Best Backpack for Commuting on Bike: Efficiency and Comfort

Cycling is arguably the best way to get around. It's fast, environmentally friendly, and a lot of fun. Finding the best backpack for commuting on bike can be a hassle, though.

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You have to look for one that provides efficiency and comfort, which is a difficult combination, to be honest. However, in this article, I'll try to break down the shopping experience and review some of the best bike commuting backpack.

Quick Comparison: Best Cycling Backpack for Commuting

Brand/Model

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1. Vibrelli Hydration Backpack with Storage

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2. Arc'teryx Granville 20 Backpack

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3. POC, Spine VPD Air Backpack 13 with Back Protector

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4. Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack

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5. Gregory Women's Avos 15 Liter Mountain Biking Backpack

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6. FANCYWING LED Turn Signal Bike Pack Accessory

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Best Backpack for Commuting on Bike

Finding your way through the cycling backpack market is a lot like finding your bike where you parked it. Challenging, to say the least!

This section will walk you through my journey to find the best cycling commuting backpack.

1. Vibrelli Hydration Backpack with Storage

Description

Vibrelli Hydration Backpack is a slim cycling backpack with a curvy profile. Although it's just 0.875 lb in weight, it's surprisingly spacious enough for everything you need.

On the front, there's a large zippered storage pocket with an adjustable bungee strap. Below the pocket, there's a reflective safety tab and a light attachment for extra safety.

Both the back and the shoulder straps are breathable to avoid overheating. There's also a chest strap and an ergonomic waistband for added support.

Features and Specifications

  • BPA-free hydration bladder with high flow bite-valve
  • Insulated bladder pocket
  • Multiple pockets
  • 4 colors available: orange. black, blue, green 
  • Emergency whistle
  • Breathable back and straps
  • External mesh pocket and bungee for your helmet
  • Lightweight, weighing only 14 oz
  • 5-Year guarantee

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Well-organized with several compartments
  • BPA and PVC free
  • Breathable
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Hydration bladder leaks
  • The bite valve is poorly designed

Video: Hydration Backpack with Bladder and High Flow Bite Valve by Vibrelli Review

2. Arc'teryx Granville 20 Backpack

Description

The Arc'teryx Granville 20 backpack may looks like your average everyday school backpack. It comes in three colors; black, olive green, and grey.

The bag is made of incredibly water-resistant tight weave nylon with fully taped seams. It's lightweight, weighing only 1.87 lb.

The main compartment has two styles of closure, either magnetically or with a C-hook. Inside, there's a padded 15" laptop sleeve as well as a legal document sleeve. On top of the backpack, there's an external zippered pocket with a key clip for any valuables.

The back is fully padded with adjustable padded straps. You can also find a clip-in point for cycling safety lights.

Features and Specifications

  • 20 L of space
  • Water-resistant tight weave Nylon
  • Comes in 3 colors
  • Padded 15" laptop sleeve
  • Document sleeve
  • Padded back with adjustable straps
  • Weight: 1.87 lb

Pros

  • Lightweight and minimalistic
  • Special laptop sleeve
  • Well-organized with different pockets
  • Comfortable with a padded back
  • Clip-in point for light attachment

Cons

  • No hydration system
  • Low breathability
  • Expensive
  • No built-in reflective details

Video: Arc'teryx Granville Backpack Review

3. POC, Spine VPD Air Backpack 13 with Back Protector

Description

POC spine is known to prioritize safety. This backpack is no different. Initially designed for mountain biking, it's made to ensure protection and comfort.

The backpack is large and flexible, so it easily takes the shape of the body while riding. It has a twin-strap closure system for added security.

As for the design of its interior, it has one main compartment and two zippered side pockets. This allows weight to be evenly distributed for optimal balance.

Although it doesn't offer a built-in hydration system or reflective details, it's compatible with most additions.

Finally, for the most impressive part, the POC Spine VPD backpack is designed around the premise of an integrated back protector. It hardens to absorb impact without compromising on breathability.

