It’s easy to spot when a designer who loves packs builds a pack for other pack enthusiasts. Such is the case with the Life Behind Bars Peloton Asphalt.
No, “Life Behind Bars” is not a euphemism for prison life and their packs aren’t made by convicts. The good folks at LBB are Jakarta, Indonesia-based biking enthusiasts and their goal is to make durable, functional, and stylish gear for urban active cyclists. In truth, I’m probably not their target demographic. I don’t bike commute to work or get around often on a bike. But, I do endure a daily work commute via train into a large U.S. city and our mutual goals align when it comes to carrying packs that meet the aforementioned criteria. I also promote larger packs for commuters because an urban daily carry pack often has to serve in multiple roles. Work bag? Gym Bag? Frequently. Grocery Bag? Occasionally. Get Home Bag? Let’s hope not but judging from recent events, it can definitely happen. And the 34 Liter Peloton Asphalt, which can expand to 48L unrolled along with the ability to also carry large bulky items externally via it’s well designed compression strap system, definitely fits that criteria.
To go on the record, I’m not a huge fan of roll top packs. I like the extra measure of protection they offer against inclement weather but otherwise, I find the act of rolling and unrolling the top to be a pain. It just serves as a constant reminder of why I prefer panel loaders to top loaders for EDC. Also, most roll tops (for whatever reason) tend to have a single large main compartment with no organization for smaller items. Which is disappointing to say the least since I think there are some cool looking roll top bags out there (Mission Workshop’s line comes to mind).
That said, when I stumbled upon the Life Behind Bars Peloton Asphalt, I instantly recognized that this roll top is a different animal. First, the bag has three external zippered pockets.
Two wallet-sized organizer pockets on the front that are protected by YKK Aquaguard zippers….
…and deceptively billowed to create some dimensional volume. A nice design since they lay nearly flat when empty. In between them are vertical PALS webbing that can be used to attach a carabiner or light.
Another slightly larger passport/valuables pocket is effectively hidden against the back panel but reachable if you slide the pack onto one shoulder.
The Peloton Asphalt also has a decent admin panel that includes some elastic loops, sewn mesh pockets, and a larger zippered compartment made from a transparent mica material so you can see the contents inside it. Behind the panel in the flap is a long YKK Aquaguard zippered document pocket that could also be used to carry a tablet.
The admin area is accessed via a flap enclosed by a large (REALLY LOUD) strip of hook and loop. It made me immediately start looking for some hook and loop silencers. The only other gripe I have with the bag so far is that I wish there were more than one large elastic loop in the admin area to secure larger items. I used the one for my flashlight. The “EDC Trinity” always requires three so my blade and multitool will have to clip onto one of the mesh pockets or ride shotgun when I’m carrying this pack.
The water bottle pockets can each hold a full sized Nalgene bottle and are effectively secured by adjusting the compression straps to lock them in.
The main compartment and internal laptop compartment can both be accessed via a side zipper that is protected by a storm flap. I undid the buckles in the pic below but the compartment is deep enough that I can turn and extract my 15″ laptop without undoing the compression straps.
The harness on this pack is as solid as they come. The contouring is reminiscent of the straps on the current version of the TAD Fastpack EDC. But the structure and the density of the padding is similar to the heavy-duty harnesses used by GoRuck and Mystery Ranch. And like the MR Futura, this harness also has load lifters.
The 3D backpanel is raised enough to offer some airflow. It has a semi-rigid built-in polyethylene back plate with a pass-through for luggage handles. There is a removable sternum strap and 2-inch hip belt that I stripped off for daily carry. But it’s nice that LBB included them at no charge.
The pack is 20″ H x 13″ W x 5.5-7.5″ D rolled. Unrolled, the pack height can extend up to 27″. Due to the 1000D construction, stylish aluminum hardware, and milspec webbing, the Peloton Asphalt weighs in at 3.8 lbs, which is on the heavy side for a civilian pack. However, I’ve carried much lighter packs that don’t wear this comfortably. In the short time I’ve had it, I’ve really enjoyed carrying it.
I’ll cover the use of the roll top and 6-way compression strap system in my full review as well as more thoughts as I log more time with the pack. But, first impressions are very positive with this one. Life Behind Bars sold out their last run of the Peloton Asphalt so don’t wait long if you’re considering it. The Life Behind Bars Peloton Asphalt retails for $195 and is available here. Shipping charges from Indonesia can vary significantly so check on options and pricing before you order.