Introduction: Backpack for Cycling

Picture of Backpack for Cycling

Make a backpack for cycling after identifying various requirements and issues related to carrying this accessory while riding.


Either the construction or the material used makes the bag sweat free.

Appropriate choice of material and fitting components to reduce weight to a range of 1.25 to 1.5 kg. Colour and finish of enhance visibility for safe riding in traffic and night time.

Easily washable as the bag tends to attract lot of dust depending on the place of ride.

Form of bag to be aerodynamic to avoid drag while riding. This would also add to to sporty feel of pace and dynamism to the product. Lining fabric for the interior. Eva foam could be combined with fabric to retain form.

Web fabric with 6mm foam to be used in shoulder straps. Thermo-formed PC sheet could be used in parts to make the bag sturdy.

3 compartments, 1 large to accommodate the voluminous items like water bottle, juice, clothes.

1 compartment for tools are sweat clothes and a small compartment for wallets, keys and phones. Rain cover for protection of bag and contents during rain. Provision to hold helmet in the bag so as to carry it when not riding.

Carrying items:

Water bottle/juice Food items Pair of clothes Basic tools/spare tube Torch/camera/charger Cell phone/keys/wallet

Step 1: Ideate.. Draw

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This might be the crucial step. Sketch and doodle as many ideas and concepts as you can. Make ideas that solve problems and excite you.

Quality of the sketches are not important, it's the idea that matters. Do not hesitate to draw even if you can't make fancy sketches.

Step 2: Select

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Main problems with the backpack are sweat on back and weight. Cyclists tend to sweat a lot while riding. Proper sports wear lets the sweat evaporate to make the rider thermally comfortable.

Backpack on the back limits the ventilation on the back resulting in excessive sweating.

I chose to solve this problem by minimizing the contact area by pushing the bag away from the back.

This could be achieved in a number of ways, one would be to make the rear side hard and form it in such a way there is space between the back and the bag. This also makes the bag sturdy.

Step 3: Simulate and Evaluate

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Ideas generally seem to work on paper. They have to be evaluated using some cheap and quick means. The idea behind making cheap and quick mock-ups is that you don't waste time and money in refining aesthetics.

Its better if the mock-ups are dirty and rickety. This lets you modify and evolve them without worrying about the looks.

corrugated sheet: Make the shape in styrofoam to check the space for air movement

Polyurethane foam: Make the form in PU foam to evaluate the aesthetics.

CAD model: model it in cad for further designing and testing.

Step 4: Design

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Internal compartments were segregated based on 'categorizing the items' carried.

Clothes and hydration pack is contained in the same compartment with a separate pouch for the former.

Used clothes could be isolated from the fresh ones through a fabric partition. The fabric partition could be removed when not in use and a larger compartment is required.

Elastic snap buckles are designed for holding the helmet.

Separate section for electronics gadgets. Quick access pockets for phones and maps are provided at the outermost flap. Rain cover is contained at the back of the helmet flap.

Step 5: Detail

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The higher the attention to detail the richer will be product experience.

The hard back plate is made of polycarbonate to which the shoulder straps are riveted. The rivets are concealed by the foam backing which acts as cushion for the back.

The hard(polycarbonate) and soft(fabric) components of the bag are fused with a reverse zipper.

A PVC beading runs along the edge of polycarbonate back plate defining its edge and also houses the zipper.

The edge of the fabric is defined by PVC piping along which the other end of the zipper is stitched.

Closing the zipper fuses the hard and soft components.

Step 6: Make It: Vacuum Forming

Picture of Make It: Vacuum Forming

polycarbonate back plate:

This involves 3 steps:

1) Mold making: A mold is made with MDF(mild density fibre) to the shape of the back plate. MDF boards are stuck together to form a block. Later with the drawings as reference they are carved to shape by hand. The same could be achieved by CNC milling.

2) Vacuum forming: A sheet of polycarbonate is vacuum formed with the MDF mold. This gives the basic shape to the backplate.

3) Trimming: The excess material of the vacuum formed sheet is trimmed giving the back plate the final shape

Step 7: Make It: Paterning

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In order to make the fabric take a desired form they have to be cut and stitched in specific shapes.

This involves 2 stages.

1) Styrofoam mold: The desired form of the fabric(bag's shape) is first made using a Styrofoam block. Masking tape is stuck over the block and the stitching lines are marked on it.

At this point you will have a styrofoam that looks like a the bag and has the stitch lines marked on a masking tape.

2) Developing the surface: The masking tape is cut along the markings and pasted on required fabric. Outline of the masking tape is sketched on the fabric and later cut.

This leaves with pieces of fabric when sticthed will give the desired form.

Step 8: Make It: Stitching

Picture of Make It: Stitching

The cut fabric is stitched together along with zippers and buckles as per the design.

At this stage the inside of the bag will have naked stitches this has to be concealed using the lining cloth.

The shoulder straps are also done similarly with foam filling for cushion.

Step 9: Correction

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If you have the luxury of making another bag, the first bag might not meet your expectations. You would want to make a few changes and refine it further so as to nail the usability and aesthetics.

Make the final backpack with these refinements.

Step 10: Final Product

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Step 11: Close-ups

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Step 12: On Road..

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Step 13: On Road..

