How to Ride a Bike with a Heavy Backpack

Most bike riders prefer backpacks to carry stuff while going for long-distance cycling. Because it’s easy to carry.  Also, you can explore the places the bike can’t reach. You won’t need to leave the bag insecure on the bike. But it also has some problems. It can cause inefficient riding while carrying it on the shoulder. Besides, you can get back pain and soreness if you ride for a long time with the bag on.

Well, you must work hard to make your tour enjoyable. But you can avoid the inefficiency and pain caused for carrying backpacks. But you must know how to ride a bike with a heavy backpack without causing inefficiency or pain. Here you go.

Can you ride a bike with a backpack?

How to Ride a Bike with a Heavy Backpack

Yes, you can ride a bike with backup. Actually, there are particular types of backpacks for bike riding. But, you have to get the right bag for yourself. Besides, set the bag right to avoid inefficiency and soreness.

However, riding a bike with a backup has both benefits and disadvantages. Let’s talk about it.


The most significant benefit of riding a bike with a backpack is its useability. Its versatility, ease of use, and moveability make it a choice than an option. Let’s understand how a backpack benefits a bicycle rider.

  1. Versatility: Weather you commute or ride long, you can go with a backpack. You can carry your laptop, clothing, or other essentials here. Besides, you can ride with it or use it on a walk. In fact, it fits both in your daily life and in long-distance riding.
  1. Moveability: Backpacks are easy to move. You can move it by carrying it on your shoulder, in your hand, or however, you want. At this point, it becomes beneficial for tours. I mean, you may need to go to such places where the bike can reach. In this case, you can lock the bike and go sightseeing on foot with the bag. Thus, the bag won’t remain insecure on your bike.
  1. No extra effort: Unlike other bags, backpacks don’t need any extension or mounting for carrying. You can simply put it on your shoulder and go for a ride. Of course, you can hang or tie it with the bike. But this is not always compulsory.


Alongside many benefits, riding with a backpack also has disadvantages. You must deal with discomfort and inefficiency while riding with a backpack. Here are the problems you will face while riding with backpacks.

  1. Pain & Injuries: Riding with backpacks for a long time can lead to back pain. It also causes soreness in the neck and shoulder. Besides, it can cause injuries if the strap is not good enough to stabilize the bag. However, there is also another problem with backpacks. When you face a crash, the risk of head injuries increases while riding with a backpack.
  1. Sweating: It’s okay to ride for 15 to 30 minutes with the bag on. But you will start sweating when you ride for a long. It will cause itching and irritation. Moreover, it will ruin your cloth unless you wear cycling clothing.
  1. Inefficiency: A heavy backpack pushes you to sit in an aggressive position. This position is not comfortable at all. Moreover, it reduces control and paddling power. Also, the bag tends to drag from behind. Thus, the overall riding experience gets inefficient.

How to ride a bike with a heavy backpack

How to ride a bike with a heavy backpack (2)

I guess you have understood the problem statement of long-distance cycling with backpacks. You have come here for solutions, and I have one. Follow the below tips. I hope you will be able to ride with a heavy-duty backpack.

Tip-1: Get the bag right

Before going for long-distance cycling, you should get a suitable backpack. The ride will still be painful and inefficient if you get the wrong one. So, here are the factors you must consider to get the right bag for long-distance cycling.

  1. Ergonomic design: If the bag is ergonomic in design, the ride will be comfortable and painless. However, bike backpacks are different from regular backpacks. When you ride a bike, your posture will be slightly bent forward. So, it’s good if the bag has a curvy design on the back. It can ensure good fitting and comfort.
  1. Strong strip: Strips are another crucial part of backpacks. So they should be strong enough to hold the bag and stabilize it. A waist strap is also good as it can provide excellent stabilization on the lower back.
  1. Enough padding: The bag must have enough padding for a comfortable feel. Most of the bag has padding on their straps. Very few have padding on the back. Get a bag that has padding on both straps and back. This will provide comfort both on your back and shoulder.
Freaky Tip: According to the factors mentioned above, Dakine Drafter is the best backpack for long-distance cycling. It’s long in size and ergonomic in design. So, the load spread upon the back. However, it has soft padding on the back and straps. It also comes with chest and waist straps. So, it offers a comfortable and stable ride.

Tip 2: Set the bag right

Put the bag in such a way that it offers a comfortable sitting on the saddle. If you want to eliminate inefficiency and back pain, follow the tips below.

  1. Keep the center of gravity low: Most backpacks have adjustable straps. It allows you to adjust the bag’s position on your back. However, adjust the straps to put the bag in a lower position. Thus the center of gravity will be at a lower position. As a result, the balance will be better. Back pain can also be reduced by this. If the bag has a waist strap, tie it. Stability will also be higher.
  1. Put a jacket over the backpack: If you are an amateur cyclist, you may wear a wind cutter or jacket while riding. If you do so, put on the bag inside the jacket or wind cutter. Thus, you can achieve better stability and control. Also, efficiency will be higher if you put the bag this way.
Freaky Tip: The ultimate way to carry a backpack is not to put it on your shoulder. Instead, get a Rear Rack and install it. Then put the bag on the rack and tie it with a Bungee Cord. Thus, you can carry the backpack with no pain or sweating. Moreover, stability and efficiency will be better in this way.

Frequently asked questions about bike backpacks

Is it bad to ride a bike with a backpack?

Not at all. In fact, it is the best option for carrying your essentials if you commute daily. But it can create some problems in long-distance cycling. Back pain, injuries, and inefficient riding are common problems in riding with backpacks for a long time. But those problems can be ignored if you get the right bag and set it correctly.

Is a backpack better than a shoulder bag?

If you ask about bikes, backpacks are far better than shoulder bags. Backpacks can carry heavier loads. Besides, it has better stability and fitting. Whereas shoulder bags don’t have good stability. Moreover, it’s not comfortable to ride with.

Why do cyclists wear backpacks?

Cyclists wear backpacks to carry essentials. A student or job holder can carry their laptop, notebook, and other documents. A traveler can carry clothes, mobile phones, and other essentials. Being easy to use, it is useful for every kind of rider.


Some people are crazy about bike packing. Why won’t they be? Bikepacking is fun. You can enjoy multi-terrain experiences. Moreover, it allows you to enjoy numerous natural beauties. But there are also some difficulties in going on bike packing. If you plan for a 7-15 days tour, you will need to carry your essentials that can weigh around 3 kgs or more.

That much weight seems pretty heavy to ride with. But you can still carry it without any pain or inefficiency. This post was all about that. Follow the tips I have suggested. You will get rid of all the problems.

I hope you will enjoy your next tour.