Do you ride to work or school on your bike? Then you’ll need someplace to store your clothes and other stuff for safekeeping.
A lot of bikers use panniers and trunk bags for this purpose. However, not everyone likes how limited the use of those options are. This is why cycling backpacks remain popular since they can be used for other purposes.
Plus, they’re easier to secure on your backs and carry wherever you’re going.
But, of course, not just any backpack will do. Just because you can wear a backpack while riding a bike doesn’t make it a cycling backpack.
A cycling backpack is a backpack designed specifically for commuters and cyclists.
Below, we’ve rounded up the 8 best cycling backpacks for commuting for you to choose from.
|Altura Men's Sector 30, Black
|TIMBUK2 Spire Laptop Backpack, New Black
|Osprey Daylite Daypack
|TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Hydration Bladder; For Backpacking, Hiking, Running, Cycling, and Climbing; Bright Blue
|OGIO 123008.36 No Drag Mach 1 Motorcycle Backpack - Stealth Black
|CRAZY ANTS Military Tactical Backpack Hiking Camping Daypack Shoulder Laptop Bag Upgraded Version,Black 35L
|Patagonia Black Hole Pack 25L, Multicoloured, One Size
|Brooks England Pickwick Day Pack, Small, Grey/Honey
1. Altura Sector 30
The British brand, Altura, has long been the go-to choice for many cyclists for budget-friendly clothing. However, lately, they’ve been expanding their product line, and one of their best non-clothing products is the Sector 30.
The Sector 30 is a backpack aimed towards the budget-conscious audience. Although it’s not the cheapest, it’s arguably the most reasonably priced out there. At the same price range as other “smaller” cycling backpacks, the Sector 30 delivers a lot.
This includes a padded laptop sleeve that can fit laptops up to 15 inches and an easy-access pocket designed for bike tools.
In addition to these, the Sector 30 has a fleece-lined pocket dedicated for more valuable stuff and the stretchy mesh pockets can fit a wide variety of cycling bottles and more.
In case the initial capacity isn’t enough, the Sector 30 has an expansion zip. This allows you to up the capacity to up to a total of 30 liters.
For safety, you can attach a LED light on the outside of the Sector 30. It also comes with a pocket for an external D-lock and it has a rain cover to help keep the bag, as well as your valuables, save in case of bad weather.
Thanks to its compression straps and hip belt, the Sector 30 remains comfortable to wear even when filled to the brim.
- Large expandable main compartment
- Reflective trim
- Reasonable pricing
- U-lock holder won’t fit larger locks
2. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
The Timbuk2 Spire Backpack is another affordable cycling backpack. Only this time, the deal is made even more enticing because it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
Made out of a water-resistant TPU and canvas with a waterproof roll-top, the Spire has a 30-liter capacity and a removable sternum strap for the ideal mix of comfort and space. The back panel is also ventilated for better breathability.
The bag also comes with a 15-inch laptop sleeve with other smaller compartments best used for phones, notebooks, and more.
The Spire also has an on-strap bottle opener with exterior webbing for attaching carabiners and U-locks. The external side pockets are also elastic enough to fit larger water bottles.
Despite being filled up to maximum, the Spire doesn’t feel as heavy at all. It’s lightweight and sits high on your back even when full. This makes it easy to carry around, especially when you’re out cycling.
As a bonus, you can get the Spire in navy blue and back.
- Available in different colors
- Loop attachment for safety lights
- On-strap bottle opener
- Lifetime warranty
- Some larger 15-inch laptops might not fit
- The roll-top opening can let water in if not closed properly
3. Osprey Daylight Daypack
Despite only having a total volumetric capacity of 13L, the Osprey Daylight Daypack is deceptively spacious. You could get away with a bit more than you would think you would judging from its compact design.
Sure, you won’t be able to carry tons of stuff with this cycling backpack. However, it’s perfect for day trips and for running errands or even going to work.
The dual stretch mesh side pockets come in handy when you need extra space and you can use the multi-function interior sleeve for a small laptop or tablet or even a hydration reservoir. Plus, when you’re wearing this, you won’t really feel it as much. The mesh-covered die-cut foam back is both padded and breathable for optimal comfort.
All in all, this is a value-oriented offering that’s perfect for short trips and even daily commutes.
- Ventilated mesh die-cut back panel
- Adjustable chest strap
- Compact design
- Deceptively spacious
- Water bottles might slip out from side pockets
4. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack
The Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack is easily the cheapest cycling back on our list. But, make no mistake, it doesn’t feel like its price. Although 18L isn’t enough volume for those who carry a lot of stuff, for day-to-day use and even overnight needs, it can store more than enough, especially if you organize things right.
One of the biggest selling points of the Oasis 1100 is its 2-liter hydration bladder.
The bladder comes with a push-lock bite valve with cushion and a sip tube that’s kink-free for easier sipping. Also, the opening is large enough at 2 inches to make the pack easy to clean and wide enough to have enough space to fit ice cubes.
The adjustable frame means that anyone of any size can wear the hydration pack. Meanwhile, it has a mesh covering with a notched foam stabilizer for optimal comfort.
For the price that you’re paying for the Oasis 1100, you’re getting a whole lot.
- Visible reflective stripes
- Versatile fit
- BPA-free 2L hydration pack
- Zipper quality leaves a lot to be desired
5. Ogio No Drag Mach 1 Gear Bag
The Ogio No Drag Mach 1 Gear Bag is a made in USA cycling backpack that comes with a streamlined design for better aerodynamics with a water-resistant single-shot and molded exterior for better water-resistance.
