Brooks’s Dalston Tex looks more like a lifestyle bag than commuting pack, but for carrying the essentials of work clothes, shoes and a laptop, it actually came into its own.
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The lightweight fabric is a tough ripstop and the base is made from a more rugged material. The fabric itself is waterproof, but the seams are not sealed; although I’ve not ridden in rain long enough for water to penetrate, from experience I know that without welded seams water will eventually breach.
The buckles on the shoulder straps and the hook fastening on the chest straps are serious pieces of metalwork. I appreciate the quality feel and look, but they aren’t the easiest to adjust.
The main compartment is fastened with an AquaGuard zip and contains a laptop sleeve. The zip extends way down the bag, making it easy to pack. There are three exterior slip pockets on the sides and the front (the front pocket has a hook and loop closure).
The bag’s compact proportions had me doubting it would be big enough, but my kit fitted neatly with room to spare. Being almost a perfect match size-wise for my load meant it held everything securely in place when riding, while the wide padded base stopped it from falling over when I set it down when off the bike.
The lack of padding on the shoulder straps wasn’t an issue, their width making up for the lack of cushioning, but the limited adjustment was concerning. The strap had to be taken to its full length to fit over just a jersey and winter softshell jacket.
On the bike, though, this is a comfortable bag to ride with due to its light weight and small size. However, even taking into account its nice finishing touches, this does feel like a pricey option.
How we tested
Commuting on your bike can be more pleasant with the right backpack, but the wrong one could be an expensive mistake.
We’ve reviewed a wide range of commuter bags, from bike-specific packs to more versatile luggage hybrids, to help you decide which is best for your needs.
Regardless of bike size, we packed exactly the same kit for testing: a laptop, a packing cube with a change of work clothes, a shoe bag and a tool roll.
Also on test
- Altura Grid Backpack
- Chrome Barrage Cargo 22X
- dhb Waterproof Rucksack
- Fox Transition Duffle Bag
- Ortlieb Atrack CR Urban
- Osprey Transporter Roll
- Oxford Aqua V20 Backpack
- Rapha Roll Top Backpack
- Vaude ExCycling Pack