Cycle lane at night

Best backpacks for cyclists – 10 picks for commuters

Bike commuting is getting more popular than ever. Riding your bike more often is not only a great way to get some exercise, but it’s also better for the environment. As interest in sustainability and personal fitness increases, so does the number of people looking to ditch their cars and replace their daily commute with a fun workout. Cities all over the world are following suit by adding dedicated bike lanes as well as incorporating spaces for bikes into public transit. With all of this increased interest in cycling there’s still one unanswered question: How do you comfortably transport everything you need to work each day?

Commuter backpacks are built with this question in mind. Cyclists face a unique set of conditions that require a backpack that is safe, comfortable, and still has the cargo capacity you need. The best cycling backpacks combine and balance all of these features. To pick the best one, you need to think about Your gear and the kind of commute you’ll be biking.

Commuter bikes park and locked up

Before we get into the 10 best backpacks for bike commuters and cyclists, let’s take a look at our top pics.

Best Value

If you’re looking for a commuter backpack that will get you the most mileage for your dollar, the Jester Backpack from The North Face has everything you need and at a fraction of the cost of some of the other bags on this list.

This backpack has versatile storage options, a comfort focused design, and even a few safety features thrown in. If you’re looking to save a few dollars and still get a quality commuter backpack, this is the one for you.

Highly Recommended

The Thule Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack has the best mix of features and value. This backpack offers riders a mixture of high-end features and a comfortable price. Thule doesn’t slouch with its bag design and this backpack is no exception.

You can have all the features you come to expect from a high-end commuter backpack and even a few experimental ones designed to more comfortably distribute load wall biking. If you want a mixture of value and features, you can’t go wrong with the Thule Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack.

Best Overall

The best overall commuter backpack on this list is The Rhake by Mission Workshop. This backpack features not only durable construction and outstanding cargo capacity, but it’s also got a high-end design.

The durable, water resistant construction of this bag combined with versatile storage options and a top-shelf aesthetic mean that you can take this backpack straight from even the roughest biking conditions right into the office. If you want a commuter backpack but don’t want to compromise when it comes to both features and style, you can’t go wrong with The Rhake by Mission Workshop. 

1. DHB Slice 15L Rucksack 

The DHB Slice 15L Rucksack is the perfect choice for a more minimalist commuter. This 15 liter backpack features a slim design that hugs the body which means your ride will be more aerodynamic and more comfortable. The streamline design also means that you don’t have to worry about a clunky backpack flopping all over the place while you try to maneuver through city streets. This backpack also features stylish high-vis decals so you can look good while staying safe.

DHB Slice backpack

The 600D polyester construction combined with triple-ripstop nylon means that this backpack can handle anything your commute can throw at it and it even adds a little bit of water resistance as a bonus. The two side mesh pockets and multiple zip compartments are perfect for storing all of your gear on your ride.

If you’re just looking to take the basics with you, and have an easy ride while doing it, this backpack is a solid choice. 

2. Jester Backpack

The Jester Backpack by The North Face  is a commuter redesign of one of The North Face’s classic backpacks.

Jestor Backpack from The North Face

This commuter backpack was built with professionals in mind. The compartmentalised interior is perfect for carrying files, a change of clothes, and even a laptop. The external mesh webbing is also ideal for tucking away your bike helmet, lock, or other gear while you run from meeting to meeting.

Coming in at 28L, this bag has room for just about everything. All this cargo space makes this backpack a solid choice for anyone who has to haul more than a change of clothes to work. The added storage space and thicker comfort straps help make this backpack a strong contender for bike commuters who want extra comfort during their commutes. 

3. The Commuter

The Commuter by Stubble & Co offers you the opportunity to have most of the features of a solid bike commuter backpack without looking like you’re wearing a bike commuter’s backpack.

The Commuter backpack by Stubble & Co

The Commuter features a dedicated 16 inch laptop compartment that is separated from the backpack’s main storage. This is an ideal solution for people who want a place to store their sweaty bike clothes that doesn’t come into contact with the rest of the storage. The backpack has an overall design that can be best described as elegant and minimalist. Whether you’re headed to the gym or to the office, this bag we’ll look at home in any setting.

What this backpack has in style, it lack in features. You won’t find any of the reflective safety designs or quick access pockets that many bike commuters have come to accept a standard. However, for some people style and a strong sense of fashion is a function all on its own. 

4. Blade 6 Backpack

The Blade 6 Backpack by Arc’teryx has been designed for fluid motion through busy city streets. This backpack checks in at a streamlined 6L of storage capacity. It’s been designed for people who need to move quickly when biking through crowded city streets and moving through even more crowded city transit.

Blade 6 Backpack by Arc'teryx

The 6L of storage space means that this backpack is only hauling the essentials. Its dedicated laptop compartment and internal storage are perfect for people who are only commuting with a change of clothes and little extra. 

If you want to glide through busy city streets knowing that you have all of the essentials you’ll need for your day, the Blade 6 is the perfect choice. 

5. Niko Camera Backpack

Chrome Industries has been on the forefront of commuter bag design for years. They are well known for their line of Citizen messenger bags which have come to define and reshape a good portion of bike commuter fashion.

With the Niko Camera Backpack, Chrome Industries keeps their reputation strong. This backpack is designed for working photographers or hobbyists who have a serious interest in the art. The main internal compartment has modular dividers that can be reshaped to fit your particular loadout. This main compartment has a back-facing zipper which gives you an added level of security when you are carrying around expensive photography equipment.

Nike Camera backpack

The backpack also comes with a dedicated top compartment as well as a 13-inch laptop sleeve. Because this bag is made by a company dedicated to bike commuters, it also has the standard features you’ve come to expect such as reflective detailing and external straps that are perfect for tripods and bike locks alike. 

