Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Best cycling backpacks 2024 — carry your stuff on the bike the easy way

From super-minimal to super-organised, here's our round-up of the best cycling backpacks

This article contains links to retailers. Purchases made after clicking on those links may help support by earning us a commission but all of our reviews are fully independent. Find out more about buyer's guides.

Panniers, attached to a rack at the back of the bike, are the classic form of cycling luggage, but many people like to simply use a backpack for the office commute or running errands by bike. The best cycling backpacks should be functional, durable and comfortable, and have features to help keep your stuff organised and dry. In this article, we'll round up the best cycling backpacks you can buy right now.

The main advantage of a backpack is its convenience. Simply pack all your essentials, throw it on your shoulders, and you're ready to go without the hassle of dealing with pannier hooks or impacting your bike's handling. Additionally, the ease of carrying off the bike makes backpacks one of the most popular ways of transporting stuff on the bike.

There are lots of cycling backpacks to choose from, ranging from super organised with lots of internal compartments, or super simple, lightweight single-compartment bags. The right one for you will depend on your preferences. 

It's also worth looking out for reflective detailing for night-time visibility, plus waterproofing to keep you laptop dry in an unexpected downpour. 

How we review cycling backpacks

Our reviewers, with many years of riding experience between them, use products for at least a month before writing up their findings and delivering final verdicts.

Since towers is based in the centre of Bath, these cycling backpacks have undergone rigorous testing during our reviewers' daily commutes to work, enduring the varied weather conditions that the UK presents. 

Cycling backpacks are assessed on their quality of construction, performance, durability, weight, comfort and value, with the overall score reflecting both the backpack's function and value compared to items of a similar spec, quality and price. With a huge review archive, we can keep it fair by comparing like-for-like. 

Why you can trust us

All cycling backpacks featured in this buyer's guide have undergone thorough reviews by our team of reviewers. Since we've reviewed a lot of backpacks over the years, all of the ones featured have scored 8/10 or more to be considered for inclusion. No matter how big the brand is or sales figures, a product must meet our high standards to be featured in this guide. 

And of course, the team members who put together these guides are seasoned cyclists themselves. Our first-hand experience ensures that the product selections are carefully curated. 

Several of the items below have also earned recognition in Recommends, indicating they have received high scores in reviews, and have been selected for this buyer's guide by at least three different individual on the team. If you do want to see your on-bike carrying options, be sure to check out our guide to the best bike pannier bags and pannier racks too. 

The best cycling backpacks: our top picks

Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack

Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack

Best cycling backpack overall
Buy now for £55.99 from Cycle Solutions
Totally waterproof
Comfortable and secure
Handy (waterproof) zipped external pocket
Good internal storage
Padding is quite firm

The Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack is a great pack that does exactly what it promises to do – carry your stuff comfortably, securely and dryly. If you're about town in all weathers, it's ideal.

Inside, the backpack features a laptop sleeve, a couple of smaller fabric pockets and a zipped mesh one, and outside there's an 18cm-deep pocket with a waterproof zip (17cm opening), which is pretty handy if you don't want to unroll the whole thing. 

The shoulder straps are well padded (and mesh-backed for ventilation), and you get webbing chest and waist straps which are easily adjustable for a comfy, secure fit, as are the buckles for securing the opening. 

Apidura Packable Backpack 13L

Apidura Packable Backpack (13L)

Best value cycling backpack
Buy now for £46 from Apidura
Packs very, very small
Attaches to your bike
Roll-top fits and squashes around odd shapes
Very light
Fits well
External pockets
Waterproof, tear-resistant material

Apidura's Packable 13L backpack is an excellent cycle-specific backpack that squashes down to almost nothing when not in use. It's made from a tough, waterproof rip-stop polyester that measures 7 x 8 x 9cm in its packed form. 

There are a surprising number of technical features too, such as adjustable straps, elasticated mesh pockets capable of carrying water bottles, reflective dots to add visibility on the bike, and most impressive is the fact that all the seams are tape-sealed for waterproofing – a real feat at this size, weight and price.

Also, it's worth noting that Apidura offers a lifetime materials and workmanship warranty, and will help with repairs where needed.

