Despite being something of a reclusive nerd, people don’t guess at first-appearance that I’m the athletic type. Besides intense LARPing, however, there is one outdoor activity that I am relatively talented in – parkour.
I first began parkour as a teenager, after playing the game Assassin’s Creed for hours on end, and I wanted to jump across rooftops and weave through alleys just like the strong and nimble Altair.
What’s great about parkour is that you don’t need very much gear – or really any at all in order to participate in it. Just put on a comfortable, sturdy pair of shoes, a good pair of athletic shirt and pants, and you are good to start jumping!
Nonetheless, I have come across five different brands of backpacks that are super-fit for carrying along as you bust out moves across buildings and fountains.
You might want to bring a water bottle or an extra pair of shoes, and if you’re going to be parkouring for long distances across the city, you won’t be able to pick up your possessions again – you’ll have to take them on your back with you.
Best Parkour Backpacks
1. Fastbreak Parkour Aerial Pack
There are actually very few backpacks out on the market designed specifically for parkour. This is the only one that I’ve been able to find. It might cost you a little bit more than the average backpack, but it’s the most ideal for the sport.
The Fastbreak Parkour Aerial Pack can carry around 10 liters. So you can hold your crucial possessions without having the backpack weight too much or being bulky. It’s designed with a chest strap that performs a superior job at minimalizing any movement of the backpack against your back. Nothing else can be more challenging to a parkour practitioner than a pack that is interfering with your strength and movements.
Within this backpack, the compartments are highly organized. Additional carrying features include holders for holding your water bottle and smartphone. The mesh which the backpack is made of allows for plenty of breathing, which is critical if you are going to be moving around and sweating a lot.
The downside of this parkour backpack
The only downside is that there is no padding on the inside. So you’re going to have to adjust your possessions inside so that they don’t break and so that they are not rubbing uncomfortably against your back.
Of all these backpacks that I’ve tried, this is the one that I most highly recommend. It’s on the highest end of the spectrum when it comes to quality – it weighs little, it’s durable – but if you aren’t ready to pay a higher price for that, you should continue to investigate the other backpacks below.
2. Camelbak Hydration Packs
This pack isn’t designed for parkour, but for runners and hikers – which makes sense since parkour is a little bit of both. Still, I like this the most except for the first backpack stated above.
The most obvious advantage of the Camelbak Hydration pack is the tube and pouch for water. Parkour is a physically demanding activity, it is by far the best way to stay hydrated without interrupting your movement.
This pack is also highly compact. Its lean shape hugs against the back and shoulders, making for a secure and comfortable fit. It doesn’t wiggle or jostle around like most other backpacks, preventing rug burn from causing pain on your back.
Despite the water pouch, there’s usually enough room in the backpack for me to fit the relatively few items that I need the most.
This backpack is a bandoleer that straps around your shoulder. It has a wide range of pockets and compartments, in which you could back items such as your wallet, keys, or your phone.
It weighs very little and I find it quite durable, though let’s just say I wouldn’t feel comfortable stopping for a break in the middle of a busy crowd. It’s not the most secure option. I think this is the best package if you are a beginner at parkour and looking to eventually acquire more advanced gear.
4. Everest Sling Bag
Once again, this pack weighs next to nothing and it’s an almost unfeelable shoulder strap. There are two pockets out on the front and three more pockets in the back, which are layered.
Quite honestly, the Runnur, while convenient, is extremely geeky-looking, and while I myself am a loud and proud nerd, the style of the Everest Sling Bag bag tempers it off a little bit.
5. Urban Tool Sport Holster
This isn’t another sling bag, though it is much different than our ordinary backpack. This backpack has a holster that can hold a lot of your personal possessions, such as your wallet, keys, smartphone, or perhaps a little snack, but little more than that.
If your carrying-capacity needs are minimalist, then this backpack should serve your basic needs.
This backpack is also comfortable and melds perfectly to my spine. Nothing moves around, it doesn’t jump or jostle, and it doesn’t interfere with my rolling.
What else to look for…
Since there are so few backpacks on the market specifically designed for parkour, you might end up just going for a regular backpack. Most typical backpacks are totally unsuitable for free movement, but if you buy one, look for one with the following features:
Lightweight – Since you need a backpack designed for movement, you need as little extra weight as possible dragging you down.
Compact – The pack can’t simply be small, but it also needs to be able to hold as much as possible while giving you the most balance.
Durable – Not only will you be busting cool moves, but you might bust up your gear too if you’re ever messing up. Look for a backpack that can handle a lot of wear and tear.
Ergonomic – Look for a backpack that fits your anatomical structure so comfortably, so snugly, that you might just forget that you’re even wearing a backpack.