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Verdict: 
Extremely capable commuter backpack built to take whatever you chuck in it or at it
Weight: 
1,230g

The Craft Cadence Backpack is a tough, capable, and cavernous no-frills backpack designed for the commuter cyclist who REALLY doesn't want their stuff to get wet. I like it a lot.

  • Pros: Big, waterproof, tough
  • Cons: I'm struggling... sticks out a bit at the top

If you're a commuter cyclist or indeed any sort of cyclist who regularly carries stuff on your bike without the benefit of a rack or panniers, there's a lot to like about this backpack – designed by a bunch of London commuter cyclists.

Let's start with its carrying capacity. In backpack terms 30 litres makes it a big medium, but its shape – basically it's like a roll top pannier but in backpack form – means you can utilise all of the main (and indeed only) compartment's carrying capacity; it's very easy to cram stuff in. A lot of stuff.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack.jpg

I routinely carried a 13in laptop – there's a laptop sleeve incorporated in the removable inner liner to the main compartment that will take up to a 15in laptop – plus charger, a windproof jacket, and a regular foodshop. You can get a decent load of groceries in here easily. The inner sleeve also leaves useful space at the sides where you can stow a water bottle/wine bottle – depending on how/where you roll.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - inside.jpg

If you want to boost the main compartment's carrying capacity even further you can take out the inner sleeve – an all-in-one affair that comprises the main compartment liner, a mesh compartment designed for keys, wallet and the like, and the laptop compartment. Removing this gives you full access to the bottom of the pack and offers a surprising amount more loading capacity. (It's also useful if you want to separate some of the stuff you're carrying – say, wet shoes or kit – from your main cargo. Simply whip the inner sleeve out, pack the stuff you want to keep separate, then whack the sleeve back in again.)

But I digress, because the Craft Cadence's load expanding capabilities are still not exhausted. if you need to and it's not raining, just like with a roll top pannier you can keep on loading beyond the 30L point until you've pretty much reached the top – ideal if you're either very strong, or your shop includes lighter but bulky items like bread. Or if you just got carried away in the cakes aisle.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - full load.jpg

To give you an idea of its carrying capacity, here's what I carried home in the main compartment after post work shop. (The Jaffa Cakes aren't mine. Yuk.)

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - full load contents.jpg

Finally, there's a zipped front compartment on the outside of the pack. Craft Cadence says this is designed as a place to keep tools, a pump and the like, while more valuable stuff goes in the inner mesh compartment. I found it easier to reverse that – simply cos it's more of a faff to undo the whole bag to get at your keys or wallet than it is to simply unzip that front pocket (which swallows up a lot of small stuff) and has an easy-to-grab, even in winter gloves, loop on the end of the water-resistant YKK zip.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - front pocket.jpg

It's worth noting that the outer pocket, while very weather resistant, is not rated to IPX5 like the rest of the bag. That said, nothing I carried in there got wet in getting on for three months of testing and in some very wet winter weather.

Carrying comfort

Getting a load of stuff in your backpack is only half the job, though, you've then got to carry it as comfortably as possible. And again the Craft Cadence comes up trumps.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - straps.jpg

As fully loaded backpacks go, this is comfortable. Obviously 'comfort' in this context is a relative concept – you're not going to arrive at your destination feeling like you've had an invigorating sports massage, but then neither are you going to get there feeling like you've had the bejesus beaten out of you. You'll basically be unscathed, which in my experience is about as good as it's going to get.

