15 Convertible Backpack Panniers That Can Be Strapped to Your Back or Bike

When you travel by bike, the chances are that you’ll want to do a bit of walking too. And for walking, what’s a better way to carry things than in a backpack?

Some of the smarter, more practical pannier manufacturers have cotton on to the idea of a convertible backpack pannier; a bag with shoulder straps as well as pannier clips. There are products that are rather simple, others come with systems that can hide away the hooks and straps when you don’t need them.

For those of you that already have Ortlieb panniers, I’ve included a product below that will convert your existing pannier to a backpack. And for my list of ALL pannier manufacturers, head over HERE.

Altura Versa Morph Backpack Panniers

Altura Backpack Pannier

The Altura Versa Morph cleverly hides the pannier hooks on the outside of the backpack which results in a more flexible (and presumedly comfortable) back section. The 20 litre capacity should be good for a laptop (up to 15 inch) and a few clothes. The retail price is £79 Each.

Anhaica Bag Works Backpack Panniers

Anhaica Bag Works Backpack Pannier
Anhaica Bag Works Backpack Pannier – Img/BicycleTimesMag.com

Anhaica use canvas which has been treated with locally-sourced bees-wax on this stylish pannier. The roll-top design allows you to squeeze in lots of gear and the zip-away bag straps make conversion to a pannier really simple. US $220 Each.

Arkel Bug Backpack Panniers

Arkel Bug Pannier Backpack
Arkel Bug Pannier Backpack

The Bug is Arkel’s convertible commuter pannier, complete with helmet compartment at the front. It’s easy enough to zip away the backpack straps for use as a pannier. CA $179 Each.

Arkel GT-18BP Backpack Panniers

Arkel GT-18 BP Backpack Pannier
Arkel GT-18 BP Backpack Pannier

The GT-18BP is designed to match in with your other Arkel front pannier. It features a waterproof liner and hidden backpack straps to make it a versatile touring product. CA $179 Each.

Banjo Brothers Convertible Backpack Panniers

Banjo Brothers Convertible Pannier Backpack
Banjo Brothers Convertible Pannier Backpack – Img/UrbanVelo.com

This cost-effective bag offers excellent storage, as well as lots of zipped compartments, clips and straps. It comes with a removable waterproof liner for the times when you’re riding in wet conditions. US $80 Each.

Blackburn Wayside Backpack Panniers

Blackburn Wayside Backpack Pannier
Blackburn Wayside Backpack Pannier – Image/Cycle-Eirin.com

The Wayside is another good-looking, well-priced convertible pannier with lots of compartments. US $80 Each.

Fairweather Backpack Panniers

Fairweather Backpack Pannier
Fairweather Backpack Pannier

The Fairweather pannier is stylish and functional, with fold-out straps built-in so that you can wear it casually. US $172 Each.

Lone Peak Glacier Peak Backpack Panniers

Lone Peak Glacier Peak Backpack Pannier
Lone Peak Glacier Peak Backpack Pannier

The Glacier Peak has zip-away clips and a strap system which can reduce the overall capacity of the bag so that you can fill it evenly. US $129 Each.

North St Bags Morrison Backpack Panniers

backpack panniers
The North St Bags Morrison Backpack Pannier

The North St Bags Morrison Convertible is a waterproof pannier that can be converted to a backpack in seconds. This model has a padded laptop sleeve and has a capacity of 18 litres. The bags are 100% made in-house and the fabrics are locally sourced in the USA. US $189 Each.

Ortlieb Vario Backpack Panniers

Ortlieb Vario Backpack Pannier
Ortlieb Vario Backpack Pannier

The Vario is Ortlieb’s specifically-designed convertible pannier bag. It is designed to be comfortable to wear, waterproof and stylish. The pannier mounts using the QL3 system, which is a sidebar attached to your rack – resulting in a hook-free design. US $160 Each.

Ortlieb Pannier Carrying System

Ortlieb Pannier Carry System
Ortlieb Pannier Carrying System

If you already own Ortlieb panniers, this is a handy backpack adapter which will allow you to wear your pannier in relative comfort, as the padded panels of the carry system keep you at distance from the mounting clips. Like all Ortlieb products, it is designed well and will probably outlast nuclear winter too. US $29 Each.

Richard Jones Convertible Hiking Backpack Panniers

Richard Jones Convertible Panniers
Richard Jones Convertible Panniers

Here’s a rather unique product. It’s a front and rear set of panniers which convert into a single hiking pack! Richard has been making these bags since the early-1980s, using two aluminium struts for rigidity as a backpack. There’s nine compartments for storage on the Elite model, and three if you’re using just the rear panniers. It takes about five minutes to convert the panniers into a hiking pack, and vice-versa. US $282 Set.

