Combining a run with your daily work commute is a great way to multi-task and stay fit.
Commuter backpacks tackle the challenge of keeping all the things you need for your day secure while at the same time enabling you to run without everything bouncing around and driving you nuts.
In general, you’ll find run commuting backpacks from 10-20 liters. Check out our list of best running backpacks for commuting below!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15
Salomon Trailblazer 20
Nathan Trailmix 12L Pack
1. Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15
If you want to go the distance with speed, the Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15 is a great option. One of your biggest concerns for running with a backpack will probably become how much the backpack bounces.
The unique design of the Fastpack 15 is fantastic at keeping things from bouncing. The zipper is uniquely down the top/center of the bag, which helps to keep your gear organized and easily accessible.
The backpack is made of various high-quality meshes, our favorite being the MonoRip Mesh, which makes up most of the backpack and is very durable and strong but extremely breathable.
The fit is comfortable and sturdy with a large main compartment and plenty of pockets for anything you want to keep easy access to. There is also a laptop compartment in the form of a no bounce pocket that keeps bouncing down.
The backpack has plenty of straps in order to adjust the fit to your needs.
- High quality materials and durable
- Plenty of straps to adjust for the right fit
- Lots of pockets for small items
- Fishing items out of the large main compartment can get old
2. Salomon Trailblazer 20
The Salomon Trailblazer 20 is a super light and comfy backpack for your daily run commuting. With an extremely reasonable price of $75, this is an option if you are looking for a sleek pack, with a little extra room and no water reservoir.
At 20 liters, you have plenty of room to carry all the essentials and the pack only weighs 14 oz. The backpack comes with a padded back to keep things comfy on the go.
The zipper covers the outside of the pack and the back entirely exists so you can fold down the flap, almost like a suitcase. The belt and shoulder straps are also highly adjustable allowing you to get the right fit for your body. Plus you get the added bonus of a 2-3 year Salomon warranty!
The side and top pockets let you easily access small items. Add the belt zipped pocket and you have plenty of space to put the things you need.
- Extremely lightweight
- Lower cost than similar options on the market
- You can expect some bouncing unless the pack is completely full
- No water reservoir
3. Nathan Trailmix 12L Pack
Nathan has created a solid running commuter backpack with their Trailmix 12 liter pack. The pack comes in both men’s and women’s versions, with the men’s slightly longer for form fitting longer torsos. Expect to pay around $150 for the Trailmix 12L.
The pack has an adjustable pocket for water for up to two 22 ounce bottles in front, which we love for ease of hydration in addition to the included water reservoir. The Trailmix 12L comes with a built in 2L bladder. If you decide to keep the bladder the pack weights 12.8 oz unfilled, but no bladder will get you down to 11.6 oz.
This pack is unique in the closure with a roll-top storage closure compartment for the main compartment. This lets you compress the pack if it isn’t completely full, and we love the versatility of this pack. There are also plenty of stretchy pockets to keep all your items with you and organized.
The material is supposed to prevent chafing and so far it’s done just that. The pack is secured to your body via adjustable side straps. The straps on the pack look like they could annoy you, but they are extremely comfortable, especially when you spend the time to ensure the fit is right before your run.
The reflective hits on the backpack also ensure you have 360 degree safety for those late evening or early morning runs. Overall, the Trailmix 12L is a great option and you can tell that Nathan has considered the small details to help commuters get to their destination no matter the time of day!
- Lots of included water storage
- Extremely lightweight
- Adjusts to all body types, including larger frames
- Extended straws on bottles bounce around a bit
4. CamelBak Rim Runner 22
Camelbak created the Rim Runner 22 primarily as a hydration pack, and it brings a lot to the table! With a 19.5 liter capacity and the included 2.5 liter reservoir, this pack will carry all the things you need on your daily run commute and then some. At $100, this pack is a great deal.
This pack is a bit heavier, at 1 lb 9 oz. You do get a lot of exterior pockets (8) which we love for organizing and separating all the things we like to easily access during the day.