The harness offers a decent amount of height adjustability on your back, and is designed to spread the load across your shoulders when riding in a more forward position. A sternum strap plus a waist strap help keep everything stable and stop the pack rolling around on your back as you ride, particularly useful if you're riding in the drops or getting out of the saddle on bigger hills.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - worn straps.jpg

That's not the only comfort feature, though. The back of the pack also incorporates an air channel made from ridged foam and covered in mesh – the idea being to keep the bag off your back and get some air flowing through the gap so you arrive at your destination without a sweaty back. I'm a big fan of air channels on a commuter rucksack – I wouldn't buy one that didn't have any.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - worn side.jpg

Craft Cadence has further tried to boost airflow around your shoulders by putting ventilation holes in the padded parts of the shoulder straps.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - strap detail.jpg

I tested the bag over winter so I can't definitively vouch for its sweat-wicking capabilities but I can say that I didn't ever suffer a sweaty back even after lugging some big loads up some of Bath's biggest hills. So I reckon it works. I was at first doubtful as to the durability of the air channel and its mesh covering but after almost three months of pretty much daily use it still looks like new – indeed, so does the rest of the bag.

Waterproofing

At this point I should probably mention the IPX5 waterproofing rating – which may well be this bag's big selling point for a lot of you. IPX5 means that, short of riding underwater through a pond, the contents of the bag shouldn't get wet. I haven't performed the riding underwater through a pond test, but I have done the next best thing – ridden through three months of West Country winter – and I can confirm that it lives up to its waterproof promise. Given that it's put together from sonically welded 0.6mm tarp, that's not a surprise, plus the roll top closure is extremely effective at keeping out watery ingress.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - roll top.jpg

Value? Well, £69.99 isn't cheap but when you consider that the two bags I'd say it's most comparable to – the Ortlieb Velocity (more on that below) and the Sealine Urban Backpack – are £85 and £120 respectively, then it starts to look like pretty good value. Add into the mix that the Velocity is smaller than the Craft Cadence (the £120 version of the Sealine is 7 litres bigger) and the fact that the Craft Cadence has been available for £59.99 for the duration of the time I've been reviewing it, and it starts to look better value still.

It also has to be said that the quality of construction suggests a higher price tag than £60/£70. Craft Cadence says on its website, "We don't price to sell. We price to enjoy". Leaving aside the fact that too much of that sort of talk will see the capitalist system crumble before our very eyes, the company does seem to have put its money where its mouth is, with the pricing of its backpack seeming to reflect that ethos.

It also says that all its manufacturing is done in "small scale factories" and that everything is "touched by the hand of a craftsman". Hmm... there's got to be a joke there, but we'd probably better leave it. The point is, though, that this is a short-run, high-quality bag, and as such I reckon it's very good value.

> Buyer's Guide: 13 of the best cycling rucksacks

Any niggles? Well, for me at least, when the bag is rolled down with a standard load, the roll bit of the top sticks out a bit at the sides – awkward in confined spaces (a couple of times I've come close to knocking a picture off the wall in our hallway as I walked past, or inadvertently nudged a stranger in Sainsbury's). More importantly, it also restricts my view slightly when glancing back over my shoulder. I wouldn't want to overplay the level of obstruction – it partially blocks my peripheral vision – a proper sit up and turn of the head is fine, it's the quick glance that it affects. I should also say that this isn't a problem when the bag is fuller than normal, so that the top of the bag is higher on your back (as in the pic of my extra loaded bag). Reading around, this does seem to be something that affects other roll-top cycling rucksacks, so it's not something that's specific to the Craft Cadence.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - strap.jpg

Anything else? Well, this wasn't an issue for me but I can imagine it might be for some people. The internal mesh pocket for stowing valuables, wallet and so on, is just a big pocket. I wouldn't be happy sticking a phone without a cover (like mine) in there with keys and valuables, but then I always carry my phone in a jersey or jacket pocket anyway, and I put my keys in the outer pocket. Some packs, such as the Ortlieb Velocity – offer a degree more internal organisation, but whether it's any more useful, as Ash pointed out in his review, is open to question.

The Velocity is probably the pack the Craft Cadence is most similar to (there is also a similar fluoro yellow version of the Velocity). Main points of difference are that at 24L the Velocity is smaller. I can make a direct daily comparison because my colleague Pat who sits just behind me at road.cc Towers uses one and parks it within a couple of feet of the Craft Cadence. That 6 litre difference shows – the Ortlieb is noticeably smaller; full, it's a neater, squarer looking package too. Pat's commute is a longer, flatter ride than mine and he carries a laptop and some clothing, but much less stuff; if that's your standard commute and you don't need a bag for carrying shopping too then the Velocity might be worth checking out. You will be paying a price premium over the Craft Cadence – which as I write you can buy for £59.99. The Craft Cadence is very well made for the money.

