Waterproof cycling bags

If when you cycle home in the rain you are worried water is creeping into your bag and destroying your £600 laptop and making your lunch time cheese, ham with a little bit of onion sandwich soggy then you may want to consider a waterproof cycling bag.

These cycling bags are designed to keep the valuables as dry as when you first shoved them in your bag. They also come with cleverly designed straps to prevent the cycling bag sliding around on your back and breathable backs to stop that horrible sweaty back syndrome. Additionally, with cyclists in mind, they have quick access pockets and reflective strips for cars to see you. A good bag for cycling is one of the most worthy upgrades you can make.

Here I’ll roundup a couple of good waterproof cycling bag options that are well recommended by fellow cyclists and I’d be happy to use. Feel free to pass on your waterproof cycling bag wisdom in the comments below.

Ortlieb Zip City waterproof courier bag

Ortlieb Waterproof Cycling Bag

The Ortlieb is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to cycling bags and panniers. Fortunately, despite the tough design that will last ages, it isn’t too costly compared to other options.

The cycling bag comes with a 23 Litre capacity which is adequate for most scenarios. It is also as waterproof as money can buy. As long as your laptop is not of a mammoth size you’ll be able to fit it in. Inside the bag is one large pocket and a smaller one for fitting your wallet and phone. What you’ll most enjoy about the Ortlieb Zip City is the comfortable feel on your back thanks to the well designed strap that prevents the waterproof cycling bag from sliding around.

wiggle Evans
£60.30 £129.99

Deuter Compact EXP 12 Waterproof Bag

Deuter Compact=

This excellent waterproof cycling bag has more well-placed pockets than you could need. In fact, it will probably end up being one of those scenarios where you’ll end up looking for your keys for ages in all the pockets. It includes a rain cover you pull out as the heavens open. It has space to place a hydration pack and the straps are designed to keep the bag in place. On the back there is also great breathability to prevent sweatiness. The 12 litre version should be enough to carry your things to work though there are different sizes of Deuter cycling bags that can be bought. It is a popular choice for someone looking for a waterproof cycling bag.

wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles Amazon
£49.99 £49.99 £59.95

Chrome Citizen Cycling Bag

Chrome Citizen Cycling Bag

This 26 litre cycling bag is expensive but provides an excellent amount of storage space and waterproofing. It is highly durable and comfortable. The only thing that lets the Chrome cycling bag down is the belt buckle strap that could do with improvement. There is also a large version for if you are carrying a serious amount of personal belongings to work.

wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles Evans
£116.99 £116.99 £59.95

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39 Responses to Waterproof cycling bags

  1. Kirses 15/09/2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I would also recommend a Freitag, never had a problem with leakage even during heavy downpours.

    • Bob 07/10/2010 at 7:29 pm #

      If you have a tight budget use bin liners within your reasonably priced panniers.

      Put one open bin liner inside your pannier and then put,say your laptop, inside another bin liner and then within your first liner.

      Cyclo camped in French Alps in atrocious weather. Kit kept perfectly dry.

  2. Howard 15/09/2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Nice roundup. The large Rapha Fixed Backpack is also excellent, if pricey. There’s a review on my site.

    The “Hump” backpack cover is also a nice stop gap if you have a bag you like but need to waterproof it. Again, a bit pricey but works so well that you’ll soon forget the £25 hole in your wallet.

  3. David 15/09/2010 at 4:16 pm #

    “A good bag for cycling is one of the most worthy upgrades you can make” – I disagree. A rack and panniers are far better. You can carry more weight (my work have an entertaining idea of what a portable laptop is), your back is never going to get sweaty and it is easier to twist and look behind you.

    • Andreas 15/09/2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Definitely up for debate – a lot of people prefer the throw over the back nature of cycling bags. Where as panniers I find you have to think about it a lot more.

    • Tim Lennon 15/09/2010 at 5:00 pm #

      And a bag over your shoulder doesn’t act like a sail when you’re cycling in a heavy cross-wind …

      • David 15/09/2010 at 5:04 pm #

        Apart from when crossing the Thames I’ve not found the wind at pannier level in London to be a problem. Did get blown about a bit on Blackfriars Bridge the other week but it is only short.

      • Filippo Negroni 15/09/2010 at 5:46 pm #

        mmmhhh, swinging weight on my shoulders or fixed weight on my bike… I know what I’d rather have in case of emergency maneuver or worse, accident.

        IMHO, panniers are the natural progression for a cyclist. Eventually, age brings wisdom.

        Shoulder bags, rucksacks, are all a phase… 😉

        • John 15/09/2010 at 6:05 pm #

          I have to agree with you on this one! Panniers are the best place to put all your stuff for your commute.
          I buy Arkel ones which are not cheap – but last forever – and I have a few types for shopping, commuting and trips.
          The Arkel Bug is a rucksack with pannier rack fittings, so if you have a bit of a walk from your bike parking place to work the bag just turns into a backpack for easy transport.

        • Tim 15/09/2010 at 6:28 pm #

          See your point, but my commute home goes through Richmond Park and there was a very strong wind. Panniers would have made that even harder.

    • James 16/09/2010 at 8:05 pm #

      Very well said.

    • James 16/09/2010 at 8:06 pm #

      Very well said, David.

  4. Philip 15/09/2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I have the smaller musette style Chrome Vega Utility bag and it is excellently waterproof. Buckle strap is simpler on this model than on the larger ones, so no complaints.

