This commuter pack is a fresh introduction to a recent accessory line from London firm Vulpine. We’ve generally been very impressed by clothing from Vulpine and so had high hopes for bag. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be a disappointment.
At £150 this isn’t a cheap item, but its styling could have you thinking otherwise – if it wasn’t for the Vulpine branding it would blend in among bags costing a lot less. Aesthetics though are obviously a matter of personal taste; it was the Commuter’s performance that left us cold.
The rectangular pack has an internal capacity of 14 litres, and that’s very useful. What isn’t so useful is just how you get access to that storage: first you’ve got to release a buckle that, as pretty as it may be, is just damn fiddly to use and never seems to quite engage or disengage in a satisfying way. You can’t adjust the tension of the straps this buckle hangs on either, so when the bag is empty it flops about somewhat.
The top flap of the bag then flips backwards to reveal a full-length double zip, which makes the commuter pack particularly easy to load large items into. The laptop section is adequately padded and will take a 13 or 15in laptop without issue. Inside there’s a polyester lining in Vulpine’s signature green along with two relatively shallow pockets and one very small zipped pocket. We found that for commuters carrying a lot of clothing it worked well but as soon as you start placing smaller items in the bag it’s hard to keep things organised.
Our biggest gripe with the commuter pack is that its design doesn’t allow for quick access to your stuff. Yes, there’s a zipped pocket at the top of the pack, but you can’t get access to this while wearing it. A phone or wallet sized pocket at the front strap would’ve made a big difference. Talking of straps, the Vulpine pack doesn’t include a chest one, and as you’d expect, that amounts to some movement while on the bike. Pulling the adjustable straps tight goes a long way to cure this but it’s hardly ideal.
No chest strap means this pack may not stay as still as you want it to
In use, the Chinese-made pack is comfortable enough though it does get rather warm – expect sweat patches if you’re going for it. The nylon outer is tough and has worn well – as it should – and the same can be said for the leather handle at the top. It has also proven itself to be impressively water-resistant, good enough to trust our expensive electronics in its pockets anyway. We also appreciated the sensibly placed and subtle reflective highlights and the bag’s useful external loops for lights or a D-lock.
There we go then. It may not all be doom and gloom but to us it seems obvious that this bag needs some work. A chest strap, and pockets that are accessible while in the saddle would improve things massively. Currently, it’s just not good enough to justify its price tag.