Finally, while it may be fluoro yellow, I personally wouldn't mind a bit more reflective detailing – there are refective patches on the shoulder straps plus a small patch and light loop on the back of the pack. I'm more keen on reflectives than fluoro as the former offers more effective visibility under car headlights, and because if I was buying I'd definitely be choosing the very cool looking black version of this.

Craft Cadence Cadence backpack - detasil.jpg

If you want waterproofness and very high visibility, then Oxford's Aqua V12 would fit the bill; at 12 litres it's diddy, mind, and minimalist in terms of internal organisation too. There is a 20L version, the V20. Again, visibility aside, it's a more basic pack.

If you're in the market for a versatile, durable, waterproof commuter bag that gives you the option of lugging a fair chunk of stuff comfortably, I really don't think you can go wrong with the Craft Cadence.

Verdict

Extremely capable commuter backpack built to take whatever you chuck in it or at it

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Craft Cadence IPX5 Waterproof 30 Litre Roll Top Backpack

Size tested: 30 litres

Tell us what the product is for

Craft Cadence says this:

"The Cadence backpack from Craft Cadence is a cycling backpack/rucksack designed by cycling commuters for use as a cycling backpack. As cycle commuters, we have listened to feedback from the cycling community. Commuters need full weather protection against the elements. The Cadence is certified to IPX5 against water ingress in its main compartment. Commuters want organisation of their belongings. The Cadence has a large water resistant pocket to fit bike essentials such as repair kit, spare tubes and even most lock types. Inside, there is a sleeve with two compartments – one dedicated laptop compartment supporting laptops up to 15 inches, as well as a mesh pocket for small items such as wallets, keys and phones. The sleeve can be easily removed by velcro. The bike commuter wishes to be comfortable on the ride, and avoid the dreaded 'sweaty back'. Cadence answers this by having a foam padded back panels separated by mesh, aiding airflow between the rider's back and the bag. The should straps also have air vents to maximise air flow. There are chest and waist straps to fully secure the bag to the rider. The cycle commuters needs to be seen on the road. That's why Cadence has a reflective strips at the bottom, which doubles as an attachment for rear lights. There are also reflective strips on the shoulder straps, as well as a bright orange whistle. Finally, all that commuters want is for their bags to last. That's why Cadence uses the toughest wearing, tear resistant tarpaulin materials that is 0.6mm thick – the thickest on the market for roll-top cycling backpacks."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Craft Cadence:

Main compartment is IPX5 certified waterproof

Dedicated laptop compartment up to 15 inches

Large front pocket for cycling repair kit and mini pumps

Air flow system at the back to avoid sweaty backs

Chest and waist straps

Internal pocket for wallets and small items

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Seems very well put together.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Swallows commuter essentials, shopping, tools. If you're the sort of commuter who often stops at the shops on the way home, this is the bag for you. Comfortable to carry too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Two months of use have left barely a mark on it. I did wonder how the mesh back would fare over time when carrying heavy loads and it got more crushed against your back, but it still looks like new. Testing period wasn't warm enough to really feel how well it worked at keeping my back cool – though I never had a sweaty back while using it and that included trips up a very long hill with a full 30L of food shopping + laptop, charger and assorted gubbins on my back.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Always felt light when not packed to the gunnels.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Very comfortable in use, even fully loaded.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Very good value for such a rugged and versatile bag, especially as Craft Cadence was selling it for 10 quid below the £69.99 list price for the whole time we had the bag in for review.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Does what it sets out to do very well indeed; an impressively tough, waterproof, and capacious commuter bag.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

