KEEN is forging farther into the bike commuting realm with the KEEN Steel Bridge Backpack. They have a good offering in clipless sandals and shoes and are making headway with packs. It’s not surprising for a company that is based in Portland, OR. While the Steel Bridge isn’t necessarily a bike commute specific pack that’s precisely how I tested it when KEEN sent it to me to review.
KEEN Steel Bridge Backpack Features
- Shell: Polyester Ripstop
- Dimensions: 19.75″ x 12.5″ x 5″
- Capacity: 1648 cu in | 20 l
- 2 extra deep side bottle pockets
- Front zippered organizer pocket
- Main compartment has secure zippered pocket
- Padded laptop sleeve hold most 17 inch laptops
- Quick access zippered stash pocket on lid
- Reflective hits for safety on front and sides of bag
- Removeable hip belt
- Waterproof liner and hood for weather protection
- Price: $129.95
KEEN Steel Bridge Backpack Review
The KEEN Steel Bridge Backpack has the city streets in mind. This pack has just about anything you could want in a backpack for the commute. A big main compartment, a padded laptop sleeve with a strap to hold it in securely, smaller front pockets, organizer for the small stuff, a lid pocket, and water bottle pockets. It is extremely versatile and can carry just about anything you want.
The shoulder straps are nicely padded with mesh to carry loads in comfort and with good breathability. They also feature an adjustable sternum strap that slides up and down to get it just where you want it. The lid/hood is secured with two metal “hook-style” loop closures to keep everything secure and snug. Once it’s cinched down it isn’t coming undone on it’s own and it’s not going to loosen. You also don’t have to worry about getting pilfered either.
The laptop sleeve was big enough to hold my massive work laptop. I will say though, the sleeve doesn’t offer full coverage so if you bag tips over or lands top down, your laptop might get rocked. The bottom of the bag is stiff which helps provide additional protection for the contents and it features some non-slip pads to keep it from slipping around. The organizer compartment features a lot of little pockets and sleeves to keep the small stuff in order and a zipper keeps everything stowed away.
At just over 1600 cu in it’s big enough for most commutes and most trips. I was able to easily carry my laptop, u-lock & cable, tools/repair kit, pump, lunch, lights, rain gear (jacket and pants), wallet, iPod, phone, keys, water, and a few other things with room to spare. The pack also has a small daisy chain to give you a couple options for lashing stuff to the outside.
The Steel Bridge has decent reflectivity. There are reflective swatches on the front at the bottom and on the sides on the water bottle pockets. As a bike commuter I’d like to see a little more reflective elements all around and on the shoulder straps. I’d also like to see a place to clip a rear blinkie.
I had the pack out in the rain and in the snow and it kept everything dry. One important thing to note: when closed, the sides of the main compartment like to stick out past the lid (you can see this in the main image to the right). This is an invitation for water and disaster. When closing the lid and strapping it down be sure to tuck the sides in. Hopefully future designs will fix this so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Lots of pockets and organization
- Big enough to carry everything for the daily commute
- Could use more reflective elements (thinking of the bike commute here)
- Main compartment sides hang out past the lid and water could get in if they aren’t tucked back inside
The KEEN Steel Bridge is a good pack made to get you around the city streets with all your gear. Whether it’s running errands, cruising to school, or commuting to work the Steel Bridge will take care of you.