The Best Backpacks for Biking to Work
One of the most influential pieces of kit in making your bike to work a happy one is the bag you’ll be carrying on your back. Commuter bags are a unique addition to your cycling ensemble, mostly for the fact that there are so many features to think about. As well as strong, durable and roomy, a commuter’s rucksack might also need to be water resistant, comfortable…and of course stylish too. What’s a cyclist to do?
Luckily, we’ve put together our favourite backpacks for the ride to work, all of which are bound to offer you some kind of respite even on those grim, rainy commuting days.
Alpkit Gourdon 25 Drybag – £22.50
Best budget bag
The Alpkit Gourdon 25 drybag is your best bet if you’re new to cycling or aren’t looking for anything too fancy. For a moderate price tag, it provides a lot of things you’d expect from a cycler’s bag, including a 25L main storage compartment (with separate pocket to accommodate a hydration pack if needed) and comfortable shoulder, waist and sternum straps.
The added padding in the back panel also means your belongings won’t be poking you in the back the whole way there, whilst the narrow front window allows you to find your contents quickly without too much rummaging. Throw in an easy roll-top buckle closure and you’ve got yourself a neat, durable little carrier, weighing under 600g.
Deuter Speedlight/Bike One – £55.99
Deuter is well-recognised for its choice of commuter bags, particularly the Speedlight and the Bike One. Both have a well-ventilated back panel that’s designed for airflow, keeping you (largely!) free of sweat, and there’s a mesh waist belt for extra comfort. The bag also has a separate compartment for dirty clothes, and there are various sizes available depending on how much of a load you need to carry.
For a safety bonus, these bags come with reflective detailing such as LED attachment loops (though note that this probably isn’t a substitute for a total high-vis backpack).
Evoc Commuter Bag – £119.95
Sleek and stylish, the Evoc Commuter goes well with any office outfit and is a clever take on the traditional backpack. Although it might look a little ‘boxy’ at first, you should know of its durable tarpaulin material that prevents valuable items from getting chucked around, as well as the option to turn it into a handy briefcase by tucking away the straps. This makes the transition from bike to desk surprisingly effortless, and its various pockets and sleeves make storing laptops, tablets, books and other daily essentials a dream.
This bag has a handy 10-18L capacity (depending on which size you choose) and comes in four different colours, so take your pick.
Mer Small Basic Backpack – £98
Best waterproof bag
If a basic, no-fuss but waterproof bag is what you’re looking for, then look no further than the Mer. Made by a small New York startup with a unique sense of style, this is a trendy, compact and cool rucksack that’s bound to turn heads, as well as keep your stuff impressively dry.
Made from highly durable cordura material with reinforced straps, the bag also has a polyester interior liner and a pleasantly simple roll-top close. Overall it’s a clean, chic minimalistic design that’s perfect for the fashion-conscious cyclist.
Ortlieb Vario Pack – £115.97
Half rucksack, half pannier, the Vario is a nifty alternative to the majority of cycling backpacks, giving the rider dual options. Fully waterproof with a handy roll-top close, it can either be worn on one’s back or fastened securely to any bike rack – making life mush easier on days when you may be carrying more than usual!
The Vario is generously roomy inside, giving plenty of space for a 15.4 inch laptop and a change of clothes. It also has an added harness that comes out of the front fabric compartment – useful for giving extra support and comfort.
Proviz Night Rider Rucksack – £44.99
Best safety bag
For those late evenings when you’ll be riding at night, the Proviz Night Rider is the way to go. With its practical (yet non-obnoxious) high-visibility exterior, it makes those darker journeys much less intimidating as you won’t need to worry about being seen. With a generous 30L capacity, you’ll have more than enough room for all of your stuff and there’s even a padded laptop compartment for keeping your baby safe.
FYI this bag is also compatible with the Proviz Triviz light pack, which gives you the whole shebang when it comes to late rides.
Henty Wingman Bag – £119
This neat, messenger-style bag may just be the king when it comes to commuter bags, encompassing a number of impressive features within a sleek design. Made from heavy duty tarpaulin fabric, it’s perfect for those who often need an extra change of clothes on hand, being versatile enough to get even a suit from a to b and keeping dirty sweats away from your packed lunch with a removable gym bag. And for everything else – organisers, pens, wallets – there are designated pouches for those, too.
Although one-shoulder bags aren’t for everybody, the Henty Wingman distributes the weight of your contents rather well and can also be strapped to the chest for extra support.