Most cyclists have very specific needs when it comes to what they want to take with them on their ride.
Some choose to pack heavily, with an abundance of tools, spare clothes and everything else that they might need. Others prefer to go the lighter way and ride with nothing on their back, or just a few select tools or extras.
This article breaks down the best backpacks for cycling.
Below you’ll find a table listing our top picks followed by more in depth reviews explaining the benefits that each bag has to offer.
Top 10 Cycling Backpacks
*Note: We had to remove one of the packs because it was recently discontinued, we’ll be updating the list soon, but for now there are just 9.
|Rank||Picture||Pack Name||Where to Buy|
|1||Ortlieb Velocity Backpack||Check Price|
|2||Camelbak M.U.L.E||Check Price|
|3||Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro||Check Price|
|4||Deuter Giga Pro||Check Price|
|5||Osprey Escapist||Check Price|
|6||Proviz Nightrider||Check Price|
|7||Vaude Hyper||Check Price|
|8||Oakley Enduro||Check Price|
|9||Local Lion 5L Backpack||Check Price|
Best Cycling Backpack Reviews
1. Ortlieb Velocity
First on the list is the Velocity backpack by Ortlieb.
This backpack is a cycling specific “messenger style” bag with a classic roll-top closing system.
This closing system lets you easily alter the size of the bag. By rolling it more when the back is not very full, you compact everything in the pack, whereas if you need more space, you roll it less. The roll-top works amazingly for keeping water out of the pack making it perfect for wet weather rides. Ortlieb is known to specialize in water proof equipment so if keeping your bag contents dry is of the upmost importance to you, then this bag fits the bill.
The main compartment is quite spacious featuring 24 liters of storage room. Inside you will see that there is a smaller zippered pocket which is ideal for keeping small items such as coins in one location. There is even another removable pocket that is the perfect fit for a modern day smart phone.
The Velocity has comfortable padded shoulder and chest straps which are fully adjustable and hold the bag close to your body. This is especially important for people who are serious bicycle athletes. A foam back panel on the back directs airflow to help keep your back cool.
There is even a handle on top of the pack in case you would like to carry via your hand.
The Ortlieb Velocity backpack can be found in black, yellow, white, lime, asphalt, and aquamarine.
2. Camelbak M.U.L.E
The M.U.L.E is one of Camelbaks most popular bags for cyclists and for good reason.
In typical Camelbak fashion, it features a top quality 3 liter hydration system. This is perfect for cyclists who don’t like to stop to take water breaks. The hose is mounted in a location that can easily be grabbed by one hand to assist in hydrating while on the move.
Along with the impressive hydrations system, is an extra 9 liters of cargo space to carry other essentials. There is bike tool pocket that does an amazing job at keeping the tools organized.
The M.U.L.E is specifically designed to also carry a helmet, pump, spare tube, extra layer, a snack or meal, phone, and keys. For comfort an XV back panel has been integrated using multi-layer EVA foam for outstanding comfort and ventilation in a lightweight package.
The straps or “harness” is an independent suspension system, again with light foam and mesh. While wearing this pack, it is completely stable in all conditions. If you often find yourself swapping from road cycling to mountain biking, then this is the perfect choice.
Color variances of the M.U.L.E include charcoal, charcoal / atomic / Barbados, charcoal / white, blue / charcoal, Barbados cherry.
3. Shimano Unzen 4 Enduro
Shimano released the Unzen as the most secure off road bike backpack in the market. However, this security can be useful in all cycling situations including road riding.
The key component to this stable system is the Rider Fit X-Harness. The Rider Fit X-Harness features a hook that allows for quick and easy backpack fitment. You can even easily loosen or tighten the bag while riding making it great for changing route conditions.
On most bags eyewear is stored in a soft fabric lined pocket, however, the Unzen 4 Enduro keeps your eyewear in a more accessible point on the bag. Eyewear is stored via a loop on the shoulder strap which allows for riders to grab them at any point during the ride.
Other features of this amazing bag include a helmet holder, rear light attachment loop, dedicated hydration system compartment (system sold separately), laptop compartment and rain cover for wet ride.
One downfall to the Unzen 4 Enduro is that it is only available in black. People who are looking to make a fashion statement may want to look at other bags instead.
4. Deuter Giga Pro
If you are looking for a cycling backpack that has gigantic storage possibilities, the Giga Pro is it.
The Giga Pro by Deuter is an amazingly organized chasm for pretty much anything you will ever need while cycling. It features a zippered front pocket that is perfect for your phone or wallet. If you need something a little more hidden there is an internal valuables pocket.
The bag has a flat steel frame for rigidity which surprisingly doesn’t make the bag too heavy. There are stretchy mesh side pockets that work perfect for water bottles. A compartment designed specifically for documents. Even a special organizer pocket to store pens, tools and other small items.
