Best Backpacks for Running

Expert Advice on Running Accessories
Best Backpacks for Running

There's nothing better than heading out for a run with your perfect running shoes, comfy running kit and nothing more than a watch on your wrist. However, sometimes it's not just you that you have to carry around on your run! So, here are the crème de la crème of the running backpacks – for commuting or general use. If you're running to work (or play) with stuff on your back let's make sure you're as comfortable as possible.

Small Running BackpacksFor Laptops or Medium LoadsFor Heavy LoadsFor WomenRun-Commuting Tips

Best Small Running Backpacks

First go over exactly what you'll be carrying. If it’s a matter of a top, trousers and personal effects, but no shoes or laptop, then a 10L pack will suffice, maybe even an 8L.

The OMM 8L Running backpack is mega-lightweight yet strong. The smallest of our packs, it will fit thin layers plus small extras, but bulky jackets etc, will work better with a 10L pack. Rain will run of it but in consistent rain you'll need a plastic bag inside. It has a removable foam pad at the back to protect your back, a main zipped pocket with a bladder compartment and a smaller zipped pocket for your phone / wallet / nutrition.

The Salomon Trailblazer 8 and 10 features a longer back support in a squarer design, which offers a little more space for bulkier items of clothing or just more stuff! Like the OMM, there’s space for bottles in the side mesh compartments and you can add up to a 2L bladder.

OMM Ultra 8L Running Backpack

OMM Ultra 8L Running Backpack
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£45

Montane Trailblazer 8L

Montane Trailblazer 8L
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£80

Salomon Trailblazer 10

Salomon Trailblazer 10
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£60

Best Running Backpacks for Laptops or Medium Loads

If you're carrying heavy items you need a sturdy construction with good padding to protect your bag and shoulders. These packs are a bit bigger and work well for commuting.

The Salomon XT 15 is slightly smaller (by 3L) but will still hold your laptop. It has very similar assets as the Montane: easy-access pockets (including waist ones); durable and light (445g); soft, stretchy and padded fabric on the shoulders and harness. The addition of compression bungee cords over the body of the pack means you can keep contents steady even when the pack's not full. So this is effectively anything from a 11L to 15L pack, space-wise.

The OMM Ultra 15L Running Backpack is designed to specifically cater to the needs of runners and commuters. This lightweight and compact backpack offers a 15L capacity, providing ample space for essentials without sacrificing mobility. The backpack is equipped with technical advantages such as a hydration bladder pocket, adjustable chest straps for stability, and reflective details for visibility in low-light conditions. Its ergonomic design and breathable mesh panels ensure optimal comfort during long runs or commutes. Overall, the OMM Ultra 15L Running Backpack is a practical and efficient choice for those on the move.

With the Montane Trailblazer 18 you get a good number of pockets for easy access and quick finding of keys etc. I particularly like the design of pockets on the shoulder straps at the expense of waist pockets that can come too far forward. This means you don't knock your elbows into any side pockets. The harness is customisable so you can get exactly the right fit for your shape. It will fit a laptop that's 15 or less. The weight is 410g.

As for the OMM Classic 18 you'll benefit greatly from the spacious ad lightweight nature of this backpack. With plenty of storage spaces, this is a fantastic and versitle bag to take on runs if you're out for long periods, as well as hiking. There are useful sections to this backpack, one of which is the removable waist belt pockets, this also goes for the 25L. Large hip belt pockets, a big secure lid pocket, side and rear stretch-mesh pockets.

Salomon XT 15 Backpack

Salomon XT 15 Backpack
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£100

OMM Ultra 15L Running Backpack

OMM Ultra 15L Running Backpack
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£65

Montane Trailblazer 18

Montane Trailblazer 18
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£70

OMM Classic 18 backpack

OMM Classic 18 backpack
Running Backpacks & Accessories
£90

Best Running Backpacks for Heavy Loads

If you've got a 17”+ laptop or simply loads to carry then go for the 20 litre + options.

The Montane Trailblazer 25 has generous zip pockets on the straps for quick access of essentials. You can customise the fit of the harness to ensure a neat fit regardless of how full or empty the pack is. The double chest straps guarantee it won't jiggle about when you're running, so even if you've got a load of things to carry it'll all be held really securely.

