Big, sturdy and waterproof, but a bit less than comfy to carry

The Crankbrothers Gutter urban backpack is sturdy, waterproof and big enough for all your round-town needs, but its beefy construction makes it a bit awkward to carry on a bike.

Finding the ideal bag or pack for commuting is no easy feat. Too small and you run into obvious difficulties, too big and the temptation to pack more than you need or feel like you're wearing a sail is difficult to resist.

Crankbrothers are better known for their funky, well made parts. Latterly they have expanded their luggage range to cover saddle, messenger, duffel and hydration packs. This version of a back pack, the Gutter, is pretty much a one pack does it all offering.

It has a capacity of 31 litres, enough for most commuting requirements. If you need to carry a laptop it has space for that too. There is a 17in side pocket which will engulf most of today's portable computers. You have an external pocket for your bottle, a ventilated back and topped off with a roll top closure.

If that wasn't enough, once you've closed the roll top with its velcro flap there is another flap that covers the bag and can be secured with two clasps. On the outside of this you get another zipped pocket. That covers off everything you possibly need to carry on any journey, bar the kitchen sink.

The gutter is made from TPU coated nylon and polyester. It has a bonus in the shape of a five-year warranty. Not bad.

The downside is the material used and the solid construction make for a heavy finish. There's no doubting the quality of the bag and it keeps the rain out, vital if you're carrying electricals. With a laptop safely stashed there is still plenty of room for everyday essentials, whether that's clothes, lunch or both.

Despite a full load the harness does a good job of distributing the weight so when you have the gutter in situ you don't feel like a turtle struggling to right yourself. You have two clasps to secure the pack in place which are easy to adjust.

The only let down is that the pocket for the laptop has a thick padded section to protect both your back and cargo but this makes for a very stiff fit. Noticeably so when you move around with the pack on your back and leaves you feeling uncomfortable. It makes the Gutter pack very bulky and rigid which isn't the best feeling if you have a sizeable commute/journey to make.


The Crankbrothers Gutter pack is a sizeable transporter, equipped to carry all your working essentials and keep them safe and dry. The downside to all this portability is to carry your goods without risk, the pack is rigid and feels less than comfy.

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Make and model: Crankbrothers Gutter Pack

Size tested: 31 litres Blue

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?

Those who want a stylish pack more for short distances or commuting around town. A bag to use if you have plenty of gear to carry around as opposed to a lightweight bag.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The gutter pack is made from TPU coated nylon and polyester. It has a bonus in the shape of a 5 year warranty. Besides a large laptop pocket you have several others, zipped or simply for stowing pens. A roll top closure system is kept in place with velcro and then covered with a bag sized flap which can be secured with clasps.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Well made, durable and keeps the water out - ideal combination.

Rate the product for performance:

There is no doubting the load capacity of the gutter pack but for lengthy journeys this would be its undoing. The 31 litres are plenty to accommodate all your needs and probably a few you don't. The rigid pockets to keep the laptop safe and give the pack shape make it very stiff.

Rate the product for durability:

Again the combination of materials used make this an ideal pack for sturdy use.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

The downside of these materials and the load capacity make for a durable but ultimately heavy pack.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

As I've already mentioned the rigidity of the pack to keep things secure make for a pack lacking in comfort subtleties.

Rate the product for value:

This is a lot of bag for the money but you would specifically need a large load capacity otherwise there are cheaper, lighter versions.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It does plenty, carries plenty but at a price - which is comfort and lightness. It is well designed and thought out but not an ideal long commute companion.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The variety of pockets and some nice detail, in terms of keeping the main compartment secure and dry.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The weight and lack of flex, oh and the price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly but wouldn't be my go to bag unless I was walking.

Would you consider buying the product? Not really unfortunately for the reasons already covered.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they were specifically looking for a carry all rucksack and weren't worried about weight.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

There is no denying the style and design of the gutter pack but this is let down by the lack of flex in the frame and the weight.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 178cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three  My best bike is: As above

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT



Dr.Galactus [18 posts] 4 years ago

CrankBrothers going for looks over functionality‽  13

allez neg [496 posts] 4 years ago

I have a C-bros courier bag and it feels like it'd survive nuclear armageddon. That said, for backpacks that are bombproof I'd go for Kriega every time.