Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Oxford Aqua V12 Backpack



A durable and rugged, highly visible waterproof bag, perfect for lightweight commutes

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Oxford Aqua V12 Backpack is a virtually indestructible fully waterproof and high-vis backpack. I'd say the chances of anyone NOT noticing you while carrying this baby are slim to none. But given that it's only 12 litres in size, is it genuinely useful? I found it to be so.

Made from a super-tough rugged waterproof fabric, this bag has all the seams sealed too so there's absolutely no way that any water is getting in, except if you're daft enough to open the roll-top closure outside in the rain. The roll-top fastens in two different ways, giving the option of packing the bag down into a more compact size if not full, or fastening the top against the weather while retaining the largest internal capacity possible.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable and there's a chest strap too, as well as a pad at the top where the pack sits on the upper back. There's a roomy zipped pocket on the outside of the front with a water-resistant zip and a reflective trimmed LED light tab too. The bag comes in a choice of two high-vis colours or bright white, each covered in reflective silver chevrons and panels.

Oxford Aqua12 Backpack Orange - worn straps.jpg

Although it's actually quite tiny and definitely not the thing for die-hard pack-everything commuters, the bag does fill a useful niche. It will take a 12-inch laptop or notebook happily and a spare T-shirt or shirt and some papers and files and so on. Any larger laptop doesn't fit because of the curved bottom of the bag. The lack of internal padding did mean the laptop had to go in a protective sleeve, but that's no big deal. It makes a great bag for lightweight or occasional commuters or for students.

Oxford Aqua12 Backpack Orange - worn.jpg

The shoulder straps are incredibly comfortable, even with the pack fully loaded (it's not possible for it to be that heavy anyway, given the size) and there was no problem with the roll-top fastenings getting in the way. The waterproof tough fabric doesn't let any moisture in at all and inspires full confidence.

> Read our guide to 10 of the best cycling rucksacks

Price-wise it sits around the middle for a pack of this sort of size and durability, but it's a very long-term investment given that this bag isn't going anywhere in a hurry. It's built tough, and reassuringly protective against even the very worst weather.


A durable and rugged, highly visible waterproof bag, perfect for lightweight commutes test report

Make and model: Oxford Aqua12 Backpack Orange

Size tested: 12 Litre capacity, Width 240mm, Height 400mm, Depth 120mm

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?

Aimed at anyone wanting a hardwearing high-vis fully waterproof rucksack for cycling.

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

Reflective detailing for improved visibility.

Waterproof roll top closure.

Water resistant zipped external pocket.

Wipe clean, water proof construction with welded seams.

Webbed reflective loop for tail light attachment.

Adjustable chest strap.

Padded back panel for additional comfort.

Available in hi viz orange or yellow and also white

12 litres capacity

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Extremely high quality and tough fabric, good quality cushioned straps and excellent reflectivity.

Rate the product for performance:

Performs very well as a compact all-weathers commuter pack.

Rate the product for durability:

Noah could pack the animals into this for the next flood...

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

Not light but given how tough and weather proof it is, it's not that heavy either.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

Very comfortable even when fully loaded.

Rate the product for value:

A good price given how well made it is and how long it will last.

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

Performed very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Visibility, superb weatherproofing, durability, comfort of straps...

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Well made from tough and durable materials, this bag will last a long time and will more than adequately protect anything inside from the very worst weather.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

Latest Comments