Bringing your laptop for work at the end of your cycle? No problem! The Deuter Giga Pro also features a padded laptop area which will fit up to a 15.6” laptop.
One of the things that make this bag so great for cycling is the stability for its size. It makes use of padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap and even has a removable waistband. The backpack is also very cool to ride with due to its airstrips system. This allows for over 80% of the cyclists back to have free airflow while still giving a secure fit.
The Deuter Giga Pro is another backpack only available in black.
5. Osprey Escapist 18L
The Osprey Escapist 18L is on the smaller side making it perfect for cyclists who want a light option that still has room enough for a day’s cycle. Its reflective graphics make the wearer easy to spot in low visibility conditions. A LED attachment point also helps with this.
Like most Osprey packs, it uses a die cut EVA foam shoulder harness for maximum comfort when riding. The back panel is made of spacer mesh for ventilation purposes.
There is a handy bungee compression system located on the front of the bag which if great for quickly storing a coat or helmet. Making good use of the 18 liters, Osprey included a padded laptop pocket that doubles as a hydration pack compartment. This feature also makes the pack great for everyday activities or traveling. Inside is a document sleeve, and a key attachment clip.
A pocket with easy access is lined specifically for sunglasses use. In case of emergency, the sternum strap features a whistle. There is a removable webbing hip belt which is great for added pack stability.
Osprey offers this backpack in black, boreal blue, cardinal red, and green apple.
6. Proviz Nightrider 10 liters
Looking to be seen while cycling? The Proviz Nightrider backpacks are the ultimate when it comes to wearer visibility. Specifically, the 10 liter version is a simplistic yet functional backpack.
Most importantly, this bag is made of highly reflective paneling and trim, with a removable booster triangle to ensure that the wearer will be visible in low light conditions. The pack is even compatible with the Triviz Light Pack which makes the wearer impossible to miss by anyone other than a blind person.
Even though this backpack is small, it is still compatible with a hydration system. The 600D nylon fabric is heard wearing and the water resistant PVC coating will keep the bag contents dry in light rain and splashes. An outer pocket is featured to keep your phone etc. easily accessible. The 10 liters will do a good job of holding essentials such as tools, snacks and an extra layer.
The Nightrider 10L is available in yellow or black.
7. Vaude Hyper 14 + 3L
The Vaude Hyper is a small backpack with large capabilities. It has expansion bellows that increase the bags capacity by 3 liters.
Vaude chose to feature a couple of its amazing design feats in this pack. A state of the art F.L.A.S.H harness system allows for a secure fit against a rider of any shape or size. There is also the VENT-TEX suspension system which consists of an anatomic back panel that conforms to the bend in your back when cycling. Packs equipped with VENT-TEX are known for their magnificent packing stability.
Other than being extremely comfortable to ride with, this pack features a helmet holder, side compression straps, side mesh pockets, a hydration hose opening, reflective elements and a safety light attachment.
Colour options for this pack include black, grasshopper and, Indian red.
8. Oakley Enduro 20
The Oakley Enduro 20 was chosen for this list because it can be found cheaply and is a good bag for people who want to use it for cycling, but also for an everyday bag.
This pack does not feature too much but has a spacious 20 liters to store what you need in it. There are water and eyewear components and an interior organizational panel for daily items. There is also room enough for a 15” laptop. The Oakley Enduro 20 features straps that keep it in place relatively well, especially considering the price for the pack. Polyester makes up the bag.
Oakley clearly put lots of thought into the aesthetics of this bag as it carries a true action sport look. If you want a cheap bag that carries a good name and is decent to cycle with, then consider buying this bag.
The Enduro 20 can be bought in forged iron, fathom, fired brick, and burnished.
9. Local Lion 5L Backpack
Local Lion makes a great 5 liter backpack that is about as small as a true backpack can get.
It features one main compartment to fit a small selection of tools or snacks etc.. There is also a front pocket that is great for your phone. Mesh shoulder straps ensure good breathability and comfort while the sternum and waist straps keeps the bag in place. You do not have to worry about this bag moving around or slowing you down. Its small stature also makes for better aerodynamics which is an important feature for many road cyclists. Hydration system routing is also possible if you choose to do so.
The Local Lion 5L comes in dark green, black, light green, blue and red.
Choosing a quality cycling backpack ensures comfort and helps to prevent the users back from getting soaked with sweat. It is important to pick a biking specific bag if you are an avid cyclist because they are special designed for the curved back riding position.
Another thing to think about when buying a cycling backpack is the size you want. Make sure the bag you choose will hold what you intend to bring along, without any issues. Other than that, make sure it has features specific to your needs such as reflective detailing for riding at night.
Once you have a bag, put it to good use, and review it yourself so others can know how it preforms too.