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On Why Your Backpack Is Your Life

Your backpack is ultimately more useful than even Yoda.

9 months into being car free, I’ve learned that your backpack is your life.  People who recently give up commuting by car often get frustrated because they are missing this fundamental item.

When I sold my Prius, the first thing I bought was a high quality North Face backpack.  I take it everywhere. It’s like my Yoda during  Luke’s training on Degabah, but instead of cryptic words of wisdom with odd syntax, it provides:

  • Reading material. Without a car, you often find yourself with more free time on a bus/train or chilling out in a park after a long bike ride. I carry at least 2 books at all times.
  • Umbrella. Consider this your parachute. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve biked halfway to wherever and been caught in a downpour.
  • Water. In the summer, you really shouldn’t be walking or biking long distances without a water bottle. Your backpack should have an external bottle holder. Can also hold beer.
  • Stuff for errands and work. Mailing things, doing things, carrying stuff for work. When I had a car, my backseat doubled as my second office.  Now a lot of my paperwork is in my backpack.
  • Things I can’t think of now but was glad I had with me.

So when you’re biking on new bike lanes, on a bus, or outrunning traffic trying to cross Eastern or Fleet, having a durable backpack will make life without a car much easier.

In other news, check out EcoVelo’s writeup on the financial benefits of going car free, and Mobilizing The Region discusses streetscape/complete street improvements and how they can help turn struggling neighborhoods around.

**Shout out to Joe’s bike shop for fixing my chronic flats and having chill staff.


  • Jessica

    Wallet, phone, bike lock keys, rain jacket, sunglasses, work shoes – in my case, heels.

  • Beans

    When I lived in Baltimore, I never carried a backpack because I had read things online from people who thought the reason they were singled out for muggings was because they looked like students when they were carrying backpacks. I got in the habit of always carrying my stuff in an unassuming plastic bag from CVS or Safeway.

    People didn’t ask me about it in Baltimore, but when I moved to DC, folks would say “You need to get yourself a backpack!”

  • Humanamerican

    Sounds like some Canton style paranoia, analogous to not going above Eastern Ave because “that’s where the ghetto starts.”

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