The main compartment lets you separate different items as well so its easier to stay organized. The material of the Rim Runner 22 is also very breathable, and you get an air mesh back panel which keeps the fit comfy and light.
The CRUX reservoir that comes with this pack is great, you get 20% more water per sip.
If you are more concerned about hydration and not so much about the weight, the Rim Runner 22 is a great solution for you.
- 2.5 liter water reservoir included
- Great organization
- Lots of pockets and external attachment options
- Heavier than similar packs
- Some runners have issues with the weight load on the waist belt
5. Salomon Skin Pro 15 Set
Salomon’s Skin Pro 15 Set is a great option for run commuters looking for an extremely lightweight backpack solution with hydration included, at an incredibly light 10 oz! The pack is a little more costly at $160, but the high quality combination of waterproof and fast wicking fabric materials and lightweight design are worth it!
At 15 liters, the Skin Pro is a step up from the Trailblazer 20 in terms of features and materials. The entire backpack is made of polyester and is designed to sit super snug against the body.
There are plenty of pockets to make sure you have easy access to small items, including 2 stretch pockets in the front and a side zippered pocket for the important items you want to keep secure. You can also easily attach items with Salomon’s gear carrying system.
The bag comes with a 1.5 liter reservoir for hydration. The pack also has mesh straps and breaths really well with no chafing. The bag comes with a 1.5 liter, but if you are looking to replace with reservoir with something higher, like a 2L, expect the bouncing to increase a lot during your daily run. This pack with a 1-1.5L reservoir works best.
- Plenty of pockets and space to keep your items safe
- Water is easily accessible both in hydration flasks and reservoir
- Extremely lightweight
- Pack fit tends to loosen with heavy items inside, not best for laptops
- Mouth piece connected with hydration pack tends to bounce
6. Nike Commuter Running Backpack
Nike designed their commuter running backpack specifically for run commuters! At around $60, this is a budget option that holds your necessities with it’s 15L capacity.
We love this backpack for the reasonable price and built in features meant to for run commuting, specifically the laptop pocket and the snug fit of the backpack. The backpack was designed to reduce bouncing so items stay in place during your commute. The chest and waist strap also lower the bounce while fitting comfortably without annoying you while you run.
The pack is comfortable to wear and is made out of polyester, providing commuters with a breathable fit. This pack is also lightweight at only 12 oz.
You have the option of adding a hydration bladder, but it doesn’t come with this Nike backpack.
If you are looking for a lot of external pockets, this pack doesn’t have them, but instead you get a sleep form fitting design that will get you to your run destination with minimal bounce.
- Reduced bounce with stabilized design
- Lots of optional water storage capacity
- High reflectivity for low light conditions/safety considerations
- Not a lot of external storage or pockets for small items
7. Osprey Duro 15 (for men) & Dyna 15 (for women)
The Osprey Duro 15 for men and Dyna 15 for women are excellent for commuters who want plenty of room for all day or multi-day gear with an included water reservoir. The Duro/Dyna 15 both cost $140 and come with lots of storage option and a great build design.
At 15L, the pack has enough space to carry your items but also includes a stretch mesh compartment on the back for extra storage, perfect for a jacket or coat.
The pack is extremely breathable with air mesh fabric against along the back panel. The stabilizing hip belt also has air mesh and keeps the pack in place well during your run commute. Both packs have a 2.5L reservoir.
As far as securing the pack and creating a good fit, there are 2 chest straps that snap in for a secure fit. You can also take them off if you don’t want them, which we love for complete customization. The pack is also fit to your body via underarm stabilizing compression snaps which are easy to tighten and loosen but stay in place well.
The packs also come with accessible lower side mesh pockets that make it easy to get to things during your run.
For securing more items, you can use the top zippered pocket on the top of the pack or the vertical zippered pocket in the front of the pack, which is the perfect place for valuables or your phone. Mesh pockets on both sides of the front panel of the pack also give you options for accessible storage.
