Best Reflective Backpack for Cycling to Work [Top 4]

Backpacks are an essential item for carrying all of your possessions when commuting. Equally, being visible to other road users when commuting is paramount, hence the reflective backpack is a great and practical addition to your armory.

Whether it’s a large capacity backpack or a practical stylish statement, we have picked out our top four favorite reflective backpacks to save you the hassle of trawling the internet in search of the perfect one for you!

What Makes a Good Cycling Backpack? 

First and foremost a good cycling backpack will need to be comfortable: no matter how flash or grand the capacity is, if the bag hurts your back or chaufs you in contact areas it’s no good. Because hey, who wants to start their working day with a sore back?

Another great factor to consider when thinking about what makes an ideal cycling backpack is the visibility. Does the backpack have enough reflective material facing the traffic or other bike path users behind and to the side of you? Will they be able to see you in low light or darkness? You want to be seen to be safe: your safety has to be number one.

Capacity and weight are also very important features to think about. You will need enough room for your personal possessions and won’t want the bag itself to be too heavy before you’ve filled it to the brim with your own things. But, if you travel light and weight is more important than capacity, your time will be better spent looking through the best bike handlebar bags for commuters.

Alternatively, the breathability will also be an aspect of the backpack that you’ll want to consider before buying. One that lacks breathability would have you feeling uncomfortable and sweaty before you’ve even arrived at work which is of course a real issue on the comfort and personal hygiene front.

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Should You Wear a Backpack When Cycling? 

Wearing a backpack when cycling is a good way of distributing weight evenly when riding to and from places, preventing injury in doing so,  in comparison to a classic satchel style bag which unevenly weighs one side of your body down.

It’s also practical as backpacks can facilitate a large amount of things, such as a laptop, lunch, your keys and phone as well as keeping them safe and secure due to specific pockets. However, the same can be said for pannier bags, our piece on the best bike pannier bags is also a useful piece to read for commuters wanting more carrying capacity. 

However, one downfall and arguably the most infuriating aspects of wearing a backpack is that it can compromise the quality of waterproof jackets that are worn underneath where the backpack sits. This is due to the material fibres being rubbed and pulled apart as it were.

What Size Backpack Do I Need for Commuting?

The size of backpack that is advised for commuting would be big enough to fit all of your possessions in, therefore I’d suggest a medium capacity bag. Equally you’ll need to have enough room for bicycle spares such as spare inner tubes and a pump.

Similarly, it also depends on what other luggage you have attached to your bike: if you do happen to have pannier bags you won’t need as much space inside of your chosen backpack.

But, if you are still unsure what you may need, have a read over what we believe the best type of bag for commuters may be. Alternatively, if you are looking for a sturdy waterproof bag, be sure to redirect yourself to our best waterproof cycling backpacks for commuters advice piece. Here you’ll find a range of bags more suited to your needs.

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Best Reflective Cycling Backpacks for Commuters [TOP 4]

  1. Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack [REVIEW]
  2. Chrome Barrage Night Cargo Backpack [REVIEW]
  3. PROVIZ REFLECT360 Cycling Backpack [REVIEW]
  4. Ettore Waterproof Cycling Backpack [REVIEW]


1. Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack

IMAGE CREDIT: RAPHA

A stunningly stylish waterproof backpack with full body reflectivity

  • Waterproof body
  • Separate pocket for laptop
  • Sternum strap with magnetic fastening
  • Multiple pockets for storage (including easy access side pocket for keys

London based brand Rapha is known for its style and sophistication and their waterproof reflective travel backpack is just as in keeping with its trendy minimalist look. Designed for overnight trips and commuting it’s both stylish and practical.

The best thing about this backpack is that you’d have no idea that this was a “reflective backpack” during the day. It just likes a really stylish commuter backpack. But shine a light on it and it bursts into life.

Aesthetically the finish includes a classy cast metal Rapha logo coupled with two fully reflective large panels that are great for visibility and are separated using a black leather contrast stripe. 

The back of the bag has been designed for both comfort with additional back support as well as ventilation which is a result of it’s one-piece moulded back panel with channels that are designed to adapt to your body and promote airflow.

