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Altura Grid backpack review

8 Oct 2020
Verdict:

Affordable, stylish commuter bag packing decent capacity and versatility

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Plenty of stowage capacity • Reflective • Stylish • Won’t break the bank
Against 
Not 100% waterproof • Chest strap would be welcome • Irksome carry handle

Commuting 101: if your bike isn’t pannier-ready, you’ll need a decent backpack. The Altura Grid backpack is just that – an example of luggage with just the right amount of capacity for everyday essentials, and with more than a hint of safety and versatility thrown in for good measure.

It is a functional, stylish, unassuming essential that will meet the demands of most cyclists with a load to haul. However, it’s not without its niggles.

 

Abundance of features

Unclipping the closure and unravelling the roll top of the Altura Grid backpack reveals its construction to resemble Gandalf's sleeve…

A large main compartment easily swallows everything I need for a rare trip to an office or, more usually in these days of working from home, a ride to a family barbecue where it wouldn’t be good form to spend the afternoon in riding kit (also, have you ever tried to get mustard out of merino?).

Buy the Altura Grid backpack now from Altura for £59.99

Trainers, trousers, spectacles, smalls and a clean t-shirt are swallowed without trouble, the internal zipped pocket takes a smartphone and wallet, while a minipump slots into either one of the side pockets or easy-access rear pouch.

Carrying a laptop in the specially designed compartment close to my back doesn’t hinder comfort as I’d feared, thanks to a lightly padded interface with my back (which is satisfyingly unclammy).

Crucially, the external zips are waterproof (the rolltop closure atop the bag negates the need for that zipper to repel water – rolltops are, in my experience, blizzard-proof).

 

Weather-ready

The Altura Grid backpack is made from polyester with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating. While this doesn’t give a guarantee of waterproofness – only water resistance – it does offer peace of mind that a shower won’t drench anything inside.

'How long a DWR treatment lasts depends mainly on how often the product is used,' explains Amy Spencer, Altura’s Design and Development Manager.

'We understand that the DWR can be worn away through regular wear and tear, and therefore the bag should be checked regularly depending on its use. We recommend a spray-on DWR restorer is used as the bags are not recommended to be machine washed, only wiped clean.'

 

Security of fit

The carry straps of the Altura Grid backpack are curved for riding comfort, while their length is adjusted neatly without any loose straps flapping around in the wind.

However, when fully loaded the bag doesn’t fit as well as it could due to two factors: Firstly, unless you’ve packed the bag perfectly, any deviation in weight distribution is exacerbated by the lack of a chest strap. I’ve ridden with many backpacks that employ a simple clip-strap across the sternum to help spread the weight.

Secondly, while the extra webbed carry handle straddling the top of the straps might be useful off the bike, when riding in anything but a high necked softshell jacket I found its constant scratching on the nape of my neck particularly uncomfortable.

 

Visibility

In terms of visibility, you should take a closer look at the Altura Grid backpack. Not least because its unassuming, utilitarian construction is particularly versatile.

Buy the Altura Grid backpack now from Altura for £59.99

But more importantly, the entire back-facing panel is reflective, so car headlights illuminate a bright rectangle of material, while loops on the rear and either side of the pack also easily accommodate clip-on rear lights for extra visibility.

 

These side lights especially boost confidence when passing junctions. That said, if you’re looking for the perfect pack the Altura Grid isn’t it.

What it is, however, is a keenly-priced piece of luggage that will suit a variety of riders in all but the dreariest of weather conditions.

It’s not a deep-winter stalwart, more a dependable three-season workhorse.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£59.99