Apidura has adapted the technical construction of their bikepacking bags into a new City Backpack that works well on and off the bike. Whether commuting by bike or just looking for a mid-sized everyday pack for around town, the Apidura City Backpack feels like a versatile waterproof bag that won’t disappoint.
Apidura City Backpack, bikepacking tech in a commuter bag
The new City Backpack follows up Apidura’s recent City Messenger bag, again mixing durable waterproof material, welded construction, and all the little details and separate pockets to keep your stuff organized inside.
Apidura calls it a “less is more” design, essentially adapted from their pared-back Racing Series bikepacking bags. How that translates here is a preshaped, semi-boxy 17L backpack with simple flap top closure and just one outside pocket for easily accessible essentials.
Tech details and daily use impressions
The main body is Apidura’s waterproof CT420 Marle fabric, the same as their other City line commuter gear, and similar but a bit more heavy-duty to the Racing Series packs. All seams are heat-welded to keep water out, and the external pocket uses a waterproof zip. Detail elements and the strap attachments use the same durable Hypalon material reinforcement as their bikepacking bags.
The backpack features lightly padded shoulder straps and a 3-panel padded back, plus an adjustable height/removable sternum strap and a removable webbing waist strap.
Sitting on my back while riding, the semi-rigid Apidura City Backpack mostly rested on my lower back. It has been comfortable, not really bending to my curved back while riding in a dropbar bike position, which had the side benefit of providing good airflow. The 17L size meant I wasn’t likely to overload it too much.
Because of the semi-rigid shape, the backpack fit and felt almost the same whether it was empty or full. The fixed shape also means that there isn’t really much possibility for expansion to fit more bulky items.
The backpack is 45cm tall, and slightly a trapezoidal shape in section. Against your back it is 30cm wide, but just 24cm wide about 14cm away from the body. It’s not entirely stiff (see how I rolled it above to weigh it) though, and weighs 768g on out scale.
Inside I had plenty of room to fit a full change of clothes – pants, tee, sweatshirt & shoes – plus a laptop and other small items. Alternatively, I managed to fit about the same amount of groceries as you’d stuff into a regular, full-sized brown paper grocery bag.
The pack uses two velcro tabs for everyday closure, plus an aluminum hook that can also attach to one of two loops for more secure flap closure. I almost never needed to use that hook, though.
Inside, there’s a padded fuzzy-lined ~38x24cm laptop sleeve, plus a zippered pouch for small items and two stretchy mesh pockets with elastic internal dividers to organize everything from pens to cables.
The waterproof external zippered pocket is yellow inside to make it easier to see its contents, and includes a loop to attach your keys. Outside there are also small reflective details and a series of slits at the bottom to attach a clip-on blinkie taillight for added visibility.
The only thing I’m not a huge fan of are the buckles that Apidura uses for the sternum & waist straps. Just like on their excellent Packables backpack, these open-side buckles use a design that needs to be lined up with a middle slot, instead of the closed-side design of most conventional side release buckles where you just stuff the clip into the opening of the buckle. It’s a pretty minor issue, but it really takes some getting used to so you don’t misalign the buckle when you try to clasp it.
In the end, the buckles have proven to be secure (once aligned & clipped together), and have remained secure over time.
Apidura City Backpack – Pricing & availability
The minimalist Apidura City Backpack is available now direct from Apidura for £159 / $218 / 181€, ready to protect your essentials from any weather back-and-forth to the office on your bike commute, or to simply carry your everyday items around town on foot as well.