Whether you’re just heading out to do some quick shopping at the grocer’s down the lane, intensely burning away last night’s guilty sundae at the gym or planning to trek in the hills to the sound of your heartbeat and Mother Nature’s background score, you need something to carry your gear in and carry it well. Though the previous descriptions may have a slight tendency to border on the romantic, there’s no romantic way to put this - you need a backpack!
If you’re a bike commuter or run to the office and are looking for a backpack that’s perfectly suited to your commuting lifestyle (whether switching over from another bag to a backpack or replacing an old one), you’re definitely reading the right article.
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Founded in 1974, Osprey packs its long experience and history into every one of its product offerings, resulting in high-quality goods that have won customers the world over. In fact, the company claims that every single one of their products goes through founder and owner Mike Pfotenhauer’s uncompromising scrutiny, with the top man actively participating in the company’s many functions and activities. We don’t know about you, but knowing this already earned this commuter backpack some major brownie points!
Engineered especially for bicycle commuters, the Osprey Radial Bike Commuting Backpack is designed to withstand heavy weather conditions, whether it’s the blazing sun or a torrential downpour. With a designated interior pocket for cycling gear to keep it apart from other belongings, the backpack is also equipped with a concealed LidLock attachment point in the front to secure your helmet and a kickstand to keep the backpack upright and prevent your belongings from spilling, when you set it down.
With features like these, and an unparalleled guarantee, the Osprey Radial Bike Commuting Backpack is quite the study in efficiency, we must say!
This Osprey offering definitely ranks high on our list of the best commuter backpacks, especially when it comes to bike commuter backpacks. With features engineered to make bike commute more comfortable, this backpack may seem slightly pricey but is a high-quality durable product that is definitely a worthy investment.
With a fun and funky name that reflects in its products’ designs, Timbuk2 is known as much for its sustainable and advanced manufacturing process as it is for its high-quality backpacks, accessories, and bags. This San-Francisco-based company, incepted in 1989, is now a pioneer of customized products manufactured within the borders of the United States, producing bags that are stylish, functional, durable and promote the wearer’s individuality.
The Timbuk2 Spire Backpack is no exception to the company’s high-quality offerings; this Apple-specific commuter backpack can protect your Macbook and iPad like Mother Gothel protects Rapunzel (minus the obsession and selfishness, of course!), among a ton of other wonderful features that make it a great backpack to have while commuting, whether you’re walking, cycling, running, or driving!
Additionally, it comes at a great price, which means you get the whole package of durability, convenience, and quality at a lesser price than most other brands will charge you. The backpack is also one of the most spacious we’ve come across, with a 30-liter capacity and an additional storage capacity thanks to its roll-top closure.
Rated extremely high for its waterproof nature, weight distribution and commute/travel-friendly features, it’s no wonder that the Spire backpack enjoys the kind of popularity and positive reviews that it does. Plenty of users have nothing to say but good things about the backpack, praising its lightweight nature, spaciousness, and multiple storage pockets. At its price, it’s more than a worthy investment; a must consider for all commuters!
Stylish without compromising on its functionality, the Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack promises to be the perfect carrying solution for bicyclists, ready for any weather and any kind of load! With features specifically designed to ensure the comfort and safety of commuters, this backpack’s definitely got your back, come hail, rain, snow, and heavy loads.
The Thule Pack-n-Pedal comes from a company that’s known for its high-quality products; the Thule brand has been going strong since 1942, capturing markets worldwide with its product offerings. As such, the Pack-n-Pedal is a backpack that perfectly balances style, efficiency, safety, and functionality.
Though it’s built for bike commuters, the backpack is versatile, making it great for other purposes and activities, such as travel, work, school, and even hiking. Spacious and efficiently compartmentalized, the backpack can store 24 liters worth of gear, as well as a 15-inch laptop, safely secured inside a laptop sleeve that you can take off and put back as and when you desire.
If safety is your priority (and it should be!), this Thule commuter backpack should definitely make it to your list of finalists. One of the best backpacks for bike commuting, the Thule Pack-n-Pedal assures of its safety and carrying efficiency. Durability issues aside, many customers have found the backpack a perfect fit for their commuting (urban or otherwise), rating it high for its waterproofing, sturdiness, and comfort.
