REVIEW – The Showers Pass Transit waterproof backpack is a high-capacity backpack that is made with waterproof materials. It features a highly customizable design for a comfortable and secure fit and LED beacon lights for safety in the dark. Read on to see what I think!
What is it?
The Showers Pass Transit waterproof backpack is a technical solution to the age-old question of how to protect the contents of a backpack from the elements. For years people have resorted to putting the contents of a backpack in waterproof containers inside the pack, covering the outside of the pack with a waterproof enclosure, or a combination of the two. The Transit backpack incorporates waterproof materials and construction into the design of the pack. The result is a backpack that should protect the contents no matter what you throw at it. Not only is the pack water resistant but it is comfortable to wear too. The pack design includes features for both daily use and more rigorous excursions.
What’s in the box?
Showers Pass Transit waterproof backpack
Design and features
Weight: 4 lbs
Capacity: 42 Liters, 5511 in3
Fits a 17” Laptop
360° 3M Reflective Trim
Beacon Light compatible
The Transit waterproof backpack is shipped in a box that is roughly 20″ x 14″ x 6″. The box is printed with the Showers Pass Mosaic Map (a custom mosaic of the world’s great cycling cities (Portland, New York, Washington DC, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Newcastle, Berlin, Sydney, and Taipei). The backpack only fits into the box with the base panel folded up and the sides folded in. In other words, The backpack has dimensions closer to a small suitcase.
Design of the Transit backpack
The water tightness of this backpack comes from 100% waterproof, fully welded construction with a single-side thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) waterproof coating on a rugged and durable 840-denier Nylon. The seams on the pack are all lap welded to ensure that no water penetrates the seam.
The bulk of the material is only waterproofed on one side. The one-sided construction permits the uncoated nylon side to dry out if it does get wet. Note that while this pack is waterproof, it isn’t necessarily submersible; the zipper on the main compartment is shielded from spray it may receive from rain but will leak if it is submerged. The zippers on the front and side of the back are watertight, with rubber gaskets that come together under compression when the zipper is closed. The tops of the zippers are protected from the rain by rubber boots.
Reinforcement stitching on the load lifters is also covered by the waterproof layer. Over the entire backpack there only appears to be three or four places where water could enter: the front compartment flap closure, the front compartment drain holes, the 3D mesh spacer stitching to the inside of the main compartment, and the main compartment zipper closure (with significant water exposure). Below is a picture of the front compartment drain holes taken when the pack is held upside down.
Over time, the TPU may also be compromised; there isn’t any reinforcement layer on the bottom and a seam or material failure here could be a route of entry if the pack is put down in a wet location.
The 3D mesh spacer back panels wick moisture dry quickly and allow air circulation while the pack is worn. There is a flexible plastic stiffening panel mounted along the back internal to the backpack. The panel is not rigid but provides enough support to ensure the pack stays upright while being packed and gives it some shape when carrying bulky light objects. The height of the shoulder straps to the hip belt is about 18″ from the base of the hip belt to the apex of the shoulder strap and is not adjustable. This is acceptable for most American men but perhaps too big for smaller women (according to NASA). An adjustable width and height sternum strap spans the shoulder straps and includes an elastic section (if this elastic section is not stretched then the tension of the strap is perfect). It looks as if the strap can be slid along the rail that it fits into, but once it is connected it doesn’t budge.
The strap must be pulled off the rail it clips on to in order to open and close the strap.
I’d prefer another quick release for this strap since it seems like the strap or the rail will break over time. The hip strap is adjustable on each side and can be folded backward and secured against the front panel when not in use. The clasp on the belt mates with corresponding clasps on the rear of the pack. The belt is also completely removable because it is attached by velcro below the lumbar support. The belt has a couple of pockets on it and can be used as a standalone fanny pack (or whatever you call them in GB).
The previously mentioned load lifters have an elastic retention strap that ensures the pack doesn’t bounce too much. The pack has a removable plastic support along the bottom of the main compartment and a plastic support built into the rear. These supports allow the bag to stand upright when not worn (assuming it is not packed top heavy).
The outside has a number of places to store items. The topside of the main compartment has a 7″ x 5″ fleece lined compartment. There is also a side pocket accessible from the outside that is not lined. The front pocket has side zippers and a stretchy mesh gusset on each side and it is designed to hold a bicycle helmet.
The hip belt has two zippered compartments, one with a key latch inside. Inside the main compartment is a fleece lined 17″ and 10″ computer/tablet sleeve. The compartments are secured about an inch from the base of the bag and the top can be closed with a velcro strap. There is a bottle pocket on the left and right of the inside.
The pack shows it’s cycling roots by not including a bottle pocket on the outside (because your water is mounted to the bike frame). On the inside front, there are two more generous bottle like pockets and another fleece-lined pocket.
There is also a ket latch on the inside of the main compartment.
The Shoulder straps have elastic nylon straps at the apex which can be used to mount hardware normally supported by a belt clip. There are 5 nylon daisy-chain loops on either side of the sternum and an aluminum clip in the center loop of each side. Oversized compression straps on the left and the right can be used to carry larger items, such as a D lock/U lock.
Large stripes on the shoulders, the Showers Pass logo, and Showers Pass brand name on the rear are made with 3M reflective materials. The picture below was taken in a dark room with the light from behind the camera.
Grommets on the side compression straps and on the front pocket support Beacon Lights. These are small lightweight battery powered LEDs in a water-resistant enclosure. They operate in three modes: a low-frequency flash for a total of 1000 hrs per battery, a rapid flash for 500 hours per battery, and a constant illumination for 50 hours per battery.
The battery is a CR2032. The light will automatically turn off after 2 hours.
I used the pack to hold a variety of items. Filled with a computer and a few pages of notes, the material moved around a lot inside, even when the compressions straps on the side were closed as much as possible. When I put a bit more inside to stabilize it (a rather large lunchbox) the performance improved. Most of the weight of the pack was on my shoulders. This is acceptable for day-pack operation and if you have a fairly forgiving bicycle seat. When I added more weight I noticed that the non-adjustability of the strap to hip-belt distance. The belt was too high, and making the shoulder straps longer just caused the pack to fall away from my body. I had a hard time using the belt as a load support. Maybe the belt is just designed to limit sway, but it has the look and feel of a load supporting part of the pack.
The beacon lights were tested on the pack about 100 ft away at night and they do light up rather well. The video is blurry because there is nothing for the camera to focus on, but you can see from the video that they do provide a good visual indication at night. The setting was the longest interval (longest battery life) in the video and all 4 beacon lights were on.
The last test performed was a waterproof test. I filled the entire contents of the bag with paper towels. I used a pillow in a white cotton case to fill out some of the bulk of the bag. Then I put the bag in the shower and hit it from each side for 5 minutes. At the end of the experiment, I dried off the outside of the pack and inspected the paper towels. Everything was dry except the front pocket. Below you can see a picture of the paper towel and the inside of the pocket with a water drip towards the top left of the picture.
my guess is that when I placed the pack on the floor of the shower some water entered the drain holes.
What I like
- highly visible
- water resistant
- Unique cycling design
What needs to be improved
- Fit adjustments
- Design of outer pocket
The size of this pack is truly spacious and the water-resistant design should be appreciated by anyone who has ever been caught in the rain. There are other manufacturers of waterproof, even submersible, packs that have about as much storage for less cost.
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