Cycling backpacks allow you to transport water, clothing, rain gear, work-related tech, papers, books and much more. The best are highly water-resistant or downright waterproof as well as being lightweight, comfortable and affordable. Whether you need a compact backpack for carrying only a laptop and some peripherals or you need a 20-liter bag to carry all of the above-mentioned items rest assured you’ll find one to fit your needs in our list of the best cycling backpacks.
The Best Cycling Backpack
Timbuk2 has partnered with Apple to produce a-one-of-a-kind cycling backpack that will cradle all your most precious Apple tech in the lap of comfort, safety, and luxury. Spring showers and the gnarliest city streets are no problem for the Timbuk2 Spire. With air mesh padding in the back, numerous access points, custom designed pockets and some of the most comfortable shoulder straps you’ll ever find, the Spire is a Timbuk2 backpack after the Apple lover’s heart.
Designed specifically for Apple tech.
Fully waterproof rolltop.
Water-resistant 630D nylon shell.
Weight: 2.36 pounds.
- Weight2.36 pounds
The PRVKE Travel Camera Backpack is DSLR friendly with specially designed pods for storing your travel camera along with up to 8 lenses. The sleek design also accommodates a 15” laptop, cell phone, tablet, peripherals and more. Strap your tripod to the bottom, saddle up and go. The water-resistant tarpaulin and nylon shell will keep the rain at bay and the ultra-comfortable shoulder straps will provide trouble-free transport.
Multiple access point.
Store up to 8 lenses.
Weight: 5.3 pounds.
- Weight5.3 pounds
The Incase Icon is a beautifully balanced bike waterproof backpack that holds everything nice and snug to the body. It’s large enough to accommodate all your tech and then some. The padded inner sleeve accommodates a 12.9-inch laptop or iPad Pro, there’s a zip pocket for peripherals and the pack as a whole is water resistant and lightweight.
12.9-inch sleeve for iPad Pro.
Lined inner pocket for laptops.
Zip pocket on top for misc items.
Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Weight2.8 pounds
With 20 liters of storage space, a side handle to carry like a briefcase and a thick, waterproof shell the Nomatic is a cycling backpack that’s going to quickly become your go-to carry on for business trips. RFID safe storage, magnetic water bottle pockets and weighing only 4 pounds it’s one of the best bike backpacks for cycling commuters.
Lockable exterior zippers.
Fashioned from 500D waterproof tarpaulin.
Dedicated pockets for peripherals.
Weight: 4 pounds.
- Weight4 pounds
Thule makes some of the best backpacks on the market so it’s no surprise their Paramount 24L cycling backpack would make this list. With its clean curved lines, generous storage capacity, padded inner pockets for your tech, water-resistant 420D nylon shell and two-way access it’s a cycling backpack for the health conscious professional. Our guide to the best solar powered backpacks features more amazing bags like this.
Padded interior pocket for 15” laptop.
Safe Edge corner protection.
Durable, water-resistant nylon shell.
Weight: 2.16 pounds.
- Weight2.16 pounds
With classic design touches that evoke 20th-century Alpine mountaineering backpacks and the ability to transport all your 21st-century tech in comfort and safety, Little America represents the best of both backpacking worlds. Open it up and enjoy the signature Herschel striped lining while you’re tucking in your laptop, camera, tablet, phone, USB flash drives and more.
Fleece-lined 15-inch laptop sleeve.
Ergonomically designed shoulder straps.
Adjustable drawstring closures.
Weight: 1.5 pounds.
- BrandHerschel Supply Co.
- Weight1.5 pounds
The Osprey Escapist 18 is a sleek, handsome bag that’s in the running for the best commuter and work backpack. There are a plethora of convenient features including a blinker light attachment, stretchy side mesh pockets, a lined top pocket for your sunglasses, a built-in rain cover, a zippered pocket on the shoulder strap and more.
Sleek, aerodynamic design.
Ridge foam back panel for optimal ventilation.
Built-in rain cover.
Weight: 1.75 pounds.
- Weight1.75 pounds
The clean geometric lines of the Timbuk2 Rogue cycling backpack are intended to allow you to get the most from its compact design. The outer shell is a water-resistant TPU, there’s lots of external webbing to attach various peripherals to, a front pocket for your tiny tech and an organizer inside for those things you don’t want clanging around. For more great products like this, check out our guide to the best laptop bags.
Comfortably accommodates your 15” laptop.
Shell of water-resistant tarpaulin.
Lots of molle webbing.
Weight: 2 pounds.
- Weight2 pounds
The designers at Henty were not satisfied with creating just another cycling backpack for your laptop. No sir. They figure what you really need is a way to transport your suit since you’re probably not wearing it on your bike. The Wingman is an innovative rollup garment bike bag ideal for business suits, softball uniforms, wetsuits, work gear and more. Don’t forget your walking shoes too.
