Best Cycling Backpacks 2020 | The Sun UK
RIDING with a cycling backpack is pretty much a necessity if you’re planning on commuting by bike.
While some cyclists opt for panniers and a rack, a backpack is a great way of lugging your stuff to and from the office without having to make any adjustments to your bike.
Unlike a bog-standard rucksack, a cycling backpack is designed with riding in mind.
Most feature padded shoulder straps, sweat-wicking fabric on the back panel, reflective detailing and adjustable straps to keep things comfortable when carrying a load.
Premium models will even include ventilation channels that help stop your back turning into a sweaty mess when riding, and waterproofing for year-round commuting. There are also discipline-specific bags that come packed with highlights such as hydration bladders.
Not sure where to start in your search for a new cycling backpack? The below selections should have something to suit all budgets.
1. USWE Outlander 3 / with 1.5L hydration bladder
- (AD) USWE Outlander 3 / with 1.5L hydration bladder, £89.99 from Amazon – buy here
Cycling backpacks come in all shapes and sizes and are designed for a variety of purposes and pursuits.
The Outlander 3 from Swedish brand USWE is a case in point. While you wouldn’t rely on it for commuting, the bag comes into its own if hitting the trails on a mountain bike.
A four-point harness keeps the bag bounce-free – even when fully loaded – and a mesh back panel keeps things breathable.
Its most notable feature is an integrated 1.5L hydration bladder, allowing you to stay refreshed without having to stop riding.
It also has a water-resistant phone pocket and enough storage for everything you could need for a full day’s riding – be it a multi-tool or waterproof coat.
- Shop all cycling backpacks at Amazon here
2. Alpkit Gourdon 25
- Alpkit Gourdon 25, £35.99 from Alpkit – buy here
If you’re looking for a multi-functional backpack that is as comfortable on the commute as when out exploring the countryside, then the Gourdon 25 from Derbyshire-based brand Alpkit is it.
A 25L drybag, the rucksack’s contents will stay dry in a shower, meaning you won’t have to walk around in sopping wet clothes all day if caught in a downpour on the way to work.
The bag only has a single compartment – meaning organising it efficiently can be a bit of a game of Tetris – but this is a minor snag considering its price
Padded straps keep things comfortable on your shoulders, and a chest strap and waist belt can be adjusted to stop the bag swaying when riding.
3. Proviz Reflect360 cycling backpack
- Proviz Reflect360 cycling backpack, £69.99 from Proviz – buy here
If commuting year-round, it’s important to invest in some equipment that will help you stay seen when riding in the dark at night. While a good set of bike lights is a must, reflective kit boosts the amount that other road users can see you too.
Proviz is renowned for making extremely visible gear, and its Reflect360 backpack is no different.
Constructed from the brand’s signature reflective material, the bag effectively turns into a light source when a car’s headlights are shone onto it.
Its 30L capacity is ideal for carrying clothes and a towel to the office, and it features its own laptop compartment.
As well as being reflective, the bag’s material is highly water-resistant, making the Reflect360 an ideal option if looking for an affordable commuting cycling backpack you can use in all conditions.
4. Chrome Industries Urban EX 2.0 Rolltop 20L backpack
- Chrome Industries Urban EX 2.0 Rolltop 20L backpack, £120 from Chrome Industries – buy here
American brand Chrome Industries is legendary for making durable, city-focused bags that are used by everyone from cycle couriers to commuters.
Its updated Urban EX 2.0 Rolltop backpack takes a much-loved design and makes some subtle improvements.
The bag is still 100% waterproof and is built to last – Chrome even gives it a lifetime guarantee – but now has added reflectivity (the exterior D-lock loops) and an improved shoulder harness design.
A padded laptop sleeve fits a 15” Macbook Pro and interior compartments are great for keeping your essentials (multi-tool, smartphone, innertubes) at hand.
5. Ortlieb Commuter Daypack Urban Line
- Ortlieb Commuter Daypack Urban Line, £155 from Ortlieb – buy here
At the premium end of the scale lies the Commuter Daypack by Ortlieb. Although its price might seem expensive to some, it is worth the investment if you’re after a durable commuting backpack that will last you for years to come.
Constructed from a waterproof and robust Codura fabric, the bag will keep its contents protected, whatever the weather.
Ventilation channels on the back padding combine with air-permeable shoulder straps to leave you sweat-free on your ride to work.
Like the Chrome Industry offering above, loops on the rear can be used to carry a D-lock, while there’s an internal padded compartment for a laptop or tablet.
What material is best for a cycling backpack?
There’s no one material that is best for a cycling backpack, but whatever material is used, it’s worth ensuring that it is at least water-resistant, and at best waterproof. For example, durable fabric such as Cordura will keep your bag’s contents dry on the way to work.
Which capacity cycling backpack do I need?
A cycling backpack’s volume is generally measured in litres and the amount required will depend on what it is being used for. If you’re after a day bag that can be used to carry food and water for a session on the mountain bike trails, then anything from 2-3L is adequate. For commuting, the minimum would be around 20L, but it’s worth bearing in mind that a bigger bag is generally a heavier bag.
What do you use a cycling backpack for?
A cycling backpack can have a number of functions. The most common is for carrying a change of clothes for commuting, but there are other discipline-specific bags that come into their own in certain circumstances – e.g. a mountain biking day bag is great for a day on the trails because it offers more storage than a saddle bag and, if it features a hydration bladder, can be an easy way to stay hydrated on the go.
How much should I spend on a cycling rucksack?
The amount you spend on a cycling rucksack will depend on your budget and what you’re looking for in a bag. If you’re after a simple, waterproof drybag, then the £35.99 Alpkit Gourdon is an inexpensive option that is perfect for commuting. It’s worth noting though that the more you spend, the better the features and the longer the bag is likely to last you.
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