Features and Specifications

  • Only 1.62 lb in weight
  • Integrated back protector
  • Twin-strap closure system
  • High breathability
  • Compatible with a hydration system and helmet

Pros

  • Lightweight and slim
  • Durable
  • Flexible, taking the shape of your body
  • Integrated back protector which absorbs impact
  • Well-ventilated
  • Well-organized with side pockets

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No built-in hydration bladder or reflective details
  • No chest or waist strap

Video: 5 Tips to Buying the Perfect Commuter Bike

4. Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack

Description

Thule Pack-n-Pedal backpack is one of the few backpacks that are actually designed for commuting by bike. It offers everything the average cyclist wants.

What first strikes me is how organized this bag is, with plenty of pockets and compartments. On the outside, there are two pockets on the front and two on the sides. On the inside, there's a special padded compartment with a laptop sleeve, a tablet pocket, and a zippered mesh pocket for any cables or chargers.

Although the bag is made of waterproof fabric, it also comes with a high visibility rain cover with a reflective screen print. This is particularly helpful for your safety on-road as well as increased protection of your belongings from rain.

Additionally, there's a hideaway helmet attachment system, which is particularly helpful when you're going to class or generally parking your bike.

Features and Specifications

  • Weighs only 2.8 lb
  • Waterproof
  • High visibility rain cover with reflective screen
  • 15" laptop sleeve with a tablet pocket
  • Chest strap
  • Hideaway helmet attachment system

Pros

  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Well-organized with several pockets
  • 360 reflective screen print for added safety on-road

Cons

  • No built-in hydration bladder
  • Not big enough

Video: Thule Pack 'n Pedal Commuter Backpack

5. Gregory Women's Avos 15 Liter Mountain Biking Backpack

Description

Gregory Avos Backpack has an incredibly lively look. It's designed for those looking for style as well as functionality. It comes in grey and vibrant blue, wrapped in a cool design.

The most notable feature about this bag is the adjustable hip belt stabilization system. This helps tremendously in achieving stability while cycling. It can be shifted higher or lower depending on your body shape and trail.

Unlike most biking backpacks, this one offers a built-in 3D hydration bladder with innovative technology. It's a quick-dry, soft-molded 3D hydro reservoir with a perfect anatomical fit.

Moreover, it has a bike-specific organization with specialized pockets for tire pumps and spare tubes. It also offers a crash pad pocket for electronics for added protection.

Features and Specifications

  • Shift RS Ventilated Suspension with an adjustable hip belt stabilization system
  • Magnetic sternum strap for one-handed riding
  • 3D hydration bladder with quick-dry technology
  • Highly breathable back panel with EVAP moisture-wicking technology
  • Sunglass QuickStow
  • Weight: 2.03 lb

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Voguish design
  • Comes in two vibrant colors
  • Stable with a shift ride stability belt
  • Built-in hydration system
  • Well-organized, with pockets for tire pumps
  • Specialized padded compartment for electronics

Cons

  • Might be too big for some people
  • Expensive
  • Not waterproof

Video: Gregory Women's Avos 15 Liter Backpack

6. Fancywing LED Turn Signal Bike Pack Accessory

Description

Although light attachments might seem like a luxury, safety isn't.

One accessory that can really come in handy while cycling is the Fancywing LED Turn Signal Bike-Pack Accessory. It's crucial when you're riding at dawn or at night so cars can see you.

It's an easily assembled LED reflective bag with a direction indicator. It works in all four directions, responding to a signal from a remote controller. It's also easily rechargeable through any USB port.

