TESTED: Ortlieb Velocity Pack


Ortlieb Velocity Pack
Price: $95
Contact: 253-833-3939, www.ortliebusa.com

The Ortlieb Velocity pack is the waterproof llama of backpacks. If you had a pile of cubic inches sitting around, the Velocity could carry 1,220 of them — and keep them dry and secure with a roll-top closure and Velcro strap.

Waist and sternum straps fully secure your load, and the Velocity’s ample padding is nice when it’s fully loaded. Inside the Velocity there’s a removable stash pocket to hold your wallet, keys and tools. “But where will I put my cellular phone?” you ask. No worries — it’s business as usual with the aid of an optional cell phone “holster” on the shoulder strap for quick-draw response.

The Velocity comes in gray, black, blue and a shade of yellow that screams “I’m over here!” — which is very helpful if you are about to become a hood ornament or are trying to signal search planes.

This isn’t a trail-riding backpack and never claimed to be, but you can fit a lot of junk in your trunk with the Velocity’s huge carrying capacity, and anyone who rides bikes in the rain will appreciate the bag’s waterproof utility value. It’s perfect for carrying groceries, books and important papers during monsoon season or the occasional spur-of-the-moment sprint through the sprinklers.

Since this is not specifically a mountain bike pack, overall width was less of a concern for Ortlieb. Rolled up as tight as it will go, the roll-top closure sticks out menacingly and obscures the view over your shoulder, making it dangerous in traffic and susceptible to tree-branch snags. To its credit, the Velocity came out of many a wipeout completely unharmed and ready for more abuse.

As bags go, the Velocity is tougher than Mr. T’s grandma, but it’s a wide load like the T himself. I pity the fool who wears it while riding down trails with overgrowth. — JFitz