Best cheap bags

The top sub-£80 cycling bags for the commute to work

Whether you've just started commuting to work by bike or are enjoying the odd ride around town or out to the countryside on a sunny day, a good bag is an essential item.

With the popularity of cycling growing and more people riding to work, the options for carrying all your stuff are increasing. The choice of bags for cyclists is massive, ranging from ultra lightweight minimalism to bombproof portable storage, while sizes vary from petite to pocket battleship.

The bags tested here cover a range of uses. The more serious ‘commuter’ bags have either a full waterproof construction or come with a waterproof cover, to keep their contents clean and dry. Many others have some weatherproofing but will soak through in heavy rain, so are better for those who tend not to ride in poor conditions.

While some bags are more technical, with well ventilated back panels, multiple straps and accessible pockets, others are designed to be worn in the city and wouldn’t look out of place in a board meeting.

We’ve tried to cover all bases here. We’ve been looking at comfort, ventilation, capacity and how easy they are to use on a day to day basis, to find which are our top bags for life. Most of the following can also be found online for well under the £80 mark.

Polaris Aquanought


Buy now from:

Amazon (currently £59)

Our pick of the best cheap but quality bags for using on the commute to work: our pick of the best cheap but quality bags for using on the commute to work

With its welded seams, tarpaulin material and rolltop closure, the Aquanought is a fully waterproof backpack. The 30-litre interior keeps things simple, with just a couple of clips to attach accessories, but there is an exterior waterproof pocket to store little bits and pieces. The removable EVA foam back panel is comfortable while riding and well vented – though the bottom panel feels a little odd when you’re walking – and the wide, padded waist strap is comfortable and doesn’t cause discomfort when you’re leaning forward on the bike. Reflective detailing adds visibility, while the adjustable shock cords mean you can strap jackets and the like to the outside.

  • Volume: 30L
  • Main compartment closure: Rolltop
  • Weather protection: Fully waterproof

Crumpler Dinky Di Messenger M


Buy now from:

Amazon (currently £89)

The crumpler dinky di messenger m comes with a 30-year guarantee: the crumpler dinky di messenger m comes with a 30-year guarantee

As the name suggests, the Dinky Di is a compact pack, ideal for carrying little bits and pieces but not big loads. Crumpler stands by its bags, offering a 30-year guarantee, so this works out at £3 per year – sounds pretty good to us! There are internal and external organiser pockets, and the inner is constructed from a bright rip-stop nylon. The shoulder strap is relatively stiff, but with the removable padding is comfortable. The only downside is the stabilising strap, which comes from the strap and clips to the bag – it would be much easier if it were the other way around.

  • Volume: 20.3L 
  • Main compartment closure: Velcro and buckle 
  • Weather protection: Water-resistant

Endura Back Pack 25L


Buy now from:

Leisure Lakes Bikes (currently £56.99)

The endura back pack uses padded shoulder straps for added comfort:

Endura’s entry into the world of luggage looks promising, with its 25-litre backpack holding a decent range of features. The back panel uses six foam blocks to hold the pack away from your back, and is relatively well vented. Padded shoulder straps and a wide waist strap provide stability as well as comfort. The main section has an internal sleeve, while the smaller organiser pocket has mesh sleeves and a soft-lined zipped pocket. A stow-away fluorescent rain cover is a useful addition, especially as it has a little window to show the pack’s integrated rear light. Our only criticism is that changing batteries is quite a faff.

  • Volume: 25L
  • Main compartment closure: Zip 
  • Weather protection: Rain cover

Deuter Bike One 20


Buy now from:

Wiggle (currently £59.49)

The deuter bike one was one of the most stable bags tested:

Deuter’s Bike One 20 is light, thanks to the ripstop fabric, and waterproofing is taken care of by a fluorescent rain cover, which did a good job even in torrential weather (the wet laundry compartment was useful too). Inside it’s relatively basic, with just a single sleeve and a drink reservoir compartment. Outside, there are two mesh side pockets and a small organiser pocket. Deuter has also fitted a hidden helmet holder, which can also secure extra clothes. A hip belt with mesh wings and the compression straps make it one of the more stable on test, while breathability is reasonable thanks to the two vertical strips of back padding.

  • Volume: 20L
  • Main compartment closure: Zip 
  • Protection: Rain cover

The Osprey Cyber Port


Buy now from:

Amazon (currently £69.99)

The osprey cyber port is water-resistant:

The Cyber Port is a traditional city commuter pack with a difference. The main outside panel can be unzipped and stowed away, exposing a see-through panel designed for the shape of an iPad. Osprey has released an app that makes the iPad screen look like a rear light – ideal for when you get caught out – and you can use the touchscreen without removing your iPad from the bag. The bag is well made, featuring plenty of internal organiser pockets, including a Velcro secured laptop sleeve. The back panel isn’t overly breathable, but it's fine for shorter urban commutes. The smart style of the Cyber Port means it won’t look out of place in an office either.

  • Volume: 18L
  • Main compartment closure: Zip
  • Protection: Water-resistant

Thule En-Route Mosey 28


Buy now from:

Amazon (currently £74)

The thule en-route mosey 28 can hold 28l: the thule en-route mosey 28 can hold 28l

Thule might be better known for its car and bike racks, but it also makes backpacks. The En-Route Mosey has a smart finish, making it well suited to city use. The 28-litre compartment tapers towards the bottom, so when you put it down it always falls over which is annoying. The sides feature two handy reinforced pockets, big enough for a phone and glasses, and there are two external pouch pockets, along with loops for hanging gear and a zipped pocket in the top ‘hood’. Weatherproofing is reasonable, though the bag isn’t fully waterproof, and while the back is well padded, it doesn’t have the airflow of the better vented packs.

  • Volume: 28L  
  • Main compartment closure: Drawstring/clasp  
  • Protection: Water-resistant

Ortlieb Velocity


Buy now from:

Evans Cycles (currently £67.49)

The ortlieb velocity has a volume of 20l: the ortlieb velocity has a volume of 20l

When it comes to waterproof bags, Ortlieb is one of the biggest names out there. The tarpaulin material is impervious to water, hard-wearing and easy to look after, while the rolltop closure is as weatherproof as it gets. The Velocity features a semi-rigid back, with foam blocks providing a decent level of both comfort and ventilation, and, for a backpack, it was relatively unsweaty. Sternum and waist straps provide good stability, while inside there is a removable slim canvas pouch. On the downside, with the top rolled the velcro closure isn’t long enough to provide a convincingly secure fastening, and the top of the pack sits quite close to your helmet.

  • Volume: 20L 
  • Main compartment closure: Rolltop
  • Protection: Waterproof

Shimano Tsukinist T20


Buy now from:

Wiggle (currently £55.99)

The shimano tsukinist t20 has a variety of different compartments: the shimano tsukinist t20 has a variety of different compartments

The Tsukinist comes from Shimano’s commuter bags range, and with a variety of pockets and compartments, it fits that role well. Internally there’s a decent sized main compartment, which includes a laptop sleeve. Externally there’s a front organiser pocket and also a soft, lined valuables pocket, while the shoulder strap has a phone pocket too. On the side there are mesh pockets as well as D-lock and light loops. A waterproof cover has its own compartment. The back panel is reasonably well ventilated, but there are better ones out there. We also found that the sternum strap needs to be done up to provide stability.

  • Volume: 20L
  • Main compartment closure: Zip 
  • Protection: Rain cover

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