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The 100% Transit Backpack is a well-made and practical backpack with a plethora of useful pockets and enough storage for just about any commuter, though it could do with a raincover, and a chest strap would help stabilise it for carrying heavier loads.
Before lockdown, my daily commute meant that I spent at least two hours every day cycling across London using a backpack. Like many of you, I suspect, my journey to work has gone from a 10-mile blast through traffic to a 10-step walk into the spare room, so to give this bag a full test I had to improvise. Easily done: I simply packed it with my regular commuting gear and for a few weeks rode regularly halfway to the office and back.
The defining feature of the bag is, without doubt, the number of pockets it has – 10 by my reckoning. It means you can quite easily keep everything organised effectively and safely.
On the front are two large pockets, one accessed through a top zip, the other a side zip. Then there is the main compartment, which has an additional shoe compartment accessed from the bottom of the bag, plus a large mesh pocket and two smaller pockets within it.
Then there is a glasses pocket on the top, a mesh bottle pocket on the side, plus a laptop/tablet pocket on the back. I *think* that's all of them...
The main compartment is large enough for everything I would need for a regular work day, with the additional pockets letting me keep smaller or more delicate items separate. I fitted shoes, trousers, jumper, T-shirt, laptop, lock, phone, wallet and keys without any issues at all.
On the shoulders, the bag has nice wide straps in a single piece, which means they are almost impossible to twist. They're also comfortable over longer rides thanks to a decent amount of padding, and the inner fabric is mesh, which helps to reduce any heat build-up over the shoulders. One thing the bag lacks, though, is a chest strap; it wasn't too much of an issue, but I do like having one for heavier loads as it helps reduce strain on the shoulders and prevents weight shifting.
The padding on the back is comfortable but firm enough to make sure the air channels remain open to help with ventilation. 100% has made sure that air can flow across the back, and it does a relatively good job, although I have used others that do this job better.
I used the bag several times in moderate rain without any water getting through, but it isn't advertised as being waterproof and it doesn't come with a rain cover. On showery days it's fine, but I wouldn't trust it in a torrential downpour, and it would be good if it came with some kind of waterproof cover for when you are caught out.
The bag hits the scales at 820g which is actually pretty light for a bag with this many compartments and this much hardware within it. Given that it also holds it shape well, whether it's empty on the floor or full on the back, this is particularly impressive.
Its rrp of £69.99 is good for such a practical and useful bag, comparing well with others such as the Evoc Mission Backpack that costs £20 more, while offering less padding and far fewer storage options. The Merida Fifteen II backpack is £20 cheaper and comes with both a chest and waist strap, but there are far fewer pockets and the bag has much less rigidity.
I think that 100% has done an excellent job with this bag. It offers loads of practical space, numerous organisational pockets, and enough capacity for most commuters. It could be improved with a chest strap and a rain cover, but aside from that there is little not to like here.
An excellent bag at a decent price with a huge number of pockets
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 100% Transit Backpack
Size tested: n/a
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?
It is a commuter bag designed to carry everything you might need for a work day.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Large main compartment
Front zippered accessory stash pocket
Zippered bottom compartment for shoes/dirty laundry
Upper zippered fleece-lined sunglass/glasses pocket
Padded zippered side entry laptop pocket
Padded interior tablet sleeve
Internal organization pockets and mesh zippered stash pocket
Direct inject/Screenprint logos
Padded back panel, shoulder straps, and haul handle
Well made with a good material choice, strong stitching throughout, and robust hardware.
Did everything I needed it to: comfortable on the back, offers a good amount of storage, and loads of pockets to keep things organised.
Early days, and I have no worries about the materials and hardware as they are good quality, but with this number of zips, if one breaks...
It has enough padding to make it comfortable on the back without being too insulating, but it could do with a chest strap.
It is good value compared to others offering a similar quality. It may not have some of the features of a more expensive bag, like waterproofing, a chest strap, or a rain cover, but it performs equally well – on drier days anyway.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, it offers a really impressive amount of organisation and enough storage for a typical commuter's needs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The number and variety of pockets throughout the bag: I was able to buy six beer bottles from my local brewery and managed to fit them each in a separate pocket without any clinking together. It shows firstly the number of larger pockets, and the space between them.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of a chest strap – it's not exactly a hanging offence, but it would be nice to have one.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Evoc Mission Backpack costs £20 more, while offering less padding and far fewer pockets. The Merida Fifteen II backpack is £20 cheaper and comes with both a chest and waist strap, though again there are far fewer pockets, and the bag is much less rigid.
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 overall score
In terms of practicality and sheer usefulness, this bag works amazingly well. There are so many good sized pockets that mean you can keep everything well organised and neat, it's also comfortable on the back, and the only bugbears are relatively minor. It doesn't have a rain cover, and it could do with a chest strap, but overall I think it's still very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.