Reviewed: Brooks’ Hackney Cycling Backpack

This roll down backpack is certainly designed for the style savvy gentlewoman

If you’re looking for a brand that oozes elegance, legacy and strives to incorporate cycling’s heritage in today’s modern age, then look no further than Brooks England.

What started off as a brand manufacturing saddles for horses, Brooks later delved into the world of cycling as it became increasingly popular in the late 1800’s. Experiencing considerable discomfort from bicycle saddles, Mr Brooks utilised his skills in design and leatherworking to construct “…a neat, light Saddle, of best quality”. These were often made from cowhide but for a charge, you could purchase a genuine crocodile skinned saddle for supreme luxury.

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Since then the brand has kept true to their legacy – except for the crocodile skins, of course! Today, Brooks England produce high-quality cycling accessories marrying cycling culture and innovative design concepts. We’ve been cycling around town with the new Hackney backpack from Brooks and here’s how we got on…

Design and Construction

Brook’s Hackney Backpack is a spacious pack that’s ideal for carrying all your work essentials, and a few other bits too. Inside is a 15″ compartment which is perfect for laptops, three inner pockets, a zipped pocket and on the outside, large quick-access pockets at the front of the bag.

  • Width: 300mm
  • Height: 470-550mm
  • Depth: 160mm
  • Weight: 940g
  • Volume: 24-30L

The Hackney is made from waterproof textile and genuine vegetable-tanned leather. The durable canvas straps are quick and come with a strong quick release buckle, and a chest strap provides additional security when riding.

The top of the bag is rolled down and secured by a strap with a metal quick-release buckle. There’s a leather strap riveted to the front of the bag which is perfect for affixing your helmet to when you’re not riding.


The versatility of this backpack is endless. It’s elegant and practical style makes it an ideal backpack for not just cycling with, but using for most of your luggage needs. It’s certainly spacious and along with my laptop and regular work essentials, I could easily fit in a spare set of clothes and the kitchen sink. The roll top allows for additional spacing when needed as well.

While the straps are thick and feel strong, the chest strap isn’t exactly boob-friendly. Above, below or in the middle, I just couldn’t find a happy place for the straps to sit flush against my chest.

The canvas fabric is indeed waterproof but the seams of the backpack inspire less confidence as they don’t appear to be sealed in any way. As part of the test, I did ride through showers and my belongings were kept dry, however, there damp corners at the bottom where water collected had me reconsider this backpack when the rain was heavier outside.

While the Hackney backpack is spacious and durable, it’s difficult to get into with one hand. If you need something out of the main compartment quickly, you’ll need to precariously perch the pack on your knee as you try to maintain balance and fish out your belongings.

The Brooks’ Hackney backpack looks and feels like a luxury piece of cycling kit. It’s spacious, constructed from strong waterproof canvas and the leather detailing really gives it the elegant touch. However, best save the Hackney for fairer weather.

The Hackney backpack is available in a number of colours here for £155.

If the Hackney doesn’t tickle your fancy, then take a gander around the full backpack collection from Brooks. There’s a great variety of sizes, colours and fabrics to choose from here.

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