Besides saddle bags, cycling backpack is the prime choice of many people because of its convenience and sporty looking.

Here is the list of 12 best cycling backpacks for cyclists to choose from. Let it be known that The North Face Borealis is the winner, and AmazonBasics Lightweight Biking Backpack is on the second rank thanks to their impressive capacity with good material and ventilation.

Best premium cycling backpack

The first division of the list will be 6 best premium cycling backpacks.

1. The North Face Borealis

Best in all categories

5/5 star

The North Face Borealis 28L Backpack

This Borealis is probably the most ideal candidate for a riding trip. With a sturdy design, the bag does a good job of creating a safe and comfortable zone for users.

Constructed with a blend of polyester and nylon, the FlexVent suspension system focuses on comfortable support. There is a soft and high ventilation back-pad and mesh added as spine channel to reduce the hurt and suffocation of your back during a trip. This pad also supports your laptop in case it is one of your gears.

The storage system of this best biking backpack is also impressive. Freece-line pockets are utilized for fragile items such as sunglasses, electronic devices or phones.

Laptop storage with padded sleeve for extra protection and external bungee storage for wet clothes are integrated. Also, with the stretchy bottle holders, users will find water easy to reach.

Besides shoulders straps, there are removable waist and chest belts for stable carrying. The top zipper allows easy access to the 28 liters storage.

Pros:

  • Durable and breathable
  • Organized storages
  • Removable belts
  • High capacity

Cons:

  • None so far

2. Patagonia Black Hole

Best for water-proof

4/5 star

Patagonia Black Hole 25L Backpack

This Patagonia is a typical example of a casual backpack, but its features make it no less impressive as cycling equipment. Rather than the first product, this design offers a waterproof coat to the bag.

Constructed with 300D recycling polyester and TPU coating, the surface fabric is durable enough for a long time with no abrasion or scratch. Such coating makes it a water-proof shell to protect the gear. I consider it an effective water-resistant and easy-to-clean fabric.

The sturdiness of the bag does not go with the suffocated thickness. Added with the mesh back panel, the bag aims to support the ventilation and soft feeling toward cyclists’ back. The protective laptop sleeve is also carefully supported with pads and a soft wall.

Facilitating 25 liters capacity, the design takes advantage of 1 large external pocket and 1 zippered top one. Also, 2 side pockets are stretchable for water bottle storage.

Comfortable as the shoulder straps may be, it is unendurable as other parts of the product. In spite of that, the 3 hook-and-loop chest straps are one of the bonus points for this best backpack for biking.

Pros:

  • Excellent waterproof
  • High ventilation
  • Acceptable capacity
  • Adjustable straps

Cons:

  • Unendurable straps

3. Osprey Packs Tropos

Best for pocket system

4.5/5 star

Osprey Packs Tropos 34L Backpack

This Osprey backpack is one of the most favorite designs on the list for its high quality and impressive looking.

Mainly made with nylon fabric, the road riding backpack is lightweight and indeed more durable than previous products. Kickstand technology is a bonus point for the product, for it keeps the bag stand on the ground. It helps to reduce the damage to the inner stuff, and it keeps the bag clean.

The back of the Osprey is padded, but the suspended mesh backchannel enables airflow and good ventilation. Adjustable straps are for more security and form-fitting comfortable.

The best feature of this design may lie in the organized pocket system. Apart from the main, laptop, bottle storage, there is a zippered accessory pocket in the front. This pocket has different smaller divisions for extra organized and secured stuff. Such construction makes it a 34-liter backpack.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Kickstand technology
  • High ventilation back-pad
  • Well-design pockets

Cons:

  • High price

4. Arc’teryx Granville

Excellent weather-proof

4/5 star

Arc'teryx Granville 16L Zip Backpack

Different from any other backpacks, this Granville is equipped with cutting-edge technology for weather-proof. Thanks to the unique nylon ripstop blend, not only is the longevity extended, the bag can be a good shell for users’ gear regardless of hot or rainy weather.

