Note:At my request, Pressedienst Fahrrad and Ortlieb have provided me with the Vario PS bag for a test. Thank you! With that said, this is also advertising.
While it is mostly about bikepacking equipment and bikes here, it is once again time for a product that fits more into everyday life and can offer real added value for everyone here.
With the Vario PS Ortlieb has brought out a new edition of the more than 10 year old classic, which I had but so before not on the screen. I had long been looking for smart combination of bike bag and backpack, without this looks like a traffic accident and is also complicated to handle.
And this combination is from my point of view Ortlieb succeeded with the Vario PS.
The highlight is how Ortlieb has designed the change between the two bags: they simply cover it. This cover is folded over depending on the application, freeing up space for either the rack mount or the backpack straps.
At its core, the Vario PS is a very large bike bag and backpack in one. It resembles a messenger bag and is similarly comfortable to wear. So it’s ideal for work or school. And so I put the bag through the most extreme test imaginable: A teenager (my oldest son) used the Vario PS for two weeks at school.
Anything that survives that lasts forever. And this is also where the Vario PS showed its strengths: Inside, it offers 26 liters of volume, which is a lot. In addition to school supplies, we could also fit our sports gear and shoes. And the Vario is not even full. For better organization, there are sub-compartments inside, which accommodate odds and ends, laptop or books and binders.
And anyone who commutes or goes to college or school knows that often the backpack can be very heavy. With the Vario, my son can now hang his stuff on the rack and cycle to school back-friendly.
The Vario PS is available for QL 2.1 and QL 3.1 systems. These are the Quick Lock called fastening systems from Ortlieb, which, depending on the version, refer to easily adjustable hooks and the likewise adjustable by hand fixation on the lower back of the bag. Thus, the Vario can be easily adapted to different types of luggage carriers. Ideal, therefore, if the bag should also times to a rental bike.
In addition, the bag is of course waterproof and made of durable, PU-coated nylon fabric. The bag is closed at the top by a roll closure with hooks, which is also very easy to use with gloves.
According to Ortlieb, the maximum load is 9 kilograms. The weight of the Vario PS bag is given as 1.2kg.
As a backpack, the Vario PS has a padded carrying system with ergonomically shaped straps. This then feels comfortable in practice.
In backpack mode, the Vario PS still has an extra pocket with a waterproof zipper integrated into the cover with the front. There is also an additional mesh pocket on one side, which can be used to store a bottle or wet rain pants, for example.
If you flip the cover/front pocket, the backpack side is covered and the luggage carrier holder is exposed. To do this, unhook the cover from the top of the tab, flip it over and hook it back into the tab. You may have to stuff the backpack straps briefly behind the cover again, but usually this is done automatically. Then the Vario is a bicycle bag (with reflector) and can simply be hooked in.
The “conversion” from backpack to bike bag and vice versa takes only a few seconds. So this is very practical for everyday use. When used as a bike bag, the front pocket is not usable, but lies inward over the backpack side. For a good fit on the carrier, if necessary, the matching reducers for tube diameters of 8, 10 and 12mm. Without reducers, carriers with up to 16mm thick tubes can be used.
And with all this, the Vario PS also looks good. I had the bag in the color Rooibos Red in the test. It also comes in three other colors: petrol, lemon sorbet and black.
The Vario PS is PVC-free and of course sustainably made in Germany.
According to Ortlieb, the bag dimensions are 47cm high, 31cm wide and 22cm deep. The Vario PS is rather what for larger children, teenagers and adults.
However, the prices are a bit higher: the Vario PS costs 170 euros with QL 2.1 system, with QL 3.1 system 185 euros (then also weighs 1.4kg).