Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Commuter Backpack ($249)


RATING IMAGE 2Thule is a Swedish company best known for their racks for cars, since diversifying into soft- goods and beyond.

One of their more interesting lines of late is the Pack ‘n Pedal range, which furthers the brand’s enduring love affair with the bicycle, with a particular focus on racks and panniers.

Amongst this range is one solitary backpack.

Its purpose is clear from its name; this is a backpack designed for the daily run to work and back. Although priced towards the upper end of the market, the Commuter backpack justifies its asking price with an impressive list of features.

There’s a volume of 24 litres to play with, but the space is intelligently organized rather than a gaping void. The majority of your stowage lies in the main compartment, which is a completely waterproof zipped roll-­top.

Within this main compartment lies a removable padded sleeve, designed to carry a laptop (up to 15”) and a tablet. Sky­-blue internal lining provides contrast to help you find items lurking down the bottom; otherwise the bag is utilitarian black with discreet reflective elements incorporated throughout; more reflective details or some brighter colour schemes would be appreciated.

The thoughtfully­ compartmentalized outer pockets of the backpack are water-resistant rather than truly waterproof, but there’s a sky-blue rain cover concealed in the base of the backpack that can be pulled out for the worst of weather.

Also hiding away is a mesh compartment designed to allow you to carry your helmet on the outside of the bag. This is especially useful when travelling with your bike (saves your helmet from taking up space in your suitcase or getting battered in your bike bag) or when popping into the shops for some groceries.

Other nice features are the crush­proof sunglass compartment and mini d­-lock pocket on the bag’s sides. This backpack is a bit small for the week’s shopping plus your work gear, but it’s pretty spot on for a pair of shoes, change of clothes, laptop and a few extra bits and pieces.

It’s ergonomic on the back, with unobtrusive but highly effective padding stopping things from digging into your back. The shoulder straps are very comfortable, and an additional strap across the sternum helps keep everything stable.

Overall, this is a compact, attractive, durable, comfortable and superbly thought-out backpack, one of the very best for cycling that we’ve come across.

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