The WaterTight zipper design is another highlighted feature of this bag. Its tight enhances the protection toward the inner gear by preventing moisture from leaking through the zip.

By integrating ergonomic shoulder straps with padded back, the structure successfully creates a comfortable and safe zone. The mesh layer allows the air-flow to reduce high-temperature on riders’ skin.

Although utilizing both internal and external pockets, the volume is quite low. With 26 liters, the bag is indeed room-saving and lightweight. It may be suitable for people who prefer light gear on a trip.

Pros:

  • Weather-proof
  • Good ventilation
  • Soft and comfortable pads

Cons:

  • High price
  • Average capacity

5. BROOKS ENGLAND Sparkhill

Best for reflective elements

3.5/5 star

BROOKS ENGLAND Sparkhill Zip Top Backpack

The BROOKS scores high for the unique feature in safety-focused technology. Reflective details are added for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. Such an idea aims at alarm other vehicles in case of dark travel for the safety of the cyclist.

Designed with a leather-like appearance with PU coated nylon 66 and waterproof PU coated Cordura fabric, the BROOKS maximize the water-proof of the surface. In fact, this feature works well in keeping inside gear dry in high-moisture weather.

Offering a laptop sleeve and a helmet attachment, the smart design aims to customize the individual needs. Padded straps and back are added for a more comfortable and softer touch of skin. The honeycomb-like panel is utilized for the cooler back of cyclists.

The volume of the BROOKS is only 22 liters, which is significantly smaller than the mentioned product. Equipped with only a front and a side zip pocket, it would be better if the structure contains more pockets for prioritized items.

Pros:

  • Light-reflective elements
  • Comfortable pads
  • Good ventilation
  • Water-proof

Cons:

  • Low capacity
  • Limited pockets

6. TIMBUK2 Robin

Best for rolltop access

4/5 star

TIMBUK2 Robin 20L Backpack

The last premium product is from TIMBUK2 branch. Putting it on the same table with the other five, this backpack probably has no inferior feature.

Benefitting from roll-top access, this cycle commuting backpack offers a stand-alone design for choice. With the weather-proof rolltop, the back offers a full cover for the inner gear in negative weather. In rainy weather, the pocket facilitating a detachable rainfly may be used for extra protection of the gear.

The TIMBUK2 is constructed with an impressive strap system including padded shoulder, removable waist belt and magnetic sternum strap. Being adjustable and versatile, these straps increase the security and form-fitting of the bag. Despite being ventilated through an air-mesh panel, the back is still suffocated in a long hot trip.

Apart from the main storage, the backpack is integrated with a hook-and-loop laptop sleeve and zippered and magnetic front for more storage. With an average volume of 22 liters, the structure still does a good job in accommodating organized items.

Pros:

  • Highly adjustable
  • Water-proof
  • Good form-fitting pads

Cons:

  • Average capacity
  • Low ventilation

Best budget cycling backpack

The second half of the list would offer the 6 best cycling backpacks with a limited budget.

7. AmazonBasics Lightweight Biking Backpack

Best for portable design

4.5/5 star

Amazon Basics Lightweight Biking Backpack

The first best cycling backpack is an AmazonBasics with a portable design and a reasonable price. Its features, nevertheless, are just as good as any other premium bags.

200D polyester is utilized to cover the outer surface of the product to make it durable and partially water-proof. An adjustable shoulder strap system is integrated with pads for a comfortable carry. Top carrying handle and adjustable hip belt are also offered in case of personal needs.

Aiming at the minimalistic and high-functional style, this 1.45-pound backpack is ideal for cyclists who plan to go on a short trip. To enhance the organization and capacity of the bag, the design includes 2 front zipper compartments, main storage and helmet holder.

