Cycling AccessoriesReviews

Cycle commuter bags: Vamper reviews the new Knomo Harpsden and Cromwell backpacks

Knomo Cromwell 15″ Roll Top Backpack, £89 (reviewed by Matt)

We both love the look of the Knomo Cromwell Roll Top Backpack – the styling is great. It’s certainly roomy – if anything, rather too big for a commuter bag. We both felt a bit like snails wearing it. If you have to carry a lot of gear then it’s a great choice, but for a change of clothes and your day-to-day items, it’s a whole lotta bag. However, we’ve been fighting over it for weekends away – it holds everything you need for a weekend break.

Knomo Cromwell

What did I carry?

I carried a 13″ Macbook Pro, a pair of brogues (size 9, since you’re asking), jeans, pants, teeshirt and water bottle.


The straps are very wide. I’m no weed (at a 40″ chest, last time I looked) but these straps are too wide for me. However, they are nicely padded and there is a chest strap and hip belt to keep everything in place. The whole rucksack is gigantic and I found that the roll top blocked my hearing: when Victoria rides behind I like to be able to hear what she’s saying and to know how close she is, but I couldn’t hear anything wearing this. (For some that might be a selling point, I can appreciate).


The Knomo Cromwell is a great backpack for weekends away – I can comfortably fit a weekend’s clothes plus Macbook, charger and washbag inside. Victoria and I fight over it for weekend breaks. But as a commuter bag, it’s quite cumbersome – do people carry that much to and from work each day? It’s a good looking bag though, and keeps belongings dry in the rain which is a big plus. I also like the slots for cards and pens and so on – it’s a good bag for keeping things organised.

Knomo Cromwell – technical details:

Dimensions: H62 x W33 x D15.5cm
Laptop Pocket: H27 x W29cm
Fits (up to) 15″ Laptop
Weight: 1 kg
Capacity: 27.5L

Knomo Cromwell – features:

  • High-Frequency welded Nylon, backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane. I used the Cromwell in the rain and my belongings stayed dry, which is always good. Nobody wants a waterlogged Macbook.
  • Main compartment: padded section for laptops; additional pockets for cards, pens and other small items; main compartment to carry clothes, shoes, and more.
  • Padded laptop section: fits up to 15-inch laptop.
  • Water-resistant: backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane for protection from the elements;
  • Roll-Top closure: with secure plastic clips; for near air-tight security and protection inside;
  • Cushioned mesh back;
  • KNOMO ID: you can register your bag and if it is lost, the finder can return it to you through the Knomo portal which is a nice idea.

Knomo Cromwell Roll Top Backpack

Knomo Harpsden 14″ Laptop Bag, £89 (reviewed by Victoria)

I had been planning to test the Cromwell, but when the bags arrived I realised it was really too big for my frame so I opted for the Harpsden instead. The Knomo Harpsden is still a generous size, with more than enough room for what I carry to work: a change of clothes, a Macbook Air, a makeup bag and slip on shoes.

Knomo Thames Harpsden

It’s a smart bag with good functionality: it’s definitely waterproof and it can carry a lot of stuff. Its city styling means that it can double as a work bag once your commute has ended – it doesn’t look out of place with a working wardrobe. The Harpsden also features a chest strap but for me that’s a complete no – chest straps and boobs just don’t mix!

It’s a shame the style of this bag means it crumples when you’re wearing it (as you can see in the photograph above.) A bag this smart really needs to look sharp and upright. In terms of styling it isn’t as cool as the Cromwell roll-top, but it is slightly more compact.

Knomo Harpsden Backpack

Knomo Harpsden – technical details:

• Dimensions: H48 x W33 x D14.5cm
• Laptop Pocket: H25 x W2cm
• Fits (up to) 14″ Laptop
• Weight: 0.9kg
• Capacity: 20.3L

Knomo Harpsden – features:

  • High-Frequency welded Nylon, backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane. Like Matt, I used the bag in the rain and my belongings stayed dry.
  • Main compartment: padded section for laptops up to 14″ – more than enough for my small Macbook Air, plus pockets for cards, pens and small items; main compartment to carry clothes, shoes, chargers and so on.
  • Cushioned mesh back;

Knomo Thames Cromwell & Harpsden Backpacks: our overall verdict

In terms of styling, the Thames range is great for city types who want a smart urban look. For comfort, we both prefer the functionality of our Lowe Alpine rucksacks which stand away from the back, allowing air flow on our 13-mile commute. However, if you are more of an urban cyclist and want a bag which takes you smartly from your morning commute to meetings, then this is a highly functional and stylish range.

View the full Knomo Thames collection here.