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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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road.cc 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
Extremely high quality and tough fabric, good quality cushioned straps and excellent reflectivity.
Performs very well as a compact all-weathers commuter pack.
Noah could pack the animals into this for the next flood...
Not light but given how tough and weather proof it is, it's not that heavy either.
Very comfortable even when fully loaded.
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
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.
About the tester
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 road.cc 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.