Mission Workshop’s Fitzroy, advertised by the company as an “impenetrable fortress of a pack”, stays quite true to its description. This top-loading backpack is a great commuter backpack but is also quite versatile, just as ideal for travel and hiking trips as it is for urban commuting.
Durable, comfortable, and sleek, this tough-but-beautiful backpack is designed to last you a lifetime. Extremely capable, the backpack makes a great travel bag as well as a hiking or camping backpack. Though it doesn’t come with as many internal pockets, what it lacks in this aspect it makes up for with its extreme durability. Built to military specifications, the backpack is extremely weatherproof but retains the comfort and ease of use and wear that is expected of a good commuter backpack.
The Arkiv buckle system makes it easy to access belongings within seconds and the storage space in the backpack ensures that you can easily carry a 17-inch laptop without any squeezing and stuffing. Built to endure, this backpack will last you for a long time to come!
We won’t lie, the Fitzroy Rucksack Backpack is one helluva looker! It’s versatile, fitting into almost any environment seamlessly, and is super comfortable, admirably weatherproof, and easy to pack or unpack. That being said, you can’t ignore the cons of the product, one of the most significant being the backpack’s above-$200 price tag. So unless you’re willing to prioritize looking good over functionality, you’d have to give this backpack some thought. If not, there are plenty of cheaper options available, though you may have to give the superb quality, durability and lifetime warranty a miss.
Cons aside, this backpack is definitely a great option and can cover most of your needs, especially if you’re looking for a bike commuter backpack or a work-travel backpack.
An improvement from the smaller, more compact 2016 version, the full-sized Incase City Commuter Backpack retains all the excellent features of its predecessor but at the same time, has made them a hundred times better.
With the same durable woven polyester and nylon construction as its predecessor, the full-sized Incase City Commuter Backpack, the new-and-improved Incase City Commuter Backpack comes with tons of space to carry all those essentials you need, as well as those belongings you may carry just “in case”!
Just the fact that it’s an improvement from the previous model, which means that the company’s put some thought into making the backpack better, doing away with features that didn’t work, enhancing those that did, and adding in new features that work. Automatically, this also makes the commuter’s experience better, so full props to Incase for putting the needs of their customers first!
The top-loading feature makes it easy to pack and unpack this backpack, saving you quite a bit of time in both activities, as well as accessing your belongings. Add to all this the backpack’s super-sleek look with which it’s sure to grab some eyeballs (and by default, so are you!) and you may just find that this backpack’s your perfect fit.
Modestly priced, extremely spacious and extremely durable, the Incase City Commuter Backpack is, as the name states, designed for the everyday urban commuter. Some of the listed cons won’t even matter to most commuters unless they’re nitpicky like us; we’re sure you’ll be too busy with the amazing storage space and durability to even get to the cons of this commuter backpack! (Trust us, we were there, we know!)
This panel-style backpack, as the name suggests, is the perfect carrying solution for all things cyber. With convenient access to your gadgets and essentials, the Osprey Packs Cyber Daypack comes with multiple pockets for storage, superb quality and durability, and the company’s patented Powerhouse cord organizer. Add to that Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee and we have quite the delicious cherry on top of this sweet cake!
Well designed and sturdy, the Packs Backpack manages to fit in all your gear, keep it protected and still retain its shape. With the Powerhouse compartment, your cables are organized, while the other compartments and pouches add to the overall efficiency in organizing your belongings.
Additionally, the bag is rated high on durability, with a thick, sturdy exterior and high-quality zippers, so it would be safe to assume that this backpack can see you through quite a few years. Great for work and travel, the Osprey Packs Cyber Daypack is smart, well designed and packed with some outstanding features.
With the number of cons this Osprey backpack has, you may think that even an amazing lifetime guarantee couldn’t make up for it, but we believe the backpack’s many outstanding features definitely can (along with the All Mighty Guarantee, of course!). Ample storage space, multiple pockets for organizing belongings, a great guarantee (we had to repeat it!), a modest price, and quite a few functional and practical features despite its poorly executed design, the Osprey Packs Cyber Daypack is still one of the best commuter backpacks in the market, and definitely worth a shot!
