Best Commuter Backpacks For Cyclists


Mission Workshop Vandal Backpack cobra buckleHere in Austin, you see people commuting by bike just about everywhere.  Austin is just one of those cities that attracts cyclists who rather commute by bike than travel by BMW (Bus, Metro or Walk).  Because of this I thought it was a great time to introduce some of the best commuter backpacks for cyclists.  I mean who really wants to sit on the highway, crowded bus or train, when they could be peddling along getting some exercise in and enjoying the outdoors.

Commuting by bike does come with it’s own pitfalls, namely mother nature and what she will throw at you, be it the cold, rain, wind and so on.  During the warmer months, those who sweat a lot will have to contend with the dreaded sweat soaked cloths and figuring out where to take a shower.  Yes I have done the sink splash more than a few times when a shower wasn’t an option.

Although it never seems to rain in Austin, it’s almost a necessity to keep track of the weather forecast going to and from work.  Those occasional storms do pop up and if you don’t own the proper gear can ruin gadgets like a computer or cell phone.  Kathleen and I experienced just that and lost 2 iPhones from water damage.  Now of course we have them contained in waterproof cases.

Best Commuter Backpacks For Cyclists

When looking for a commuter backpack, you really do want to take note of how water proof the design is.  Going the cheap route will almost always mean you will not be satisfied with your investment and will probably lead to some soggy experiences.

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Mission Workshop Vandal Cobra Buckle


Mission Workshop (absolutely crazy about cycling), offers the Vandal Cargo Pack.  This beast is made from water-resistant fabric and features a carbon-fiber-reinforced internal frame suspension system.  The backpack can be used in either “roll-top” mode, or in the traditional “flap-down” configuration.  The bag includes multiple water-resistant compartments, with urethane coated zippers and waterproof materials.  A ton of thought went into this backpack making it our Top Choice for cyclists and commuters.

The Vandal has 6 separate pockets including 2 side pockets and 4 main compartments.  Where the bag blows others away is in it’s ability to expand to double it’s size.  The two front side pockets are especially convenient for holding things like keys, wallets and cellphones.

Review – Check Out Our In-depth Review of the Mission Workshop Vandal Backpack.

The Vandal is my go to commuting bag.

Purchase: $325

Chome Bags Ivan Olive Hero Backpack


Chrome Industries is synonymous with messenger bags and were one of the first companies to produce really functional cycling specific bags.  The IVAN was designed for the elements using 100% welded-waterproofing, rolltop and military grade materials.  The dual large packet can separate wet and dry stuff, while the main compartment can house things like a laptop computer and other large items.  What sets Chrome bags apart from their competition is their innovative use of seatbelt type closures and their long history with cyclists.

Purchase: $210

TimBuk2 Especial Tres Cycling Backpack


The Timbuk2 Especial Tres cycling backpack is a high volume weatherproof roll-top pack for serious cyclists.  The Cordura Nylon Ripstop is virtually bomb proof and with a lifetime warranty there are no worries.  The dual side stretch pockets are perfect for water bottles or U-locks.

ReviewCheck Out Our In-depth Review of the Timbuk2 Especial Tres

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Purchase: $209

North Street pannier-route-nine-convertible-backpack


It’s a pannier, it’s a messenger bag, it’s a one-strap backpack.  For those who like the ease of a pannier, yet want something mobile the North St. Route Nine has you covered.  It’s definitely not your traditional 2 strap backpack, but it will do the trick if needed.  The side pockets with the large reflective tape will help you be seen from a distance.

Purchase: $259

Defy Rogue Camo Verbockel Backpack


1,000 Denier Camo Cordura.  Enough said.  OK it’s beyond bad ass in the rain.  What sets this backpack apart is it’s closed-cell foam padded computer section with padding on the sides as well as the bottom.  The bag was named after a Defy intern VerBockel who insisted they could come up with an awesome bag and well they did just that.

If you’re looking for a US company with a very European flair, you really can not find a better company.  Their products ooze British fashion that is rugged and functional.  They incorporate the very best materials and hardware including the cool and very chic Cobra buckles.

Purchase: $275

Inside Line Equipment Logo ILE Default Red XPAC

ILE (Inside Line Equipment) Hails from the San Francisco Bay Area of California.  Their “Default” backpack line features various materials including the well known and durable 1000D Cordura outer or XPAC Sailcloth and water-resistant urethane coated zippers.  Each pack has adjustable/removable sternum strap and 1.5″ waist strap.

What absolutely sets ILE apart from the pack is the huge variety of color options to choose from and the ability to totally customize your backpack.   The packs can come with or without reflective tape, different color options and other slight differences that makes them unique.  Their Black+MOLLE is rather cool with it’s looped Molle webbing used throughout the backpack.

Check Out Our Article!  Timbuk2 Especial Tres Backpack Review
Purchase: $240 – $280

So there you have it.  The Best Commuter Backpacks For Cyclists bar none.  Now for those that are looking for commuting lights, don’t forget to check out our Best Commuter Lights For Cyclists.

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Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about running, cycling and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day. Location: Austin, TX USA

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