Proviz Reflect360 Cycling Backpack

Proviz Reflect360 Cycling Backpack

Best reflective cycling backpack
Buy now for £62.99 from Proviz
Loads of reflectivity for riding in the dark
Lots of compartments
Good waterpoofing
Riding hard can cause sweat build-up on your back

The Proviz Reflect 360 Backpack is a stunning way of boosting your visibility when riding at night. During the day the backpack is a subtle grey, but when a car's headlights fall on it, the entire bag reflects back the light.

As a backpack, the Reflect 360 fulfils its task well. It's spacious with a 30 litre capacity which is more than enough for a change of clothes, sandwiches and any other stuff you need to transport. There's a laptop sleeve too and the fabric has good waterproofing keeping your belongings dry in all but the very heaviest of downpours.

Craft Cadence Backpack

Craft Cadence Backpack

Best waterproof cycling backpack
Buy now for £99.99 from Craft Cadence
Very well built
Waist straps could be better

The Craft Cadence backpack is designed for commuting cyclists to carry pretty much everything they need in a stylish and comfortable manner. It's great quality and is waterproof. 

There are three storage areas to the bag: the 21-litre compartment, and two zipped pockets on the outside. Inside the main compartment are two Velcro straps holding an eight-pocket organiser sleeve. This includes a pocket for a 15in laptop plus a large, zipped pocket. There's also an A4-sized pocket and some smaller ones, plus two pen holders with a key strap.

Osprey Metron 24

Osprey Metron 24

Best cycling backpack with lots of storage
Buy now for £147.99 from Amazon UK
External helmet storage
Rain cover
Waterproof shoe compartment
Airflow-optimised back
Excess straps can flap around

The Osprey Metron 24 is a great pack for commuters with a 24L total capacity and a grand total of 14 storage compartments and pockets, plus two compartments that hold covers. 

Osprey makes the Metron using nylon from recycled sources, and it's said to be abrasion-resistant in case of a spill. The Metron 24 is about as feature-rich as they come, one of the great features being the helmet holder, and it offers brilliant practicality in a neat design. 

You can get a smaller 18L messenger or 22L roll-top version if you know you'll need less capacity, but the 24L tested here might turn out to be the sweetspot for most.

Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack

Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack

Best money-no-object cycling backpack
Buy now for £131.75 from Wiggle
Comfy for heavy loads
Good number of sensible pockets
Not fully waterproof

The Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack is a well-made commuter backpack that is capable of carrying heavier and bulkier loads comfortably. It is well-made and backed by a lifetime guarantee.

It's not completely waterproof but the majority of the bag is made from a tough, water-resistant material, as are the zips. If that isn't enough, there is a water-resistant internal bag that can also hold a laptop easily.

More highly rated cycling backpacks

Altura Heritage 12L Backpack

Altura Heritage 12L Backpack

Buy now for £37.49 from Cycle Store
Fiddly fastenings

Altura's Heritage 12L Backpack is part of their traditionally styled Heritage range and this canvas bag certainly looks the part. It's made from a 97% cotton, 3% polyester 12oz canvas, with a water-repellent wax finish that can (mostly) handle pretty heavy rain. 

Inside is a padded sleeve designed for up to 15in laptops, plus a couple of mesh pockets, a zipped organiser pocket, and a keyring. The padded straps are adjustable, and the chest strap is removable too. The 12-litre main body closes with a zip and then rolls up for protection from rain.

Tester Lara said, "I found this size spot on for a day's commute – it takes a compact change of clothes, shoes, a laptop and the inevitable bits and bobs, though doesn't leave much space for shopping on the way home. The quite narrow shaping and thick fabric keep the contents all safe and secure, too."

Sundried Triathlon Backpack

Sundried Triathlon Backpack

Buy now for £61 from
Lots of bottle pockets (four!)
Excellent separate shoe and helmet compartments
Wipe-down surface
Huge – not a modular design
Detachable pouch not easily detachable
Laptop sleeve only accessible from interior

The Sundried 50L Triathlon Backpack is a huge event weekender bag with so many useful pockets including four bottle holders, plus handy shoe and helmet compartments which standard rucksacks don't cater for very well. The Sundried helpfully separates these essentials for safe and easy-access storage.

Sundried's backpack measures 75 x 45 x 26cm with – as you might have guessed from the name – a capacity of 50 litres. That's a lot. With a bag so spacious that you can pack a serious amount of weight into it, it's great that it has a padded back and supportive straps that can be adjusted easily for a secure and comfortable fit.

