Bulging pockets are the sign of a well-prepared roadie, but there are alternatives if you don't fancy overloading your jersey. This Deuter Road One rucksack, for instance, is slim and unobtrusive while managing to carry more than the essentials.
Over the course of a week I can ride up to five different bikes, all with differing inner tube requirements or tools for fixing bits and bobs and the like, which makes for a faff when it comes to sorting what kit I need for the day's ride, especially considering how disorganised I am in general.
The Road One is actually a really good solution, with loads of pockets for storage and quite a decent amount of room inside for a few extra things considering its rather small 5-litre capacity.
Inside you get five pockets. Undoing the main zip fully and opening the bag flat will reveal two mesh ones on the front half, with a pump pocket, a deep and elasticated pocket for clothing, and a small zipped valuables one on the rear that's easily roomy enough for a phone, wallet and a set of keys.
Inside the pockets there is little in the way of segregation, so if you are the type of person who likes to have their tools organised then this might get on your nerves a bit, but everything stayed in place even when riding off-road.
I could easily carry four inner tubes, puncture repair kit, a couple of multi-tools, tyre levers, pump and a rain jacket, with room for more if necessary, like some gels or bars.
The bottom of the bag is quite narrow, so if you do want to get anything out of it you will need to open it fully, which I'd say is the only real downside at the side of the road. That said, for anything that you are likely to need often on a ride there is quite a large zipped front pocket on the outside.
Not everybody is a fan of carrying things on their back, but when I was commuting it was always my preferred method and I've got through a lot of rucksacks over the years.
The Road One is very comfortable in use, thanks largely to the mesh padding it uses to rest on your back. It's firm enough to keep it seated in position without applying too much pressure to your body plus it's breathable too. There is also a central channel between the pads to let heat escape from the middle of your back.
It isn't quite as effective as my own Osprey Syncro model, which uses an aluminium frame to keep the bag away from your skin, but it's impressive nonetheless.
The straps are easy to adjust and again are very comfortable, plus you also get a sternum strap to stop the bag from swinging sideways when riding out of the saddle.
Both straps have a small amount of reflective detailing on the front, plus one has a sleeve where you can hang your glasses by the arm should the need arise.
There is plenty more reflective detailing running down both sides of the bag, plus a loop at the bottom to hang a rear light from.
Positioned at the bottom in its own storage pouch is a bright yellow rain cover. It's a welcome addition as the Road One isn't that waterproof on its own, with a decent downpour soaking through in 10 or so minutes.
I've had Deuter rucksacks in the past and they are built to withstand a lot of abuse; this one looks to be no different. The Matrix RS 150D Nylon used on the external panels is created in a diagonal pattern with ripstop threads. It's tough as old boots and has shrugged off everything I’ve thrown at it, including being scuffed on thorn bushes and gravel while out testing cyclo-cross bikes.
Value-wise, decent rucksacks can be expensive and I'd say at £69.99 the Road One can be placed in that category when you can pick up much cheaper, bigger rucksacks, such as this 15-litre one from dhb for £23.99. But it is possible for the Deuter to redeem itself, in part because of that durability; I got five years of daily commuting out of my old one, using it in every weather conceivable without incident. The only reason I changed it was because I was bored of the colour.
Also the comfort levels are so good that you barely realise you are carrying it, unless you put something really heavy into it. The shape is spot on too. It's narrow enough that it never hinders your visibility over your shoulders, plus it is also short enough that if you do want to keep something in your jersey pocket you can reach it without having to stop riding.
So there you have it, the One Road is the ideal companion for a minimalist commute or just a long day-ride. Shop around for the best possible price and you'll have a bag that'll serve you well for years.
A neat and minimalistic alternative to loading up your pockets
road.cc test report
Make and model: Deuter Road One backpack
Size tested: Volume 5L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Deuter says: "Our backpack specifically engineered for road cycling brings the end of bulging jersey pockets on long rides. Camera, wind protection, or a small first aid kit can all be stored in this minimalist, aerodynamic road expert."
The Road One is the ideal size for long day-rides for those who just don't like carrying everything in their pockets.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Deuter lists these features:
Comfortable, breathable shoulder straps
Mesh pockets inside
Lightweight Aircontact back system with Wide Air Mesh lining
Easily adjustable chest strap
Main compartment with all-round zip
Clever attachment for glasses on shoulder straps
Attachment for pump
Zipped front pocket
Wet laundry compartment
Internal valuables pocket
Reflective 3M prints
Reflective loop for safety light
Detachable rain cover
Material: Super-Polytex / 33D Pocket Rip
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It carries the essentials and is very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Plenty of storage pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You need to open it fully to get something out of the bottom of the bag.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Road One is a good all-rounder for carrying your ride essentials and it's so robust it'll last for ages, which goes some way to offset the cost.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.