Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack [Review]

Rapha is one of those brands that, every now and then, creates a product so damn beautiful that you can’t help but admit that you actually fancy it and would consider settling down with it to raise a family.

Or is that just me?

Well, that is at least how I felt when I came across Rapha’s Travel Backpack. But my feelings soared from lust into love when I discovered there was also even reflective version of this model.

And it wasn’t just a phase. When I finally got my hands on Rapha’s Reflective Travel Backpack, I realised it was the one. The backpack I want to spend the rest of my life with…

Okay, I think I need to dial this back before this becomes an X-rated review.

Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack: Details

Without waxing lyrical about this bag, I should probably mention the features of this bag and who it may be for.

Essentially this backpack is aimed at people cycling to work or those planning an overnight stay somewhere.

With an 25-litre capacity, you’d be a bit pushed to use it for longer trips, but if you need space for a laptop, a few accessories, a pair of shoes and a change of clothes, it should be roomy enough.

There are three main sections to the backpack: a sleeve-like laptop compartment nearest to your back that has a full-length zip so you can fold it flat, then a more spacious compartment for your clothes and larger items which also has a full-length zip for full access and, finally a full width accessories pocket at the front of the bag.

I got the regular sized Rapha Travel Backpack, but it also comes in a small variant, which takes away the zipped laptop area leaving you with one main compartment and an accessories pocket on the front.

Of course, the most eye-catching (pun absolutely intended) feature of this backpack is the fact that the main outer material is completely reflective. Shine a light on this and there’s no way you’d miss it, with only the black panel running down the middle not reflecting back.

Pockets

While there are three main compartments on this backpack, there are many more discreet pockets.

My favourite pocket is a hidden mini pocket on the lower left side of the bag (from the wearer’s perspective). It’s not big but it’s absolutely perfect for a set of keys and you don’t need to take your bag off to access it.

There are several more internal pockets to be found, too. In the bag’s main compartment, there is a wide zipped pocket at the top, which I’ve found perfect for carry a few toiletries. Then, on the front accessories compartment, there is an elasticated open pocket, plus a half-width zip pocket that is ideal for coins and any loose bits on bobs you may carry. The laptop compartment has an open sleeve to slide your laptop into.

Is it Comfortable?

Fortunately, this bag not only looks good but it feels good too. The mesh shoulder straps are particularly comfortable and never dig in. The back is firm but does well to spread the weight and prevent anything from digging into your back, while there is also an adjustable chest strap (with a magnetic clasp) which is great for distributing weight if you’re carry a particularly heavy load.

Is Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack Waterproof?

The Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack is water resistant thanks to the material’s waterproof coating. The zips are also good at keep at keeping most rain off, although they’re not completely waterproof. Essentially, while you shouldn’t throw this bag in a river, it will keep your contents dry in every but a monsoon.

Is Anything Missing?

While I have admitted that I love this bag, there is one thing I’d change about it. Or add to it, rather: an external bottle holder.

I carry my LARQ water bottle every day, but with this bag I have to keep it in the main compartment.

A deep elasticated water bottle holder on the right-hand side (which could be folded down with a magnetic fastening) would make this bag perfect.

But let’s face it… it’s a minor qualm.

Is Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack Good?

Rapha’s Reflective Travel Backpack is a premium large cycling backpack that has three main compartments, several built-in pockets and is very water resistant. Although not cheap at £150 ($205 / €180), it is genuinely one of the best backpacks for bike commuters I’ve encountered.

Rapha Reflective Travel Backpack

£150 / $205
8.2

Fit

9.0/10

Function

8.0/10

Style

10.0/10

Value

5.0/10

Quality

9.0/10

Pros

  • Looks amazing
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Water resistant
  • Extremely reflective

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No bottle holder

Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile

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