Another outstanding feature of this AmazonBasics is a back panel. Strategically placed at the upper and lower back, it creates high ventilation and soft layers.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Adjustable belts
  • Good back pads
  • Good ventilation

Cons:

  • Low capacity

8. JanSport Big Student Backpack

Excellent capacity

4/5 star

JanSport Big Student Backpack - 15-inch Laptop School Pack

Just like its name, the JanSport has a casual appearance which is not so different from a school backpack. If you love to use this bag for either cycling or daily uses, then this design is probably suitable for you.

Designed with 2 main compartments which are the front utility pocket and organizer panel the product offers a 34 liters backpack with zippers and spacious storage. A side pocket is added for water storage to facilitate easy access and keep inner gear from getting wet.

Back pads are added to vulnerable areas to increase comfort and security. It keeps the gear tight and soft for extra protection. The laptop sleeve, however, is ineffective for such width and length, thus it would be better if the sleeve is enhanced.

What special about that product is its S-curve shoulder straps. Such a design helps to enhance the stability of the bag when cycling. Nevertheless, these straps system is not endurable and the thread can be broken after a few weeks in use.

Pros:

  • Large capacity
  • Extra protection with pads
  • Special shoulder straps

Cons:

  • Ineffective laptop sleeve
  • Unendurable

9. Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0

Best for storage design

3.5/5 star

Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Backpack

Next comes the Under Armour waterproof cycling backpack. Made with Polyester and Elastane, the design focuses on keeping the inner gear dry regardless of types of weather.

The strap system is a bonus point for this product. Adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps are padded with soft and ventilate fabrics.

Constructed with multiple pockets, the Under Armour offers an effective laptop sleeve, 2 side water bottle holders, 2 water-repellent accessory pockets and especially, a shoe pocket. That shoe pocket is placed at the bottom of the bag for clean and easy access. D-ring on the front is added for key chains or decoration.

Although the expected capacity is 26 liters, the actual volume when put on shoes is quite low. It is highly suitable for casual rides for its size and not endurable toward extreme riding conditions.

Pros:

  • Water-proof
  • Multiple pockets
  • Excellent strap
  • Good ventilation

Cons:

  • Unendurable
  • Low capacity

10. Herschel Little America

Excellent appearance

4/5 star

Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack, BlackNight Camo, Classic 25.0L

This Herschel is probably one of the coolest looking backpacks on the list. Not only the color but the strap and front design make it military-alike equipment thanks to the camouflage pattern.

Built with sturdy polyester and nylon fabric, the surface of the bag is indeed flawless and durable. The spacious backpack offers 25 liters capacity as an average number for a cycling backpack. Nevertheless, it would be better if it is designed with more external pockets and side water bottle holders for more organization.

The padding system of this Herschel is a positive point, for it features versatile shoulder straps with breathable air mesh back-pads. Drawcord closure and magnetic straps are integrated for sturdy and easy fasteners. The leather-like straps, unlike the surface, are breakable after a period of time.

Pros:

  • Impressive appearance
  • Spacious storage
  • Well-padded system
  • Modern closure and strap buckles.

Cons:

  • Limited extra pockets
  • Unendurable straps

11. Samurai Tactical Wakizashi

Best for a reasonable price

3.5/5 star

Samurai Tactical Wakizashi Tactical Backpack

As its name, this Samurai backpack has a relatively colder looking compared to the Herschel. It is an ideal candidate for an adventurous trip for its impressive meet-and-match appearance.

Made with 100% polyester, this high-density fabric is indeed water-repellent and durable. Being able to carry up to 24 liters, the capacity is also extended thanks to the extra pockets such as side pockets, laptop sleeve, or inner organizers.

There is a load compressive system on both sides for a more sturdy and tight hold. Zippered and Velcro compartments are situated for extra protection of valuable gears. However, the zips are stiff and hard to manipulate, so it takes time to close and open without ruining the form.

In spite of being completely breathable, the shoulder straps design makes it uncomfortable to carry. It is hard and narrow, which leads to a hurt cut on the shoulder after a long time using.