Touted to be the ultimate urban-commuter backpack, the Samsonite UBX Commuter Backpack boasts the capacity to hold all your gear, whether you’re merely commuting or running away on an urban adventure, as well as a ton of features that are safety, durability, and comfort-oriented.
The UBX backpack manages to be extremely spacious and lightweight without compromising its durability. Smartly designed, the features on this commuter backpack are engineered to make the commuter’s carrying experience comfortable and convenient, such as the textured zippers, multiple storage pockets, wide shoulder straps, and foam-padded nature, to name a few.
Many users have rated it high for its efficient weight distribution, stating that it’s super comfortable to carry the backpack even when it’s fully loaded. It’s also versatile, perfect for daily commuting (by any mode), work, or travel, and with a good price tag, it’s definitely both a steal and hard to beat!
The UBX backpack is a backpack we definitely recommend for its smart construction, lightweight nature, and superior durability. The features on this commuter backpack ensure that the user’s comfort is prioritized without any compromise on the bag’s functionality and performance. Versatile and high quality, this backpack promises to be a great investment.
If you’re looking for a professional backpack with a stylish finish, tons of interior features, superb security, and extremely smart features look no further than the Kenneth Cole Reaction Brooklyn Commuter Backpack. Designed to keep your belongings safe and make your commuting easy, time-saving and convenient, this backpack combines both style and practicality effortlessly!
After conquering the fashion world, it only makes sense that Kenneth Cole would maximize his empire and he seems to be achieving some success in the backpack space. Like other Cole products, this commuter backpack is stylish, with clean lines and standout colors, while also remaining extremely practical, with its durability, multiple compartments, and quality.
Versatile, the backpack is a great fit for a variety of environments, whether commuting, working or traveling. It’s also one of the most advanced commuter backpacks that we’ve come across, with great features such as RFID protection and EZ-Scan that keep your belongings secure and make traveling a whole lot easier, quicker and more convenient.
First things first; if you thought the UBX was a steal, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Backpack is more than that, priced very competitively. Secondly, this backpack combines style, functionality, and durability seamlessly, resulting in a sleek, clean backpack with a ton of advanced features that make your life easier.
Though it’s named Myth, the STM Goods Myth 15-Inch Laptop Backpack’s durability, quality and functionality are no myths! With advanced features for comfort, convenience, and protection, this backpack has found many takers for its smart features just as it’s found takers for its great design.
One of the best benefits of the Myth Laptop Backpack is the SlingTech technology that protects your laptop by keeping your laptop suspended over the backpack’s bottom; this means that even if you should accidentally drop your backpack, the SlingTech technology reduces any impact on your laptop. The backpack is also extremely durable, spacious and comfortable; the best part is that thanks to its very moderate pricing, you won’t be shelling out the bomb that you generally would for backpacks with similar features in the market.
Additionally, the backpack is equipped with tons of features that are technology-oriented, such as separate AirPod pockets, a space for earbuds, a CableReady facility and so on; this makes it a great option for those who carry a lot of tech or are digital nomads.
Simple, functional, durable and comfortable, the STM Goods Myth Backpack is everything a commuter looks for in a backpack, especially the tech guys; however, if you’re someone who loves the frills and tons of features, this backpack may not be for you. It’s practical and functional, and efficiently fulfills the needs of any commuter, but that’s about it. Only go for this backpack if minimalism is your thing, along with bare necessities and indulgence in good looks.
The last feature on our list of the best commuter backpacks, the Pelican Mobile Protect Backpack is rugged like Bruce Willis, secure like Area 51, and functional like nothing else! With a laptop sleeve and multiple compartments for organization, this backpack keeps all your valuables safe with its efficient weatherproofing and battle-tested durability.
The Pelican backpack is a great option for those who commute by bike; it efficiently packs in all your gear and keeps it organized, while being super lightweight and comfortable to carry. The special top zipper keeps out the rain efficiently, making this the go-to backpack, along with its durability, when you need to brave tough weather conditions to get somewhere. The unique zipper system keeps your belongings safe and secure.
The backpack is also versatile and can be easily used as a travel backpack; it is even carry-on size approved and can conveniently fit overhead in the cabins or under the seat.
