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Altura Sector 30 backpack review

5 Feb 2019

An understated yet very technical backpack with slick design features and very impressive capacity

Cyclist Rating: 
Very technical, extremely comfortable and well thought-out
A choice of colour would be welcome

Altura has historically been a champion of clever commuting gear, perhaps most memorable for the innovation of the extremely high visibility Night Vision fluoro jacket. 

While the brand has made impressive steps forward in terms of high-end performance roadwear, it has always been on the forefront of commuting kit. This backpack is a perfect example of exactly why Altura has earned its reputation.

The Altura Sector 30 is a 30-litre capacity water-resistant backpack with the demands of fairly intense cycling commuting in mind.

Buy the Altura Sector 30 backpack from Amazon

The Sector 30 uses the ‘Altura Draft Venting’ system on the back - essentially air channels built into the spine of the backpack, covered in a breathable mesh. That’s complemented by ergonomic padded straps covered with a similar breathable mesh design. 

Together, those design features make for a bag that feels breathable, and also astoundingly light considering the volume it can be filled with.

The Tardis

I had to take a second glance at the Sector 30 when it arrived, given it had been advertised as a 30-litre bag. It looked so compact and slim. Sure enough, it is enormous on the inside, and in comparison with my fairly hefty courier bag, it can fit far more of my clothing, cameras and laptop.

The more pleasing element of that volume is how light the bag feels when carrying a heavy load. The combination of the padded back, tall profile, ergonomic straps including belt and chest support straps make the bag go largely unnoticed. It seemed to have all the technical finishings of an ultra-bulky hiking bag but with much less visible tech.

In terms of the use of space, the bag is very well separated. It offers a central large main compartment, complemented by a thinly padded laptop sleeve that sits directly behind on the spine. 

That’s accompanied by easy access side pockets and a thinner front compartment with a series of pockets. That has served me very well for separating wetter kit. 

Cycling practicality

The Sector 30 has some very nice little thought-through features that prove it's been carefully designed with cyclists in mind. 

An obvious example is the very nice integration of cycling features such as the number of hi-vis flashes on the bag. The buckles, finishes and logos all offer high-contrast highlights for visibility without detracting from the understated look of the bag when off the bike.

For me, that was a big advantage, rather than an overtly rainproof and high visibility bag. The high-visibility rain cover is included as standard for those most abysmal of dark rainy days, so you can have high visibility waterproof performance without the offensive appearance off the bike.

Incidentally, I rode with the bag in one of the heaviest downpours of the year and the rain cover managed to keep any water from entering the inside of the bag, though at the extremities of the cover there certainly was some dampness to the fabric of the bag itself.

Buy the Altura Sector 30 backpack from Amazon

My favourite fluorescent touch is actually the internal lining which is a block fluorescent colour. While that seemed pointless to me at first, on dark nights when I’ve been struggling to find my keys or phone inside my bag, the appeal if a highly visible interior becomes obvious.

I don’t ride with a D-lock, but there’s no doubting that the D-lock mount at the bottom of the backpack is robust and nicely thought out.

All in all the Altura Sector 30 is a very tightly thought-out commuter companion that managed to work aesthetically. The Sector 30 is regularly listed at under £50 too, which means that it is substantially more affordable than many competitors.

It's a simple job done very well.