The OMM Classic 25 consists of multifunctional components, easily accessible storage spaces. Des[ite the exclusively fabric construction, it's lightweight and highly durable for taking on long adventures, whether that's racing, hiking, or even as a travel bag. Some features include; removable Duomat back pad/sleep mat, hydration bladder compatible, UGR (Universal Gear Rail) allows you to carry everything from an LED light, to skis with ease, whistle on chest strap, and large pockets.

Best Running Backpacks for Women

To be honest, any of the above will work well, but the issue can be the length of the pack. The below are a little shorter, making them ideal for those below 5’7”. In addition to the Women's-specific Gregory Mayas, the OMM tends to fit well and is beautifully light.

The Gregory Maya 10 is a great option for women. It offers a women’s-specific fit, with greater comfort thanks to padded straps and an ergonomic fit. It also has as a good number of pockets so you can store items easily. I've had mine for years, washed it a fair amount of times and it's still going strong.

The Montane Trailblazer 16 is a 16L pack designed specifically for the female build. The body-hugging harness moves with you, so it stays neatly in place as you run. It's lightweight and feels really comfortable because you can adjust the double chest-straps to fit your shape, keeping everything super secure and eliminating irritating bounce. The quick-access storage is fantastic – and more than you often get on running backpacks. You've got not only the hip stash-pockets for keys, phone, etc., but also two zip chest-pockets that can hold soft flasks or anything else you need.

As for the Montane Trailblazer 24, weighing in at 720g it's a lighweight and minimalistic backpack with ample storage space and compartments. Ideal for lightweight hiking, running and fast-packing if you're out on a multiday race. The pack length can be adjusted with a velcro system. This is really useful and it will be welcomed by women who are smaller and taller. The main large area is accessed through the top lid, using a Bivi opening with Cord Lord quick release adjustment. I prefer a top zip into the main compartment for ease, but the lid does have the advantage of adding some weather protection to the inside of the pack.

Women's Montane Trailblazer 24

Women's Montane Trailblazer 24
Women's Running Backpacks
£90

Women's Montane Trailblazer 24

Women's Montane Trailblazer 24
Women's Running Backpacks
£90

Run-Commuting Tips

One of the great-time savers, especially if you are doing a lot of training, is to 'run commute' back and forth to work. Here are some tips to get you started and make sure your stuff is in the correct place.


Running home from work

If you are totally new to run-commuting this is definitely the one to try first. You can check out possible routes without the danger of being late for work. Remember your running route could well be totally different from your car/bus route. If it is too far for you to run the entire distance then just combine it with public transport.

Check and see if you can find a cycle path or route along a canal or river for at least part of your run. This will make your journey so much more enjoyable, as well as healthier. Of course as the evenings get darker one has to be careful, and it may well be safer to avoid routes off the beaten track. Try to find a residential area on dark winter evenings, where you feel safe and where there's not much traffic pollution.

All you need to bring into work are your running things, which also keeps things simple. The trick is to run home with as little as possible. Leave work shoes and any jackets/suits or heavier items at work. Figure out how many days a week you want to run and make sure you don't end up with all your warm coats at work by the end of the week!

Where possible leave at work:

  • laptop
  • larger clothing items
  • work shoes

Running into work

Once you've worked out your route and you are confident you won’t get lost(!) it's time to try running into work. Many offices and workplaces have a shower. If this isn’t the case there might be a swimming pool close by where you can use just the shower.

One does need to be a little more organised when running into work. It's best to plan how many days in the week you want to run in, then bring your work clothes for each of those days on Monday morning. This way, unless you've forgotten something, you don’t need to lug too much around.

If you want to run in with your lunch, I’ve freezing a portion of soup or stew means the food and everything else in your bag is safe and secure.


If you're running home from work every day you will probably have to run with your jacket in your backpack a couple of days. Run with the lighter jacket in your bag or run a slightly shorter route if your bag feels heavy. Finding a good running backpack is absolutely key to an enjoyable run-commute.

Good luck and enjoy exploring new routes in your city as you run to and from work.

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