Select Page


Mission-Workshop-Vandal-Backpack-cobra-buckle-300x300@2xHere 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

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.

What Makes A Commuter Backpack Useful?

The most useful commuter backpack is one that fits properly and can store all of your essentials and leave a bit more room for the occasional shopping spree, be it groceries or misc items you happen to need or want.

When I started looking for a commuter backpack I wanted one that had a good harness system and felt comfortable and something I could wear for an extended period of time.  Later I realized that a roll top backpack was really useful allowing you to carry extra gear should the need arise.  Roll tops also seem to provide the best weather proofing to keep your dry goods dry.

For me being able to transport a 15″ laptop was important, so backpacks that offered a padded area for the laptop was a priority.  Since I am also a photographer, If I could find a bag that could carry camera gear and work as a commuter that would be a bonus.

As luck would have it I would find both in the The WANDRD PRVKE Pack.

But enough about me.  Here are what I consider the best commuter backpacks for cyclists, because after all your needs might be different than mine.




Buy Now


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 one of our Top Choices 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.


Mission Workshop Vandal In-depth REVIEW






Buy Now


The WANDRD PRVKE Pack has won several awards for its innovative design, and is now available in both a 21 liter and 31 liter size.  The PRVKE was designed as a multipurpose travel / camera / everyday backpack with a minimalist design, but packed full of features.

When looking for a kick butt camera backpack, I came across the WANDRD PRVKE and instantly knew it would rock as a commuter backpack.  It’s got all sorts of neat features that a traveler would want including a hidden passport pocket, a roll top to add extra gear, detachable waist belt and plenty of pockets for storage.  It can carry both a 15″ Mac book and an iPad in it’s padded compartment as well as a DSLR camera and lenses + plenty of storage for other items.  It’s actually pretty amazing how well thought out everything is.

It’s built out of durable and water-resistant tarpaulin, nylon dobby, weather resistant YKK Zipper and if rain becomes an issue, it also has a nice rain fly to keep everything dry.  While I believe WANDRD probably targeted the backpack to photographers, it’s such a great design that it is one of my Favorite commuter backpacks and thus wins our Editor’s Choice Award for the best overall commuter backpack.





Buy Now


Chrome Industries is synonymous with messenger bags and were one of the first companies to produce really functional cycling specific bags.  The BARRAGE CARGO Backpack was designed for the elements using 100% welded-waterproofing, rolltop and military grade materials.  The Barrage Cargo is Chrome’s most rugged all-condition backpack. Featuring a watertight, fully-welded main compartment and an adjustable exterior cargo net.  What sets Chrome bags apart from their competition is their innovative use of seatbelt type closures and their long history with cyclists.




Buy Now


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.


TimBuk2 Especial Tres In-depth REVIEW




Buy Now


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.




Buy Now


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.

ILE-Default Red XPAC



Buy Now


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.

Ortlieb Messenger Bag



Buy Now


Ortlieb is known for their high quality waterproof bike bags and backpacks and have an excellent reputation among bike and outdoor enthusiasts.  Ortlieb carries a “Made in Germany” label, so you know they have high quality standards.

When it comes to waterproofing Ortlieb is pretty much king.  They put their bags through extensive testing and the materials are capable keeping things dry in the worst of storms.  They actually have a better waterproof rating than almost any tent or jacket.

The Velcro roll top flap seals everything secure and allows for flexibility in packing height and quick access to 4 folders in its 39 Liter main compartment while the ventilated foam back, chest strap and padded shoulder straps keep everything stable. Large reflectors on sides and shoulder straps contribute to safety in bad weather conditions, dusk and dawn.

Thule Pack n pedal commuter backpack



Buy Now


Thule, a world renowned bike rack maker has made the transitions from simply making bike racks to producing all sorts of travel related luggage, bags and backpacks.   I first noticed this transition 4 or 5 years ago, but of course it could have been longer.  Obviously competition in the bike rack industry had Thule rethink their offerings.

The Thule Pack N’ Pedal Commuter Backpack is stylish and designed to carry all the gear you need for a commute in all-weather conditions.  Like many other backpacks it has a  roll-top closure system to help keep contents dry.  Neat features like a helmet net, padded 15″ computer compartment, and hi visibility lining to help locate items all make the Thule Backpack a winner.

Henty Wingman Backpack



Buy Now


Henty is a cycling backpack manufacturer based out of Australia.  Their backpack design is quite different than any other cycling backpack manufacture out there.  Henty has created a versatile, stylish, multi-purpose suit and garment bag for all your business or leisure travel requirements.  Unlike most commuter bags, Henty bags are designed to transport business suites in style.


Best Commuter Backpacks For Cyclists – BAR NONE

So there you have it.  The Best Commuter Backpacks For Cyclists bar none.  With all the Commuter backpacks we have reviewed, the WANDRD PRVKE Backpack comes out on top as being the best of the best.  It’s innovative design means it can function as a travel backpack, a photography backpack and commuter backpack all in one.  We love all the innovative features that make the pack standout.   You will not be disappointed.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running 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 photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.


  1. bikeshepherd

    One of the outstanding features of Osprey Radial Bike Commuter Backpack is the overall unique design of this backpack. It is one of the best bicycle commuter backpacks that I know with its specialized storage spaces. It is designed to separate the cycling essentials from the daily items you need to bring. There is a dedicated pocket and storage space for different things according to usage.

  2. Billy

    Thank you for sharing these packs! I was thinking about possibly picking one up from a local backpack maker near me: – do you think one of these would suffice? If not i’ll definitely look into one of the ones you shared!

    • Tom Crandall

      Hey Billy,

      I met the guys at Mudroom at The Running event held here in Austin. I think the bags are pretty good. My favorite right now, however, is the TIMBUK2 Especial Tres.

      The bag is really nice and stands up on its own if you need that.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blackout Defense DTL


Subscribe To Our Youtube Channel

Watch Us On Youtube


Wanna help support GearMashers? Please Shop Our Store

Amazon Store

We get a little commission on the sale of cool cycling products and photography and you get our top recommended products to help you train and capture moments.

It’s a Win/Win.



Gear Mashers

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This