While not strictly designed for commuting, reflective piping extends across all sides for visibility, so you could use the backpack for early morning or evening commutes, and 15-inch laptop sleeve made of mesh is also included. 

Elops Cycling Backpack Speed 520

Elops Cycling Backpack Speed 520

Buy now for £69.99 from Decathlon
Waterproof and durable material
Handy side zip for quick access
Back padding helps prevent sweaty journeys
Good price
Just the two colour options

The Elops Cycling Backpack Speed 520 is a waterproof pack from Decathlon and it's a thoroughly practical and versatile bit of kit that's ideal for commuting and more. The design is simple but not basic, with attention to detail in its zips, reflective strips and internal pockets, and despite its 25L size, it folds down quite compactly. 

It's also comfy to wear thanks to chunky padding and supportive side straps that really hug as you move. 

Apidura City Backpack

Apidura City Backpack

Buy now for £130 from Condor Cycles
Lightweight, simple design
No rolltop closure
Padded laptop sleeve
Reflective details
Comfortable shoulder straps
The material shows scuffs
Not the most breathable on the back

The Apidura City Backpack is a lightweight and fully waterproof backpack designed for urban riding and daily commuting. The City's simplicity is one of its most appealing features. The bag features a welded waterproof construction to keep your belongings dry in any weather and its features are minimalist, with only the essential pockets. The 20-litre capacity of this bag proved to be more than enough for carrying office essentials and even some extra for a weekend-long trip.

Inside, there's a suspended laptop sleeve for secure storage and the sleeve has one zipped pocket for storing pens or other small items you don't want to fish from the bottom of the bag. On the side, there's an easy-access zipped pocket for keys and the like. Otherwise, the bag is one single rectangular pouch with flap closure that's 50cm in height, which can be extended to 56cm, and 30cm wide.

Best cycling backpacks: how to choose and what you need to know

What size backpack is best for cycling?

There's a huge range of options in rucksacks for cycling, from bike-specific packs with lots of pockets and hidey-holes to help keep your stuff organised, to walking daypacks that can be used on the bike, to ultralight bags for minimalists.

You don't want to carry too much on your back, so our recommendation is around 20-30 litres, though we have listed a couple of bigger bags for those who absolutely must take along the kitchen sink.

Are cycling backpacks waterproof?

Yes, many of the cycling backpacks listed are at least water resistant with some of them being fully waterproof. Backpacks vary in how well they keep out the wet. Roll-top bags made from seam-welded waterproof materials will generally keep out almost everything. More conventionally-constructed bags need liners to keep clothes and electronics dry; some have built-in rain covers that help.

Is it hard to ride with a backpack?

Factors such as the weight of the backpack, its design and how well it fits will impact how easy or hard it is to ride with it. We would suggest buying an adjustable backpack so you can distribute the weight evenly on your back making it more comfortable and easier to ride with. Look for backpacks with adjustable straps, padding on the shoulders and back, and a ventilated design to further enhance comfort during rides. 

The more you're going to carry, the thicker the padding on the shoulders and back needs to be. The downside of this is that a thickly-padded bag is more likely to make your back sweaty in hot weather, so look for cooling channels and vents in the padding to keep that under control.

As we've already mentioned, if you'd like to keep your back free of any extra weight and carry your luggage on the bike instead, consider pannier bags and pannier racks instead. Just be aware that these will affect the total weight of your bike and the handling of it too, and it's important to make sure the weight is evenly distributed on each side of the bike. 

What should I look for in a cycling backpack?

When choosing a cycling backpack, you should consider water-resistance, number of storage compartments, padding and reflective details. 

In terms of the number of storage compartments, it's horses for course. Some love to have a place for everything, others prefer to rummage in one compartment. Tip for rummagers: get a bag with a light-coloured interior.

If you're using your backpack for commuting during the darker months it's important to consider reflective detailing. A backpack will cover a large part of your jacket in winter, so a bit of extra visibility is a good idea to compensate for the patches of reflective material that will be hidden. Proviz takes this to its logical conclusion with its Reflect 360 pack, which is entirely made from reflective fabric. If your pack doesn't have enough reflective patches, Proviz and others make reflective covers to boost your visibility.

Can I use a cycling backpack for other activities?

Yes, definitely. Cycling backpacks are often designed with many versatile features meaning you can use them for commuting, hiking, travelling to races and also for everyday use. 

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…