I’ve been using the Vaude Women’s Roomy backpack since September 2009 and I wanted to offer up some thoughts on things that have stood out about the pack over this period of time. The feel of the pack when worn is something that surprises a lot of women when I pass it around for people to try on at skills clinics, on social rides, or if someone’s complaining about shoulder discomfort from a different pack option.

The mid-sized 17+3L pack doesn’t look overly huge, but something else that seems to surprise people is just how much you can fit in it without straining the zips.  Most days for me, this means a MacBook, a pile of uni notes, food, warm clothing, a large drink bottle and money to buy more food.  Well thought-out compartments provide easy access to things like an mp3 player, wallet, house keys, and there are non-scratchy places left over for stashing my sunnies when it gets dark.

When the Roomy really comes into it’s own is filled up with a bladder, a pantry full of snacks and my SLR camera on long rides.  Because it is a women’s design the distribution of weight across my back is noticeably more comfortable when compared with many unisex packs I’ve used in the past. It stays where it starts rather than slipping to one side or smacking you in the helmet on rough singletrack – something that tends to make a lot of riders avoid backpacks like the plague.  When empty, the Roomy only weighs 150gms more than my regular hydropack so the comfortable fit means I end up using it for shorter rides more often than I first expected as well.

If I could change anything about the Roomy, I’d make the bottom front pocket a fraction wider so it opens a little bigger, but I could also rid my wallet of a bunch of receipts from last December’s Christmas shopping and then fitting it in said pocket would no longer be an issue!

I wanted to point out some of the things that don’t stand out about a new pack at first glance, but recommend you throw a few heavy items in one and try it on at your local bike shop or outdoor store if you’re interested to know more.  If you’re going on some fairly long rides and commutes, or a laptop satchel is pulling annoyingly on your shoulder, I reckon it’s worth knowing that there are some well fitting products out there that are good for your posture and keep the fun in long rides – or in the case of the Roomy, can fit so much stuff in them, you can go on even longer ones!

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