Room for a full suit and dress shoes.
Transports clothing in wrinkle-free comfort.
Weight: 4.5 pounds.
- Weight4.5 pounds
Sometimes all you need is a laptop and cellphone. Sometimes you need a laptop, extra running shoes, a rain jacket, water, snacks, a bike pump, U-lock and a whole lot more. For those times there’s the waterproof Pelican Mobile Protect backpack. At 35 liters it’s one of the largest cycling backpacks on the market.
1000D water-resistant nylon shell.
Molded EVA shoulder straps.
Weight: 2.43 pounds
- Weight2.43 pounds
The Pickwick Day Pack from Brooks is a “no nonsense” pack with a simple profile, unadorned shoulder straps, single point of entry and canvas shell. It will transport your gear safely and dryly and when you arrive you’re going to score major style points. Inside there’s a dedicated tool pocket along with a separate pocket for your cell phone, scratch pad, bike lock and more.
Made by hand in Italy.
Water-resistant canvas outer shell.
Tanned leather connection points.
Weight: 2.9 pounds.
- BrandBrooks England
- Weight1.98 pounds
Practical and handsome the Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack provides all the water-resistant storage capacity you need to get your gear where it needs to get. There are side pockets for quick access, mini U-lock storage, a flashing safety light, reflective striping, a cell phone pocket on the shoulder strap and a fully welded, removable waterproof liner. Be sure to check out our reviews of the best bike seats for more great bike gear.
Fully welded waterproof liner.
Multiple access points.
Extra-wide shoulder straps.
Weight: 1 pound.
- BrandBanjo Brothers
- Weight1 pounds
The Enduro is well balanced and practical, stays close in to your body, has some of the most comfortable straps we’ve tested and 22 liters of storage space. Inside there’s a dedicated laptop pocket while outside you’ll find dual mesh filtered water bottle pockets, molle webbing, a zippered side pocket for your cell phone and other small items and a larger back pocket for snacks.
Water-resistant polyester shell.
7 total storage pockets.
Wide nylon straps.
Weight: 1.25 pounds.
- Weight1.25 pounds
Materials of Deuter Giga Bike Backpack are all top-of-the-line with rock-solid stitching and no-stick zippers throughout. Airflow around the back is excellent and inside there’s 28 liters of storage space. Comfortably carry up to 15 lbs of gear including your big 15.6” laptop and stay safe on the road with its 3M reflectors. Detachable rain cover also included. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best fishing backpacks that features more great bags like this.
Accommodates laptops up to 15.6”.
Water-resistant super-polytex nylon shell.
- Weight2.6 pounds
Perfect for bicycle messengers or anyone who needs to transport sensitive tech or documents. The Velocity has beautiful clean lines, fits nice and tight against the back and weighs a mere 2.23 pounds. With well-ventilated back padding, a handy carrying strap up top, 20 liters of storage and a waterproof shell it’s a 21st backpack that embraces old-fashioned practicality. Our handy guide to the best stylish backpacks for men features more great products like this.
20 liters of internal space.
Ventilated back padding.
Weight: 2.23 pounds
- Weight2.23 pounds
Proviz provides maximum space with minimum weight. It’s the lightest cycling backpack on our list at a scant 1 pound but, with 30 liters of storage capacity, it’s no gimmick. The shell is comprised of uber-reflective CE EN 20471 material. That means no one is going to miss you. The shoulder straps are surprisingly comfortable even when the pack is fully loaded. Pretty amazing for such a light pack. Thanks to all these features, it makes a great gift for cyclists.
100% CE 20471 reflective material.
Fully adjustable hip and chest straps.
30-liter internal storage.
Weight: 1 pound.
- Weight1 pounds
The Messenger Bike Bag Pro sports a voluminous top entry point, waterproof finish, expansive interior storage space, and multiple carrying points. This messenger bag is simple, effective transport gear that’s built to last. The shoulder, waist and chest straps keep your cargo secure and close in to your body to enhance stability while you ride and there’s outstanding ventilation on the back pads.
A3 sized document compartment.
Quick access waist strap pocket.
Weight: 2.87 pounds.
- BrandORTLIEB (Orutoribu)
- Weight2.87 pounds
Velo’s Edge Pro 30 is a roll top cycling backpack that provides 30 liters of storage and the most exterior pockets you’ll find on any cycling backpack. Bring along everything from your big laptop to a windbreaker jacket and keep everything bone dry even in the pouring rain with the removable fully welded waterproof shell.
Exterior pockets for peripherals.
Removable waterproof liner.
Valuables pocket for keys and more.
Weight: 3 pounds.
