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When it comes to bags, there are many options available to urban cyclists: the messenger bag – as popularised by bike couriers, pannier bags and of course, the good old backpack.
While many may disagree with me from a style/sweaty back perspective, I do prefer to wear a backpack for low intensity journeys under 20 mins, and that, primarily, is because of stability and space.
Undoubtedly, the biggest flaw in a backpack while cycling is that it can create/accentuate a sweaty back. So, the number one priority for any cycling backpack contender is that it has a ventilated back – effectively giving you some breathing space between your back and the rear of the bag.
With that in mind, I’ve been checking out the Evoc MacAskill Street Backpack, which passes the first bike backpack criteria with a resounding tick.
The Best Cycling Backpack?
Now, this bag, available from Westbrook Cycles for £79.95 (but £71.95 at the time of writing), is a very interesting urban backpack, it has plentiful useful features, and comes in a lightweight good-looking package.
There are two main compartments in the MacAskill, the first of which is a spacious area, with secure storage for a laptop of up to 17”, and a fair bit of other space – which is suitable for smaller shoes (i.e. not boots/wellies) or larger books. There’s also a handy name/address label on the interior, which is both useful and makes me reminisce of my school days when all of my property bore my name.
The second compartment is also nicely sized and can comfortably fit an A4 book inside. It’s the perfect area for all your bits and bobs, with multiple pockets to store your stuff. At the top is a wide horizontal zipped pocket perfect for lose change or a passport. Beneath this is space for four pens and a post-it note size pocket surrounding two Velcro pockets, one of which has been designated for “SD Cards” (but I don’t think they’ll be too angry if you use this for other things like Smints); while a further post-it note size pocket with a key hook is hidden behind the smaller Velcro pockets.
So that’s the two main compartments covered, but there’s still more storage space… including one absolutely dream feature for safety conscious cyclists…
Tucked away on the front or back of the bag (depending on your perspective) is a hidden super feature: a hidden pocket for storing your helmets. Simply rip the small Velcro cover at the base of the bag and you can unfold a mesh carrier which clips to the top of your bag so that you can carry your helmet around with utter ease when off your bike. This is a fantastic idea and works brilliantly, with minimal fuss or faff.
And there’s yet more storage in the form of two small side pockets, one of which features very soft wool-like material making it perfect for carrying sunglasses.
As you can see, if you like an organised backpack (or even if you just like the idea of an organised backpack, but in reality you’re a chaotic hoarder) this MacAskill cycling backpack ticks a lot of boxes.
The bag weighs in at just 630 grams and feels light on the back, while boasting a decent volume of 25 litres.
Unfortunately, this backpack isn’t waterproof, although it does offer some rain resistance thanks to its PU coating – but best avoid exposing this to heavy showers. There is, however, a small reflective strip at the base of the helmet flap – which conveniently doubles up as a helmet clip to keep your head shell in place.