Beyond Your Standard Messenger Bag

The Best Modern Takes on the Commuter Bag

Shown: Rapha Backpack
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new picks for 2016. You can still view last year’s picks on page 2.

Once you’ve got your bike (which you should by now), the next step is to pick up the appropriate accessories. For commuters, second only to a helmet is a suitable bag that holds the necessities — phone, lock, multi-tool, pump, spare tubes, and tire levers should do it — and, beyond that, meets specific personal work or pleasure criteria, like a laptop, camera, or spare clothes. The key to the right carry is something functional, good looking, and with the compartment space to haul the right junk. Do your needs require a backpack, messenger or something else entirely? This roundup offers all of the above, with a preference toward versatility both on and off the bike. — Jeremy Berger

MiiR 25 L Commuter Bag


MiiR launched its take on the commuter bag earlier this year and it’s become a staple in the kit of cyclists at our own office. The rolltop design makes it easy to adjust the volume of the bag to exactly what you need and with every bag purchase, MiiR donates money education resources in developing countries.

Timbuk2 Especial Tres Cycling Backpack


The Timbuk2 Especial Tres is a commuter bag for the serious bike commuter. It’s waterproof enough to keep your gear dry in a few hours of rain and also offers 40 liters of space to hold anything and everything.

Mission Workshop The Sanction Waxed Canvas


San Francisco-based Mission Workshop makes some of the most stylish and functional bike commuting bags on the market. The Sanction is a 20-liter waxed canvas bag that looks great and will keep your gear dry in the event of a light shower. It also features a laptop pocket that will hold most 15-inch laptops.

Rapha Backpack


If you put a heavy premium on minimalism and style, Rapha’s succinctly named Backpack is a great option. It features a padded, 15-inch laptop sleeve as well as a zip-away rain cover in the event of precipitation. For durability, the main body of the backpack is made from Cordura nylon that will stand up to years of abuse.

Chrome Mini Buran Messenger Bag


If you’re prone to thrashing your commute bag, it’s time to upgrade to Chrome’s Mini Buran. Chrome guarantees each of their bags for life and each is constructed from an 18-ounce truck tarpaulin liner and a military grade nylon outer face fabric.

Manhattan Portage NY Minute Messenger Bag


For an affordable option, Manhattan Portage’s NY Minute messenger bag is worth a look. It’s constructed from 1,000D Cordura for incredible durability, and also features a waterproof flap. In addition to the cross body messenger style strap, the Manhattan Portage added an around the waist strap to keep things from moving around too much.

Osprey Radial 34


The Osprey Radial may look like a standard backpack, but it’s anything but. It has a built-in helmet storage attachment as well as an integrated kickstand that allows for the pack to be set on the ground without toppling over. It also has an attachment for a blinker light to keep you safe on the road at dusk.

Additional contribution by Matthew Ankeny

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