The cycling backpack comes with an off-center hip belt that you can remove. The main compartment is also quite large and comes with numerous interior compartments to help you organize your stuff better.
It even comes with an interior organizer panel for those who like to keep their stuff organized.
The concealed aerodynamic carry handle looks stylish and with riding-specific shoulder straps, you can customize the fit and comfort as you please depending on your preferences.
Other bonuses include a shoe pocket, a helmet carry strap, as well as a hydration-ready design.
- Plenty of separate compartments for better organization
- Aerodynamic design
- Adjustable and ergonomic padded shoulder straps
- Laptop compart is a tight fit for larger laptops
- Limited space
6. CRAZY ANTS Military Tactical Backpack
Cyclists can benefit a lot form using tactical backpacks. The fit might not be ideal for riding, but the high-quality materials, low price point, and durability more than makeup for this.
The CRAZY ANTS Military Tactical Backpack is a good example.
Waterproof and yet affordable, this military tactical backpack comes with nearly everything any cyclist would love to have. This includes its large 35L storage space, a padded back panel, and cushioned straps, as well as molle webbing for easy attachment of accessories and more.
While this military tactical backpack isn’t exactly designed for riding, it’s not half-bad if you prefer space over ergonomics.
- Very affordable
- Generous amounts of padding
- Made out of high-quality materials
- Non-removable waist strap
7. Patagonia Black Hole 25L
So long as you’re willing to pay a price premium, the Patagonia Black Hole 25L is arguably the last cycling backpack you’ll ever need.
Does this mean to say that it’s the best cycling backpack for commuting?
For those that can afford it, it’s at the top of the list.
The backpack is made out of an ideal combination of materials including a burly ripstop and a polyester that’s been TPU-coated. The Black Hole can handle rain, dirt, dust, and other stuff that would normally damage other backpacks like they are nothing.
Then, when it comes to wearing it, the two padded sleeves make it extremely comfortable on your back and your shoulders.
The zippered top pocket helps you keep your small items safe and organized while the mesh pockets on both sides are stretchable and can easily fit two large water bottles.
The daisy-chain loops on the front are perfect for safekeeping helmets when the bike is parked and the air-mesh panel helps add to the comfort factor. Also, when the wear and tear eventually get to the Black Hole, you can easily take it to any Patagonia store and they’ll help patch the hole and fix other damages.
- Weather-resistant materials
- Cavernous space
- Convenient return and/or repair process
8. Brooks Pickwick Daypack
We’ve talked about the best cycling backpacks for commuting in terms of value or function.
What we haven’t talked about are cycling backpacks that are the best for people who want to look good.
If you want a good-looking backpack without having to give up in terms of function and comfort, the Brooks Pickwick Daypack is an excellent choice.
Functionality-wise, this cycling backpack that was handmade in Italy is made out of water-resistant cotton canvas with a roll-top closure that helps add to the cavernous 12L or 26L capacity.
It even comes with a dedicated tool pocket, with adjustable sternum and shoulder straps. All attachment points also come reinforced with real leather for added durability.
- Handmade in Italy
- Backed by a two-year warranty
- Fine leather material
- High asking price
What are the Benefits of Using Cycling Backpacks
Designed Specifically for Riding
Not all of the cycling backpacks we recommended are, well, cycling backpacks. However, the majority are. If you buy a cycling backpack, you’re getting a backpack designed to distribute weight evenly throughout your entire body.
Additionally, they’re much more comfortable to wear while riding and are designed to withstand all sorts of weather conditions.
If you’re cycling without a trunk bag or a bike pannier, you’re going to have a hard time carrying your stuff. But, there’s a reason why a lot of people don’t like trunk bags. They can get heavy and can affect how your bike rides.
Because of this, using a cycling backpack is an excellent alternative that lets you carry all of your necessities, from your laptop to extra clothing, without making your bike harder to ride.
Most cycling backpacks are designed to weigh as lightweight as possible without sacrificing durability. This allows you to carry a lot of stuff without being weighed down by the cycling backpack itself.
Unlike bike panniers and bike trunk bags that can look awkward when removed from your bike (and aren’t so easy to take off bikes themselves), cycling backpacks don’t need to be installed at all. You’ll just need to wear the backpack and that’s it.
Most if not all cycling backpacks come with padded back panels. This helps make them more comfortable when you’re riding. At the same time, the padding helps add protection.
Case in point, when an accident happens on the road, your chances of getting a back injury is minimized because the backpack will take the brunt of the fall.
Many cycling backpacks also come with reflective stripes and places where you can conveniently attach LED lighting and other safety gear.
When commuting by bike, one of your biggest problems is how you’re going to carry all of your stuff with you. Some solve this by using trunk bags or panniers or installing a basket on their bag.
But, all three of these options can affect the ride comfort or quality and sometimes, make it harder to ride the bike, especially when they’re full of stuff.
Cycling backpacks help solve this problem. This is because they come with plenty of storage space. This allows you to fit everything from your office clothes or school uniform to your laptop and so much more.
Cycling backpacks are also built to keep your stuff organized, safe, dry, and easy to access at all times.
With that said, our picks for the best cycling backpacks for commuting should help solve any and all of your cycling luggage needs.