Biking with a backpack is incredibly common, and some people even go ‘bikepacking,’ which combines the use of a bicycle and backpacking for a more multidisciplinary sporty offroad experience.
In fact, bikepackers, touring cyclers, commuters, and many others choose to bring backpacks on their bikes every day. How do you go biking with a backpack?
Biking with a backpack is a smart way to bring cargo with you if you lack a basket or rack, but you need the right pack. Choose a bag with shoulder straps you can tighten, preferably with a chest strap so you can snug it against your body safely. A looser bag will flop around and shift dangerously in transit.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Can You Ride A Bike With A Backpack
You can ride with a backpack on. More importantly, if you choose a bag to wear, this is one of the safest style options because a pack will stay firmly on your back.
So long as you use both shoulder straps, there’s little risk of your bag shifting or falling forward where it can interfere with steering or other vital movements.
Opt for a backpack with a chest strap if you want a little added security. By clicking the straps together in front of your body, you create a harness effect that helps keep your bag even more firmly in place.
You don’t want a loose strap to suddenly foul up your arm movements when traveling 10-20 mph down a road or trail.
Does Biking With A Backpack Hurt Your Back
Biking with a backpack should not hurt your back. Unfortunately, if you opt for a chunky, poorly fitted, overly heavy pack, it can cause pain.
Pressure on your lower spine, rubbing and chaffing on your shoulders, and other uncomfortable backpack issues signify that you have the wrong bag.
A bicycling backpack is not like a child’s book bag, and it shouldn’t fit like one.
These bags are thinner and generally only old, around 10 to 15 liters of gear instead of the twenty or more you get with a high-profile ‘regular’ backpack.
If riding while carrying your bag hurts, you are doing it wrong.
How To Carry Backpack On Bike
The way you carry your backpack on your bike makes a huge difference. For example, loose straps will rub and cause friction burns on your skin, but overly tight ones can cut off circulation and limit your motion in dangerous ways.
Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to worry about either of those scenarios if you spend a little time learning to adjust your backpack correctly and always opt for a bag with chest or waist straps.
If you’re still not sure you need a cycling backpack, I recommend checking out this video from Cycling Weekly.
They explain why the right bag can be a game-changer and why you need one for your commute.
Biking With A Heavy Backpack
The best option for cycling with a heavy backpack is to get it off your back. The added pressure and weight can cause you undue pain.
Instead, use some small bungee cords or paracord to strap your bag to a bike rack or put it in a front basket.
When these options aren’t available, you can use more straps to help distribute the weight evenly. Choose a bag with both chest and waist straps.
Alternately, you can wrap some cord around the bag and our body, so long as it’s comfortable and the cord doesn’t dig into your skin.
Mountain Biking With A Backpack
If you take a familiar short trail, you can probably skip the backpack and strap a water bottle to your bike frame.
However, it would be best to carry a pack with a patch kit and some other essentials inside for longer trips and unfamiliar areas, like your phone.
In the words of savvy Singletrack contributor Mikewsmith, you need a backpack for the following:
- 3l bladder
- 3x Tubes
- 1 Pump
- 1 Multitool
- Selection of food (Bars/Sandwich)
- Hip Flask
- Spare Top
- Jacket (possibly shock pump and more tools)
- “Sounds like a rubbish idea to strap all that to my bike and pockets.”
Road Biking With A Backpack
There are some definite drawbacks to rod bike riding with a backpack.
For example, they can interfere with your posture, and they create a little more drag as you ride, which breaks up your aerodynamic profile. Plus, backpacks can make you sweat more.
However, an excellent breathable, low-profile, ultralight backpack shouldn’t cause those issues. Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing the right equipment.
Long Distance Cycling With Backpack
If you are planning a full-day trip or want to go touring, you are almost certainly going to want a good bicycling backpack.
Even when you have outstanding cargo capacity, sometimes you need to reach something that isn’t strapped down in a saddlebag or packed into a secure basket.
This is where your backpack really comes in handy.
