calculator and my lunch during my last few weeks of school. The bag was not as comfortable with a heavy load. The straps had a tendency to fall off my shoulders until I McGyvered a chest strap together. The bag never gave way under the load, but it always felt like it could bust a seam at any second.
But then something wonderful happened, I graduated from college and stopped needing to haul heavy things around. I started using the bag as it should be used; as an object of convenience. When I did not need to haul an entire days worth of things in it the bag was wonderful. I could bring a library book back to the library and then smoosh the bag back into its pouch and strap it to my bike. One day I was biking past a bakery and the smell was too tempting. I stopped, bought a loaf of deliciousness and was able to carry it home because the ChicoBag™ was conveniently attached to my bike. I forgot the bag was there until I needed it and then it really came through and performed.