How much stuff you could comfortably get in it, and how comfortable it was to lug around when loaded up.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Only minor niggle would be that the corners at the top of the pack stick out a bit when the roll top is closed – it'd be good to have some sort of side strap to fold them down.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I've given the Craft Cadence backpack an 8 overall but it's straining towards a 9 and would be if the corners folded down to make for a neater overall package when in use. The fact that it sticks out slightly wider than your back can be annoying if you find yourself wearing it in any sort of confined space – hallways, corridors at work etc, and it also slightly restricts rear visibility when glancing to the side, but I wouldn't want to overplay that. It's an issue but for me not a major one and is also something you're likely to encounter using other roll top backpacks too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 49  Height:   Weight:

I usually ride: Cotic Roadrat  My best bike is: Whatever I'm testing at the moment

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

10 comments

Avatar
rjfrussell [497 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

I don't think you understand what "enervate" means.

Avatar
Simboid [142 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Surely weight should be in the 'cons' section?

This bag weighs 230g more than my 70L backpacking sack and the same as my Alpkit Gourdon 30 with a 3 season sleeping bag in it!

There's just no need to make these things from truck curtains when super strong lightweight materials like Dyneema are available.

Buy a rucksack from people who make largely rucksacks instead of bike accessories, it will be better.

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2972 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Simboid wrote:

Surely weight should be in the 'cons' section?

This bag weighs 230g more than my 70L backpacking sack and the same as my Alpkit Gourdon 30 with a 3 season sleeping bag in it!

There's just no need to make these things from truck curtains when super strong lightweight materials like Dyneema are available.

Buy a rucksack from people who make largely rucksacks instead of bike accessories, it will be better.

I didn't put weight in as a con cos I genuinely didn't notice the bag's weight; and because it weighs the same as similar types of bag such as the Ortlieb Veloctiy - which is also 1.2Kg but 6 litres smaller. 

Comparing this to your your backpacking sack or your Alpkit Gourdon is comparing apples with pears - this is designed for urban/suburban cycle commuting with laptops, clothes, shopping and related gubbins - they are designed for backpacking. I'm sure they'll do an okay job for commuting on the bike, but will they do a better one? Not convinced. For short haul cycle commutes/load lugging I don't think bag weight is the be all and end all. Capacity, comfort, durability, weather proofing are more important.

Yes, if I was going a long way with a load on my back I'd probably look for something lighter, but my commute is a hilly hour on the way in with a medium load and a hilly 15/30 mins back with a heavier load (I take the long way to the office). For that sort of commute, for me the weight isn't an issue.

As to the material, well these sorts of bags are essentially panniers that attach to you rather than the bike and which are going to get much the same sort of abuse as a pannier would so I can see the logic in making them of the same stuff. Most of the larger rucksacks I've used over the years for commuting have ended up looking pretty shagged out after a few months use - this thing still looks new.
 

 

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2972 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

rjfrussell wrote:

I don't think you understand what "enervate" means.

yes, I meant invigorate!

Avatar
armb [148 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Tony Farrelly wrote:

As to the material, well these sorts of bags are essentially panniers that attach to you rather than the bike and which are going to get much the same sort of abuse as a pannier would so I can see the logic in making them of the same stuff.

I can't help feeling that "it's not a pannier" belongs in the "cons" column, overall. But it is half the price of an Ortlieb Vario, so I guess if you need it to be a rucsac at the far end, that's worthwhile.

Other convertible options: https://www.cyclingabout.com/list-of-convertible-backpack-panniers-that-...

Avatar
Simboid [142 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Tony Farrelly]</p>

<p>[quote=Simboid

wrote:

'I didn't put weight in as a con cos I genuinely didn't notice the bag's weight; and because it weighs the same as similar types of bag such as the Ortlieb Veloctiy - which is also 1.2Kg but 6 litres smaller. '

-If you used a very light bag you would notice the difference, hugely so with a light load.

