Rapha’s Rucksack Is the Ultimate Backpack for Cyclists

Rapha's Rucksack backpack is ideal for heading to a race, or traveling across the Atlantic.
Rapha's Rucksack backpack is ideal for heading to a race, or traveling across the Atlantic.

Functional and stylish, Rapha's standard Backpack has been a popular choice of both cyclists and non-riders since its release in 2007. But this spring, the Rapha went a step further with the introduction of its Rucksack, a larger, roomier version of the Backpack that's perfect for commuters, travelers, and anyone who wants to carry more stuff.

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Only two inches longer and one inch wider than the Backpack, the Rucksack boasts an incredible 35 liters of capacity when fully expanded, almost double what the Backpack offers. This makes it perfect for commuters who need to pack more than a just a clean shirt, travelers in search of a stylish carry-on, and cyclists looking for a durable, roomy race bag.

We took ours to Europe for a week spent covering the Tour de France, and it proved to be the ultimate carry-on and mobile office. The Rucksack held everything we threw into it: two laptops, a Kindle, an external hard drive, a few magazines, a couple file folders of documents, a DSLR camera, and two small sacks of cables, chargers, and spare batteries. In other words, anything too important to risk being lost by the airline. Once we were on the ground, we felt no need empty or off-load from it. Its comfort comes from its ergonomic spine padding, and shoulder straps that are easy to adjust.

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The Rucksack's two main compartments have easy zipper access, and the bigger space has a padded laptop sleeve, two thinner sleeves which are perfect for tablets and e-readers, and two zippered internal organizer pockets for small items. This main compartment became our office-on-the-go as it was the first place we went for anything used frequently. On top of this sits the second, smaller area designed with a pair of shoes in mind — we used it to hold our DSLR and its various accessories.

Even at full capacity we had no problem getting the Rucksack through airport security. The main compartment opens fully, like a clam, making it easy to unpack electronic devices when a long line of stressed-out travelers is breathing down your neck at a TSA checkpoint. The Rucksack also fits neatly into overhead compartments and slides cleanly under the seat in front of you.

That said, while we first used the Rucksack as a carry-on work bag, the bag was designed for cyclists. An expandable compartment is perfect for a pair of shoes or dirty riding clothes, and loops on the outside of the pack make it easy to attach your helmet. Going for a spin after work? The Rucksack makes a perfect ride or workout bag that holds everything you could possibly need. Pack it the night before, leave it by the back door, you'll have everything you need for tomorrow's ride.

Made of durable and water-resistant Cordura fabric, the Rucksack holds up to abuse and keeps your contents dry. And Rapha includes a hi-viz pink rain cover for when the skies really open up or for when you need an extra dash of visibility — the bag itself is covered in tiny reflective dots — during a late ride home.

If you're looking for luggage that feels like a backpack, but holds much more than one, try Rapha's new Rucksack. It looks good, fits comfortably, and works great no matter what you throw in it. [$285; rapha.cc]

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