Depending on where you live, your commute can be the worst part of your day. Whether you’re sitting in rush hour traffic in your car or cramming yourself into a crowded subway car where there is inevitably at least two smelly people and at least one crying baby, commuting is generally frustrating and hellish.
People who bike to work avoid the common pitfalls and complaints most people have about getting to work. There’s rarely traffic in the bike lane. No one’s armpit is in your face. You get to be outside instead of trapped inside a metal tube. You get to sneak in your daily exercise. The only downsides are back sweat and figuring out how to get all of your stuff from home to work. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best backpacks made specifically for commuting on bike. Cycle on, but just watch the weather report. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway to the office when a rainstorm approaches.
Timbuk2 Spire Laptop Backpack
San Francisco-based bag maker Timbuk2 makes really rough-and-tumble bags perfect for time spent on the road, and its Spire Laptop Backpack is one of the brand’s best offerings. This backpack was designed exclusively for Apple, so you can bet that your Macbook and various other Apple devices will fit snugly (and safely) inside. The bag is constructed from waterproof TPU and canvas, the back is ventilated to minimize commuter sweat, and while it features a ton of other accoutrements that will make a biker happy, your favorite feature just might be something as simple as the built-in bottle opener. Who’s thirsty?
Chrome Industries Citadel Backpack
Chrome Industries has built a brand with the reputation for cranking out products that are indestructible and its Citadel Backpack is no exception. It’s rugged and roomy enough to take on a weekend trip, but the padded interior laptop slot makes it ideal for hauling your work computer to and from the office (and it’s much more fashionable than the dorky work-issued computer bag you got on your first day). And with the price clocking in at just over $100, it’s the best deal you’re ever going to find.
Ortlieb Velocity Cycling Backpack
Ortlieb is a company that specializes in making bags specifically for cyclists, so you won’t go wrong with this Velocity Cycling backpack. It has padded shoulder straps and backing to ensure your comfort (and also ensure you don’t arrive to work with a sweaty back), as well as reflective detailing on the front and back to make sure you stand out on those early morning (or late night) commutes.
Osprey Momentum 22 Backpack
Colorado-based Osprey has been making quality outdoor gear for over 40 years, so you know its Momentum 22 backpack is sturdy and dependable. It has a lot of bells and whistles too—a built-in raincover to keep it dry on those [unfortunate] rainy day commutes, a blinker light attachment to help you better share the road with drivers, a clip for your helmet when it’s not in-use, built-in padded pockets for your laptop or tablet, and a side pocket for a water bottle. In short, it’s the perfect bag for business-class bikers.
Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack
There’s a reason why this bag from Timbuk2 is called “Especial”—it’s made with durable, waterproof Cordura rip-stop nylon and has a number of features added with the bicycle commuter in mind. The roll-top pack provides easy access, the dual side stretch pockets will fit water bottles to keep you hydrated while on-the-go, and the external compression straps make heavy loads a lot less heavier.
Brooks Saddles Pickwick Day Pack
Brooks started making leather bicycle seats in England in the mid-1800s, so it’s safe to say that they know their stuff when it comes to what cyclists need. The Pickwick Day Pack doesn’t have all of the features other bags on this list have, but if you’re just carrying a few things, this is the bag for you. Made from water-resistant canvas and available in a variety of colors, any aspiring minimalist will love it.
Borne out of UK cycling events, Rapha is a brand that creates products made for cyclists, by cyclists. The Rapha Backpack is made from water-resistant Cordura fabric and has padded panels that are positioned to follow the curve of the wearer’s spine (read: it’s easy on the back). The backpack also features a built-in rain cover (pink for high visibility), a padded laptop compartment, and a lined pocket for your sunglasses, making it one of the best commuter backpacks out there.
InCase Icon Backpack
San Francisco-based InCase has been creating quality bags since 1997, and the Icon Backpack is no exception. Available in a handful of colors (black, two shades of gray, and red), the durable backpack is perfect for the road warrior on the way to the office, with tons of compartments to keep all of your stuff organized. You’ll like it so much, you’ll want to use it even when you’re not traveling by bike (hint: it would make a great carry-on bag).
Freight Baggage Rolltop Backpack
San Francisco-based Freight Baggage specializes in making gear for on-the-go, and its Rolltop Backpack is one of the brand’s best offerings. The rolltop provides easy access while protecting what’s stowed inside, and the white reflective piping will keep you safe while you’re weaving in and out of traffic.
Ethnotek India 8 Raja Pack
Ethnotek was created with the mission to keep local culture alive by creating bags that feature ethnically-sourced handmade textiles. The India 8 Raja Pack does exactly that—featuring hand-loomed fabric from a master weaver in India, the bag stands out from the more utilitarian bags you’ll find on the market. It also has a ton of interior and exterior pockets, making it perfect for traveling, whether it’s to the office or to your next vacation destination.
Chrome Industries Ivan Backpack
Founded in Colorado but now based in California, Chrome is known for creating indestructible products that are guaranteed to last for life. The Ivan Backpack lives up to the hype—the military-inspired bag is waterproof and made to haul heavy loads with ease.
North St. Route Nine Convertible Backpack
Named for the Vermont street where the company’s founder grew up on, North St. bags are made specifically with cyclists in mind. Now based in Portland, Oregon, the Route Nine is one of the brand’s best offerings, mainly because it’s so versatile. It can convert from a traditional backpack to a shoulder strap bag in seconds, and has a host of interior and exterior pockets to keep everything in place. Throw in side sleeve pockets with large reflectors, and you’ve got yourself the only biking bag you’ll ever need.
Defy Bags VerBockel Rolltop Backpack
All of Defy Bags carry a certain amount of swagger, and the VerBockel is no exception. Named after a Defy intern who was super into cycling, the bag was made to his specs, which is a good thing, because it has everything you wish your other bags did. Made with water repellant M35 military truck vinyl and canvas tarpaulin, the bag is virtually indestructible. The bag’s back features vented closed-cell foam to prevent sweat stains, a padded laptop section, and a ton of exterior and interior pockets for everything else you need to throw in there.
Mission Workshop Rambler Cargo Pack
A relatively new San Francisco-based brand, Mission Workshop seeks to make handmade goods for people in motion, which is why the Rambler Cargo Pack might be the most durable bag you’ll ever own. Made from water-resistant material (available in gray, black, or green), you can sport the bag in roll-top or flap-down mode, but the key feature here is that the bag can double in size when you need to carry a more substantial load (after-work beers, anyone?).
Colfax Design Works SDP_01 Pack
This American made, completely weatherproof bag was built to adapt to anything – which makes it the perfect choice for a 2-wheeled commuter. Outfitted with mil-spec webbing and hardware components, the tactical inspired pack offers up 21 liters of space within the confines of its convenient rolltop design, which includes a dedicated laptop sleeve, a slot for a hydration bladder, and several additional compartments for increased storage abilities. Our favorite aspect though is Colfax’s proprietary Advanced Modular Cargo System, which lets you attach additional packs (and gadgets) to the outside.
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