TimBuk2 Noe Commuter Backpack Panniers

Timbuk2 Noe Pannier
Timbuk2 Noe Pannier

The Noe pannier is a very understated bag which can be carted around on the bike, toted by the handle or worn like a backpack. The pannier panel zips away when not in use making this bag ultra versatile. US $159 Each.

Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack

pannier backpack
Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack

Two Wheel Gear makes a very neat backpack pannier. It’s waterproof and will fit a laptop as large as 15″ into its padded sleeve. There’s a foam-padded back panel which helps to make the bag as comfortable as possible off the bike. US $149 Each.

Vaude Cycle 28 Backpack Panniers

Vaude Cycle 30 Backpack Pannier
Vaude Cycle 28 Backpack Pannier

Like all Vaude products, the Cycle 28 looks great and is made well. Unlike many of the other bags here, the hooks are adjustable so that you can get a really good fit onto your rack. The pannier clips zip away in seconds and roll into a compartment at the bottom of the bag. It’s available in a smaller 22 litre size too. €110 Each.

Next, Check Out My List of EVERY Bicycle Touring Pannier Manufacturer HERE.

  1. We have the Vaude Cycle 28 (and also the smaller version of the bag).

    After a year of use, I can confirm, it is handy.
    It has many zips and pockets, which is useful.

    The only downside of the bag is that the shoulder straps are kind of poor quality. A well packed bag is not very comfortable. However, for an occasional trip to the city, with lighter load, I find it perfect.
    I also like that the back can be rolled into the bottom of the bag, so my pullover won’t pick up all the dirt of the wheels from the bag.

    However, rolling the “back” to the bottom of the bag takes up some space, and if the bag is fully stuffed, it makes it difficult to stuff the extra rolled back-layer below it.

  2. You might not even need backpack straps to carry your pannier for long distances if your load is light enough. I save almost a full kg by wearing a stripped down version (650g) of the Ortlieb Bikeshopper across my body like a messenger bag when I’m off the bike and off hiking.

  3. I have the Ortlieb Pannier carrying system and use it almost daily. I’ve been surprised by how comfortable it is. The big downside is storing the system during bike use – it’s kind of bulky and doesn’t fit inside the bag all that well. I still find it worthwhile to carry it around through because it’s so nice to have the backpack option rather than using the thin Ortlieb shoulder strap when the bag is heavy.

  4. I wonder if anyone would come with the idea of wheeler panniers for commuters that carry heavy stuff like laptops or shopping. That would be better than backpacks

  5. I have the Altura Versa Morph Backpack Pannier.
    The system to switch from pannier to backpack is fantastic (really quick and easy), it clips easily onto my rear pannier is very comfortable as a rucksack, includes a pocket for my laptop and comes with a hi-vis yellow waterproof cover.
    In the UK it sells for about £80 (though I got mine for half that in a sale).

    2 downsides:
    1. It’s a little on the small side for carrying my work clothes and laptop (I leave my shoes and jacket at work so I only have to squeeze a shirt and trousers in – they fit fine, but when the weather’s good I also have my waterproofs in there too and it starts to get a bit tight). Oh yeah, and I switched the laptop for a Microsoft Surface Pro to save a bit more space!
    2. After about 6 months one of the rucksack straps started to separate from the bag at the top – but Altura quickly authorised my retailer to replace it under the 2yr warranty).


  6. I have the Burley Travoy bike trailer, which is really handy for that sort of thing. It tracks easily and attaches to the seat post and you can wheel it into stores for shopping. I’ve done several bike tours with it and have also done shorter town trips using it.

  7. You could look at the Topeak Trolley Tote. It requires a Topeak MTX rack, but then it’s extremely easy to use. It slides on an off the rack, folds up when empty, and can carry just about anything. You’ll want a padded laptop sleeve and whatever else you want to carry.

  8. Update to my previous review.

    The zips failed (both of them!) on the replacement bag a couple of weeks after the 2 year warranty expired. I think the fact that I’ve joined a gym means that I now carry too much for it with my towel, etc. in there.
    It cost me £36 in a sale and lasted 2 years of commuting – if I’d paid RRP I might be annoyed about it for the price I paid I guess it was pretty decent. If I hadn’t tried to squeeze so much in it’d probably still be going.

    The one I had is now discontinued but has been replaced by a new
    model just called Altura Morph (without the
    They’ve changed the fabric but looks like they’re retained the very
    slick conversion from pannier to backpack. No idea if they’re improved
    the zips or straps.

    So now I need a replacement – I’d like it to be a bit bigger and a bit tougher than the Altura Morph Verso proved to be.
    I’m trying to decided whether the Ortlieb Vario will do the job or if I should just buy a pair of Ortlieb panniers and the Carrying System for when I want a backpack.
    When I finally choose something I’ll update with a review of the next bag…

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