Apidura Metropolis Backpack Evaluation: Easy, sensible and handy
Apidura has been at the forefront of the bikepacking scene for a decade, developing ultra-light, rackless packaging systems that allow riders to push the “Pack Light, Travel Far” mantra further than ever before.
However, Apidura has kept quietly closer to his home by slowly building up his "City Series". The brand has just released its new city backpack, which uses the same construction philosophies that Apidura has almost perfected in its range of panniers without a luggage rack.
This is how Apidura describes the bag:
“The City series from Apidura brings precisely manufactured technical equipment into the urban environment, inspired by the rigors of bicycle packaging and designed for city life. The city rucksack is a modern, stylish everyday rucksack that moves seamlessly through the city, so that you can feel comfortable on and next to your bike in any environment. The City Backpack is made of a tailor-made waterproof and abrasion-resistant marble fabric and has a subtle design that pays tribute to Apidura's legacy as a bike packer without being bike-specific.
The city backpack was developed to reflect these challenges. The transition between wet commuting, daytime and evening social activities is seamless and without drawing attention to the fact that you arrived by bike. The backpack is based on Apidura's “less is more” design philosophy and dispenses with traditional, adventure-inspired design features that have been reworked for the reality of city life. Instead, it draws on years of experience to develop waterproof backpacks that do not compromise on ease of use. ”
What I like
To put the scene in the limelight, I would rate myself as a hardcore commuter with 3.5 out of 5 points. I do small purchases on my bike, drive to the office three times a week (25 km each way) and only ride in the rain when I have to. This means that a backpack is an integral part of my daily routine and I've had many years to figure out what I like and what I don't like.
This could be the most comfortable pendulum backpack I've ever used. I know … big call. That's not to say that I put it on and think "ahhh" like a new pair of shoes, but that it offers the kind of ungrateful comfort that you barely notice it's there.
I've had countless shoulder injuries and backpacks start to irritate me again and again after 20 minutes, but thanks to the thought-out cushioning and support in combination with the chest and hip straps that distribute the load (which are cleverly adjustable), this backpack couldn't. Don't be less intrusive. It's incredibly light when empty, but feels durable and solid.
As a side note, I always notice how easy these straps are to attach and detach. Thanks to a simple but effective stowage mechanism, no additional strap falls in the wind. It seems such a small detail, but I am happy every time I use the backpack.
The chest and waist straps are adjustable, incredibly easy to attach / detach, and additional straps are hidden and kept clean in a simple but effective way
Of course, it looks like a sack because of its simplicity and elegant appearance, but there is far more to it than that.
I can bring this to the office on my bike or show up for a semi-formal meeting without looking like I'm going camping. The blemish resistance has been remarkable after a month of use, and a quick wipe is all it takes to get it looking new again.
Inside there is a case for a laptop, a couple of mesh pockets for pens, wallets, etc., and a small zippered pocket for safer storage. I can't find out exactly how many liters the total size is on the Apidura website (I guess 20 liters) but in total there is roughly enough room for a rolled up shirt, pants, and possibly shoes (at this point it is quite full). On the outside there is a zip pocket for keys that you can access quickly. I like the overall size and the minimalist approach because it allows me to pack efficiently and only have to take what I need.
In general, I also like Apidura's approach to sustainability and what they stand for. They don't make a big deal of yelling about it, but the company is on the cutting edge of developing world-class products that are built to last with no gimmicks. It means a lot to me and I will definitely support brands that lead with this ethos.
What is wrong with me?
Personally, I've always been interested in pendulum backpacks with 2-3 different compartments to store my things. This means I keep things like a hose and pump in a less accessible area, put dirty shoes in a different area, fold a shirt and pants in a separate room (instead of rolling them), and my lunch in a different location can keep (in the event of a Tupperware disaster). There are many things like toiletries, basic tools or a rain jacket that I always stow away and rarely need access to that I like to keep out of sight.
In a fairly simple backpack like this one from Apidura, I took everything out to find something that made its way to the bottom of the main compartment. My usual favorite is Rapha's travel backpack, which holds a lot more than it looks and keeps my various items separate. Still, it's not the perfect commuter backpack (and it doesn't say it's designed for that) either.
I'm a big fan of Apidura's rack-less pannier bags, and the same subtle details, clever thoughts and design considerations are reflected in the brand's new City Series backpack. I only use Apidura's panniers once in a blue moon, but it's wonderful to be able to use this backpack every day to be reminded of how good their products are. While it lacks some features that suit my own use case, the convenience of the backpack more than makes up for it and I will certainly continue to use it.
Visit Apidura.com for more information.