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review

Altura Heritage 12L Backpack

8
£50.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Well-made, rugged, protective and versatile – this is great value for money
Tough
Protective
Attractive
Fiddly fastenings
Weight: 
620g

At road.cc 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.

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Good-looking and durable, the Altura Heritage 12L Backpack is a decent size for commuter basics and offers good protection to its contents. The fastenings on the front and chest strap might be a bit fiddly, but beyond that there's little to dislike – this is an effective and attractive pack.

Part of Altura's traditionally-styled Heritage range, this canvas bag certainly looks the part, and offers a nice alternative to the endless man-made fabrics elsewhere. It's actually a 97% cotton, 3% polyester 12oz canvas, with a water-repellent wax finish that can (mostly) handle pretty heavy rain. The odd bits that do soak up water take a fair bit of drying out afterwards, though.

On the upside, it's easy to boost or refresh its water-repellency with an aftermarket reproofer, of which there are many. That should keep it going for years.

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The 12 litre main body closes with a zip and then rolls up for protection from rain.

Inside is a padded sleeve designed for up to 15in laptops, plus a couple of mesh pockets, a zipped organiser pocket, and a keyring. The padded straps are adjustable, and the chest strap is removable too.

2021 Altura Heritage 12L Backpack - inside.jpg

I found this size spot on for a day's commute – it takes a compact change of clothes, shoes, a laptop and the inevitable bits and bobs, though doesn't leave much space for shopping on the way home. The quite narrow shaping and thick fabric keep the contents all safe and secure, too.

2021 Altura Heritage 12L Backpack - straps 2.jpg

On the bike the fit is comfortable and stable, with no tendency to bounce around or clash with helmets, and the lack of a waist strap didn't cause any problems either.

Not so fast

I found the fastenings a bit fiddly and complicated, though. The roll-top zips up and then secures to the daisy chain that runs down the front with a hook, which gives plenty of flexibility for securing various loads, but it's vexing when wearing gloves.

Also, the lower you fold it, the more the back of the bag deforms.

2021 Altura Heritage 12L Backpack - side.jpg

I found folding slightly better than rolling though, because it creates less bulk at the top, and that can interfere slightly with over-shoulder visibility – though to be fair, not too badly.

> Cycling luggage for beginners: find out the best ways to carry stuff on your bike

The chest strap is also unusual. Instead of the usual central buckle, this has a series of webbing loops the ends secure to via (please stop me if I get too technical) a plastic slidey hook thingy. It does mean it's completely removable, plus there's less chance of pinching your clothing than a buckle has, but it is a bit fiddly, particularly in long-fingered gloves.

2021 Altura Heritage 12L Backpack - chest strap 1.jpg

However, the bag works just as well without the chest strap, so removal is always an option. Particularly busty female riders might find the strap to be intrusive anyway.

Value

At £50, this is very good value for money. The Merida Fifteen II Backpack is £49.99 and a bit bigger (15L) and lighter, but it is significantly less rugged and protective. The 100% Transit Backpack is a good bit more expensive at £69.99 and, again, less protective to whatever fits in (the makers don't say anything about the capacity) plus it's 200g heavier.

The Evoc Street Backpack holds more than twice as much at 25L yet is 140g lighter than the Altura, but then it's not waxed cotton – and is also £69.99.

The Vaude Isny II and the Apidura City Backpack 17L are both significantly more expensive, at £85 and £159 respectively, and although both are much larger, they otherwise don't offer very much the Altura does not.

Overall

It's hard to argue with a nice-looking, incredibly rugged and protective pack at this price. It has to be said, I'm happy to put up with the odd fastenings for the long-lasting value and style delivered here.

Verdict

Well-made, rugged, protective and versatile – this is great value for money

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Altura Heritage 12L Backpack

Size tested: 12L

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, rather loudly: "A STYLISH AND VERSATILE BACKPACK WHICH LOOKS GREAT ON OR OFF THE BIKE WITH CLASSIC STYLING AND MODERN DESIGN."

It's a nice looking bag, very robust and does a good job.

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

12oz water-resistant waxed canvas

Roll-top closure

Lid closure with Woojin two tone buckle

Chest strap

Internal zippered pocket with key clip

Padded laptop sleeve for up to 15in laptop

12L capacity

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made from high quality materials.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Tough, versatile and protective.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

Extremely rugged, and the fabric can be re-proofed if necessary.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Surprisingly light for its rugged fabric and build.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Very comfortable to wear, whether empty or fully laden.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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

Does a great job as a versatile, weatherproof daily load carrier for commutes.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Tough, protective, attractive.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Fiddly fastenings.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £50, this is very good value for money. The Merida Fifteen II Backpack is £49.99 and a bit bigger (15L) and lighter, but it is significantly less rugged and protective The 100% Transit Backpack is a good bit more expensive at £69.99 and, again, less protective to whatever fits in (the makers don't say anything about the capacity) plus it's 200g heavier.

The Evoc Street Backpack holds more than twice as much at 25L yet is 140g lighter than the Altura, but then it's not waxed cotton – and is also £69.99.

The Vaude Isny II and the Apidura City Backpack 17L are both significantly more expensive at £85 and £159 respectively, and although both are much larger, they otherwise don't offer very much the Altura does not.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – it swiftly became a favourite

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, particularly commuters or urban cyclists

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is an incredibly well-made and nicely thought out commuter bag that works well as a casual bag too. Given the rugged build and durability, the value for money is high too. Yes the fastenings can be a little fiddly, but there's little to really dislike.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 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, mtb,

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. 

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