How To Carry a Backpack on a Bike 

 June 20, 2022

By  Diane Wuthrich

Wearing a backpack on a back while you bike may sometimes not be the most efficient way to travel with it. This can cause your back to get sweaty, or in other cases, the backpack is too heavy. So how else would you carry a backpack on a bike?

Mounting a backpack on the rear rack of a bike is the most efficient way to carry a backpack on a bike with the use of a bungee cord to secure it. Alternatively, light backpacks with adjustable straps can be carried on the handlebar.

Read on below to understand the steps required for traveling with a backpack on a bike with each of these solutions.

Carrying a Backpack on a Bike

When using a bike, it may not always be ideal to carry a backpack on your back. You can choose to either mount it on the bike’s rack, or secure it on the handlebar.

Using the Handlebar

If your backpack is small, compact, and light (under 3-5kg), using the bicycle handlebar is a good alternative solution especially if your bike doesn’t already have a bike rack. It also doesn’t require using any other tools, but take note that this technique can only be done if your backpack has adjustable straps.

  1. Loosen the backpack straps.
  2. With the backpack facing the saddle, loop the left strap onto the left handlebar and the right strap on the right handlebar.
  3. Adjust the tightness on each strap to make sure that the connection is tight and secure.
  4. If any straps are loose and dangling, tie it with a bowline knot.

Using a Bike Rack

Some bicycles are already equipped with a rack on its rear which is designed for carrying things around, including a backpack. Bike racks are an efficient way to carry a backpack more securely even as you cycle on rough terrain, with the use of a few tools.

How To Install a Bike Rack

If your bike doesn’t have a bike rack yet, installing one is the first step. You’ll need to purchase a rack separately as well as other supplies.

What You’ll Need

These are the materials you’ll be needing to attach a rack onto your bicycle. They are available on Amazon (note: we earn a small commission if you decide to purchase these items):

-   A bicycle rack that is compatible with your specific bicycle, though here are some versatile models:

-   Allen keys or Allen wrenches are necessary for tightening or turning screws and bolts on the bike rack

-   Bicycle bolts for mounting the rack onto the bike’s rear dropout eyelet, though the size will depend on your bike frame

-   3mm or 6mm wrench for tightening bolts on, depending on the bicycle rack


Here are general steps for installing a bike rack onto your bicycle, though always read the product description for correct assembly as each bike rack will have its own parts and specific instructions for use.

  1. Tightly attach the sliding arms underneath the rack.
  2. Use the wrench to secure them but don’t make it too tight since the purpose is to enable the arms to still move around until it’s on the bike.
  3. Wrench the eyelet bolts on each side with a little allowance so that the rack can still be adjusted.
  4. Move the rack up until it’s parallel to the floor.
  5. Slide the adjustable arms until it has reach the desired length, which should be at par with the bolts.
  6. Bend the arms down until each end is facing the seat bolts. However, if your bicycle isn’t equipped with mounting points there, use the p-clamps then add your own by wrapping it to the seat base.
  7. Once the rack arms are in the correct position, secure the rack by tightening them on the mount.
  8. Tighten the adjustable arms so that it no longer moves.

Here's a video guide that may be helpful too.

How to Mount a Backpack to a Bike Rack

Read on below for a guide on placing a backpack securely onto a bike rack.

What You’ll Need

Attaching a backpack to the bike rack requires the use of a few tools, which you can buy from Amazon:

-   Bungee cord for holding the backpack in place securely

-   A backpack for cycling; while any backpack will do, cycling backpacks are recommended because they have all the features cyclists need


Follow these steps to securely mount a backpack on the bike rack:

  1. Put the backpack on the rack, with its back leaning on the saddle.
  2. Place the backpack straps around the saddle using a crisscross pattern.
  3. Attach the backpack by placing the bungee cord around. Ensure that the hooks point outwards from the backpack, let it go over the pack, then secure it on the other side.


The use of a bike rack and a handlebar are great ways to carry a backpack on your bike. With this guide, you now have other options for traveling with your backpack without having to carry it on your back.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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