Features and Specifications

  • Remote controller
  • 4 signals: left, right, forward, stop
  • Rechargeable with USB
  • Adjustable elastic straps to perfectly fit the backpack
  • Reflective strips
  • Weight: 0.55 lb

Pros

  • Rechargeable, no need to change batteries
  • The LEDs are very bright and clearly visible from a distance
  • The batteries last up to 30 days before being recharged
  • The remote control is very easy to install on the handlebar
  • Very easy to attach and remove from the backpack

Cons

  • The battery does not appear to be replaceable

Video: Fancywing LED Turn Signal Pack Review

What to Look for in a Cycling Backpack

Let's be honest; we all bought backpacks before just because they look trendy. However, when it comes to cycling, we have to look deeper.

Here are some of the features to consider in a cycling backpack.

Size

It's certainly tempting to buy a large backpack that fits everything you own, but less is always more. However, easier said than done.

You don't want a bag that's too big that it rubs on your back tire. You don't want it too small either that you'd have to choose between your jacket and your laptop. You're basically stuck between a rock and a hard place.

We'd suggest you go for something between 15L and 30L, so medium to large in size. A helpful tip is to look into roll-top bags, which are small and compact but offer more packing space if you need it.

Waterproofing

Cycling during rainy days is inevitable. Keeping your stuff dry is undoubtedly a priority. You don't want your notebooks to be soaking wet when you get to class.

It's essential to consider the climate and the regular contents of your bag. Do you often carry your laptop or camera? Does it often rain in your city?

If your answer is yes, check for waterproof fabrics, taped seams, coated zippers, or welded liners. These features can usually protect your things against most rainy days, especially light rain.

Although a rain cover on its own might not be enough protection, it can definitely be a plus on top of an already water-resistant bag. This is especially helpful for severe rainfalls.

Breathability

Cycling can get sweaty, especially if your commute is a long one. Regular cycling backpacks get easily wet and sticky, which is why you should look for those with high breathability.

Consider looking for backpacks made of breathable materials and/or mesh. Bags that use air channels at the back can also be of help.

Straps

Straps are added sources of comfort and support. It's important to find shoulder straps that are padded so they don't cause unnecessary strain after long trips.

For additional support, look for backpacks with adjustable chest or hip straps. They keep your bag from swinging side to side or dropping over your head if you're going downhill.

Pockets

If you're a perfectionist like me, you'd like your backpacks well-organized, with plenty of specialized pockets. You can blindly reach back to any pocket and get your wallet or headphones.

Two very useful compartments to look for are the laptop and glasses pocket. The latter is to prevent your glasses from getting scratched. Also, make sure you check the size of the laptop pocket and whether or not it can fit your laptop, especially if it's bigger than 15".

Another helpful addition is sections designed for tire levels or tubes, just in case your bike needs an emergency checkup.

If you work in photography or videography, look for backpacks with camera dividers to keep your lenses and cameras safe.

Reflective Details and Light Attachments

Safety comes first. If you have to wake up for class before the sun comes up, you know the struggle.

Light attachments and reflective details are of utmost importance for your safety as well as others'. They ensure that any car driver coming up on you can see you well and avoid you.

Hydration System

A hydration system for a commuting bike might not seem necessary, but it's definitely a great addition for long trips. Although originally designed for mountain bikers, they could really come in handy for offroad riding.

Granted, it's a bit of a luxurious addition, but I'm sure many of us would appreciate a sip of cold water while cycling on a hot summer day.

Conclusion and Best Offer

A cycling backpack, in my opinion, is an essential piece for any biker. It transforms commuting into a smoother, more comfortable ride.

It's certainly a tough choice, but if I had to choose, I'd definitely go for POC Spine VPD Air Backpack Back Protector.

Best Offer


It offers a combination of functionality, versatility, and comfort, all packed in a minimal, think-skinned design.


The only thing I think it lacks is the availability of accessories, such as a hydration bladder or chest and waist straps.

The Alternative

Alternatively, you might want to consider Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack. It's certainly one of the best on the market.

Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack

It prioritizes your safety with reflective details and a high visibility rain cover. It's also an excellent option for any fellow neat freak out there, as it's incredibly well-organized with several pockets.