By Jason Heaton
on 10.5.09

blueseventy-nero-backpackTriathletes are, by nature, gear hounds. Carbon fiber bikes and helmets, tri-specific cycling and running shoes, caps, glasses, water bottles, slippery wetsuits and goggles – the list goes on. So it stands to reason that a bag designed for hauling triathlon gear would do a pretty good job for just about anything. Blueseventy’s Nero Bag is a backpack that is as versatile as it is well-made. Built for ferrying tri gear to and from races, the pack goes way beyond its intended use and would be as useful as a daypack or weekend carry-on luggage. During a month of intensive testing, it has gone from transition area to overhead compartment with equally impressive results.

The Blueseventy Nero Bag boasts some smart design features. A cavernous main compartment is big enough for a couple of water bottles, a towel and your cycling and running shoes as well as warm-up pants and a jacket. Meanwhile, the separate bottom compartment expands to hold a size XXL 5mm wetsuit with ease. Best of all, this wetsuit basement is completely sealed and lined with polyurethane, so everything else stays dry on the trip home after the race. It works just as well for carrying extra pairs of shoes or dirty laundry. An outside expandable mesh pocket easily swallows a bike helmet or a couple of thick novels for that long flight while a smaller zipped pocket carries Gu packs or a cell phone.

Some other thoughtful touches on the Nero include a bottom loop for clipping a flashing bicycle light, inside pockets and outlet ports for an mp3 player and hydration bladder and heavy duty shoulder, sternum, and padded waist straps that wouldn’t be out of place on a technical hiking pack. Blueseventy thought of almost everything. The only oversight is the lack of any external water bottle pockets for carrying your drippy bike bottles. But all in all, this backpack is as versatile as the sport(s) for which it was created.

Cost: $79

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