You may riding for a long time, so you should carry and easily access everything you need. Multi-tools, inner tubes, snacks and clothing are to name but a few. The best mountain biking backpacks you can buy are comfortable, practical and are made for the sole purpose of riding.
Things to consider before buying the best mountain biking backpacks
Is the backpack big enough for what you need? If you go out on long rides, you will want to carry the essentials for your day:
- Food – Don’t get the hanger, you will need to keep your energy up. Even if it is a squashed sandwich.
- Water – Dehydration can be a serious problem, especially on long rides on hot days.
- Tools – Don’t be caught out with a technical issue. I make sure I ride with a multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, leatherman and cable ties.
- Spare inner tube – Even if you run tubeless tyres, I recommend carrying one of these. This is because your sealant will not seal a rip in the side wall of your tyre.
- Clothing – Extra layers are a good idea if you know the weather may be variable. You may also want to carry a waterproof jacket.
- Camera equipment – You may want your new bag to have a safe place for your camera, extra GoPro mounts, Insta360 or even a drone.
- Phone – A secure and safe place for your phone is also worth considering. You don’t want to be without it in an emergency.
- Maps – If you are riding in an unfamiliar area, you may want to carry a map with you. Where you keep it should be easily accessible and dry. Alternatively, you may want to use a GPS smartwatch.
Here are the best mountain biking backpacks available right now. Scroll down for my review on each one to make your choice.
Osprey Raptor 14
Osprey have loaded the Raptor 14 with lots of features, making it one of the best mountain biking backpacks you can buy.
This bag fits close to your back, thanks to its BioStretch harness and hip belt, which secures it to your body. I like the hydration system on the Raptor 14, as the design of the bladder reduces the amount your water sloshes around. It is also easy to access, in its own zipped up compartment. Also, you can easily grab the tube when you are thirsty, as it is secured to the bag’s right-hand strap with a magnet.
The Raptor 14 has enough space and pockets for everything you need on a ride. It has a mesh pocket, to stash your waterproof at the front of the bag. The hip pockets also have easy to access secure pockets for your phone and sunglasses. These pockets have been lined with a soft material to prevent lenses and screens getting scratched too.
For when you are not riding, there is a really useful system to attach your helmet to the outside of the bag. But, I really like the separate pocket for your tools. It actually rolls out, which is great for when you have to carry out bike repairs on the trail.
The bag also has a removable flashing light and reflective patches, for when you are riding in the dark.
Size: 14 litres
Dimensions: 50cm x 22cm x 22cm
This is a well-thought-out backpack that is loaded with great features. It is very well-made and doesn’t move around too much when riding technical terrain.
Evoc Stage 12L
Evoc make some great products, and they make them very well too. The Evoc Stage is a good backpack to take out on a day long ride. It is designed to be comfortable for a long time on your bike, with emphasis on ventilation and load bearing. Evoc have endeavored to keep the load as neutral as possible, while adding ventilation channels to maximise the airflow between your body and the bag.
The build quality is typical of Evoc, as it is made from durable and water repellent material. It is very well-thought-out, with a separate tool pocket, an integrated rain cover and a glasses pocket in the hip belt.
There is room for an additional 3 litre hydration bladder inside this backpack, and your helmet can be attached to it when you are not using it.
Size: 12 litres
Dimensions: 28cm x 50cm x 9cm
This bag is ideal to carry the essentials on a day long ride, for those who want to travel light.
For those of you looking for a backpack that is a bit more high end, you might want to look at the Evoc Trail Blackline. It is one of the best mountain biking backpacks with a back protector. So, if you have a fall and land on your back, you are less likely to suffer injury.
This backpack is quite a big bag with lots of features. Such as, a back light clip, a hip belt pocket, rain cover, tool pocket and helmet carrier.
It comes in three different sizes to suit your needs and your body size, 14 litre, 16 litre and 18 litre. Evoc use lots of clever materials that are durable and water repellent, ensuring the contents of the backpack are safe. This bag’s design makes it as comfortable as possible. Evoc have done this by using various different types of material and mesh strategically placed to ensure maximum airflow, to reduce sweaty back syndrome.
Size: 14litre, 16 litre and 18 litre options
Dimensions: 17cm x 56cm x 11cm (for the 16 litre)
This is a very comfortable and well-made backpack. It will help protect you when you crash ans has lots of great features. However, you do need to buy a hydration bladder separately.
Another option for a backpack with a back protector, you should check out the CamelBak K.U.D.U. The back protector is manufactured to the highest industry standard, so you can trust it when the worst happens. The clever thing about this one, is that you can unzip the whole bag from the back protector. When you do this, you can ride with protection and you also have some pockets for some equipment and a water bottle.
There are storage areas all over this backpack and has a similar glasses pouch to the other ones, with a fleece lining. It also has the helmet carrier. This bag has a rain cover that tucks in to its own pocket. You can keep your tools in a tool roll to keep them organised.
This bag is very comfortable, but it does get quite warm. The ventilation isn’t that efficient compared to the Evoc options, so if you ride in hot climates, this one may not be for you. But, riding on a standard British weather day, you should be fine.
Size: 10 litre or 20 litre
Dimensions: 52cm x 25cm x 22cm
This is one of the best mountain biking backpacks, as it is very comfortable unless you are riding on a hot day. It is a very practical with its large main compartment and the various other storage areas. It will give you confidence while riding too, with its excellent back protector.