There’s also a great range of pockets and compartments so that you can travel light with just the one bag, be it to work or, as the name suggests, while travelling. There’s also a smaller size of the same backpack available. 

The bag unzips into a clamshell style to allow it to lie fully flat,  meaning you can pack and access its contents just like a suitcase. There is also a very useful separate padded laptop pocket that fits a 13” laptop.

Additionally the bag also includes a pocket that gives you access to smaller items on the go and an internal slip pocket and a zip pocket to keep your possessions safe but easy to reach.

Inside of the main compartment there’s also a mesh pocket to neatly pack away the additional pack’s hi-vis pink rain cover when not in use.

Read the full review of Rapha’s Reflective Travel Backpack here.

Materials:

  • 100% nylon body with leather contrast stripe
  • 100% polyester lining

Features:

✅ 25-litre capacity

✅ Waterproof

Additional back support with ventilation

Sternum strap with magnetic closure

Shipping Notes:

  • Based in UK, with distribution centres around the world (including USA)

Price*:

  • UK: £150
  • EU: €180
  • US: $205

*correct at time of writing

A beautiful bag with plenty of space with full body reflectivity. Stunner.



2. Chrome Barrage Night Cargo Backpack

IMAGE CREDIT: CHROME INDUSTRIES

A highly durable reflective backpack whatever the weather

  • Additional reflective panel for night visibility
  • Top rated expandable roll top with cargo net
  • Sternum strap with iconic Chrome buckle and ergonomic straps with yoke for load distribution
  • 100% welded waterproof liner with durable nylon shell

Chrome always designs their products with style in the forefront of their mind and the durable, 100% waterproof Barrage Night Cargo backpack is no different with it’s night vizability technology without the day glow.

Structurally the bag has an internal liner that is welded to ensure it’s 100% waterproof and an abrasion resistant nylon shell in order to ensure that the bag is tough and will withstand even the worst commutes into work!

On the outside the bag is complete with an additional reflective panel to ensure that road users can see you. Then there’s also the comfy back panel which also benefits from breathable vented mesh traps with daisy chain loops to attach your accessories to. 

Outside there is a cargo net (with extendable compression straps for when you need more space in the net) which is ideal for your helmet or for shoes. There are also two external pockets at the bottom of the bag which are fitted with grommets for drainage.

Additionally there is also a stash pocket with zipper and an internal pocket for a laptop encased within a welded waterproof liner, which can take up to a 15.4” laptop.

Read the full review of the (non-reflective version) of the Chrome Barrage Backpack here.

Materials:

  • Outer shell: 1050D Nylon, 22 oz 1000D TPE Tarp 
  • Inside: 22 oz 1000D TPE Tarp

Features:

✅ 18 to 22-litre capacity

✅ Waterproof

✅ Rolltop

Sternum strap with buckle

Shipping Notes:

  • Based in USA
  • International delivery available

Price*:

  • UK: £210
  • EU: €231
  • US: $160

*correct at time of writing

A really practical bag for cycling with great storage options and plenty of reflective strips to make sure you're seen.



3. PROVIZ REFLECT360 Cycling Backpack 

IMAGE CREDIT: PROVIZ

A highly practical and fully reflective cycling backpack

  • Waterproof AquaGuard® zips with double slides and cord pulls
  • Mesh side pockets
  • Hydration bladder compatible
  • Highly water-resistant material: 1500mm water column

This fully reflective backpack from Proviz, who are already very well regarded thanks to their popular reflective jackets, benefits from being made out of a highly water-resistant material (1500mm water column) and has won numerous awards for it’s all round performance as a commuting backpack. 

Although the REFLECT360 is arguably middle of the range price-wise, it has been designed with the Beetle ventilation system which allows air to move more freely around your back to ensure you don’t arrive at work with the classic wet patch on your back.

There are two side pockets that water bottles fit perfectly in as well as five different size individual pockets inside of the bag,

Internally the bag also comes with many different pockets and compartments to keep your belongings safe and secure. Additionally there’s also an external zip pocket and mesh pockets on the side of the backpack that are fitted with reflective trim for extra visibility! 