Pros:

  • Water-repellent
  • Extra protection to gear
  • Good pocket organization

Cons:

  • Stiff zippers
  • Uncomfortable shoulder straps

12. Champion Manuscript

Best for ventilation

4/5 star

Champion Men's Manuscript Backpack, black, One size

The last recommended road riding backpack is the Champion, and it scores high for the casual look and impressive features.

Unlike some products with special design, this bag has a usual unisex appearance that goes with either sporty or daily outfit. Made with synthetic fabric, the rough but durable shell can protect the inner gear quite well. Divided into main storage and internal flat zip pocket, users can decide on what items should be treated with priority.

Besides the main compartment, there is 1 large external pocket equipped with sturdy zippers. 2 other water bottle holders are stretchy to accommodate different sizes of bottles.

The shoulder straps of this Champion are reasonably designed. They are indeed wide enough, but the stitches are not so durable

Overall, the design is handy and lightweight. It is considerably small for people who are packing for a long trip, but at the same time, it is comfortable and room-saving. The mesh padding panel is totally soft and breathable even in hot weather.

Pros:

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Study surface
  • Lightweight and room-saving

Cons:

  • Unendurable stitches

How to choose your best cycling backpack

After viewing through the review of 12 different backpacks, perhaps you already have the winner. Let’s check through some following criteria for more careful choice.

Ventilation

The first factor contributing to the most satisfying backpack is ventilation. Since it directly lies on cyclists’ back, it is important to remain at a suitable temperature on this crucial part.

All of the mentioned products offer a back-pad panel for comfortable and high protection. They are normally designed with a honeycomb-like web to activate the air-flow channel. Some of the outstanding backpack with good ventilation includes The North Face Borealis and AmazonBasics Lightweight Biking Backpack.

Capacity

The capacity of the backpack is no less essential to consider for it will decide how much gear you may carry with you on the trip. Thus, it totally depends on personal needs and the type of riding you are planning to.

The average volume may range from 23 to 25 liters. Some products offer a superior capacity of 34 liters like Osprey Packs Tropos and JanSport Big Student Backpack. The actual size of them may be larger and it is suitable for a long road where the weather is unpredictable.

Some daily cycling backpack introduces less capacity, more lightweight and portable. It usually goes at a more affordable price. Champion Manuscript is a good product for such criteria

Material

The sturdiness and durability of the product are also a top concern of customers. The material plays a key role in the durability and comfort of the backpack.

Normally, different layers would have different materials. Polyester and nylon are favorable material to keep the backpack smooth and durable. Mesh panel is added to some places to keep it breathable and versatile. Also, stretchable fabrics help to keep the side pocket easy to access.

One of the best designs for this category is the Osprey Packs Tropos. Offering durable materials and strategic layers, this is high approval for the durability

Budget

There are diverse prices offered on the market. It may range from $20 to $200, and it highly relates to the capacity and other features of the products.

There are 2 categories for you to choose from. Generally, the premium products have a considerably higher price, but the size and durability may be better. Nevertheless, the recommended backpacks for people on a budget do not mean they have poor quality, although the volume and some additional factors need to be carefully selected

Waterproof

For the protection of inner gear, water-resistance may be one of the top considerations of many cyclists.

Nowadays, modern technology is applied for a better experience. Most of the products on the list are water-proof, although some of them have the superior ability. Some designs are half water-proof, while some others have a problem with water leaking through zippers.

Probably the products that have extra protection are Arc’teryx Granville and TIMBUK2 Robin for their superb protection of zippers and surface

Conclusion

So far, the best cycling backpack of all is The North Face Borealis, followed by AmazonBasics Lightweight Biking Backpack. When comparing all the backpacks, these 2 candidates have more comfortable, while durability and price is guaranteed

That probably all things you need to know when choosing a cycling backpack. Some focus points and the relevant criteria are mentioned for a successful purchase experience

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