The best cycling backpacks for road, mountain and commuting

The best cycling backpacks for every need and budget.

The best cycling backpacks: Altura Thunderstorm 30, Camelbak HAWG Pro 20, Deuter Race

by William Lobley |
Updated on

Cycling is, essentially, excellent. Whether you are a road cyclist, mountain biker or commuter, heading out on a bike is not only healthy, but it’s great for the environment and a rewarding way of exploring cities and the countryside. But this is only true if you’re using the right equipment because the correct gear helps keep things light, breezy and functional. One area where this is particularly true is with cycling backpacks.

Backpacks carry our supplies - food, hydration, tools, clothes and locks - but they also cover our back, weigh us down and dig in all the wrong places. Or at least they do if you don’t choose your backpack wisely. There’s a whole range of cycling backpacks available that are designed to fulfil our every cycling need. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve rounded up the very best cycling backpacks below.

Head to the bottom of the page to see what to look out for when selecting the best cycling backpacks, or read on to see our favourite backpacks for commuting, mountain biking and road cycling. We’ve also included the best budget cycling backpack and a versatile hiking backpack for those who enjoy multiple outdoor pursuits.

Best backpack for commuting

Altura Thunderstorm 30 Backpack
Price: £69.99
Alternative retailers
Wiggle£27.00View offer
Cyclestore£67.49View offer
Halfords£67.50View offer
Tweeks Cycles£71.99View offer


The Altura Thunderstorm 30 Backpack is the ultimate choice for commuting cyclists. Inside, there’s

Altura Thunderstorm 30 Backpack

Related: The best bikes lights | The best road cycle helmets

Best backpack for mountain biking


We've given the Flow 16 a more [thorough hands-on test

USWE Flow 16 hydration rucksack
©Adam Binnie/What's The Best

Best hybrid rucksack/hip pack


And now for something completely different - this expandable hip pack is part of a collaboration


  • Hip pack and back pack in one
  • Hugely flexible
  • Holds two water bottles


  • Better at carrying lighter loads

Camelbak HAWG Pro 20 Hydration Pack

Rrp: £155.00

Price: £155.00
Alternative retailers
Wiggle£107.10View offer
Chain Reaction£132.00View offer
Swinnerton Cycles£140.25View offer


When you’re hitting the mountain bike trails, take the Camelbak HAWG Pro 20. The pack’s main

Related: The best cycling accessories | The best cycling water bottles

Best backpack for road cycling


Road cycling is all about low weight, limited drag and high speeds; the trick to attaining these

Deuter Race 8L Rucksack

Related: The best entry-level road bikes | The best cycling shoes

Best backpack for budget

Dhb Slice 15L Rucksack
Price: £28 (was £35)


If you’re on the hunt for a budget pack, look no further than the dhb Slice 15 Rucksack. Its

Dhb Slice 15L Rucksack

Related: The best cycling gifts | The best mountain bikes under £500

Best multi-purpose backpack


Looking for a backpack that’s just as good on two feet as two wheels? The Osprey Stratos 26

Osprey Stratos 26 & Sirrus 26 Backpack

What to look for in a commuter backpack

Commuter crossing road

Waterproof: protect your technology, paperwork and change of clothes from even the harshest storms

Large capacity: space for work equipment, change of clothes and shoes, food and water

Technology sleeve: keep laptops and tablets safe from damage

Reflective: be safe, be seen

Loops: loops that allow for locks to be stored externally and for cycle lights to be mounted

What to look for in a mountain bike backpack

Mountain biker taking a rest near lake

Medium capacity: for tools, a day’s food, first aid kits and an extra layer

3L hydration: long trials away from civilisation - who knows where the next tap will be?

Stable positioning: chest strap and hip belt help keep the load centred and stable

Stow pockets: for rehydration sachets, snacks, GPS, waterproof layers

What to look for in a road cycle backpack

People on road bikes

Waterproof cover: keep your extra layer safe in a downpour - if it’s sunny, leave the cover behind to lessen weight

Small capacity: forces you to pack only the essentials to keep weight as low as possible

Minimalist design: No frills, no drag

Hydration sleeve: For longer rides and races, can be left behind if not needed

William Lobley is a Deputy Commercial Content Editor and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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