My commute is 1hr 15 mins, door to door. Not too bad, and certainly a lot better than it would have been if we hadn’t moved. But that’s still 2.5 hours of my day spent travelling, 150 minutes where I’m on the train or in the car.
If I have to travel so far, I might as well do some of it on foot. In fact, it takes almost as long to run from Paddington to work as it does to take the Hammersmith & City line tube there. However, it does mean that I need to carry my work wear, lunch and laptop with me.
I tested a lot of backpacks for this piece, and put blood (chafe), sweat and tears (post-oncology week) into it too. I hope you find this useful, and I’ll keep adding to it if I find anything better as I continue to run commute.
The best run commute backpack: Gregory Maya 16L Running Backpack
The last one I tried worked the best for me. It’s the women’s specific backpack and I could tell by the fit of the shoulder straps and the fact that I could really cinch in the waist that it had been designed with a women’s figure in mind. I liked that I was able to adjust so many of the steps, and secure it to my body tightly. It didn’t move around like some of the others I tested, therefore I had no issues chafing, even in just a tank top. And although it was a little smaller than some of the others at 16L – they do a 22L version too. Plus a mens option…which I obviously haven’t tried.
This one carries my laptop, shoes, clothes, purse, coffee cup and a small coat. I couldn’t fit my big Tupperware for lunch in it with all my other stuff, however maybe it would all fit in the 22L. I wish they’d put some more reflective pieces on it to avoid having to wear fluoro in the winter but otherwise, no complaints!
At £65, it isn’t cheap but it’s no-where near the cost of some of the others I tried, and I see it as a great investment piece.
The Runner’s Up:
I Am Run Box – I’ve used this running backpack a lot over the years. I love it for carrying my laptop, it holds it securely without feeling like all your stuff is going to damage it. I think this run backpack is probably the most ‘professional’ commuter backpack…it holds a folded shirt and laptop, and comes with a packing guide. I did find the straps rub a little on the back of my neck and it doesn’t fit a huge amount in. Not quite the perfect fit for me but definitely a well deserving runner up.
Osprey Tempest 20– I LOVED this bag….until I didn’t. I ran in it with a jacket on, I used it as my commute rucksack when I wasn’t commuting…and then I ran home on a warm night in a tank top and chafed SO badly that I bled. I literally had to hold the backpack off my back as the chafing started within a mile or so. 4 miles shouldn’t do that much damage. However, if you run in a t-shirt or are looking for more of a hiking/commuting backpack – this might be perfect for you. It’s certainly very well made and comfortable to wear.
DHB Slice Rucksack – this is the most budget of the rucksacks and probably the perfect one if you’re just starting to run commute and haven’t decided if you like it yet! I have the 15L which sometimes feels a little small, however it is packed full of pockets, has a reflective seams and padded seams. My only issue with this bag is that it isn’t waterproof, I ran with my clothes in a plastic bag, just incase! It does come with a rain cover, but I like the idea that if it starts to pour mid-run I don’t have to stop and faff around putting the cover on.
Some of the other’s that I tested:
OMM Ultra 15L Running Backpack – The waist strap was really padded and comfortable on this, however unfortunately the shoulder straps didn’t sit flat on my chest and I couldn’t tie them tight enough. The bag looked so awkward on me and bounced all over the place when I ran. I think this could be comfortable if you have a longer torso but definitely worth trying to see if it suits your body type!
Arc’teryx Arro 22 Urban Commuter Backpack – this one looked so sleek and definitely wouldn’t be embarrassing to turn up at the pub with. It’s also waterproof which is crucial in a city like London…however I just found it too structured. It perhaps needs wearing it to mould to your body or is designed for more of a square/rectangular body shape but I found that the straps didn’t sit well on my shoulders or hips.
Lululemon Run All Day backpack – Looks great however I don’t feel that it functions that well – I struggled to get it on by myself, having to ask my colleagues to help clip me in (quite embarrassing!). For me, the strap around my waist was too thin, I like to carry a lot of the weight there rather than all on my shoulders, and I don’t think the waist strap really worked. Luckily, that strap is removable so it makes a great bag to bring to the gym or for travelling.
Nike Lightweight bag – this bag looks really fancy and very sleek, with plenty of high vis, however it didn’t take any weight around my waist. I did like that it was quite small and therefore could be adjusted easily to fit my body with plenty of pockets for my bank card, phone etc.