While looking for the best cycling backpack for your commute, you can’t always find the right size, form factor, features, or price. You may not even find a backpack that can fit all your gear.
To make things worse, there are plenty of options with different price points, and a bunch of different design styles. No matter where you are in the world, there’s always a good chance that you’ll need a bag to carry your gear on a bicycle.
Whether it’s a small daypack for a short trip or a full-blown mountain bike riding backpack to carry everything you need for a long-distance cycle, there’s a bag available for you. We’ve used a number of them for our cycling adventures and have found that some are better than others.
If you have been interested in picking up a cycling backpack, or you’re just starting to use a backpack on your commute, you’ll need the right one for you. A well-made backpack is a must-have item, but finding the right one is important too.
A high quality backpack for cycling to work may be the difference between getting at your destination with all of your belongings safe and dry or arriving to discover them all wet through from an unexpected downpour.
Our professional testers have chosen six of the finest cycling backpacks on the market and put them through their paces, whether you need something tiny and light to carry your necessities or something larger to take your laptop and a change of clothing.
We searched for backpacks with water resistance or waterproofing that was functional and reliable. This is probably the most essential aspect since you will eventually get caught out by a sudden downpour, even if you only plan to ride on beautiful days.
We also looked for sturdy and easy-to-use closing methods, such as a roll-top or waterproof zips, as well as adequate space to hold everything you’ll need on a daily basis.
We’ve concentrated on the hi-viz or reflective choices since this guide is mostly targeted toward bicycle backpacks for commuting and urban usage. If you don’t like those colors, many of them are also available in subdued tones.
Continue reading for our buyer’s guide to cycling backpacks once you’ve gone through all of the reviews.
Our professional testers have chosen the finest cycling backpacks for 2023
- £32.99 Dry Bag for Lomo Hi-Viz
- £79.99 Thunderstorm City 30 by Altura
- £119.99 / €144.95 / $179.99 / £119.99 / €144.95 / £119.99 / €144. Velodry Velodry Velodry Velodry Velodry Velodry Velodry
- £54.99 (about $64.95 USD) Oxford Aqua V20 is a water-resistant shoe.
- £69.99 / €90 / $120 / €69.99 / €90 / $120 / €69.99 with Reflect 360 by Proviz
- £225 / £155 / €159.99 Urban Line Ortlieb Commuter Daypack
Lomo Hi-Viz Dry Bag
Lomo’s bag is basic, yet it’s roomy, durable, and affordable. What’s not to enjoy about that? Lomo
- 30 litres of water of water of water
- Large, waterproof, and long-lasting
It’s large, strong, waterproof, brilliant, and inexpensive, and it’s made of high-vis neon yellow PVC with luminous stripes.
So, what are the disadvantages? On longer journeys or while carrying a lot of gear, you’ll sweat a little, but due to the roll-down top and welded seams, this 30-litre PVC bag will swallow all your things and keep them dry.
It doesn’t come with any extras, but at under £40, we can’t complain.
Altura Thunderstorm City 30
For additional visibility, the dashes on the side panels are reflective. Altura
- 30 litres
- Subtle reflecting accents are available in two colors.
Little reflective dashes are added all over the sides, back, and bottom of Altura’s hi-vis yellow bag for extremely effective, all-around visibility. If the bright yellow version is too much for you, the black version is also available.
The 30-litre compartment includes a laptop sleeve and two inside pockets, but there are no pockets on the exterior due to the clean lines.
The roll-top is cinched with a metal buckle for excellent waterproofing, and the cushioning is properly ventilated to minimize perspiration accumulation.
Overboard Velodry 20L
The Velodry backpack from Overboard can be immersed in water for up to 30 minutes without leaking. Overboard
- £119.99 / €144.95 / $179.99
- 20 litres of water of water
- Reversible hi-viz front panel, submersible for 30 minutes
The name hints to this bag’s water resistance – it can be submerged for up to half an hour – as well as its ability to withstand snow, dust, and sand. It definitely didn’t leak throughout our shower.
You may pick between yellow hi-vis and reflective on the reversible front panel, the back is well-padded, and there are two mesh side pockets. When the bag isn’t filled, the roll-top buckle may be a bit difficult.
Oxford Aqua V20
The Aqua V20 from Oxford is a bit smaller than others, but it comes in a variety of colors. Oxford
- £54.99 / $64.95
- 20 litres
- Excellent waterproofing, available in a variety of colors
A basic design — a functional roll-top that opens into a single 20-litre container – yet it comes in a variety of colors, each with substantial reflective accents for 360-degree visibility.
