REVIEW: Ortlieb Soulo 25l Backpack

A comfortable, ergonomic pack for commuting cyclists who value versatility and low-impact production

Feature type Review

Read time 5 mins

Published May 12, 2023

Victoria Hatch Victoria is a multi-sport adventurer, unfortunately specialising mainly in type-2 fun. She thrives on pushing her limits, typically through ultramarathons, climbing and competitive ice swimming. Victoria works as a carbon consultant and likes to combine her passion for adventure and sustainability through writing and low carbon adventures.


The Ortleib Soulo 25l backpack is designed for commuting cyclists, boasting signature durability and a waterproof construction.

RRP £175
Capacity 25l
Dimensions H 47cm X W 31 cm X D 18cm
Load 10kg
Weight 1100g
Features Minimalist design, magnetic closure, ergonomic shoulder straps, waterproof PU-coated polyester fabric


  • Removable and adjustable chest strap means a comfortable fit even for female riders
  • Welded TPU back padding prevents items from digging in
  • Minimalistic and slick design
  • Maintains shape regardless of load
  • Padded laptop compartment and carrying handle


  • Limited size with no option for overfilling
  • Magnetic lock can be fiddly when bag is full
  • No easy access for water bottle


As a remote worker who loves adventure, my packing needs are as varied as the places I go. Some days, I’m off to a client visit anywhere in the country, with my trusty laptop, some snacks, an extra layer, and a good book. Other days, I’m hitting up a coffee shop with my climbing gear in tow for a quick training session.

Of course, my spontaneous activities often include a cheeky stop at the supermarket on the way home, but regular backpacks tend to leave me with a lumpy back from all the jumbled contents poking me as I ride my bike. So, I need a bag that prioritises comfort, regardless of what’s inside.

What’s more, I need a bag that’s easy to use, looks smart, and can fit everything I need for a day’s worth of activities. And since I’m often caught in the unpredictable Lake District rain, I need a bag that’s waterproof and colourful to brighten up any dreary day.

I’m always looking to understand more about the sustainability of the products I’m buying. I want to see a Life Cycle Analysis of the product to give an idea of its carbon footprint, sustainability and strategies to prolong the life of the product. Ortlieb’s production is based entirely in Germany, and 70% of the materials used are sourced locally, highlighting their dedication to supporting domestic suppliers and minimising transportation emissions.

In short, I need a sustainability-built, versatile and reliable backpack that can keep up with my on-the-go lifestyle and keep me feeling comfortable and prepared for whatever adventure comes my way.

I’m always looking to understand more about the sustainability of the products I’m buying


My initial impression of the Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack was that it has a straightforward design. The minimalist bag features a roomy main compartment with a laptop sleeve and a small outer compartment with a zipper. It is held together by a reliable magnetic lock system and constructed with thick, waterproof material that Ortleib is known for. I appreciate the touch of fun added by the blue colour, which complements the bag’s sophisticated appearance.


Living in Kendal, a place notorious for its rainy weather, means I can thoroughly test the Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack. My goal was to assess its performance during my daily activities, which includes commuting, business trips, running errands, and engaging in various sporting endeavours.

First up was my cycle-to-train station commute. Despite the pouring rain, the bag’s waterproof PU-coated polyester fabric proved highly effective in safeguarding my belongings. No need to worry about soggy laptops or damp sandwiches!

Next, I put the bag through its paces during my coffee shop outings followed by climbing wall trips. I need a reliable companion capable of accommodating different sizes and contents, and the Ortleib Soulo 25L didn’t disappoint. Whether I stuffed it with just my bike lock or loaded it up with climbing gear, the bag maintained its shape remarkably well. It didn’t sag or lose its form, even when I was on the go.

The bag also proved handy for running errands around town. Its comfortable fit and ergonomic design made it a breeze to carry. Cycling to the supermarket was a pleasant experience as the bag’s spacious main compartment effortlessly accommodated all my items. The magnetic lock system provided added assurance, ensuring that everything stayed securely in place throughout the entire trip.


The Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack is an ideal choice for individuals seeking a reliable commuting bag, especially if their daily commute involves a variety of activities or requires packing multiple layers. Whether you engage in physical activities during work hours or simply need extra space for your belongings, this backpack is designed to meet your needs. Its spacious compartments, including a padded laptop sleeve, allow for convenient organisation and storage. With its durable construction and comfortable fit, the Ortleib Soulo 25L is the perfect companion for those who value versatility and practicality in their commuting routines.

Its spacious compartments, including a padded laptop sleeve, allow for convenient organisation and storage



The simplicity of having one main compartment with a large lid is appealing in terms of functionality. It allows for easy access and straightforward organisation of items. However, the downside is that the size of the bag is restricted and cannot be extended. This limitation might be a drawback for those who require additional storage space.

Magnetic closure

The magnetic closure is a standout feature that offers convenience and security. Once the magnetic clasps are lined up and turned to the side, the bag is securely locked. This feature is especially useful when you’re in a hurry. However, it can be a bit fiddly when the bag is not very full, as the magnets may not align easily.

Back padding and ventilation

The inclusion of back padding with ventilation panels is a standout feature that enhances comfort, especially for cyclists. The padding provides cushioning and support, while the ventilation panels help prevent excessive heat and sweat buildup on the back. This thoughtful design ensures a more comfortable and enjoyable experience during extended periods of use.


The Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack feels bombproof due to its heavy-duty PU-coated polyester materials. This durability is a definite advantage, as it provides confidence that the bag can withstand rugged use and challenging conditions. However, the robust construction also results in a heavier weight, which might be a consideration for individuals who prioritise lightweight gear.


Ortleib specialises in waterproof cycling bags, and the waterproof feature of the Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack is a significant selling point. Although this bag doesn’t have taped seams, its design ensures waterproofness. This design choice reduces the number of potential points of failure, contributing to the bag’s long-term performance. However, it’s worth noting that if the bag is not upright and is placed upside down, water could potentially flow into the pack through the lid.


If you’re considering investing in a cycling-specific, commuting-oriented bag, the Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack is a worthwhile purchase. Its quality and durability ensure a long-lasting product, while its sustainable features add to its value. With added comfort and a touch of luxury, this backpack is worth the price tag.


The Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack lived up to its marketing claims and surpassed my expectations during my thorough testing. Its sleek and minimalist design, combined with its well-made construction, made it a standout choice for commuting cyclists. The waterproof PU-coated polyester fabric effectively protected my belongings from the notorious Lake District rain, ensuring that my laptop and snacks remained dry.

The bag’s standout features, including the large lid with magnetic closure, padded laptop compartment, and back padding with ventilation channels, added to its overall functionality and comfort. It maintained its shape regardless of the load, providing convenience and ease of use throughout my activities. It accommodated various contents without sagging or losing its form. The spacious main compartment effortlessly held all my items during errands, and the magnetic lock system ensured everything stayed secure.

As someone who values comfort and versatility, this backpack exceeded my expectations. Its ergonomic design and comfortable fit made carrying it a breeze, and the waterproof and durable construction provided peace of mind. The bag’s added features, such as the convenient carrying handle, further enhanced its usability. I highly recommend the Ortleib Soulo 25L backpack to anyone in need of a reliable commuting bag. It offers practicality, versatility, and durability, making it an excellent choice for individuals with varied packing needs. Whether you’re a remote worker, an adventure enthusiast, or simply seeking a comfortable and reliable bag for daily commuting, this backpack is sure to meet your requirements and enhance your on-the-go lifestyle.

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