    • Andreas 15/09/2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Yeah the Chrome waterproof cycling bags really do keep the water out nicely.

  5. Mike 15/09/2010 at 4:31 pm #

    I have the Chrome bag, don’t understand what you mean about the belt-buckle strap that “could do with improvement.”

    I think it’s an excellent idea, makes it easy to get the bag on and off with having to faff about like I had to with my old Timbuk2 bags, adjusting the shoulder strap once I’d put it on over my helmet.

    Also, my Chrome bag has a bright red interior, which means you never lose anything in there.

    • Andreas 15/09/2010 at 5:16 pm #

      Some people find it a little bit uncomfortable. Have you never had this issue?

      • Mike 15/09/2010 at 11:21 pm #

        No, to be honest it’s miles more comfortable than my Timbuk2 was. With a heavy load that would bring blood spots to the skin on my shoulder, as it was an unpadded nylon strip.

        The strap is much better padded on the Chrome, and wider too. I wonder if people are finding it uncomfortable because they don’t have it adjusted correctly?

  6. Tim Lennon 15/09/2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Am happy to lavishly recommend Timbuk2’s laptop messenger (http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/home)

    My wife bought me one nearly five years ago, and it’s still going strong. Not only great as a cycling bag, but has endured torrential downpours, and as a carry-on for flights.

    Saw Tom Jennings recommend this one for a look too: http://www.slicks.cc/suit25 It’s expensive, but looks very practical.

  7. Elena 15/09/2010 at 4:48 pm #

    I’ve had my Timbuk2 (classic messenger, ballistic nylon) since 2004; no complaints whatsoever so long as I shut it properly! The coating is starting to crack in the bottom now, but I figure it should be possible to rewaterproof it somehow… It’s really only been an issue when I’ve put the bag down, say, in a puddle.

    • Andreas 15/09/2010 at 5:17 pm #

      TimBuk2 was the other one I would have mentioned. Great cycling bags!

      • Leslie 20/09/2010 at 3:24 pm #

        Andreas had my Timbuk2 now for 12 years, used (and abused) every day and all over the world. Never an issue although not so good for lugging a laptop so I bought a Rapha for when I really must carry the thing around with me.
        Great site, keep on keeping on. Leslie

    • Tim 15/09/2010 at 6:12 pm #

      Oh dear, my last comment went AWOL. Anyway, my missus bought me a Timbuk2 laptop messenger five years ago and it’s still doing fine. Originally used the belt strap, but haven’t bothered for ages, even when heavily loaded.

      Probably proof against actual immersion based on my experience!

  8. Aggi 15/09/2010 at 4:59 pm #

    I’ve got a Carradice saddlebag and it’s incredibly waterproof. It wasn’t that cheap but very high quality plus a saddlebag keeps the load off your back. In addition Caradice are a UK made brand (made about 5 miles from my hometown)

  9. Balint 15/09/2010 at 5:19 pm #

    I’ve been using a Bagaboo (http://bit.ly/9fByHp) bag for the last 4 years now, it’s massive, big bag, very comfortable and is absolutely waterproof. The only problem is that it can take so much stuff, sometimes it’s hard to actually carry it.

  10. Pete 15/09/2010 at 8:19 pm #

    If I’m cycling home in the rain, I’m unlikely to be carrying my lunch with me. :-)

  11. Chris 15/09/2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I have just brought this new bag to market, which holds a suit, laptop etc and also works as a carry case; interested to know what you think …

  12. Chris 15/09/2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I have just brought this new bag to market http://www.slicks.cc , which holds a suit, laptop etc and also works as a carry case; interested to know what you think …

    • Pete 16/09/2010 at 7:12 am #

      Weight: 24g (Incl suit cover)

      240g, surely?

      • Chris 16/09/2010 at 11:24 am #

        Thanks for spotting the error; should be 2.4kg

        • Pete 16/09/2010 at 11:51 am #


          Crikey, that’s quite heavy!

    • kathryn 17/09/2010 at 12:48 pm #

      Chris – I love the videos on your site! Such a good idea!

      • Chris 19/09/2010 at 10:21 am #

        thanks and I hope we get some journeys logged there; just shows cycling is a great way to see your city/town!

  13. Angi 15/09/2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I have the Knog Pig Dog courier bag…so spacious…loads of pockets and soft & padded laptop section inside too. So far it’s not let me down. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this bag on your comments sections before.


  14. Emo 17/09/2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I have to give a shout out to Mission Workshop bags, the backpacks and messenger bags are amazing. Very technical. Also worth mentioning the Rondel SPD sneaker just released, mine are shipping as we speak.


  15. Phil 23/09/2010 at 9:21 am #

    I’d love a pair of Carradice panniers; my budget will only stretch as far as a Super C rack pack some time next year, which should hold all my stuff for work.

  16. Rob 31/10/2010 at 10:10 am #

    For a while I kept looking for a pannier that, when off the bike, you can wear like a backpack. A gap in the market – surely some Dragon’s Den type had come up with something? Then I found one at Decathlon, but at £14.95 it was not up to scratch quality – wise, although it has some great ideas like a visibility/waterproof cover stashed away in a zipped pocket at the base. Does anyone know of a good quality “convertible” pannier/backpack?

  17. Elizabeth 10/06/2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Hey, check out North St. Bags out of Portland, Oregon! They make a backpack/pannier combo!


  18. Dave 09/08/2015 at 7:20 pm #

    Ortlieb panniers are unbelievably waterproof although a bit heavier than most still my first choice

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