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Every cyclist must have a cycling backpack. This is especially true for serious cyclists. So if you are into bicycle riding as much as I am, and you want to go for day-long rides, then you must carry a backpack. These backpacks are large enough to carry the items that you want during your ride. While backpacks have to be carried by you, bicycle saddle bags put all the weight on the bike. So riding is more comfortable with saddlebags. But in case you want to go hiking after cycling, backpacks are a better option.
Tip: Don’t carry your heaviest luggage in your backpack
Remember that your backpack bears the weight of all of the contents on your body. Load heavy items in bicycle saddlebags or panniers and use the backpack to carry lighter items to avoid straining your body and to be specific, the back.
Selecting The Right Cycling Backpack
Here are some points to consider when selecting the right cycling backpack:
- Water Resistance
- Other features (like number of pockets, comfort etc)
There are many types of cycling backpacks and so selecting the right one might become confusing. There are simple backpacks and sophisticated ones. Simple ones can just be carried while cycling and they carry your stuff, while sophisticated ones carry hydration packs as well so that you can drink from them without stopping in between. Here are some different types of cycling backpacks:
If you are going for a big backpack, then there will be a special pocket for the bladder. You can find many great hydration packs from companies such as Camelbak.
If you are going on a bike trip for a day, then day packs are the best way to go. These are typically small backpacks that come with shoulder straps that you wear without any hip belts. Big day packs have chest straps so that your shoulders don't feel too much stress.
These packs are designed to hold extra luggage than day packs, but not for trips that last for days. These are designed for people who want to go out for a day, and they want to carry extra stuff like books and camera.
This is the kind of bag you would need when you want to go riding for weeks (see my bicycling tours). They have broad hip belts and lumbar pads to help you carry them easily. The heavier it is, the easier it is for you to carry them.
Though these are not officially backpacks, but you can use them if you don't have a lot of stuff to carry. These might just be a pouch and a belt, and they can carry stuff like keys and cell phones.
Since the weight of this waist pack would be centered on the curve of your spine, it will be easy to carry it. There are even some packs that have shoulder yokes so that you can carry higher load with increased stability.
Tip: Make sure your backpack straps are sufficiently tightened.
As it is, cycling has a reputation for causing lower back aches. You're definitely going to wind up with a sore back if your backpack straps are too loose because this causes you to slouch and arch your lower back, especially when your pack is heavy.
Always tighten your backpack straps such that the pack rests comfortably against your spine when you're standing straight.
What to Carry in Your Backpack?
You must carry a first aid kit. If you are having a small cycling backpack, you can carry your cell phone and keys etc. You can also carry some food and some bicycle safety equipment. If you like music, you can carry an iPod or some other player.
Apart from these things, you must carry a bicycle repair kit. If you are going out in winters, you can carry an extra pair of cycling clothes - which may include a sweatshirt or a pair of socks. If you are going to distant places, you can carry extra luggage, but I always prefer traveling light.
Where to Buy a Cycling Backpack?
If you are interested in buying a cycling backpack you can buy it on one of these trusted online stores:
Cycling Backpacks on eBay.com