SealLine Urban Backpack : Long Term Review

For the past couple months the SealLine Urban Backpack has been my go-to bag for commuting and trekking in general. The bag has gone through rain, pouring rain, very hot 100 degree days and a couple off road crashes. Still, it looks close to new, no damages to the water protect material and I think the “air bag” that it makes when closed saved me a couple times.

The key features I really enjoyed :

Roll top with elastic closure – This has allowed me to shove too much in the bag or tighten down the hatch when there is little.

Vented back and shoulder pads – Riding down the street with a breeze I can really feel air flow getting to my back and shoulders.

Comfort – The straps are adjustable to figure out the bag correctly on your back. not only at the base but at the top for correct weight distribution. Often, I would be carrying my laptop, clothes, cords and a couple books in this medium size bag while riding a stretched out road bike. Never once did I have back pains on my 9 mile commute.

A few other notes about this bag –

  • There is no padding on the bottom so I often would throw a t-shirt or clothes at the bottom of the bag to protect my laptop.
  • The material is very heavy and if not positioned right on your back can cause a very sweaty back.
  • Get the organizer for inside, it saved me many time from digging around the bottom of the bag.

Overall I would give this bag a 4.5 out of 5.   It has replaced my 8 year old Timbuk2 bag which is saying something.   I enjoy not having to worry about what the weather is going to be like or which bike I might ride.   It worked well on my back on a mountain bike, commuter/hybrid, road bike and even running.   Due to it being a back pack design I never worried about something falling out or my messenger flap not being tight enough…   If you are looking for something that will do well in all occasions pick this up.   If you are looking for a wonder bag that will be perfect in hot Atlanta heat and with tons of padding/pockets – this isn’t for you.

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0 thoughts on “SealLine Urban Backpack : Long Term Review”

  1. Schep says:

    You say that it isn’t for really hot weather. Is there any bag you would suggest for such weather? Or would such weather best be left to panniers?

  2. Arleigh says:


    I dont mind a sweaty back – but some folks don’t have the luxury of having a shower at work if need be. If its super hot I would recommend a front basket/rack for lighter loads and panniers for longer/heavier rides.

  3. Ghost Rider says:

    Those are great bags — I never had to worry about it leaking or coming apart. I got to test the large size, though, and I think the medium would be quite a bit better for my needs. The large one covered my back completely, leaving me a soaking mess wherever I went…thank God the bag was waterproof!

    I really like that dashing pistachio color, too. The orange color is nice, but the green is classier.

  4. amandar says:

    I’m really interested in getting one of these, but I can’t decide between the small and the large. I’m worried the small won’t be able to hold enough, and that the large will be too big for my 5’7″ frame. Any chance you can post a picture of you wearing the bag and the inside of the bag loaded?

  5. jim says:

    I’m 5’6″ and I ended up with both sizes, but would opt for the large if I had to choose. It carries well when not full and, because I tend to load it for everything – from grocer shopping to taking a bundle of clothes to work for a week of commuting – I REALLY appreciate the extra space. The large seems to weigh less than my small Ortleib, though I think the latter’s back ventilation might be a hair better.

  6. tim says:

    i just got this bag in a large and it looks HUGEEE. I don’t know whether to return it or risk opening it to see how it fits..

    any advice on small vs large?

    i’ve compared the volumes and don’t want to end up with a bag too small because i want to use it for school, but have space to carry climbing shoes and a change of clothes or a day trip hiking..

  7. Jim says:

    Hey Tim,

    Take it for a dry ride with the tags on if you can. I’d be willing to bet the extra space isn’t that big a deal. I rode in today with a full load and home with it nearly empty. Maybe I’m just used to it, but I don’t mind it and you’ll be surprised how quickly it fills up.When I ride to the climbing gym right from work, it seems to be the ideal size for all the goods.

    I do recommend the “lunch bag” roll on the top to keep visibility good over your shoulder. You bend the end of the plastic in about an inch or so, put a pleat in sides and roll. It adds a few precious inches of viz that’s really nice for urban riding with the bigger pack. I hope manufacturers start building them that way because it’s a bit of a hassle – but worth it in traffic.

    Good luck!

  8. Andrés says:

    My personal experience with this backpack:

    in the begining we noticed how uncomfortable the backpack straps are, behing your neck/head area, it continuosly grabs and hangs on your skin. This is due to the “handle” built out of the backpack straps which instead of seperating, unite instead.

    After 2 weeks of usage in easy, light-weight day trips the backpack BROKE. A HOLE was made by the rupture of the backpack fabric right where the seam/rubber patch holds the back-straps to the fabric. This means now I have a hole where the water gushes in everytime water slips through my back in the rain…. and I bought this for its waterproof quality! bah!

    Then the WAIST-STRAP, continuosly slipped-OFF the backpack, it seems there its a factory-mistake (yet another).

    I later discovered that the Urban Backpack is made in CHINA. While the other-one I own Sealline PRO back pack is made in the USA.

    Conclusion: the Urban Backpack is a bad-quality, expensive backpack that is in no way value for money! I would rather buy a 10 dollar bag at a chinise-cheap store, in the end, it would last just as long!

  9. A.C.C. says:

    This is the best backpack. I use it every day to carry normal things, but today I needed to carry 80 lbs of cement and it worked beautifully and when I finished I just washed it out. Not many backpacks can do that. I have the Urban small. Highly recommended!

  10. Josh says:

    I want to use it for school. I am 190lbs and 6ft. Will the small be big enough for schools books and a few extras?

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