Several months ago I joined in on a Kickstarter campaign from MiiR who were developing a new line of backpacks which I thought would, among other things, be useful for bicycle commuting. After a rather long wait I have finally received my rewards for participation: A MiiR 20 liter daypack, 1 liter pouch, special edition white 23 ounce Vacuum Insulated Bottle, and a special edition white Howler.
While waiting on my swag I was slowly growing more, and more impatient. I kept getting updates saying that the bag was going through a redesign and that the expected shipping date was being moved back (I think the original shipping date was early April). Not being the most patient of people, this was beginning to annoy me. As it turns out, the package was well worth the wait, and now I feel a bit childish for my impatience. There’s probably a proverb of some sort which applies; maybe starting with the line “all good things…” or something to that effect.
Obviously, the first thing I inspected was the reason for the campaign in the first place: the bags. The pack went through so many redesigns that it barely resembles the initial bag that I signed on for. This isn’t a bad thing though, since this bag is, to me, much better than I had hoped for, and, as far as I’m concerned, the perfect commuting pack.
The MiiR Daypack is a basic top-load, roll-top design with a large main compartment, and a side zippered access. Despite the basic design idea, this bag is far from ‘basic.’ There is a small zippered pocket on the inside of the bag which would be great for wallet, phone, or other small important items that one wouldn’t want to have to dig around in the bottom of the bag for. Behind that pocket is a padded sleeve for up to a 15″ laptop. On the outside of the bag there’s another zippered pocket large enough to hold maps, notebooks, or other similar sized objects including their 1 Liter pouch which fits perfectly inside. It would also be a good place to keep a rain jacket, helmet cover, and, for those of us who have aqua-phobic leather saddles, a seat cover. There’s even an obligatory key clip in the outer pocket, sewn daisy chain loops for a U-lock on the outside of the bag, and a deep water bottle pocket, which, oddly enough, perfectly fits a MiiR 23 ounce vacuum bottle. Go figure.
The bag’s material is quite beefy and, according to MiiR’s website, water resistant. I understand why they hesitate to call it ‘waterproof’, but, barring a Genesis-level downpour, or falling into a canal, I personally wouldn’t worry about water with it. One touch I really like with it is the light-blue color of the lining inside the pack (as well as in the 1 liter pouch) which makes finding things much easier than would a black lining.
Other details I really like are the strap keepers which keep the latching and shoulder strap ends from flailing around in the wind; the small loop on the shoulder straps which appears to be a perfect place to clip an MP3 player; and the main compartment buckle which is a magnetic clip design that is totally new to me.
This bag is definitely going to make a great replacement for my current ‘purse’, an Osprey Talon 22. And, with the 1 liter pouch for my wallet, phone, keys, etc., I now have a great ‘clutch’ to go with it.
As much as I like the bags, the bottles which came with the bags really excited me. I already have a MiiR growler which I bought from my favorite local brewery, but wanted something smaller for touring, and general riding around the city. Enter the Howler, which is a 32 ounce (read: two pints) version of the growler and should serve perfectly as a way to get a couple of cold beers to a campground or park by bike. I can’t even count how many times I have sat at a campground after riding all day, and wishing I had a beer. That is no longer an issue.
The vacuum bottle also has a purpose already, which is to serve as a replacement for my recently dissapeared REI vacuum bottle which has held my morning coffee for the last two years. The MiiR bottle holds just as much of the life giving brew, and has the added bonus of fitting quite well into a bicycle water cage…win, win.
Add in that both bottles are a special edition white color and design which appeals to my “I’m special”-vanity, and I am a very satisfied backer.
One very big thing which drew me to MiiR in the first place and deserves a mention, is that they use a portion of the revenue from their products to help fund water, education, and bicycle mobility projects in places which can really benefit from them. I already support one of their partners, the World Bicycle Relief, and really like the idea that some of the money I spend on what is, essentially, entertainment goes toward helping people with much more pressing concerns than how to transport craft beer to a park.