On the pricier side, the Pelican Mobile Protect Backpack’s main con seems to be its zippers, which many users have found hard to open. That apart, the backpack seems to be comfortable, functional and durable, with many users praising the multiple pockets and storage capacity. A backpack that we recommend, but only if you don’t mind shelling out significantly big bucks!
If you’ve pondered this question, we don’t blame you at all. After all, weren’t backpacks reserved for the students (and the studious, at that!) and the backpackers? Yep, they were, but the humble backpack has come a long way from being reserved for use by specific groups to becoming a functional part of life. Backpacks today are stylish, functional, durable and engineered for specific purposes, making them the go-to choice over other forms of baggage such as purses, sling bags, messenger bags, duffel bags, and suitcases.
Additionally, your body will thank you for it; backpacks evenly distribute all the weight carried, and they do so over the strongest muscles of your body - the back and shoulder muscles. Single-shoulder bags, such as sling bags, duffels, and messenger bags, resulting in the weight being borne only on one side of your body, forcing you to counterbalance by twisting and straining against the weight.
As you can guess, this is highly unhealthy, leading to pain and stress on certain parts of your body, and of course, a killer backache, especially with heavy loads. Add to that shoulder pain, neck pain, injuries from improperly balanced bags (such as tipping over or falling), the risk of pinched nerves (leading to numb arms because of the interference in your blood circulation) and long-term nerve damage due to repeated stress on the same part of your body, and you’ll be switching over to backpacks in an instant.
In addition to being healthy and more stable, having a backpack will also give you the following advantages.
Along with the aforementioned features, backpacks are also extremely stylish, belong just as well in a party as they do at work or commute and are low maintenance. They’re also versatile; your commute backpack can also double up as a travel backpack if you need it to or as an extra pillow, as well as make it through a variety of weather conditions and terrains. They’re also easy to store and you can easily find a space for them either in the overhead cabin on a flight or the back of a crowded bus.
In addition to this, they come with specific compartments for your technology, unlike most other bag options. Lastly (and perhaps the most underrated benefit!), they keep your hands free, letting you either ride, hold on in the subway or use your arms to run or walk; they keep you independent.
That being said, not all backpacks are made perfect - that’s just the Beckhams. A bad backpack (one that requires you to bend forward while lifting or carrying it or digs into your shoulders and back) can have you visiting the emergency room, along with issues in your posture and shoulder, neck and backaches. It could also aggravate already-existing adult issues like arthritis and degenerative neck issues. Not only does the “carry no more than 15% of your body weight (or 20 pounds)” factor matter in this, but the backpack itself, as well.
A backpack that unevenly distributes weight can result in not just backaches (upper and lower), but rounded shoulders, pinched nerves (due to tight and narrow straps), unnatural spinal compression, curved upper backs and injuries from improper balance.
Additionally, though a sweaty back may be inevitable in some cases while carrying a backpack, a well-ventilated backpack can lower the sweat levels; however, there isn’t such an easy solution to wrinkled clothes and decimated bank balances (with regard to some models and brands!).
While choosing the ideal backpack for your commute, it will help to keep the following points in mind.
Therefore, a good commuter backpack, whether it’s a bike commuter backpack or a run commute backpack or just a normal commuter backpack, is highly essential to not just make your commute a whole lot easier, but also fulfill any individual expectations that you may have of it. Our best commuter backpack picks are just as equipped to handle the hustle and bustle of city life as they are to handle adventurous treks in the wild!
A good backpack is underrated only till you experience its efficiency; you’ll never settle for anything lesser once you’ve experienced it, and we believe that our picks are some of the best commuter backpacks. Though they may be differently styled and come with some unique and some general features, they’re all designed to withstand the bustle of city life and commute, whatever mode you choose.
Some of these backpacks are also extremely versatile and can double up as work or travel backpacks; it all depends on how, where and when you wish to use your backpack.
Given the variety of backpacks out there, you’re sure to find one that suits you perfectly; so don’t settle and look well, unless you urgently require a backpack for whatever reason. There’s a backpack out there for every budget, preference, and purpose, so put in the required research to ensure that the vast selection doesn’t overwhelm you. Be clear with your purpose and expectations to find results faster.