When the top was fastened, it was watertight, and even the exterior pocket was waterproof.
The bag is durable and simple to clean, but it may make you sweat a bit more than other bags. Bright, simple, and reasonably priced.
Proviz Reflect 360
It’s difficult to overlook the Proviz Reflect 360 when light falls on it. Proviz
- £69.99 / €90 / $120
- 30 litres
- Reflectivity is very effective, and the construction is of excellent quality.
This seems to be a subdued grey until it is picked up by vehicle headlights, when it reflects on almost all exposed surfaces. The word ‘bright’ does not do this credit.
It’s not completely waterproof, unlike others, but it held up well in heavy rain, thanks to totally waterproof zips.
It features a 30-litre capacity, a laptop sleeve, light loop, mesh, and zip compartments, as well as hip and chest straps for stability. A high-quality bag with excellent reflectivity and a reasonable price.
Take into account…
Although the following bag did not get four stars in our review, it is still worth considering.
Ortlieb Commuter Daypack Urban Line
The Ortlieb Commuter Daypack Urban Line is a fantastic backpack, but it is rather expensive. Ortlieb
- £155 / €159.99 / $225
- twenty-one litres
- Constructed with a lot of attention to detail.
This high-quality PVC-free 21L bag has a roll-down cover that keeps dirt and rain out. It also features luminous stitching for added protection while riding at night.
A light, D-lock loops, and a cushioned laptop sleeve are among the features. For optimum flexibility, the German-made PU-laminated Cordura and cotton mix bag has a reinforced base, soft back-pads, and adjustable/removable chest and waist straps.
This is a great bag… At a cost.
Cycling backpacks buyer’s guide
Is a cycling-specific bag really necessary?
It is debatable.
If all you want to do is go for a stroll around your neighborhood park in the sunshine, any old backpack will do.
Just keep an eye out for unexpected rains and consider lining your luggage with a bin liner if you have anything you don’t want to get wet.
Cycling-specific backpacks, on the other hand, will almost definitely appeal to those who ride often or on muddy roads. Waterproofing, ventilated back cushioning, improved visibility, and lock and light attachments are also common features.
Panniers vs. backpacks
You usually have two options when choosing the finest bike bags for commuting: a backpack or pannier bags.
Most individuals who ride short distances and carry small loads will benefit from using a backpack rather than panniers.
A backpack’s simplicity and portability are difficult to match. A bicycle backpack may typically be pushed into service as a hiking or city backpack as well.
Panniers are excellent for traveling or carrying bigger or heavier items like groceries, but you’ll need to put a rack on your bike (if it has the necessary mounts) and they’re generally more troublesome to handle while off the bike.
You may wish to consider a cargo or ebike if you need to carry really large loads, such as children or work equipment.
Although an e-cargo bike like this RadWagon from Rad Power Motorcycles may be the ultimate in load carrying bikes, it may be overkill if you just need to transport your laptop to work. Immediate Media / Simon Bromley
Roll-tops vs. zips
Professional bike couriers almost always use roll-top bags, and for good reason. Zips are small and flexible for shaping, but they may be a weak spot for waterproofing and are more prone to wear out and break with frequent usage.
A roll-top bag, on the other hand, may be opened and closed hundreds, if not thousands, of times before it begins to show signs of wear. As a result, many bags will have zippered pockets as well as roll-top main sections. This increases the longevity of the bag as well as the convenience of having distinct compartments for different things.
How much storage space do you require?
The majority of commuters would need approximately 20 to 30 litres of room to transport things such as a laptop, some extra clothing, and valuables. Professional bike messengers may require up to 40 litres, but most individuals won’t need that much.
Winter commuters will need a bit extra space to accommodate heavier coats and the like.
Similarly, if you travel in Lycra with clipless pedals and cycling shoes/sandals, you’ll definitely want to change at the conclusion of the trip as well. Remember to leave enough room for a change of clothing and shoes.
All things considered, it’s usually better to have a bit more space than you think you’ll need – having enough capacity to stop at the store on your way home is always handy.
In the last 2 years, the number of commuting cyclists has increased by more than 20%. With that increased number of cyclists, more commuting bags are being developed. We are given a wide variety of bags, with different features, and we have to find the one that suits our needs.. Read more about best cycling backpack australia and let us know what you think.