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The Altura Grid Travel Bag is spacious and looks just as at home on your urban bike commute as it does in the office, or on the bus or plane. It has plenty of pockets for storage and the reflective detailing is a big bonus for the winter months.
The Grid Travel Bag isn't designed primarily for cycling use, it's more of a bag that you can carry like a case, but thanks to some nifty hidden straps it quickly turns into a rucksack.
When using it as a rucksack it does tend to sit quite high up on your back. That's fine for walking and when riding on an upright styled bike, but not so much on a road bike where you have a decent drop between the saddle and the handlebar.
This is definitely more of a bag for your urban style of riding.
The rucksack straps are wide so even with plenty of weight in the bag there are no pressure points on your shoulders. There is a bit of padding there too.
There is no chest strap, but it's not a massive omission as even when loaded there is no real sway.
On the rear section that sits against your back there are a couple of Airmesh panels to try to allow some ventilation between you and the bag. It works okay, but they aren't that thick so only do an average job.
Altura doesn't make any claims about waterproofing, but the fabric used does seem to have a decent amount of water resistance, although rain can eventually seep in through the seams and zips. Something worth bearing in mind should you have anything electrical inside the bag.
One thing I do like is the reflectivity. The side panels and front panels have a reflective pattern that's subtle during daylight but really stands out in the dark when a light source hits.
There is also a black version of the Grid and that gets a solid reflective panel just on the front section.
To turn the bag from a rucksack back into a case, you unclip the bottom of each strap and tuck them into a pocket on the back.
This bag has a volume of 20 litres and its rectangular shape makes full use of what is available, meaning it's usable space.
The main section is large enough to easily accept a laptop up to around 15in, along with extra paperwork and files.
In front of that is another large section with some internal pockets for a bit of organisation, and there is another section on the front. I do find the central zip of the front section a little odd, though – putting it nearer the top would mean you'd get more use out of the pocket.
The overall quality is pretty good apart from a few stray threads here and there, plus the stitching isn't the neatest on the rucksack straps.
The material seems to be tough and resilient, though, and is easy to keep clean even after riding on wet roads with spray.
Priced at £70 it's a bit more expensive than the Built for Athletes cycling backpack (£49.99), but the Altura has more usable space and will blend in better in the office.
The smaller 22L MULE version of the Camelbak H.A.W.G. that Liam was very impressed with last year comes with a few more features than the Altura, like a helmet carrier section, and it's reservoir compatible as you'd expect from Camelbak. It's generally a bit more cycling specific, but also £120.
If you want a bag that can be used on the bike without screaming 'cyclist' when you get to your next meeting or when travelling without the bike, the Altura Grid Travel is a great choice. It carries a lot of stuff, and the reflectivity is a big bonus. Its shape is definitely more suited to the urban rider than the racer, though.
Cool solution for the urban commuter who wants a bag that works on the bike and away from it
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Grid travel bag Grey reflective
Size tested: 20L
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?
Altura says, "The Altura Grid Travel Bag is a versatile feature-packed bag to help you stay organised either on the commute or a big adventure. A large zipped opening reveals a structured main compartment with a laptop sleeve and file organiser, front organiser with zipped pockets and a bottle holder for additional hydration on the move. The functionality does not end there - the Altura Grid Travel Bag transforms into a backpack with shoulder straps which can then be tucked away when you want to switch it to a briefcase style bag. When worn on the bike the air mesh back panel allows air to circulate helping to keep you cool whilst reflective print detailing and light loops help you to stay visible in lower light conditions."
It's a clever design that is also hardwearing and durable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Large zip opening for main stash compartment
- Front organiser pocket with zip pockets
- Tuck away shoulder straps for brief case style carry
- Airmesh back panel with deep channel for air circulation
- Sleeve for trolley handle
- Light loops
- Reflective print detailing
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive amount of storage and it looks just as good off the bike as on it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Loads of reflectivity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some of the stitching isn't the neatest.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's well priced considering everything that it has going for it. It's £50 less than Camelbak's MULE, and while it is pricier than the Built for Athletes bag, I'd say it has more going for it.
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
The Grid Travel makes good use of the space available and comes with plenty of pockets for commuting or just general carrying of stuff. It's a little rough around the edges in a couple of places, but the material is robust and the amount of reflectivity will come into its own in the winter months.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!