The Niko Camera Backpack is one of the strongest choices for photographers and videographers that commute by bike. 

6. Thule Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack 

Thule stays on top of the commuter backpack game with their Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack. This backpack has taken some bold new design choices that are designed to help serious bike commuters carry the gear they need. These design goals are met with a new level of comfort.

Thule Pack n Pedal backpack

This backpack is loaded with easy access compartments. It also features a crush safe compartment that is designed to store fragile gear such as glasses and keep it safe during your commute. The removable laptop sleeve is designed to sit across the top of the bag rather than down your back. This adds a layer of stability and comfort that the traditional down the back laptop sleeves lack.

This is also the first backpack on our list that features the roll-top design. Roll-top backpacks are perfect for bike commuters. Unlike a more traditional zipper-top approach, the roll-top design creates a waterproof seal that keeps your gear safe even in headon rain. If you’re looking for even more waterproofing features in a backpack, the Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack also has a hideaway rain cover.

The Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack is an impressive choice for bike commuters who are ready to brave more than just a little rain. 

7. Discovery Sparkhill Backpack

Brooks England brings us their Discovery Sparkhill Backpack which gives minimalists another style-forward choice.

Discovery Sparkhill Backpack

This all black backpack features metal decals and is accented by a metal sternum strap connector. The external pocket has a zipper that runs straight down the middle of the back of the bag which adds an interesting symmetry to the design. The internal nylon also features an stylish pattern which makes this one of the most fashionable backpacks on the list.

This is a great choice for people who are looking to take not much more than their laptop and a change of clothes. The internal space of this bag is a tight 15L. While it may not be the best choice for people with large gear requirements, these streamlined bags are ideal for your average commuter. You won’t have to worry about the bag weighing you down on your commute and can rely on it to carry the essentials. 

All of this while looking your best and who doesn’t want that?

8. The Rhake

The Rhake is one of the best designed bags out there. Mission Workshop really outdid themselves with the overall construction of this bag. If you’re a commuter who rates efficiency and tech just as highly as you rate style, this might be your dream backpack.

The Rhake backpack by Mission Workshop

This backpack features a very well organised 22L of space. The main compartment can handle laptops of up to 17-inches. No matter how much laptop power you need to haul on your commute, this backpack from Mission Workshop has your back. The other compartments have been divided into easy access and purpose-built storage. You can quickly find your keys, your smartphone, and your wallet in this eye-catching layout.

Mission Workshop builds its bags out of high-end Cordura which means that they can withstand daily commutes, overnight trips, as well as more rugged adventures. When combined with the modular storage features offered by Mission Workshop, The Rhake becomes one of the most versatile bags on this list—if you don’t mind the price tag. 

9. Dry Backpack

Maybe water resistant, and even waterproof, aren’t enough for you. If your bike commute is taking you to more rugged locations or you are carrying gear that can absolutely not get wet, you need a backpack that takes waterproofing to a whole new level.

Filson Dry Roll Top Backpack

The Dry Backpack by Filson is waterproof even when fully submerged. Yes, that’s right, once this bag is locked up tight you can dunk it under water and your contents will still be bone dry. For people in very rainy locations or who need to make sure that their expensive equipment isn’t going to suffer water damage, there’s no commuter backpack quite like this one.

The 28L capacity means that this bag can carry just about anything. Laptops, photography equipment, as well as day-to-day gear all easily fit inside. This is also a great choice for people who are looking for a backpack that can help them out beyond just their daily commute. If you don’t want to worry about having multiple backpacks for different occasions, the Filson Dry Backpack can handle your daily commute just as easily as it can handle your next outdoor adventure.

Filson backpacks have a strong style and that might not be right for everyone. However, if you need a backpack that is rugged enough to handle just about any circumstances, and you don’t mind that it looks like it can, then this is the backpack that’s the one for you. 

10. Daypack

Bike commuter backpacks tend to fall into one of two different style categories. They either have a very strong bicycle aesthetic and are covered with meshes and reflective decals or they are stark black and minimalist. Both of these are great styles, but if you’re looking to break free and try something completely different, then the Daypack by Topo Designs is the right choice for you.

Daypack by Topo Designs

This backpack comes in a variety of color combinations and features and aesthetic that is like no other. You can spot a Topo Designs bag from a mile away— and that’s a good thing. Not only will this set you apart from the crowd when you want to look fashion-forward, but it’s also going to help drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists a spot you while you’re on the road. The Daypack from Topo Designs has more going for it than just his looks.

The 1000d Cordura construction means that this backpack is going to last you for years. With a material that strong, there’s pretty much no commuter environment this pack can’t handle with ease. The internal compartment comes in at over 21L which means that you can store just about anything during your commute. The classic backpack silhouette is a perfect pair for the bold color design which will have you making a definite style statement while not going overboard.

Why not have the best of both worlds? This pack gives you outstanding durability, excellent storage capacity, and has a fashion sense like no other backpack on this list. If you’re looking for a backpack that can do a little bit of everything and you want to have your fashion stand out, then this is the right bag for you. 

So Which Backpack is Right for You?

Choosing a bike commuter backpack is a deeply personal choice. It’s just like choosing the bike that’s right for you. You need to think about your style, the kind of riding you like to do, and what your commute is like before you can make a decision.

When picking the best commuter backpack, think about how much gear you’ll need to carry with you. If you’re just bringing a change of clothes and maybe a small laptop to the office, you don’t need the full force of a bag that has more than 30L of storage capacity. Likewise, if you’re working photographer and you’re headed to your next gig with a wide range of glass and a backup body in tow, you need a backpack that not only carries your gear but does so comfortably and safely.

We hope this guide of the 10 best backpacks for commuters has helped you pick the one that’s right for you. 

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