- Weight3 pounds
The Park Slope Daypack looks and feels very much like a standard backpack. The difference though is in the details. From the 1000D water-resistant Cordura shell to the handsome and rugged top carrying loop to the extra padding in the sleeve that accommodates your 15” laptop this is a serious piece of personal transport gear. Find more great bags like this by checking out our guide to the best Black Diamond backpacks.
1000D Cordura fabric shell.
Padded laptop sleeve.
Weight: 4 pounds
- BrandManhattan Portage
- Weight5.29 pounds
The Velomacchi Giro is extremely handsome and practical. Inside there’s a watertight main compartment that’s hydration-sleeve compatible, a small zip pocket for your valuables and plenty of room for your laptop and other tech. There’s a first aid pocket on one shoulder strap and the whole thing is wrapped in light grey Acquaforte 300D high tenacity nylon fabric. Beautiful. Be sure to check out our top picks of the best running backpacks for more great products like this.
Acquaforte 300D nylon shell.
35 liters of storage capacity.
Magnetic sternum strap closure.
Weight: 3.4 pounds.
- Weight3.45 pounds
Cycling Backpack Buying Guide
Features To Look For In Cycling Backpacks
Breathability - Riding a bike is a sweaty business so the best cycling backpack will have plenty of channels in the back through which air can circulate so moisture can be whisked away.
Capacity - The capacity you choose will be a function of your needs. If you want a cycling pack for long weekend trips you’ll want 20 to 30 liters of storage. If you only intend to use the pack to bring your laptop to and from work a small cycling backpack will do.
Padding in the Straps - The more you intend to carry the more robust the shoulder straps will need to be. For heavier loads you’ll want padded, adjustable shoulder and waist straps as well as a sternum strap to stabilize the load when you corner or have to stop quickly.
Pockets - Pockets are where it’s at. Any laptop pockets should be padded and secure the computer firmly. You may also want to make sure there’s a pocket large enough to accommodate your lunch or snacks. And a dedicated pocket for your phone.
Waterproofing - Waterproofing is essential for any cycling backpack. At the very least your pack should be able to stand up to a vigorous spring shower. Ideally, it will have either a waterproof shell or a waterproof liner.
Reflective Details - You have to assume that drivers aren’t looking out for you. So your cycling backpack should have generous amounts of reflective material. Preferably on the back and sides as well. If it also has flashing safety light then all the better.
Hydration System - If you are intent on riding long distances you’ll want to consider bringing along a hydration bladder. In those cases choose something like the Velomacchi Giro that is designed to accommodate just such a bladder.
Types of Cycling Backpacks
Hydration Pack - The hydration pack is mostly for those who ride long and ride hard. If you like to do 100k on a Saturday you’ll need one. If, on the other hand, you just ride your bike 5 miles to work each day you won’t.
DayPack - Daypacks look a lot like standard backpacks and for cycling, purposes are usually defined as those with 20 liters or less of storage space. They’re also designed to accommodate work tech like laptops and cell phones.
Midsize Backpack - A midsized backpack is a bit bulkier, will need more robust straps and will typically provide up to 30 liters of storage space. 30 liters is usually way more than any bicycle commuter will need.
Expedition Pack - The expedition pack is 30+ liters in size, has a large, padded waistband, is often built to accommodate a hydration bladder and is typically used for cross-country bike trips.
Cycling Backpack FAQ
Q: What is a cycling backpack?
A: A cycling backpack is one designed with the unique demands of the bike rider in mind. It should be aerodynamic, fit tight against the body so as not to disrupt the rider’s balance, be water resistant or waterproof and have pockets to accommodate everything from laptops to snacks, rain gear, phone chargers, sunglasses and more. It should also be light and have comfortable, well-padded straps.
Q: What material is the best for cycling backpacks?
A: The best cycling backpacks are made of water-resistant nylon, water-resistant tarpaulin or treated cotton duck fabric like is used on sails. An actual waterproof cycling backpack is rare mostly because waterproof material adds both weight and cost. A good water-resistant 480D nylon shell should be more than enough to meet most people’s needs.
Q: Which capacity cycling backpack is right for me?
A: Capacity is driven by need. So how big your backpack is will depend on how you plan to use it. Less than 10 liters just to carry work tech. More than 30 liters if you like to take road trips.
Q: How to maintain a cycling backpack?
A: Each cycling backpack will come with its own care instructions germane to the material and fabrication methods. Don’t ever wash your backpack without reading these care instructions carefully first. You could undermine fabric integrity or compromise its water resistance.
Q: Should I spend a lot on a cycling backpack?
A: More expensive backpacks will use top-of-the-line materials, employ robust double and triple stitching throughout, be 100% waterproof and last for years. Moderately priced backpacks won’t give you all of that but at the same time, not everyone needs all of that. Sometimes you just need a cycling bag to carry your laptop and keep it dry. So how much you spend will be up to you.