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​The 8 Best Commuter Backpacks for Carrying All You Need

    The 8 Best Commuter Backpacks for Carrying All You Need

    We all want to ride a little bit more, and using your bike for transportation is one of the finest ways to achieve it. The benefits of pedaling extend to you, the environment, and your wallet. And with the correct backpack, carrying everything you need for those activities is simple. One of these top-performing commuter backpacks from our testing will serve you well, whether you’re looking for a modest pack to take your lunch, one with a padded compartment for your laptop, or something capable of lugging a lot of things for a midday lunch ride.

    Comfort Is Key

    Make that the harness (on a backpack) or strap (on a messenger bag) are comfortable while the bag is loaded with the weight you regularly carry, regardless of the type of bag you choose. A waist strap can provide additional stability for some riders, and some packs incorporate sternum compression straps to help balance ungainly loads. The straps themselves should also be taken into account: Some are wider than others, while others are more narrow. And if cycling is still an option for you in hot and muggy weather, seek for a pack that has ventilation between it and your back.

    Consider What You Carry

    First, the obvious: You’ll need a large bag if you carry a lot of goods. If not, you can get away with something less significant. Consider the scenario where you require space for a laptop, food, and a change of clothes. Over a messenger bag, choose a backpack with a padded sleeve to protect your gadget and enough space for the rest of your items. Choose a backpack with a larger, more secure main compartment that will prevent collared shirts from wrinkling if your dress is more businesslike than casual. Consider a waterproof bag or one with a rain fly that can be quickly deployed when the weather changes for those rainy days.

    How We Selected These Bags and Packs

    Cycling members of our test team used the first nine bags on this list to carry out errands while loading them up with clothing, helmets, laptops, lunch, and other items. In order to select the most promising possibilities for the two models we didn’t test, we conducted market research, user reviews, interviews with product managers and designers, and used our own experience traveling with similar bags. These commuter bags were assessed based on their functionality, worth, comfort, toughness, looks, and appeal off the bike. Here are the top cycling bags.

    Po Campo Ara Reflective Backpack

    The Visi-Hemp reflective fabric used in Po Campo’s Ara backpack, which is manufactured from organic hemp and recycled polyester, won Gear of the Year in 2021. It contains all the pockets a bike commuter could possibly need, including two water bottle pockets, two concealed pockets, a cushioned sleeve for gadgets, many inner pockets, and a mesh harness to store your helmet. We really adored how it felt broken-in from day one.

    Timbuk2 Lane Commuter Backpack

    The 18-liter Lane can manage it even if it is by no means a large bag. If you are a savvy packer, you may use it for day trips or to simply bring your laptop, food, and a spare jacket to work. You can trust that your phone, wallet, and cash won’t end up on the ground because the outer pocket has a magnetic closure rather than a zipper. (If you’re uncomfortable with it, there’s a second pocket with a zipper.) Additionally, it has a 15-inch laptop compartment that can be accessed via a side zipper and the main compartment if you don’t want to go through the entire bag. It’s cozy as well. One of our testers enjoyed how the easily adjustable straps pleasantly wrapped around her shoulders in the front. Padded mesh panels on the back enhance airflow and reduce sweat. Despite the Lane’s small size (pay $40 more for the Parker if you want more room), our 13-year-old tester used it all summer for two-wheeled visits to the pool, packing a mask, a lunch bag full of snacks and drinks, a towel, a phone, sunscreen, a U-lock, goggles, and keys. He even had to use the rain fly on a few times when storms forced an early closure of the pool and he still had a 2-mile ride home to make.

    Osprey Radial

    It doesn’t get much better than the Radial for commuters who log heavy miles, in all weather, and carry a laptop, shoes, and a ton of other gear. Its harness is highly adjustable to fit torsos of all sizes, and it has a ventilated back panel that elevates the pack off your body for increased airflow. In addition to having a zipped pocket for shoes, the main storage area contains a sleeve for a 15-inch laptop, expandable (with external zippers) to provide more room. Put your U-lock in the big front pocket, then fasten your helmet with a tiny plastic rectangle that fits through the vents on the helmet. A small side zippered pocket is large enough to hold a wallet, some snacks, or other small items you want to keep close at hand. The coolest part is on the other side, where there is a small bottle pocket that is tilted back toward you, making it simpler to grasp and enter your bottle. One thing to keep in mind is that the bag weighs slightly more than three pounds when empty due to the harness and what Osprey refers to as the “kickstand” (a hard plastic frame on the bottom that enables the pack to stand up without support).

    Skog Å Kust BackSåk

    The 500-denier waterproof PVC used to construct this roll-top backpack has watertight welded seams that keep out moisture. We packed it with a laptop, a change of winter clothing, shoes, a six-pack of beer, a spare jacket, a bottle of wine, and a helmet. It is lightweight, basic, and a terrific price if you only need a backpack that can store a day’s worth of clothing and supplies and keep it dry. We also adored how, thanks to its simple design, it could be stored easily when not in use. When you bike in rain, the straps are quick to dry and simple to change. The only drawback is how easily the outside marks. Bright yellow in color, our test model has black markings from the CitiBike racks. So pick the black one if it bothers you.

    Peak Design Everyday Backpack

    A camera commuter backpack may be useful even if you are not a photographer because of its superior inner organization, which will keep all of your equipment separate and safe. The Everyday Backpack by Peak Design has a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, 8 liters of expandable interior capacity with movable internal dividers, and four optional straps for securing goods to the bag’s outside. All of your technology will be protected no matter the weather thanks to the fabric’s weather-resistant PU and DWR coatings made from 100 percent recycled nylon canvas. You can rapidly reach items from the side thanks to the dual side zippers, and the MagLatch top flap provides safe but simple one-handed access to the main area.

    Topo Designs Daypack Classic

    More than you might anticipate can fit inside the 20-liter daypack. Instead of bringing a separate gym bag, our tester was able to fit two changes of clothing, cycling shoes, a makeup bag, a sunglasses case, a laptop and charger, and a variety of snacks. The Daypack is water resistant and contains a laptop sleeve that holds a 15-inch computer. It will withstand a light sprinkling, but not much more, so don’t depend on it if the sky looks ominous. Light padding on the straps protects your shoulders without making you feel (overly) sweaty, and they are comfortable. Additionally, the leather tab on the rear is an excellent spot to attach a light if you commute in the dark.

    ReLoad C-Series Small

    ReLoad Bags is a Philadelphia-based, black-owned company that has been producing unique messenger bags since the early 2000s. Purchase one of the company’s stock black bags, which come in a range of sizes and designs, if you don’t want to create your own. With its roll top enclosure, water-resistant main compartment, and daisy chain webbing on the front, for example, this C-Series Small bag is a perfect choice for commuters. Despite the fact that this model just has water resistance, you can choose the Small Flight Pack for an additional fee if you want more security. However, ReLoad Bags all come with lifetime warranties as proof of their high caliber of workmanship, regardless of the model you select.

    Rapha Roll Top

    The sleek 25-liter bag from Rapha is made of materials that are resistant to water and wear. A strap running down the middle makes a series of loops for securing items with a carabiner or a U-lock. The clever clasp that tightens the roll top piece self-retracts, ensuring that the fit is always just right. The Roll Top stays put on your back thanks to the padded straps and ergonomic back panel. The backpack keeps you visible to cars from the front and back thanks to the reflective tabs on those straps and the reflective sheet that covers the full bottom of the bag. For quick access to a phone or key card, there is a small pocket on the interior and one on the exterior.

    Learn more: How to Shift Gears on Your Bike to Make Riding More Efficient