Whether you are commuting or going on a bike-packing adventure, investing in good quality pannier backpacks is a must. You need a pannier backpack that is reliable, strong, and has plenty of space to store everything you could need on your daily commute or cycling adventure.
Getting a pannier bag that also doubles up as a backpack makes it a lot easier to carry with you and means that you can use it on and off the bike. You need to consider the current setup you have on the bike to make sure your new pannier backpack will fit your rack, how comfortable it is while wearing it as a backpack, and how waterproof or weather-resistant you need it to be.
Best Pannier Backpacks
- Rhinowalk Multifunction 24L Bike Pannier Bag – Best for commuters
- TOURBON Water-Resistant Canvas Pannier Backpack – Best for style
- Two Wheel Gear Pannier Pack Convertible – Best all-rounder
- Lovevook 3 in 1 Bike Rack Bag Pannier Waterproof Bicycle Panniers – Best on a budget
- Gonex Upgrade Bicycle Panniers – Best for bike packing adventures
Rhinowalk Multifunction 24L Bike Pannier Bag
Best for commuters
The Rhinowalk multifunction bike pannier backpack is an excellent solution for cycling commuters. With a 24L capacity, there is plenty of space to hold everything that you need for your day at work. The addition of a cushioned laptop sleeve is what makes this the best pannier backpack for anyone looking to carry their laptop with them while on the bike.
The bag connects to your pannier rack using two plastic hooks at the top of the bag, in addition to a strap at the bottom of the bag for added security, reducing the risk of the bag flapping around on bumpy roads.
Once you have reached your destination, the bag is easy to remove. You can cover the pannier fitting by zipping up the protective panel, turning it into a regular looking backpack.
With the addition of a bottle holder and hideable helmet sleeve, this is a multifunctional pannier backpack that looks stylish on and off the bike. The only downside is that the material of the bag is not 100% waterproof.
However, the bag does come with a bright yellow waterproof cover. While these covers are not usually as effective as waterproof bags, it is a comforting touch and will help you get seen in low light conditions thanks to its bright color.
Waterproof: No (but it does come with a waterproof cover)
- Multifunctional with several dedicated storage solutions
- The pannier fitting is secure and easily hidden when not on the bike
- Not 100% waterproof
- The handle at the top of the bag is not very robust. When taking it off your bike, lift the bag from the bottom
TOURBON Water-Resistant Canvas Pannier Backpack
Best for style
The grey and brown canvas style of the Tourban pannier backpack looks great. It was made to live in the city and be used by students or commuters to look good and provide a reliable storage solution on and off the bike.
It may not have all the functions of some of the other pannier backpacks on the list, but it does have the two main features you need. On the rear, you have two plastic hooks to clip it onto your pannier rack easily, and at the bottom of the bag, there is a small velcro strap for added security.
When you take it off the bike, simply zip up the rear compartment, and your pannier bag transforms into a stylish backpack.
Be mindful that this is only water-resistant, so it will only keep your belongings dry in a light shower. If you need something that you can rely on daily in all weather conditions, you may want to sacrifice style and opt for a 100% waterproof pannier bag.
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
- Looks great
- Easy fitting to a pannier rack
- The clips feel a little flimsy compared to others on the list
Two Wheel Gear Pannier Pack Convertible
This is a great all-rounder pannier backpack. It comes with a padded laptop sleeve, several internal organizational pockets, a soft pocket for your valuables, an outer pocket that houses the waterproof cover, and two expandable mesh pockets for water bottles etc.
The high quality and well-made finishing touches are what make this bag one of the best on the market. The secure-fitting mechanism to your racks is one of the most sturdy and well made out there.
Unlike most pannier backpacks, the clips are connected to each other; this not only makes it more sturdy but also gives you the ability to slide the clips to get the perfect fit on your racks.
The pannier clips are quickly hidden once you zip up the rear panel and the padded shoulder straps make it very comfortable to wear on your back.
Although the material is TPE waterproof coated, it does also come with a waterproof cover if you are caught out in a downpour. Other than the bag itself not being 100% waterproof, this is one of the best pannier backpacks for commuters and city cyclists.
Waterproof: No (water-resistant and does come with a waterproof cover)
- Sturdy and adjustable rack mount
- Great for easy organization and storage of valuables (Laptops etc)
- Expensive, but good quality
- Not 100% waterproof without the addition of the high viz cover
Lovevook 3 in 1 Bike Rack Bag Pannier Waterproof Bicycle Panniers
Best on a budget
The Lovevook pannier backpack has a large capacity and is 100% waterproof. Although it is not as comfortable as some of the more expensive options while being used as a backpack, it is comfortable enough for short periods.