 

'Comparing this to your your backpacking sack or your Alpkit Gourdon is comparing apples with pears - this is designed for urban/suburban cycle commuting with laptops, clothes, shopping and related gubbins - they are designed for backpacking. I'm sure they'll do an okay job for commuting on the bike, but will they do a better one? Not convinced. For short haul cycle commutes/load lugging I don't think bag weight is the be all and end all. Capacity, comfort, durability, weather proofing are more important.'

-It's a rucksack. It's not designed for cycling, if it was it wouldn't block your rearward view like this does. I see no cycling specific features at all, whatever they are. It's designed for going on your back like every other rucksack, which it does admirably. It is however marketed at cyclists, which is different to being designed for cycling. I was comparing the weight to my big bag just to show how heavy this small one is. It also is waterproof, superbly comfortable and being made of dyneema it's about as durable as you can get. The smaller Gourdon is probably better suited to cycling aswell as it's narrower and has easily reachable external mesh pockets.

'Yes, if I was going a long way with a load on my back I'd probably look for something lighter, but my commute is a hilly hour on the way in with a medium load and a hilly 15/30 mins back with a heavier load (I take the long way to the office). For that sort of commute, for me the weight isn't an issue.'

-As a cyclist, weight is ALWAYS an issue. Not always a massive issue, maybe right at the back of the mind sometimes, but it's one of the features that matters. Why spend an extra 2K on a 1kg lighter bike then strap an extra 1kg on your back?

'As to the material, well these sorts of bags are essentially panniers that attach to you rather than the bike and which are going to get much the same sort of abuse as a pannier would so I can see the logic in making them of the same stuff. Most of the larger rucksacks I've used over the years for commuting have ended up looking pretty shagged out after a few months use - this thing still looks new.'

-My Gourdon is 5 years old and looks new too, the 70L Golite pack is much older and shows no signs of wear. Both get lots of use and abuse. Saying my comparison is like comparing apples to pears is inaccurate. Show me a good quality bag made by a cycling accessory company and I'll show you a better, cheaper bag made by an outdoor equipment specialist. Looking among cycling companies for the best bag is like looking for an apple on a pear tree.
 

 

Avatar
StraelGuy [1586 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Took me ages to spot the Jaffa Cakes in the pic

Avatar
tugglesthegreat [104 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Simboid wrote:

Surely weight should be in the 'cons' section?

This bag weighs 230g more than my 70L backpacking sack and the same as my Alpkit Gourdon 30 with a 3 season sleeping bag in it!

There's just no need to make these things from truck curtains when super strong lightweight materials like Dyneema are available.

Buy a rucksack from people who make largely rucksacks instead of bike accessories, it will be better.

A really good point.  I was told a good marker for backpacking was to have your pack about 10 % or less than the pack weight.

Do I really want to carry this extra weight on a commute.  My commuter pack is DHB slice, cost £27, I'm not sure on the weight but I bet it's a lot lighter than this pack.  I'm more interested in going lighter than heavier.

 

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2972 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

tugglesthegreat wrote:

Simboid wrote:

Surely weight should be in the 'cons' section?

This bag weighs 230g more than my 70L backpacking sack and the same as my Alpkit Gourdon 30 with a 3 season sleeping bag in it!

There's just no need to make these things from truck curtains when super strong lightweight materials like Dyneema are available.

Buy a rucksack from people who make largely rucksacks instead of bike accessories, it will be better.

A really good point.  I was told a good marker for backpacking was to have your pack about 10 % or less than the pack weight.

Do I really want to carry this extra weight on a commute.  My commuter pack is DHB slice, cost £27, I'm not sure on the weight but I bet it's a lot lighter than this pack.  I'm more interested in going lighter than heavier.

 

I'm more interested in carrying stuff comfortably.  

This sort of bag isn't going to be for everyone, but if you want something designed for carrying stuff on a bike with the carrying capacity and ruggedness of a pannier - that doesn't involve fitting a rack and pannier to your bike then this is a good solution. It's lighter than a pannier and a rack and means you can carry a lot of stuff comfortably. It certainly works for me and clearly bag manufacturers think there's a market cos they seem to be making more bags like this.

