Backpack bike bag: the best compromise for the bike commuting ?

Almost essential to go to work by bike, a bag allows you to carry everyday objects. Nevertheless, it has some disadvantages: not really practical to be carried by hand (unlike a special bike backpack), aspect often less adapted to the professional world, internal organization not always ideal for work (lack of location for a computer for example).

To overcome these defects, a hybrid version has appeared: the convertible backpack bike bag.

Here are the important points to know as well as a selection of luggage adapted to your bike trips.

Bike bag convertible into a backpack: what is it? 

It is simply a bike bag that clings to your rear luggage rack while offering the possibility of transforming itself later like a backpack.No need for tools, switching from one mode to another is done in a few moments.

So you can move freely while having a backpack that is easy to carry during your working day for example.This is a huge advantage if you combine walking and cycling.

It is an excellent choice for your life as a cyclist in the city and also as a pedestrian: in a few seconds, take out the shoulder straps to use it like any backpack. This is much more convenient than the majority of normal saddlebags.

Backpack that can be converted into a bike bag: our selection

Bike bag backpack for a computer: the Vaude Cycle II 20

Designed to accommodate a laptop up to 15.6″, the Cycle II 20 is ideal for transporting your laptop in safe conditions that will extend its life.

Bag bike bag Vaude Vaude Cycle II Black

Even in the event of a fall, the separate compartment, A4 format, protects your PC.

Bike bag Backpack Vaude Cycle II compartment 1

Vaude has also thought of bicycles with a second part that allows you to store your belongings perfectly with the different spaces. Its design, its volume of 20 liters and its pockets make it an ideal companion for everyday life or to go to the office.

Bike bag backpack vaude 1

Thanks to its QMR lockable hook, the installation is quick and simple. In terms of comfort as a pedestrian, the back has been reinforced to obtain a distribution of the load.

For rain, the Vaude City Cycle II black a rain cover to protect your backpack 2 in 1: effective. But, to use this system, one can reproach two things. First of all, when you get a downpour, you already have enough things to put on (rain jacket, rain pants). Suffice to say that I already forgot to put the cover after equipping myself. On the other hand, the cover does not cover the entire bag (90%).

Our opinion on the Basil Cycle II 20

Benefits
  • Protected slot for a computer up to 15.6''
  • Internal organization
  • Rain cover
  • 20 liters
Disadvantages
  • We would have preferred directly a waterproof fabric rather than the cover
  • Design not fun
I discover the Vaude Cycle II 20

Women’s backpack bike bag: the Basil Ever-Green

The favorite for this bike bag that can be worn as a shoulder strap or backpack. A refreshing style to accompany you to the office. BASIL says the water-repellent fabric doesn’t forget the environment: its design gives a second life to 21 plastic bottles (which represents 40% of the bag). The capacity is announced from 14 to 19 liters.

Basil ever green bicycle daypack 14 19 liter thyme
Basil Ever-green: 40% recycled, 100% stylish

Our opinion on the Basil EverGreen

Benefits
  • A style that stands out, that illuminates our cities
  • Good value for money
  • Made of 40% recycled plastic
Disadvantages
  • Volume 14 liters that can be a bit fair
  • No compartment for a computer
  • Splendid shoulder straps, but not the most comfortable for long use
I discover the Basil Ever Green

Waterproof bike bag : Ortlieb Vario PS

If you ride a bike every day, the rain no longer scares you. Nevertheless, arriving with protected material is a professional imperative… It’s hard to explain to IT that your computer is down after a heavy downpour. Even if it does not necessarily rain as much as you imagine (see our article on rainwear), check the waterproofness of your bag (expressed in Schmerber). The higher the value, the more waterproof your convertible bag is.

If you flash on a very precise model that is not waterproof, no stress. Equip yourself with a cover to protect your backpack bag during a downpour.

The Vario PS model from Ortlieb offers unparalleled comfort thanks to shoulder straps on the opposite side of the fastening system. In terms of bad weather, its level of protection is indicated with the IP 64 standard: the bag protects against splashing water in all directions and against dust (provided that you have rolled up the closure 3 times). c

Our opinion on the Ortlieb Vario PS

Benefits
  • Volume of 26 Liters
  • Waterproof (IP 64 standard)
  • Childish ease to switch from one mode to another
  • Compartment for your laptop
  • 5-year warranty
Disadvantages
  • High investment (180 €)
  • Small non-waterproof outer pocket

Handbag bike bag: BASIL City Shopper

Last version of the convertible bag, this time with a slightly different version: the Basil City Shopper bag that turns into a handbag. It is

Basil City Shopper Bag
Source: Basil

It is easily installed at your luggage rack and its volume of 14 liters accompanies you for the various activities of the day. In pedestrian mode, he is worn directly on the shoulder with his shoulder strap.

