The Brooks Sparkhill cycling travel bag has become my new favorite multi-functional travel backpack. I have been using my Arterix Blade backpack for 3 years now and been searching for a solid replacement that could match its versatility. I like to have a single primary work bag that I use on my bike ride to work as well as when I travel. The Blade isn’t produced anymore but this year I received the Sparkill and fell instantly in love.
The Sparkhill comes in both a 15 and 22-liter size – I have the 15 size as it fits me better (I’m 5′ 7″). It has a few key features that make it the ideal multi-purpose bag. My requirement in looking for this bag is that it has to look professional, be comfortable with decent shoulder straps and some level of venting when I am biking into work. It has to organize the normal laptop, tablet plus the accompanying chargers, cords, and batteries that I need when I am out of my office while leaving space for 2 days worth of clothes so I can just use one bag for short trips. Finally, I like some level of water resistance. The Sparkhill hits every one of these requirements and then some.
First, it actually looks professional – most of the bags in this category look like something
my 10-year-old son would wear to school. The Brooks bag is made of a beautiful Waterproof PU Coated Nylon 66 and Codura with Aquagard zips that looks sleek and clean. It’s a professional square shape that looks great I get a lot of comments from airline seat neighbors about what kind of bag it is.
For a bag that looks this professional, it really shines when I get on my bike. The bag has shoulder straps that look and feel like great biking hydration pack they have a padded – mesh on the inside with a cut that keeps the bag from riding up my shoulders when I am hunched over on my road bike. The back of the pack has a molded series of the same meshed that keeps the bulk of
the pack off my back and even on a long ride into work or a meeting my back doesn’t end up sweaty. The Sparkhill also has reflective details that only show up at night for a bit of extra visibility.
From an organizational perspective the main pocket which has a single vertical zipper has a nice set of pockets and a zippered area that keeps cables organized and in a brilliant design move the material on the outside of this pocket are composed of a stretchy nylon fabric that is designed to let you put a bike helmet in the pocket – zipped up . Initiall,y I thought this was a g
immick but I find that I can put my helmet in there after a ride to a meeting and instead of waking in with my bike helmet clipped to the outside of my backpack or leaving it unsecured with my bike I can put it in this pocket and other than a slight bulge in the bag.j
The Sparkhill has a padded and zippered laptop pocket on the inside of the bag that keeps the main bag area free for either paper files or in my case the 2-3 days of clothes that I can pack in there. I recently came back from a cross-country, 5 city trip using just this one bag. Granted as a male in an industry that does require formal attire makes this possible it was amazing to me that I could have all that packed and still put the bag under the seat in front of me on the airplane.
One detail that I initially didn’t like was the 2 straps and buckles that close the top of the
bag, however, after using the bag for that first big trip I realized that this approach to closure allows the bag to expand and contract vertically depending on how much is packed. Additionally, the beautifully brushed aluminum closures accent the overall professional look of the bag.
In all, I cannot recommend the Brooks Sparkhill Backpack higher. If you are looking for a versatile travel bag that feels great while your biking, travels well and looks great walking into meetings than you need to give this bag a try.
Available today from Amazon.com for just $142
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