TUCANO URBANO BEAK PACK
855g 20 litres Grey (as tested) £74.99
Fans of puns about toucans won’t be the only people interested in this cycling back-pack from Tucano Urbano. Thoroughly Italian in its stylish utility, definitely one for the urban commuter searching for high level function with civilian appearance.
Pros: Lots of stylish and functional features.
Cons: Not fully waterproof.
Polyester, our old friend, forms the bulk of the fabric, with just 5% PVC. Described as water -repellent, rather than waterproof, there’s a sharkskin effect outer, with a well-fitting lining. So, belt and braces suggest waterproof bags for the goodies inside. Mind you, there is a 100% polyamide waterproof cover stashed away in zipped base pocket. A tropical toucan scene brightens up the cover lining; similar is on the hem of the drawstring
Internally, the laptop pocket – comfortably takes a MacBook Pro (32x22x1.7cms), but not much bigger – has a Velcro flap to hold things tight. Three other open pockets of varying sizes hang from it for odds and ends. This has left plenty of space in the main compartment for pullover, waterproof and such-like.
Externally, apart from the base-pocket, there’s a zip-secured pocket in the flap and a more obvious pocket in between. The latter has a storm-flap secured by press-studs. Mind you, it is not technically waterproof, so it’s been home to gloves, Tucano Urbano’s Pettorina Windbreaker, and similar accoutrements. Two rings just above secure a net that lurks with the waterproof cover in that base pocket. Blinkies? Well, I’ve not found any that are really suitable. Having said that, the dayglo reflective waterproof cover gives good presence.
Fidlock magnetic buckles secure the main flap – similar to those on the Fidlock Bottles – which came as a bit of a surprise, but is a definite plus when gloved-up.
A couple of reflective features are helpful, without being truly significant. A nice touch is the inclusion of a karabiner and a carry handle.
Climate control comprises two mesh-covered pads which leave a long non-contact strip down the spine.
In my humble opinion, I’d not want to go a lot above 20 litres for a cycling rucsac. In that sense, the Beak Pack Back Pack is at the limit. A little larger than the Chrome Urban Ex 18
litre capacity pack, its surprising how much an additional 2 litres helps. Having said that, the flap top is less flexible than the Ex 18’s roll-top. Dimensions are 29x16x45 cms, are unsurprisingly a little larger than the Urban Ex 18.
Laptop (see above), Proviz CRS Plus Jacket, snacks for the day, and water bottle all swallowed, without resort to externals. No problem with a large cod and chips on the ride home after post-work drinks.
I’m six feet, spot on. Perfectly good fit. Tucano Urbano don’t give a back-size range, but there’s plenty of adjustment in the straps, so unless you are particularly tall or short, you should be ok.
The shoulders are well padded and the chest strap keeps things stable. There’s a waist belt for off-bike use, but I’ve come to ignore it. Frankly, it is for heavier loads than I’ll be carrying in a 20 litre sack. Fortunately, the Velcro-secured waist strap is easily dispensed with.
Mesh-covers, padded, shoulder straps are pretty much the norm, as are webbing straps and belts, not to mention plastic quick release buckles.
Tucano Urbano hint that this is not just a cycling rucsac when suggesting removing the waist strap for “two wheel use.” Having said that, any commuter or leisure sac worth its salt will be multi-faceted It is not one for corvetting down the red route, but on both tourer with drops, flat bar utility tractor, and sit-up-and-beg bikes, it’s felt stable enough and comfortable.
Get above a steady 12-15 mph and you’ll challenge the climate control pads. In that sense, I’ve found the criss-cross pattern on some other sacks a bit more effective, but only marginally, and it could well be personal preference.
Water-repellent? Well definitely. The heaviest shower has not yet caused a problem, but if you are likely to be out all day in the rain, I’d go with the waterproof cover and waterproof bags or a sac liner inside. Drizzle has had little impact, and, frankly, a ten-mile commute rarely keeps me out long enough to get a drenching. Droplets of rain roll off, though the fabric does wet-up on the outside.
On that topic. The net is distinctly useful for drying a wet jacket well-away from precious goodies and electricals. I suspect the intended use was to stow a helmet – which does.
Drying time after a forty-minutes in the drizzle has been in the order of an hour; after a sharp downpour a bit less.
With lots of helpful features, stylish look, and solid construction, the Beak Pack Backpack has a lot to offer the style conscious commuter. Hell and high water commuters may prefer a fully waterproof model. However, I’d definitely give it a look at nearly £20 less than the Chrome Urban Ex18, it is competitively priced for this kind of gear.