Proper packing will leave you easy access to the side pouches and anything packed at the top of your backpack.
Most riders can handle reaching for something one-handed while maintaining their course over an easy stretch.
A good pack can help you stay in the saddle longer, so you reach your destination sooner.
Biking With A Hiking Backpack
You have two basic sensible options when you want to bike with a hiking backpack.
First, strap the pack down to a rack. Almost every bicycle-style can accommodate a rear rack, and it is worth the small investment and a few minutes of installation time to get that heavy pack off your back while you ride.
The second option is to get a compression backpack and make sure you pack light.
Either way, you should not be riding around with an entire hiking rig on your back for safety reasons.
Plus, you’re more likely to end up in pain if you try to cycle and carry this backpack style.
What Is The Best Backpack For Cycling
When you’re ready to ride with a backpack, it’s time to ditch that old book bag with its itchy fabric and chaffing straps.
Getting the right style and fit of a bicycling pack can make your trip more enjoyable and still allow you to carry a lot of gear.
Unfortunately, there are many cheap knockoffs around that won’t do the job well and tear at the first sign of pressure.
I’ve done all the research to curate this list of the best backpacks for cycling, so you don’t end up spilling your gear on the road.
1 – Best Small Cycling Backpack – (Sborter Small Lightweight Backpack for Cycling)
- → Material: waterproof nylon. ( Kindly note: the waterproof bags can keep the contents dry in light rain, but cannot do the same work when pouring rain or throwing it into water/river. As the back part and zipper is not water-resistant.)
- → Weight: 0.36kg. The ultralight backpack is fully adjustable for comfort by shoulder straps,chest straps and waist straps. The breathable shoulder strap is pretty wide to spread the weight.
- → This 14L small hiking backpack has many compartments,plenty of storage space for daily essentials. They are 1 main pocket behind the vertical zip,1 zipped pocket within the main pocket, 1 hidden pocket in the back side, 2 zip pockets on either side of the waist strap.
- → There are reflective strips & emergency lifesaving whistle on chest strap for safe riding at night, and slots on shoulder straps for the hose /earphone to come out from.
- →The small backpack is not big enough for laptops larger than 11 inch. But EULANT cycling backpack is your perfect choice for cycling, camping, short trip, Mtb, snowboarding, monutaineering,running,music festival, rave , kayaking. A decent Holiday Gift for families and friends who love outdoor sports.
I recommend the Sborter Small Lightweight Backpack for cyclists who want a low-profile, smaller pack for riding.
This excellent, lightweight nylon backpack can carry a surprising amount of gear without weighing you down.
At just 0.36 kg, it’s ideal for short trips and those who pack lightly.
There is a larger main pocket, a hidden pocket for valuables, and two side pockets for carrying your gear.
Better still, this pack has reflective strips and a chest strap for security, and it comes with a whistle.
Get this superb small backpack when you click right here.
2 – Best Backpack For Cycling And Hiking – (Sunhiker Water Resistant Travel Cycling Hiking Backpack)
- Dimensions:15.8H x 9.4L x 5.9W inches/ 40 x 24 x 15 cm. Weight:12.3oz. Capacity: About 20-25L.
- It is a small backpack, suitable for those people who do not want a big size and just need to take necessity when doing outdoors sports. Suitable for Kids Girls Boys Children Over 3 Years.
- Material: Highly tear resistant Nylon, Water-resistant, Lightweight, Scratch-resistant, Durable & Comfortable. Provides you a long-term, secure daily using.
- Breathable mesh shoulder straps which helps relieve the stress of shoulder. Multiple compartments offering enough place to save your belongs more detailed classification and well. Bottle holder on the both sides. With high quality smooth zipper and durable whistle buckle.
- Perfect for activities like hiking, camping, climbing, traveling, cycling and other outdoors sports. Any problems please contact us in your free time, we will solve it within 24 hours.
The best backpack for cycling and hiking is the Sunhiker. Not only are these excellent backpacks water-resistant, but you can choose from 13 bright colors and patterns. Plus, the fabric is tear-resistant.
