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I've been using satchels (i.e., a soft flat bag with a shoulder strap) and similar things to transport documents, books and a laptop for ages, but I decided to switch to a backpack because the bags I own are awful to carry on a bike (which is my main mode of transportation if I'm not too lazy and take the bus) and are either too small or too large for the stuff I usually want to carry around.

As I said, it's intended for urban use and should safely hold a laptop. It shouldn't hinder biking (as my satchels do) but still hold it's share of content. It wouldn't hurt if I could use it for plane-travel, but it doesn't have to be particular suitable for extended trekking.

There's a large amount of brands, features and prices available and I would like to know how I can make a buying decision. Are there things to watch out for?

Edit: After getting too much focus on the bicycle aspect, I'd like to clarify; I'm not primarily concerned with biking. I just want a functionally optimal back pack. It is a mere side constraint that it should be bike-transportable.

closed as off-topic by user3470, Mark Mayo, Dirty-flow, Vince, VMAtm Jul 19 '13 at 21:44

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I think I would start with going to a big and respectable bike shop and ask there. There seem to be quite a selection of backpacks especially designed for bikers, you can google for it to get an idea. Then you can ask specifically what is different in these special bike backpacks, etc.

If you want to carry your laptop in the backpack, I strongly recommend one with a dedicated inner pocket with thick soft sides, so that your laptop is not going to be damaged incidentally.

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Have you considered getting a pannier rather than using a back pack? I cycle to work with a change of clothes and a laptop as well as all my cycling maintenance gear in my pannier and it's great. You also avoid arriving at your destination with a sweaty back.

Also you are probably better off asking questions like this on the Bicycles Stack Exchange site.

  • I'm not primarily concerned with biking. I just want a functionally optimal back pack. It is a mere side constraint that it should be bike-transportable. – bitmask Jul 16 '13 at 16:28

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