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check out other works


Lthomasut (author)2016-03-27

Would love to know if I could buy one from you, as I do not have the resources or the skill to make one myself. Is there anyway I could purchase one from you?

solarborg (author)2014-10-25

I want want to know if a test was done falling backwards and what damage to the spine would be seeing as it's just supported on the shoulders and above the hip. Surely this gap the spine in an accident where they fell backwards the spine would distort giving muscle pull?

Surely this gap could be filled with a foam that would allow the properties the want but also offer back protecting. Someone will use this on a fast bike and probably a motorcycle with bad results. All in all great concept but you spine should be protected at all times.

BrianJewett (author)solarborg2014-10-27

I disagree. In a backwards fall your back would be much better protected with this than without it. 1 - This pack would be very shock absorbing. The plastic material is not like iron, it, along with it's contents, would flex and help absorb and distribute the impact of the fall. 2 - if you have hard items in your pack, they would do much more damage in a soft backed pack. This rigid back would offer at least some protection. In the end, you would be much better of in a backwards fall with this pack then with either a soft pack or no pack at all.

topimpin4u2 (author)BrianJewett2015-04-05

in a high speed fall it wouldn't matter if it flexed the way it is shaped you would end up on your front anyways

topimpin4u2 (author)solarborg2015-04-05

I agree, I bmx very often at a skatepark or set of jumps but I ride to the area hitting small jumps on the way, if I were to fall on my back (which seems to be the most frequent) I would want to be protected!!! ;)

bcavaciuti (author)solarborg2014-11-01

That polycarbonate looks about 2mm thick which would probably fail under your entire weight at high speed(acting like crumple zones on cars reducing impact force) , and also your back can bend in the middle quite well it doesn't look like the gap is more than you can flex.

It is a decent point though and worth testing. if the PC did not fail when needed then it could be scored on the inside to make it weaker but still be strong enough where needed. A bit like safety glass.

KaysanMRifath (author)2015-04-02


MukeshJ1 (author)2014-12-23

really too awesome creative

mchau2 (author)2014-10-25

Well done!! Looking like a pro!! i wish i have a vacuum forming machine and your resoures

cjraabe (author)2014-10-20

Do you plan on selling this? (Get on Sharks! lol) Love this design but production is so far beyond me. The only question (see comments below) has to do with how it performs in a fall. I know some people in Rapid City who make really nice bags if you could do the poly part.

dinesh kumar c (author)cjraabe2014-10-20

I have to check for the fall yet..

You should design a school backpack kinda using the same style as this!

dinesh kumar c (author)cjraabe2014-10-20

thank you

artworker (author)2014-10-16

Awesome end to end project! Design is pretty awesome! शाबाश!

dinesh kumar c (author)artworker2014-10-20

thank you

furiousmonkey (author)2014-10-19

Great Idea! I am currently using a very similar backpack

nice.. I have seen thru a few of these for inspiration

redcanary16 (author)2014-10-19

What a truly superb Instructable. For any aspiring product designers out there this should be required reading! There cannot possibly be a more comprehensive and explicit journey through the various stages of the new product development process on this website. What an exciting and professional product too. Thoroughly absorbing and educational - with a few tweaks to the grammar this article could be included in a text book! Wonderful, thank you

thank you red for your valuable feedback. I will fine tune the text. thanks for the compliments.

Gabriel Hernández (author)2014-10-17

you should be on kickstarter making money with this

will take all your money for sure :p

livichris (author)2014-10-17

awesome looking bag, great instructable. as a daily cycle commuter I find a chest strap essential. not only does it keep your bag in place while riding, especially when out of the saddle and pedalling hard but it also keeps the bag on your back protecting you if you're knocked off. twice I've been knocked off by cars and landed on my back and my bag definitely helped cushion the impact.

dinesh kumar c (author)livichris2014-10-20

it has a chest strap on the final product. I think I missed it in the drawings.

watchmeflyy (author)2014-10-16

Great job, and awesome sketching!

thank you..

hcarter10 (author)2014-10-16

Excellent diagram!

dinesh kumar c (author)hcarter102014-10-20

thank you

sketchglass (author)2014-10-16

Beautifully done!

thank you sketch glass

crank_girl (author)2014-10-16

I love everything about this. Great 'ible!

thank you

KookyKreations (author)2014-10-16

I am very impressed with your design and development problem. You have addressed two issues which have long plagued me as a bike rider. Your final product is attractive and functional. I am not sure what the screw top we see in Step 11 is - an integrated water reservoir? I am also curious just how much this back holds - maybe a shot of an unloaded pack with all the contents that fit would help. Very nice project.

the backpack has a capacity of 18l. thanks for the compliments

Raitis (author)2014-10-16

I like the design and it seems like you have access to some nice tools and knowledge!

Any idea how would it hold up in the event of a crash? Would it act as a protection or break and stab you? As a cyclist - I'm curious!

dinesh kumar c (author)Raitis2014-10-20

raitis, I am afraid I have not checked my bag on the event of crash. I presume it would act as a support taking the shape of the back profile, has to be tested never the less. good point raised

nouserr (author)2014-10-19

thats full PRO!

mirkus (author)2014-10-18

ne voglio uno!!!!!!!! please

veramente bravi complimenti

Lederhart (author)2014-10-17

very cool

ZaneEricB (author)2014-10-16

GIMME GIMME GIMME!!! I want this so bad!

kakashibatosi (author)2014-10-16

What all can you fit into the backpack?

About This Instructable




Bio: architect and industrial designer. //view portfolio:
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