By Grace Lee
With fashion brands like 3.1 Phillip Lim making a backpack version of the wildly popular Pashli and The Row’s famed alligator backpack, these bags aren’t exclusively for school children and soldiers anymore. Personally, I’ve always preferred backpacks to purses, which can’t contain my water bottle, books and George Costanza wallet.
Conveniently for bicyclists, backpacks don’t dangle, and they keep hands free. Even distribution of weight across two straps helps prevent shoulder, neck and back aches. (Styles with added chest or waist straps further boost stability if you’re on a road bike.) Backpacks are also perfect companions for shopping or errands or for supplementing your basket or rack. The only potential downer: The bags can trap sweat on hot days.
Luckily, bag companies from both fashion and bicycling brands have realized that not every backpack has to be a two-zip bag of ugly. Bicyclists can choose from more shapes, materials and colors than ever. The best biking backpacks foster mobility, whether on a commute or leisurely weekend ride. Just pick and choose the features most important to you: Water-resistance in case of an unexpected shower. Padded, adjustable straps for extra-heavy loads. Interior compartments for organizing laptops, wallets and keys. Easy access to exterior pockets. Patterns that would make an art teacher cry.
Here are 10 backpacks for spring and summer rambling (that won’t make you feel like a Spice Girl wannabe):