Rapha’s Roll Top Backpack has a distinctly city vibe, but still packs several useful features into its minimal design.
- Best commuter bike | What’s the best bike for commuting?
- Best cycling backpack | Commuting backpacks rated and reviewed
Made from a water- and abrasion-resistant fabric, it includes a laptop sleeve, main compartment and an exterior pocket that’s handy for stashing keys and the like.
The roll-top fastens with a hook that retracts into the bag when not in use – a simple and elegant solution. A webbing strip down the front enables a lock to be carried outside rather than taking up interior space, and also allows for rear light attachment. The top grab handle is well placed.
A nice touch is that the base panel is reflective in all three colourways; choose the black/pink option for Rapha’s distinctive pink base for daytime visibility too.
The reinforced base means the pack stands up on its own, useful for setting it down on the ground, and also helps when packing because the rigidity helps hold the bag open. However, the interior is very dark so I was grateful for my system of packing cubes in order to easily locate contents.
Even with an integral sleeve and padded back, I could feel the laptop when riding and so preferred to put it in its own case and pack it in the middle with the rest of the contents.
The shoulder straps are padded; there are no waist or chest straps, but the pack is secure enough without. Also, its narrow dimensions make it easy to grab a glance over your shoulder without the top of the pack intruding into your sightline.
The Roll Top’s overall comfort is somewhat disappointing – I was always very aware that I was carrying it. As such I wouldn’t choose it for longer journeys. Instead, use it for short commutes, casual riding around town or even just because you love its pared-back styling.
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
- Brooks Dalston Tex Nylon
- Chrome Barrage Cargo 22X
- dhb Waterproof Rucksack
- Fox Transition Duffle Bag
- Ortlieb Atrack CR Urban
- Osprey Transporter Roll
- Oxford Aqua V20 Backpack
- Vaude ExCycling Pack