Materials:

  • 100% CE EN 20471 certified reflective material

Features:

✅ 30-litre capacity

✅ Water resistant

✅ Lots of adjustable straps

Laptop compartment

Shipping Notes:

  • Based in UK
  • International delivery available
  • Also available on Amazon

Price*:

  • UK: £70
  • EU: €90
  • US: $120

*correct at time of writing

A really practical bag for cycling with great storage options and plenty of reflective strips to make sure you're seen.



4. Ettore Waterproof Cycling Rucksack [BEST BUDGET OPTION]

IMAGE CREDIT: ETTORE

A great value rolltop cycling backpack with reflective pattern

  • New internal storage compartment pouch with zipped pocket. 
  • High Visibility reflective pattern
  • Made from Heavy Duty 100% Waterproof Tarpaulin with heat welded seams.
  • Small zipped front pocket.

An Amazon choice backpack with 4.6 stars, our budget pick, although very affordable, is still a great and worthy choice made from waterproof heavy duty tarpaulin with a classy roll top with buckles to fasten. 

Although a budget option the Ettore Waterproof Cycling Rucksack by no means looks cheap, coming in two sizes, 20 litres and 30 litres, the bag offers a great level of visibility with it’s reflective panels and clean look.

There is an internal storage compartment pouch that has a zipped pocket to secure important objects and a a mall external zip pocket with taped seams

Externally the bag also benefits from comfortable and breathable back supports to keep you comfy and dry while commuting. Additionally there’s a great little zip up pocket on the front to store possessions such as keys or your card holder. 

Materials:

  • 100% Waterproof Tarpaulin with welded seams

Features:

✅ 25/30-litre capacity

✅ 100% waterproof

✅ Rolltop

Reflective pattern

Shipping Notes:

  • Based in UK
  • International delivery available
  • Also available on Amazon

Price*:

  • UK: £39.99
  • EU: €43.99
  • US: $54.99*

*correct at time of writing

Ettore Hi-Vis Cycling Rucksack
  • New internal storage compartment pouch with zipped pocket. High Visibility reflective pattern
  • Made from Heavy Duty 100% Waterproof Tarpaulin with heat welded seams. Small zipped front pocket.
  • Fully adjustable front straps including a waist and chest strap. Front bicycle light loop for attaching your own bicycle light to the bag.


ALTERNATIVE: Make Your Exisiting Backpack Reflective (and Waterproof)

Reflective Backpack Cover 

If you have an backpack that you’re already happy with, but you just need to make it waterproof and reflective, then a backpack will be the most cost effective way of doing so.

The BTW Easy Fit 2-in-1 rucksack cover is one great example of this. It can easily be folded up and left in your bag during bright days, but can be attached to your bag in a matter of seconds when you need it thats to the elasticated fastening.

Avaialble in loads of different colours.

BTR Hi-Vis Waterproof Backpack Cover
  • BTR 2-in-1 Easy-Fit Rucksack Cover is a 100% Waterproof Heavy Duty, High Visibility & Reflective Backpack Cover that keeps Your Backpack Dry, whilst keeping You Visible & Safe in All Light Conditions
  • Unique Secure 3 Point Easy-fit System. 2 x hook and loop Straps Securely attach the Cover to Your rucksack & the Easy-fit Pull Cord allows You to Control the Tension & Gather needed to Fit Your...
  • The Easy-fit Top Strap lets You Access Your Bag Without Removing the Entire Cover. If you ever need to grab something from your Rucksack you won’t get caught up Tricky Straps or have to Remove the...

READ MORE:

Charlotte Broughton

Charlotte Broughton

Since Charlotte was a young child, bikes have played a paramount part of her life. She races bikes, rides bikes and also loves writing about bikes. It’s always just been a way of life for Charlotte and a passion that she now loves to share with others. You can follow Charlotte on social media via: Instagram: @charbroughton Twitter: @char_broughton

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Coffee funds may be converted into beers funds on Fridays.