Sunhikers are durable and comfortable with breathable mesh shoulder straps.
Moreover, the customer service from this brand is outstanding if you have any questions or concerns so you can relax and enjoy your trip.
You can get a Sunhiker by ordering here.
3 – Cycling Backpack Waterproof – (Osprey Ultralight Dry Stuff Pack)
- Waterproof sealed seams, including external zip pocket
- Secured dual side compression and waterproof roll-top closure
- Ultra-compact, built-in storage stuff pocket
Water resistance is okay, but I suggest the Osprey Ultralight Dry-Stuff Pack when you need the best fully waterproof backpack for your cycling adventures.
In addition to the main compartment, you get an external zipper pocket. Even the zippers on this bag are watertight, so you don’t have to worry about leakage.
You’ll appreciate the roll-top style and dual-sided compression straps. Best of all, Osprey is a well-known and trusted name in sports gear.
Learn more about this outstanding Osprey backpack by clicking here.
4 – Cycling Backpack Decathlon – (Windchaser Cycling Backpack)
- ♥ 6L Mountain Bike Backpack, the ultimate waterproof and tear resistant nylon fabric. Can be used as a drinking bag, suitable for 2 liters of water reservoir, special hole design for water bag (not include 2L drinking bag).
- ♥ Adjustable shoulder straps and waist straps fit your cycling, jogging, running needs. Suitable for both mens and ladies, please choose your favorite color, lightweight and durable.
- ♥ Sporty look: This ultralight cycling bicycle rucksack is sporty, dynamic, start and seamlessly based on functionality and ergonomic ease.
- ♥ Reflective strip design: The reflective strip on the shoulder strap is used to ensure quiet and safe cycling.
- ♥ Ideal sport bag for outdoor activities such as biking, cycling, jogging and running etc .. This small backpack can be used as a faithful and versatile companion for your short trips or your sporting experience.
Cycling in a decathlon means you’re in the saddle a long time and need a serious bike-ready backpack.
The Windchaser Cycling Backpack can hold up to ten liters of gear. Furthermore, this pack is waterproof and breathable for a comfortable fit in any weather.
The adjustable shoulder and waist straps offer an excellent ergonomic fit and help minimize shifting and rubbing.
Moreover, these great bags have reflective strips that will help keep you safer as you ride.
To have a Windchaser delivered to your door, click here.
Helpful Tips To Know About Biking With A Backpack
You can toss on any old backpack to ride your bike, but the more intelligent choice is an ergonomic bicycling backpack.
The lower profile and secure fit and other safety features like reflective strips make a big difference when you’re in the saddle.
Here are more helpful tips to know about biking with a backpack.
- When you need to carry cargo in a bag, a backpack is your best choice. The second-place option is a messenger bag, fanny pack, or another type meant to be worn close to the body. It’s best to avoid bringing purses that dangle. These can swing, and the loose straps may interfere with our body motion resulting in erratic steering or even an accident.
- There are over a dozen different types of backpacks, from hiking packs to book bags. If you plan to cycle with a backpack, it is essential to bring a biking-friendly backpack. These are low-profile and ergonomic, so they don’t get in the way of your ride.
- Learning to pack your backpack correctly will help. Heavy objects don’t just go on the bottom. Instead, pack these near your spine to keep your center of gravity closer to where it belongs. Light items and things you need to reach easily should be loaded on the outer edges of your pack.
Biking with a backpack should be helpful, not painful. Choosing the right high-quality backpack can make a significant difference on your ride.
Don’t settle for a chunky kids backpack when there are plenty of excellent biking backpacks around that won’t weigh you down or catch a lot of wind, slowing you unnecessarily.
An excellent lightweight biking backpack is essential gear whether you’re commuting across town or headed out on a multi-day adventure.
Look for waterproof packs with chest or waist straps and reflective strips in case you need to rid in low-light conditions.
With a low profile, snug, breathable straps, and features that make it easy to carry your gear, a great backpack can help you relax and enjoy the ride.