It comes with a removable laptop sleeve, two external mesh pockets, and an outer waterproof pocket. The main compartment offers a large capacity, but you have to pack wisely as there are no internal pockets.
The pannier fitting is sturdy, with a velcro strap at the bottom to keep the bag secure while on the bike.
If you are looking for a cheap, 100% waterproof and versatile pannier backpack, this is a great option. You may not get all the features you do with the more expensive options, but this bag solves the solution of keeping your belongings safe and dry while on the bike and allowing you to carry it on your back for the last leg of the journey.
Capacity: 20L or 25L
- 100% waterproof
- No internal pockets to help with organization
- As a backpack, it is not as comfortable or cushioned as more expensive options
Gonex Upgrade Bicycle Panniers
Best for bike packing adventures
If size and the ability to keep out water is your priority, then the Gonex Upgrade Bicycle Panniers have got you covered. They may not be the best solution for cycling commuters as you will probably not need to carry as much as these bags can hold.
However, for those looking to go on a bicycle tour, two waterproof panniers with a combined capacity of 54L at under $100 is an absolute bargain. As these are more like your traditional panniers, the rack fitting is very robust and easily adjusted to fit your pannier rack perfectly.
Technically this is not a backpack like the others on this list, but it does come with an adjustable shoulder strap. This is an adequate solution for any bike packers that plan to cycle the whole way during their trip and just need a convenient way of carrying their panniers a short distance.
- Large capacity
- Secure fitting on pannier racks
- 100% waterproof
- It only comes with a shoulder strap
- No internal pockets mean that this is not the best solution for cycling commuters
Ensure a secure and comfortable fit on and off the bike
The reason you get a pannier backpack is for its versatility. It can be challenging to combine secure rack fittings with a comfortable back panel.
Most pannier racks have a similar diameter rail, so you do not need to worry about any of these bags not fitting your bicycle rack. However, the panniers with adjustable clips offer a bit more peace of mind that they will fit your pannier rack. Also, make sure that the bag has a secondary fitting at the bottom.
Without this, your pannier will rattle around, and it will risk snapping the plastic hooks that keep your bag connected to the rack. Look out for pannier backpacks that come with plastic clips and fittings.
They are much more reliable and easy to fit than any system that relies solely on straps or velcro.
Off the bike, you need a backpack that has a padded back and several straps. The addition of more than just shoulder straps means that you can better distribute the pack’s weight across your back.
Particularly important if you intend on using your backpack while hiking or exploring a city on foot. Most pannier backpacks come with plastic fittings to fit to your bike, so you also want to make sure that the bag you get has adequate padding on the back panel so that you are not left with plastic digging into your back off the bike.
Waterproof or Water-resistant
You should think about how important this is to you. It depends on how often you ride and what the weather conditions are like where you live. If you intend to commute by bike come rain or shine or are going for a week-long cycling tour, then you should look for 100% waterproof pannier backpacks.
Although water-resistant materials work against a light shower, they cannot withstand heavy or consistent rainfall.
Getting a 100% waterproof pannier backpack gives you peace of mind that your belongings will be kept safe no matter the weather. If you have got your heart set on a water-resistant pannier, then at least make sure it comes with a waterproof cover.
Although they may not be as effective as 100% waterproof bags at preventing water ingress, they should keep the contents of your bag dry for long enough.
Are all panniers also backpacks?
No. Most panniers are designed to just fit onto a pannier rack on your bicycle. However, it is unlikely that you intend to leave your bag connected to your bike indefinitely. Pannier backpacks give you that added flexibility to carry your pannier on your back once you have reached your destination.
They are handy for cycling commuters or anyone looking to cycle somewhere and explore for the day. For more extended bike tours where you are carrying everything you need to camp, they are not as useful, as you can only have one backpack on your back.
That is why if you are looking for a pannier for a bike tour, check out those with a shoulder strap, which makes them easier to carry for short distances.
Why can I not just use a backpack while cycling?
We all sweat while cycling, but if you are also wearing a backpack, this can get very uncomfortable. No matter how amazing the airflow technology is on the backpack, you will arrive at your destination with a soggy back while wearing a backpack on the bike.
Getting a pannier rack means that you can carry everything you need while allowing your back to breathe. The introduction of pannier backpacks is a perfect solution for anyone that needs to carry gear both on and off the bike.
The best pannier backpacks should keep your belongings safe and dry, be secure on your bike, and comfortable on your back. Although some of them may seem expensive, bear in that you do not have to buy a separate backpack and pannier bag by investing in one.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.