It is a truth universally upheld that motorcycling rucksacks are, if you want them to be weatherproof and hence, keep your gear dry, fairly chunky numbers. If you are adamant that you don’t want water to get anywhere near your gear, then typically you need to employ a roll-top closing rucksack made from dry-bag-style PVC tarpaulin or a very technical item with multiple layers.
However, a more traditional style of rucksack is easier to use and doesn’t scream ‘motorcyclist’ at the top of its lungs as you walk into the office at the end of your morning commute (though this time of year, the sopping textiles and the snail-trail of water following you may give the game away).
If you want something that looks a little less ‘bikey’ but still lets you carry your gear in safety and to keep it dry, then the Alpinestars City Hunter is a good option.
1. Alpinestars City Hunter Rucksack
First up, from the outside, it isn’t instantly recognisable as a biking backpack. It’s formed in polyester inside and out and has waterproof-style zips on the main compartment, the secondary compartment and the two small outer pockets.
The double zip for the main compartment goes over the top and down to the base of the rucksack, allowing you to easily load it up in the padded laptop sleeve, the secondary sleeve or the cable pouch.
It also leaves plenty of room for paperwork or clothing to pop on when you arrive at work. The secondary compartment also has a tablet sleeve as well as various other pouches and a large expanding front section.
Related: Held Iconic Tailpack review
Externally, there are two small side pockets for sunglasses or other bits and bobs. At the base, there is a zipped compartment that houses a helmet carrier for use when off the bike, which is fixed within the compartment at the bottom and clips to the top of the bag to hold the lid in place.
While the polyester outer may be showerproof, full protection for your contents comes from a removable rain cover that sits in a pouch in the secondary compartment, though it also fits in one of the outer pockets with a bit of a squeeze – easier to get to here if it suddenly starts to hammer down. It’s also bright dayglo yellow to highlight your presence in bad visibility.
Putting it on, instantly you are aware of an easy adjustment system. Some rucksacks have multiple straps and clasps but this one is simple; the shoulder-strap clasps move on the strap, so they are always at the end of the strap, eliminating lots of spare material flapping in the wind.
They also have huge, bright-red loops to help you find them and pull or release in gloves – really useful. Similarly, the waist strap has the same tightening and loosening mechanism but can be removed if you don’t want to wear it.
The back of the rucksack also has massive, padded blocks with large air channels so that your back breathes when you are wearing it, helping to minimise perspiration on warmer rides. It’s comfortable, particularly with the load over the shoulders spread on wide, well-padded shoulder straps.
However, the narrow waist belt doesn’t really take any of the weight like a wider belt might. There is also an adjustable chest strap to prevent the shoulder straps spreading and when it’s properly adjusted, which doesn’t take long, it is stable and comfortable.
Loading it and getting to your contents is easy, thanks to the all-over opening of the main compartment and the half-way over of the secondary and it’s perfect for lugging two laptops, hard drives, paperwork and office jeans and T-shirt over pretty much any jacket.
The straps are a little short if you wear an airbag jacket but they do fit – it’s just a bit more of a faff to get on than with thinner jackets.
If you want a ruckie that is easy to load and access the contents, is waterproof and looks less like a full motorcycling rucksack, then this is a great option. It works as a commuting or urban bag, isn’t too large and comes with a rain cover that will keep your gear safe and dry. I like it a lot.
Easy to load and access contents
Easy to adjust straps
Rainproof hi-vis cover
Shoulder straps little shorter than ideal