Overall the Duro/Dyna 15 are great options for commuters who want more accessories and a well designed water hydration system!
- Very durable material and build
- Fit can easily be adjusted and stays in place
- Larger pack than similar options on the market
8. Lululemon Run All Day Backpack II
Lululemon upgraded their Run All Day Backpack for this better version of a 13L pack. Designed specifically for women commuters, the Run All Day Backpack II is the perfect size to get to and from work with ease and comfort. At $118, this pack is very comparable in price to similar packs on the market.
The design of this pack keeps you comfortable with breathable materials and harness designed with air flow in mind. The pack’s fit is adjusted through waistband straps and keeps bouncing to a minimum. The pack is a little heavier at 1lb 2 oz, but the design and weight load of the pack doesn’t seem to weigh you down.
Lululemon also added a unique molded back panel that helps keep items snug to your body without creating traction.
There are just enough pockets and compartments to keep all your items readily available. The side mesh pockets let you add water bottles or secure your phone. The top zippered compartment lets you secure valuables. The inner compartment also has a sleeve for your tablet or laptop.
Overall the Run All Day Backpack II falls in line with Lululemon’s high quality production. This pack is a great option for stylish women commuters.
- Extremely comfortable pack
- Very roomy pack without being big and bulky
- Sleek and attractive design
- A little heavier than other options on the market
- Material wears out quickly
9. Ultimate Direction Halo Vest
Available in both men’s and women’s styles, Ultimate’s Direction Halo Vest is designed to fit your body on the go. At only 11L, this pack is built for commuters with less to carry who want to get to their destination fast. Expect to pay about $170 for this high quality extremely sleek commuting vest.
At only 6.2 oz for men and 5.5 oz for women, this is one of the lightest packs on the market. We love this vest because it feels like you are wearing nothing!
The vests come in small, medium, and large and are further adjustable through cinch ties that conform to your body for an easy on-the-go adjustment. Built out of a mesh knit, you can expect comfort and breathability.
You don’t get a reservoir with this vest, but the Halo Vest does come with two 500 ml/17.5 oz bottles designed for running. Only carrying 1 liter of water total helps keep the total weight down, but it is a consideration if hydration is a big deal to you.
This pack doesn’t come with zippers. All of the pockets are snug and built to keep your items in them, but the lack of a zipper is something to keep in mind if you want to secure valuables.
If you are in the market for a pack with minimal storage that helps you forget you are wearing anything at all, the Ultimate Direction Halo Vest is a good choice!
- Best volume to weight commuting pack on the market
- Extremely sleek and lightweight
- No zippered storage for securing valuables
- Shallow storage
- Material is less durable than other packs in the same category
10. Deuter Speed Lite 12
Deuter has created the Speed Lite 12 for commuters looking for a pack solution on a budget! At $60, this unisex pack has a streamlined design for optimal comfort and performance during your commuting run. The focus of this pack is speed and freedom of movement.
At only 12 to 16 oz, this lightweight pack has a 12L capacity. Although the Speed Lite 12 doesn’t come with a reservoir there’s built in room to add a 2L reservoir.
The pack has a V-shape and is built to breath with its minimalist padded foam back and ventilated 3D Airmesh. You get a cool stable fit with the Nylon Speed Lite 12 for everything from your daily run commute to trail runs in the wilderness. Even the shoulder straps have an ergonomic S-Shape that include an adjustable chest strap.
There is plenty of room for your items in various pockets on the pack, to include an inner mesh pocket with a zipper for those items you can’t afford to lose. The pack even includes a stretch compartment to keep sweaty, wet or dirty clothes separate from everything else. You can also fit up to a 13” laptop in the Speed Lite 12.
If you are looking for a budget lightweight commuter alternative that still allows you the option to carry up to 2L of water, look no further than Deuter’s Speed Lite 12.
- Very durable with nylon material
- Option to add compatible water reservoir
- Deep side pockets
- No waist strap
- Only designed to carry up to 12 lbs.