Mission Workshop Vandal
Pelican 1520 Loaded Vandal
Ride Through the Belgisch countryside
( 3 photos above show the Rambler model due to the theft of the tested Vandal in NYC )
Smooth, sleek and carries a hell of a freight, this bag is a work horse. Whether on your after-work shopping spree to your local farmers market or on a beer tour through Belgium, this weatherproof, commodious vessel will comfortably carry anything outside of a lawn sculpture. The back cushioning and padded shoulder straps protect your body through long commutes and rough terrain. If you consistently carry larger, heavy loads, I suggest purchasing the waistbelt (worth the additional $34.00). The waist belt helps keep the bag in place during quick climbs. I've used the Rambler as well and the differences in the two bags are minimal outside of the size difference. I upgraded to the Vandal because, to me, it's better to have more room and not need it then have more stuff than space.
In addition, there is plenty of room for a jacket, laptop, a sixer of brew, bike tools and room to spare while in compact mode. The bag expands out to a luggage sized bag that would accommodate everything but your bike on a long international trip, as my brother Ezz did in the fall of 2012. Here's what he had to say about the Vandal:
At the end of September, my lady and I embarked on trip to Amsterdam to visit some friends of ours who had just moved there. The plan for the trip was to spend 4 days in Amsterdam, followed by a 3 day biking excursion to breweries across the Belgisch countryside. The week of our travels I was scrambling around for a bag that would fit my needs, 1st off I HATE checking bags, I want them with me so I can zoom through the terminals and begin adventure time with the quickness!! So I went to my brother for assistance and he quickly offered his Mission Workshop Vandal bag to use; Within an hour I was packed, my whole weeks worth of clothes, shoes, & necessary electronics had filled the Vandal without any problems!
Upon arrival to Amsterdam and having a few days to explore all she had to offer, museums, boat rides, restaurants, and (cough, cough) other interesting places. The day before leaving for Belgium my lady and I decided it would be best to squeeze both our wardrobes for the next 3 days in the MW bag, and as we all know ladies need their finest when heading out and about, so needless to say the Vandal was packed to the brim! The next day we hopped on a train to Antwerp for an evening rendezvous before hopping on train # 2 for an hour ride to Ghent.
From the terminal in Ghent we went and picked up our weapons of choice, come to find these weapons were actually going to be 750 lb cruisers (more like 50lb) to go through the Belgisch Hilly countryside. I will admit at 1st I was a little worried about how the added 25-30 lbs in the Vandal would feel on my shoulders throughout the 7 hr/day rides, especially climbing steep hills with these massive bike. I got offers throughout the ride to either take a break or have my buddy carry my gear. I declined in both instances due to the fact that I felt totally fine, the straps did not rub while riding, and the weight was proportioned fine (with assistance of my impeccable packing skills!), I never felt like I needed to stop and shift the weight at any time.
After 3 days of 5-7 hour rides, with multiple beer stops and adding souvenir weight, I anticipated a certain degree of soreness from the straps after such a long trip with such a heavy bike...nothing, the only pain I felt was from my ripped thighs and that 1376 lb bike (again maybe 50ish lbs). After landing back in Atlanta my brother picked us up and asked how the bag worked out, in which I handed the bag to him and said 3 simple words, with authority: "Get me one!"
In the end, the Vandal by Mission Workshop is fantastic all-around use bag. It will take whatever you throw at it and provides an even balance so your not icing your back after a long ride wherever it may be;but it is not without its flaws, albeit very minor. Although the Vandal incorporates great organizational features, the front pockets do not articulate at all so their spaciousness depends on whats left over from the main compartment. Fine for magazines. The smaller side entry pockets are my favorites though, for keeping my wallet, phone and such.