It won't work for everyone - it depends what sort of loads you're carrying, how far and what you most prioritise in a bag. In much the same way that some cyclists can't see the point of mini-pumps when you could carry a frame pump, or others view CO2 inflators as pointless and wasteful - while others think they're a fantastic piece of get-you-home emergency kit. 

Weight is not a con for this bag, because if you're in the market for this type of bag it's the same weight or lighter than similar designs. If bag weight is that much of an issue you're perhaps not going to be looking at this type of bag in the first place.

Simboid's assertion that weight is always a factor for cyclists is simply wrong - it's more accurate to say that it's always a factor for some cyclists. How much weight is an issue for you depends on the type of cycling you do, and indeed on the type of cyclist you are, and what you prioritise.

I ride a reasonably light bike but I only have one bike so it has to do pretty much everything. For some types of riding I am conscious of the weight of the overall package of me,the bike and anything else I might be carrying. Riding to and from work, particularly if I'm carrying a load of shopping home - I'm not. It's going to be heavy whatever.

Carrying loads, on my back, on my bike (particularly groceries) in lighter less structured packs often results in stuff sticking uncomfortably in your back, maybe also nowhere to put your laptop, plus they often don't have air channels to stop your back getting sweaty. For that sort of job I'm quite happy to pay a slight weight penalty for something that's designed for the purpose of carrying bulkier/heavier loads on my back on my bike. 

My current bike is 1.5kg lighter than the last one, and when using this I've got a better commuting/shopping bag than I had then, so if I was going to consider weight, I'd have to conclude that  I'm up.
 

Avatar
Simboid [142 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Tony Farrelly wrote:

Simboid's assertion that weight is always a factor for cyclists is simply wrong - it's more accurate to say that it's always a factor for some cyclists. How much weight is an issue for you depends on the type of cycling you do, and indeed on the type of cyclist you are, and what you prioritise.

I ride a reasonably light bike but I only have one bike so it has to do pretty much everything. For some types of riding I am conscious of the weight of the overall package of me,the bike and anything else I might be carrying. Riding to and from work, particularly if I'm carrying a load of shopping home - I'm not. It's going to be heavy whatever.

Carrying loads, on my back, on my bike (particularly groceries) in lighter less structured packs often results in stuff sticking uncomfortably in your back, maybe also nowhere to put your laptop, plus they often don't have air channels to stop your back getting sweaty. For that sort of job I'm quite happy to pay a slight weight penalty for something that's designed for the purpose of carrying bulkier/heavier loads on my back on my bike. 

 

You're right, weight isn't always a factor for everyone. Just 90% of riders 90% of the time, ranging from amatuer time trialists to ultra long distance tourists. It's something that makes a noticable difference that we can have some control over, so we're bothered. There's nothing forcing you to care about weight, your priorities are your own, but you're in the minority if you don't. You might want to care about the weight distribution on this particular pack though, as for a cyclist it's upside down. Also if the weight was over the hips where it should be there'd be no blind spot looking over the shoulder.

Learning how to pack a bag will stop things poking into you and shifting around in anything but the lightest fold away rucksack. Virtually all bags offer some protection against this.

Air chanels don't make that much difference, you'll still get a sweaty back, just  15-20% less of a sweaty back. The only arrangement that makes a real difference is a frame holding the bag away from the back and either small padded contact points or  mesh suspended between shoulder and hips.

Of course this appeals to cyclists, who see a thing like a pannier for their back and want it. Therefore there is a market. But there is a long list of reasons why companies who have decades of experience and accumulated knowledge in making backpacks don't make things like this. Even army bergens, which get much more abuse, are made of a lighter but far stronger material.

I'm a bit of an outdoor equipment nerd and know far less about bikes. I'd happily sew together a tent or rucksack but I'd take a bike build to my LBS. Cycle kit companies should employ a similar attitude from looking at the overpriced school satchels most of them put together.