The Bike List

Ortlieb Velocity Rucksack £75

Tested by Ped Baker, tester for The Bike List

Simplicity is a key consideration when I choose a rucksack, and they don't come much simpler than this. The Ortlieb Velocity is essentially one large pocket, with a roll-down top secured by a single Velcro flap. Inside lies a small, removable organizer-style compartment with slots for a wallet, phone and Biro and a zipped pocket big enough for a camera, multitool and puncture repair kit. The waist and shoulder straps are wide and well padded, with enough adjustment to allow for both summer and winter riding gear.

The reason I dislike fussy multi-pocketed rucksacks is that I'm forever forgetting which one of the numerous nooks I've put something in. Inevitably, this leads to a sweaty five-minute panic thinking I've lost my house keys/wallet/passport, only to discover them five minutes later in a different pocket. It may seem an odd benefit but if you can't find something in the Velocity's large, single compartment at least you know you really have lost it.

The Velocity is made from four pieces of thick PVC coated Polyester welded together to form its bucket-like shape. This construction, combined with the roll down closure, ensures the bag remains 100% waterproof even in the heaviest of downpours. I'd go so far as to say I'd happily throw the Velocity in a river and not expect it to leak.

The back panel is stiffened inside with a thin plastic sheet and a 1cm thick closed-cell foam pad is glued to the outer for comfort. Perhaps not the most sophisticated construction, but effective and comfortable enough for a long commute or day trip, even when fully loaded. Both shoulder and waist straps are well positioned to prevent the bag from moving about - even a few enthusiastic miles of the local bumpy singletrack failed to unsettle it. Capacity is 20 litres, big enough for a change of clothes, towel, a pair of shoes and a packed lunch.

Brilliant though it is, the Velocity's roll top closure does have it's drawbacks. The opening is relatively narrow and the bag deep so retrieving an object from the bottom of a full bag requires dexterity and a long arm. The lighter yellow, white and beige coloured models transmit more light through the panels than the black and silver models, helping to identify what you're looking for.

The other minor drawback is that the roll-down top of the rucksack is wide and stands slightly above the riders shoulder line. This top edge catches the wind and doesn't make for a good aerodynamic profile. This will worry some riders more than others but it does have the positive effect of directing a cooling stream of air that funnels between rucksack and rider.

Buy from

Ortlieb says:

ORTLIEB's compact messenger bag doubles as an energetic day-tripper and waterproof commuter pack. This versatile piece is a favorite with students. It features an interior pocket for organizing small items and a carrying handle. Comfortable: robust foam back for optimal air circulation. Stable: bottom is protected by abrasion protectors at corners and bottom feet.

  • Waterproof daypack featuring comfortable back padding made of foam
  • Waist strap secures pack safely to back
  • Fast access and easy loading due to roll closure with velcro
  • Protection around bottom corners on rear side prevents abrasion
  • Removable inner pocket for keys, change, mobile phone, can also be used as waist strap pocket
  • Suitable for folders in size DIN A4
  • Carrying handle
  • Ideal as school backpack or for walks
  • Accessory: cell phone holster for shoulder strap
  • Extension of velcro strap for large packing volume available as separate accessory

Height: 47 cm, width: 28 cm, depth: 15cm, weight: 1050g, volume: 20L.

At a glance

Verdict Basic but totally waterproof rucksack with chest and waist straps, internal organiser, reflective badge and padded straps.