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The Jack Wolfskin Allspark Daypack is a good looking bag that can remain understated when needed then highly visible when the lights are turned on. It sits comfortably on the back and has a commuter-friendly 20L capacity too. However, it would be good if the smaller internal pockets were a bit bigger and if it came with its own power bank.
One of the major drawbacks of commuting by bike at this time of the year is that some of your riding will be in the dark. The Allspark Daypack aims to help out here by offering excellent visibility without looking like a high-vis bag.
It does this through light strips that run across the bag. This means that when you're riding at night it doesn't matter if a vehicle light hits your bag to make sure you're seen, as the bag itself is the source of light – so other road users will always see it.
The light strips are fairly discreet when not turned on and unless they are plugged in you are unlikely to know what they are. When turned on they offer an impressive amount of visibility, to the extent that I would be confident to not run a rear light when using the bag.
Operating the lights is fairly basic: you plug them into a power bank and they will run until the power bank runs out or you unplug the USB cable. It's worth noting that the bag does not come with a power bank itself, you need to supply your own. Both the power bank and the USB it plugs into sit within a pocket at the top of the bag between the two straps; it's also big enough to house a phone and wallet without any issues.
One of the things Jack Wolfskin advertises is that the lights help you find things inside the bag in the dark. Although it does give you a little extra light, this is just at the top of the bag and not in the darkest areas that are hardest to see, so the lights don't really help that much.
Away from the high-tech elements of the bag, it has one main compartment and two small pockets inside, in addition to a laptop pocket built into the back padding, and a phone pocket on the side. I found this was adequate for most of my commuting kit, and given the relative flexibility that comes from the semi-roll top there's enough leeway to fit most objects that you're likely to need during the day. I did think the inner pockets could do with being larger, to help with separating out your kit; their size limits this a little.
The rucksack sits well on the back, with comfortable and relatively good ventilation both across the back and in the straps. I didn't have the opportunity to test this out in high heat, but from what testing I've done I would be confident that it'll be comfortable for most riding conditions – and if it's not, I'll update.
Being a semi-roll top means it can only be rolled once – any more than that and you are unable to close it because of the buckle. The way the edges folding in easily along scores in the fabric is neat, meaning the edges fold in for uniformity and protection. The clip is innovative too, simply pushing into the buckle to hold it, and pulling upwards (a little like a plane seatbelt) to release.
In terms of weatherproofing the bag will withstand a light shower, but anything more and the Armatech Plus 600D does let some water through. For some reason, the Jack Wolfskin Neuron is made of the same material and comes with a rain cover, but this one doesn't.
An rrp of £115 seems fairly steep at first glance, although the innovative elements like the LEDs and closure system go some way to justifying it. It's £15 less than the Evoc Commuter 18L Backpack, which doesn't have the LEDS and is smaller, though the Evoc has better internal organisation and waterproofing. Chrome's BLCKCHRM 22X Lako 3 Way Tote is £5 less, but a much more basic design.
Overall, there's plenty to like about this bag – the LEDs are a great addition, it's comfortable on the back, and has decent amounts of storage – but I think there are a couple of things that could be improved upon, especially for the money, such as the lack of a power bank and rain cover, and the size of the internal pockets.
Innovative bag that increases your visibility – but you need to supply the power bank
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Jack Wolfskin Allspark Daypack
Size tested: 20 litres
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?
It is a backpack designed for cycling in low light conditions.
Jack Wolfskin says 'With LED illumination by OSRAM, this sporty courier pack really stands out in the dark.'
I don't really know how a bag can be 'sporty', but in terms of the illumination from the LEDs it certainly stands out.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Jack Wolfskin:
Measurements: 48 x 30 x 18 cm
Led Illumination By Osram Plug In Your Power Bank
Capacity: 20 Lit.
adjustable shoulder straps and sternum strap
padded shoulder straps
LED illumination by OSRAM, powered by a power bank (not included)
main compartment with roll-top closure and high quality magnetic buckle, three inner pockets, lid compartment, security pocket
ARMATECH PLUS 600D: fine, densely woven, durable and resilient fabric (body & base)
Stitching is good throughout and there is enough give in the material to fit a variety of items.
Does what a decent bag should while also increasing your visibility on the road.
Early days, but there's not a huge amount to go wrong here, plus fabric loops are double thickness, buckles have few breakable bits – it seems likely to last.
Comfortable on the shoulders and back.
This is an expensive bag, but with its high quality and innovative features I wouldn't say it's overpriced.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs fairly well: it sits comfortably on the shoulders and is large enough to hold everything I needed. The only downsides are the size of the internal pockets and lack of waterproof cover.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The LED lights work really well, they're easy to use, bright enough to make sure you're seen and don't make the bag look odd when not in use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The internal pockets could be bigger to be a little more useful and allow kit to be properly organised.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Evoc Commuter 18L Backpack is £15 more, without the LEDS and 2L less capacity, but it has better internal organisation and waterproofing. Chrome's BLCKCHRM 22X Lako 3 Way Tote is £5 less but a much more basic design.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good bag with an innovative use of LEDs to keep you safer while riding in low light conditions. It sits well on the shoulders, offers enough storage for commuting, and looks good too.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.