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At 30 litres the Craft Cadence Cycling Backpack is a big bag, and it certainly swallows plenty of kit – plus it'll keep it dry too. It's impressively well built and offers a huge amount of inner storage, so if you need to carry everything bar the kitchen sink it's definitely worth a look. It's not cheap, and there are a couple of things I'd tweak, but overall, it's a cracker.
This pack is available in two sizes; the 21-23 litre version we reviewed earlier this year, and this 30 litre version, which has been updated for 2023. Meanhile, if you're curious about what other top luggage options you might have, check out our guide to the best bikepacking bags overall.
It's made from 600D polyester and, to really make it watertight, all of the sections are welded together; there are no stitched seams to let water in. The only possible weakness could be the zip on the front pocket, but even that is well protected.
I've used this pack in heavy rain and battered it with the hose pipe with no signs of water ingress whatsoever, so I'd be confident carrying expensive electronics on wet days. It's even rated to IPX5, which means it can officially resist water from a small nozzle for at least five minutes.
The material is impressively robust. It's resistant to scuffs and scrapes and has a reinforced panel on the base. I'd like to have seen a bit of padding on the bottom for setting it on the ground when locking your bike up or whatever, if I'm honest, but it's not a major gripe.
To stop water entering from the top there's a roll-top closure with Velcro tabs. That's backed up with a couple of adjustable straps, which sit at 45° and cover the top corners.
There's also a handle on top should you need to carry rather than wear it on your back when walking.
It's a comfortable bag to wear considering its size (55cm x 28cm x 16cm) thanks to wide, padded shoulder straps which help spread the weight.
There is plenty of adjustment in the straps to get a close fit, and to minimise sweat build up there is a raised padded section with channels for airflow.
There is also a sternum strap to stop the bag swaying about, and removable waist straps too. These help stop a full bag moving about too much when climbing or riding out of the saddle, but ideally they'd have a bit of padding on them for improved comfort.
Other neat features on the outside of the bag are 'molle' straps to hold D-locks, water bottles or anything else. If, like me you hadn't heard of molle, it's a frankly desperate US military acronym ('MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment') for the webbing sewn into loops so you can hook on whatever you need. It's pronounced 'Molly' as it replaced the Alice system, which was a similarly torturous attempt to make a word (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment).
Finally, this pack gets a tab for rear lights and a smattering of reflectives. They're not as big as I'd like for year-round riding, but they're enough to catch attention while keeping things subtle in a work environment.
Inside is where Craft Cadence really goes to town with the attachment and storage, though.
The internals are bright yellow which helps you see the small things lurking in the bottom, and they are fully removable should you need to wash them.
The main compartment has two zipped pockets (one mesh, one solid) which can carry plenty of kit. Inside that section you'll find another sleeve, which Velcros into position and offers a multitude of pockets; a laptop sleeve, three open pockets and a zipped one. There is also a strap to attach your keys to.
I really like the flexibility of the design, and everything is very well made – which it needs to be considering the £99.99 price tag.
That said, it is considerably cheaper than Apidura's smaller 20 litre City Backpack at £130.
The 25 litre ELOPS Cycling Backpack Speed 520 is cheaper at £69.99 and still features a decent amount of segregation inside.
This pack is both roomy and well organised, which means that not only can you carry everything you need – say for work and the gym – at the same time, it doesn't turn into a huge faff to find what you want. It's a bit of a financial outlay, but thanks to its hardwearing build you shouldn't need to replace it any time soon.
Waterproof, tough, well made and has loads of useful internal storage
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Cadence Cycling Backpack Roll Top Waterproof
Size tested: 30 Litres
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Craft Cadence says, "Cadence is the ultimate cycling roll top backpack thoughtfully designed by and for commuters."
For a large bag it is comfortable to wear, and the internal storage means you can keep all of your stuff organised.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
30 Litres storage
1000 grams (bag) + 250 grams (internal insert)
65 cm (unrolled height) x 42 cm (widest width) x 18 cm (depth)
Waterproof 600D polyester seamless welding construction
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A well made bag that can carry loads of kit and keep it safe from the elements.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Loads of versatile storage options.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Waist straps could do with some padding.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's priced somewhere in the middle, with Apidura's offering costing an extra thirty quid, while others like the ELOPS are quite a bit cheaper, but not as roomy.
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
This is very good: well made, waterproof and durable, and the internal storage design is clever.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!