Basil City Bicycle Shopper Bag 14 16 Liter Camel B
Chic and practical

Safety has not been forgotten: reflective strips are discreetly integrated on all sides of the City Shopper as well as a dedicated LED light slot. Excellent value for money.

Our opinion on the Basil City Shopper bag

Benefits
  • Appearance close to a classic handbag
  • Backpack alternative
  • Side of the reflective bag
  • Fastening system that hides easily
Disadvantages
  • Capacity of 14 liters that is not enough for everyone
  • 2-year warranty (compared to 5 on Vaude or Ortlieb brands)
  • Water-repellent fabric (water repellent) limited to fine rainfall
I discover the Basil City Shopper

3 good reasons to choose a bag convertible into a backpack

Versatility

Compared to a classic bag, the convertible backpack model is more suitable for professional use: comfort and style allow you to use it throughout the day.

A “classic” bag aims primarily at efficiency (waterproofness, volume, no aesthetic aim) while the convertible conversion version can accompany you during a business trip.

Less sweating in the back

When you ride a bike with a backpack, it prevents proper air circulation which creates perspiration. Having tried this solution on my first trips, we quickly find ourselves with the T-shirt soaked in the back and along the shoulder straps. 

Thanks to a backpack bag, you free your back to limit moisture. Thus, you will arrive fresher at your appointment, no need to change clothes. 

Ease of use

The backpack bag hangs in seconds, effortlessly. In addition, the transition to backpack mode is also done in a few moments: take out the shoulder straps and store the attachment points. The fastest models to use are those that have hooks opposite the shoulder straps: no need to store them to switch from bag mode to backpack mode.

How to choose your bike bag convertible into a backpack? 

volume

Computer, charger, phone, lunch, sports business, etc., the list may be different, but starting from your use, you can determine the desired volume. Be careful, however, not to overestimate certain punctual needs: for very occasional activities, do not count them in it and plan a supplement on D-Day.

In other words, there is no point in equipping yourself with an oversized convertible backpack bag, keep in mind that it must easily remain usable on a daily basis. 

The thinnest models will start at 10 L to go up to more than 25 L for the bulkiest. If you are used to stopping to shop, you need at least 20 liters.

In addition to the volume, if you carry your computer, check that the model chosen is able to accommodate the size of your screen. 

Comfort

A good convertible bag must be a good backpack: wide and airy shoulder straps, good integration of the fastening system that does not create a hard spot when worn. But, also comfort of use with easy installation on your luggage rack.This comfort of use also involves an easy transition between the two modes, it is always a few seconds saved between a meeting, an appointment and the children to recover.

Style

As for the choice of a bag, the aesthetic aspect is to be considered: professional appearance, more feminine universe, more sporty appearance, color in line with your bike? It is a parameter specific to everyone.

Nevertheless, you also have the right to choose a stylish backpack bag, which does not remind you at all times that you are a biker: find the model to combine both style and regular use.

We can look for either a version that looks like a classic backpack in every way. Or conversely, versions closer to the handbag, more feminine.

Brands of bicycle bag convertible into a backpack

Vaude

Sustainable and committed to the climate, VAUDE is recognized for the quality of its products for the entire outdoor world: hiking, cycling, mountaineering, camping. The German brand is committed to a strong environmental approach with an eco-friendly design. All products are Made in Germany and offer a 5-year warranty.

Decathlon

If you are looking for a convertible backpack bike bag with the best value for money, look at the French brand. They are found under the brand names B’twin or Elops. In 2022, there are 4 different models with a volume of 25 or 27L.

Sport backpack for luggage rack bike Elops
Source: Decathlon, Btwin range

Ortlieb

Another German manufacturer that is also known for the quality and durability of these products: waterproofness, 5-year warranty, availability of spare parts.

Basil

The result of a meeting between a cyclist and a bike shop owner in 1976, the BASIL brand manufactures saddlebags, clothing and accessories. It aims for a diversity of design that brings a little freshness and color in a sometimes classic universe. Pet baskets are also part of their range.

The word of the end

Totally suitable for cyclists who want luggage to combine cycling and work, the bike bag that turns into a backpack is one of the accessories that facilitate the transport of your belongings. Look in town, many electric bikes are equipped with this new generation of panniers.

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