Commuting by bike can be a great way to get fit, save money and avoid the stress of having to navigate rush hour traffic. Unfortunately, carrying all your essentials to work can be a challenge. To solve this common commuter problem, check out these cycling backpacks and racks that will improve your comfort and won’t get in the way of your ride.
While carrying extra weight on your back might not seem ideal, a backpack is one of the simplest transportation options and has several advantages over bike racks such as:
- There’s no issue with switching bikes from day-to-day.
- With the weight on your back versus on the frame, you’ll have fewer balance and handling issues.
- There’s no hardware to remove when you don’t need to transport gear.
If this is the option you choose, here are a few of the best cycling backpacks on the market that are easy to carry on the bike:
1. DAKINE POINT WET
Not too big and not too small, this backpack from Dakine has waterproof pockets to separate your valuables from other gear that may be wet or could spill — such as your lunch. The strap across the chest improves comfort, and the high-back position keeps the weight evenly distributed in the forward cycling position.
2. OSPREY PORTER 30
In the event you hit the ground, the padded sidewalls of the Osprey Porter 30 keep your gear protected and safe. The dedicated laptop sleeve makes carrying your work essentials easy, while the shoulder harness and hip-belt do an excellent job of keeping the contents of your bag from shifting around on your back when you’re out of the saddle.
3. SHOWERS PASS TRANSIT
If you’re committed to riding to work everyday, rain or shine, you’ll need a serious backpack to keep your essentials dry and safe. The Transit from Showers Pass is 100% waterproof and made with a ballistic nylon that’s extremely tough and durable. There are also plenty of storage compartments for organization, a side pocket for a U-lock, and four LED beacon lights to help you stay visible.
4. TIMBUK2 COMMUTE MESSENGER BAG
If you have a short city commute, this messenger-style bag from San Francisco-based Timbuk2 carries plenty of gear without too much hassle. The horizontal design also makes it easy to access your gear when you need it, instead of having to dig through a backpack — and the classic design won’t look out of place in an office setting. The adjustable crossbody strap also allows for multiple carrying options and is more comfortable across your bike than you might think.
To make things easier, this duffle easily converts into a backpack with two shoulder straps, which makes it a reasonable option to carry on the bike if your commute is on the shortish side. We like this duffle bag from Under Armour because it’s large enough to store a pair of shoes, several outfits and all of your grooming supplies.
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6. DEUTER RACE EXP AIR
During the warmer months, a sweaty back can be a big problem. Though the Race EXP Air is a hydration backpack, the bladder can be easily removed for a minimalist backpack that’s lightweight, comfortable and allows for maximum airflow thanks to its three-sided ventilation design. The mesh shoulder straps and waist harness also make it one of the most secure cycling-specific packs you’ll find on the market.
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For those of you who have a dedicated bike for commuting and don’t want to deal with the hassle of big backpack that can get hot, heavy and sweaty, a bike rack can be an easy way to carry more weight and be comfortable while you pedal. Here are a few top options that offer great bang-for-your-buck value:
A lot of racks don’t look great on a nice bike. This one from Portland Design Works is an exception, featuring a double-ply bamboo deck finish for a classic and sturdy rack. It’s also easy to install, built with steel tubing and can handle any load up to 77 pounds. As an added bonus, it also has a lifetime warranty.
8. TOPEAK 29ER RACK WITH DISC
Since most racks mount near the axle, disc brakes can be a problem. This option from Topeak is the perfect solution designed specifically to work with 29er mountain bikes with disc brakes. There’s also a tail light mount and it can be used with any MTX trunk bags or rear basket. Its maximum weight capacity is 66 pounds.
While most bike racks are either meant for road or mountain bikes, the Thule Tour bike rack is a versatile option that can be used on full-suspension mountain bikes, road bikes or your dedicated commuter. It can also be attached to the front or back of your bike and is extremely secure and steady when carrying a heavy load. Integrated tail lights and an easy removal mounting system are other highlights.
10. TRANSIT SEATPOST RACK
For bikes that don’t have drop eyelets or full-suspension mountain bikes, finding a compatible rack can be difficult. This seatpost rack from Transit solves this problem and is also easier to install and remove than most other options if you only need a rack every once in awhile. Keep in mind, though, that your load will have to stay under 20 pounds, and, because of the added weight, carbon seatposts are not recommended.
The adjustable height design allows this rack from Blackburn to fit with road or mountain bike hubs with nearly any tire width. It also has low and high pannier side mount options and a narrow profile to keep weight close to the center, which helps with stability and handling. The Easton scandium tubing is lightweight, strong and holds a up to 55 pounds.