In the second of our reviews featuring products from Craft Cadence, Dan tested out their Waterproof
Backpack. Here’s what he thought…
Before I get into the review, I feel it’s only fair to give full disclosure, I’m really not a fan of riding
with a backpack, I dislike the way they alter your centre of gravity on the bike and how sweaty they
make your back and nobody likes a sweaty back!
In fact, given the choice, I’d much rather use luggage that attaches to the bike rather than myself,
but this comes with its own problems, depending on whether the bike in question has the
appropriate mounting points for a rack or if you need to remove and reattach the bags regularly as
you often do when commuting.
When I used to regularly commute to work before the pandemic, the solution I preferred was to use
a courier style bag which solved the issues mentioned above. What I didn’t have to do then though
was carry a laptop between home and the office, this is where I think a rucksack style bag comes into
I know you can get courier style bags with laptop sleeves, but whenever I’ve tried one, having the
laptop running across my back rather than in line with it feels a bit awkward, especially when fully
loaded and cinched up tight. So, now that I do need to carry a laptop when commuting could this
bag convince me to use a rucksack?
As stated in the previous review of Craft Cadence’s top tube bag the company was started by a
group of London commuters, whose aim was to design products that served commuters like them,
better. Coming from that background my hopes for their backpack offering were high.
The bag is a roll top style which I prefer, as zips are often the weak point for a bag, both in strength
and in allowing water to find its way inside. Roll top style bags also make adjusting the size of the bag
to suit the load you are carrying really easy. The loops which the metal buckle of the roll top retention
strap attaches too also allow you to attach a d lock to the outside, another useful feature.
The bag is constructed from 600D polyester, with a TPU coating. It also features seamless welding
construction, all of which add to its waterproof properties. I fully tested just how waterproof on a
couple of very soggy commutes and am happy to say the contents stayed completely dry. One thing I
will say about the material the bag is made from, is although it feels very tough especially for how
lightweight it is (900 grams for the bag), it did mark quite easily whenever it rubbed against anything.
For instance, when I was getting it in and out of my locker, I noticed white marks where it had rubbed
against the sides. This isn’t a major problem and in no way affected the performance of the bag, but it
may bother some people. Final details on the outside of the bag include a reflective logo on the front as well as stripes on the shoulder straps creating added visibility at night.
The bag comes with a 5-year warranty indicating that Craft Cadence have confidence in the longevity
of their products and so far, I have no reason to doubt how robust it is.
Within the bag there is a single large main pocket with a removable laptop sleeve. This is held in
place with Velcro making it easily removable and has dedicated compartments for up to a 17” laptop, as
well as sections for a notebook, mouse, keys pens etc. There are also two smaller external zipped
pockets on either side of the outside of the bag which proved useful for any items I needed quick access
to. The bag is claimed to have 21 litres of storage, which although I haven’t tested this in any scientific
way, it was able to swallow loads of gear including: a full change of clothes, my laptop plus accessories,
a notepad, pens, tools and my lunch. Add to this that my clothes aren’t small as I’m 6’5” tall and I was
pretty impressed with just who much it could fit inside.
To recap, so far are we have a waterproof bag, which can hold loads of gear and is well suited to the
needs of a cycle commuter, but returning to my initial point about the things I don’t like about riding
with a rucksack, just how sweaty did I get and how stable did it feel in use?
Well, this was the biggest surprise, although my back did get a bit sweaty, the EVA foam back panels and
ventilated shoulder straps helped to keep this to a minimum and made it much more comfortable than
other similar rucksacks I’ve tried. I also found having both an adjustable chest strap and waist strap to
really secure the bag, meant it was nice and stable when fully loaded adding to the comfort factor. One
little niggle, was that both the chest strap and waist strap have elastic loops to secure the excess strap
and stop them flapping about in the wind, however the shoulder straps are missing this feature
meaning that at speed they whip about in the wind which proved to be a little annoying.
So, in summary, I’m really impressed with this bag, it has a good range of feature, is comfortable to use,
can hold a good amount gear and due to its waterproof properties is well suited to the needs of the UK
commuter. I’d still much rather ride without a bag attached to me, but when the need arises, I’ve chosen
this bag over the others I have and reckon I will continue to do so.
You can find more details on the craft cadence website here
Massive thanks to Dan for getting soaked through in the name of UKgravelCO, all pictures credit @Dan_C_Phillips