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Vaude's Isny II daypack is an eco-friendly option with a spacious main compartment and a roll-top closure to keep everything perfectly dry inside. It's a bit light on features though – it only comes with two pockets and an unpadded sleeve for a laptop - and there are no zipped compartments.
Made in Germany, this waterproof 20L backpack has a height-adjustable roll lid that can add another 8L to its large main compartment.
Its felt-padded shoulder straps are absolutely delightful. Vaude says the fibres are made from cow's milk that can no longer be sold for drinking – it's processed with wool to produce a felt composite. It's silky soft, which is particularly good with sleeveless tops.
Comfort would be higher still with a padded back and a chest strap for reducing pressure on the shoulders, but unfortunately both are absent.
This backpack is PVC-free, and uses Vaude's water-repellent Eco Finish. It beads water without using environmentally harmful fluorocarbons, and effectively held off heavy downpours during testing – it's great to see an eco alternative without any performance compromise.
There's not much else on the outside, bar two handy holes for hooking rear lights on and a reflective logo. It looks smart, but it's lacking some practical essentials: there are no easy-access zipped pockets for essentials such as phones, nor a water bottle holder or a handle.
The main compartment is large, which means it's easy to load up bulkier essentials. There's also a key holder, a padded phone pocket, another slightly wider pocket and a sleeve that fits a 15inch laptop. This sleeve only rises two thirds of the way up and isn't padded, though.
While the laptop is held securely enough, the sleeve doesn't protect it from your other stuff, and the pocket's too slim to take a computer in its own sleeve. Absent all these extra touches, it's no surprise the bag weighs in at a rather light 580g.
It does allow you to pack it full without it becoming too heavy, but at the same time the lack of chest strap and back padding reduces comfort over longer periods. For short commutes, it's effective at carrying the essentials and keeping them dry.
At £85, the Isny II is expensive for a bag with so few pockets and features. For me, the eco credentials add value, though, and it is reassuring knowing it's backed by Vaude's five-year guarantee against defects.
That said, the 100% Transit Backpack is cheaper at £69.99 and has 10 pockets for a proper organised commuter system. It doesn't come with a waterproof cover, however, and also lacks a supportive chest strap.
The Merida Fifteen II backpack is even cheaper at £49.99, and impresses with its stability on the bike. It's also lighter than the Isny II, but it's not waterproof.
For a simple waterproof backpack, though, the Vaude Isny II is effective, stylish and comfortable.
Minimalistic, eco-friendly waterproof pack with comfy felt straps, but lacking commuter-friendly features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vaude Isny II
Size tested: 20+8L
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?
Vaude says: "This backpack with a height-adjustable roll lid comes from the VAUDE Manufaktur and is a highlight for purists. It is minimalistic, designed with clarity and uses a felt made from milk fiber (Q-milk) in the shoulder straps."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
waterproof roll closure
spacious main compartment
various inner pockets
lid adjustable in height
safety light attachment
padded, length adjustable shoulder straps
felt shoulder pad
The felt padded shoulder straps feel really comfy and lovely against the skin, but a chest strap would help reduce pressure for heavier loads and longer rides.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's good. It's waterproof with a spacious main compartment, and the straps are comfortable – at least for shorter rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stylish look, super-soft straps.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of practical features.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a bit expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, on discount
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, this backpack is great as a waterproof and stylish option. But it is lacking a lot of useful features for commuters, such as water bottle holders, zipped compartments and a chest strap for better support when riding. Also, the laptop sleeve isn't padded for protection.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.