One of the good things about parkour is that relatively little gear is needed to practice. All you really need is a good pair of shoes and some loose athletic clothing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some products that can be very useful or enhance performance. Backpacks fall into the very useful category. When practicing parkour, it is common to move from one location to another. This makes carrying anything you want with you at a certain location, but not necessarily in your pockets a chore. This is where having a good parkour bag or rucksack comes into play.
Here are some of my favorites that I can recommend.
Fastbreak Parkour Aerial Pack (Medium)
Fastbreak’s Parkour Aerial Pack is the only purpose built parkour and freerunning bag in production that I know of. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it does pack some interesting features. With a ten liter capacity, the Aerial has enough room for the essentials without being bulky. There is a larger size for those looking for more space, but I recommend the medium. The Aerial has a very wide, snug chest strap. It does an excellent job of mitigating any movement, which is the biggest problem in finding a good parkour backpack. The waist strap is detachable.
Inside, content organization is good and features some nice touches like a bottle holder and smartphone pocket. There are a variety of outside compartments and attachment points as well.
The quality of the construction of the bag is quite good. Mesh is liberally used in the shoulder pads and back to provide excellent breathability, a rare feature on backpacks in general. It is possible to roll with the Aerial Pack though you will need to be careful about damaging the internal contents of the pack. The back also has no padding. This means you will need to organize items in a fashion so that they won’ be uncomfortable pressing into your back.
Overall, the Aerial Pack is an easy recommendation if you are looking for a higher end, premium backpack. The slick, lightweight design, good durability, and excellent ergonomics certainly justify the higher price in my mind.
Camelbak Hydration Packs
Given the relatively few parkour specific products on the market, it makes sense to turn to products designed for other sports or activities that use similar movements. Running is an obvious comparison. Designed with runners and hikers in mind, Camelbak hydration backpacks with the water bladder removed (for extra space) have become a popular choice among parkour enthusiasts.
They are compact, hug the body, and do a much better job at not jostling around than many other backpacks. They sit relatively high on the back and have a highly adjustable suspension system that makes it easy to get a comfortable, secure fit. Even with the water bladder in (which can be useful depending on your training) there is still usually enough outer organization on the pack for the bare essentials. There are a ton of models with varying features so it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
Sling Type Parkour Bags
For whatever reason (Assassin’s Creed maybe?), many people want a parkour sling bag or messenger style bag. Unfortunately, the form factor just isn’t normally very good for parkour. However, I’ve come up with some alternatives worth taking a look at.
The Runnur is a bandoleer like shoulder strap. Described as a “messenger bag without the bag”, the Runnur has a variety of pockets and holders for things like phones, keys, wallets, and other small items. Despite the name, it is not actually meant for runners, but for traveling hiking, and commuting.
The Runnur is lightweight, and fairly well made, but not adequately secure in my opinion. I can’t help but think that the idea is better than what was actually executed. Nonetheless, it could be suitable depending on your needs or a great starting off point if you like modifying your gear.
Setgo Transport Bag
The Setgo Transport is another lightweight and low profile shoulder strap. It features two front pockets and three layered pockets in the back, which can fit a surprising amount. Personally, I find the aesthetics to be more professional and a little less geeky than the Runnur. However, it is considerably more expensive than the Runnur.
Urban Tool sportHolster
Not a sling style bag, but certainly something a little different than a normal backpack. Urban Tool’s sport holster has enough room to fit a smartphone, keys, wallet, and maybe a small snack, but not much more. If you are just looking to get these out of your pockets, it should serve your needs well. It’s comfortable to wear, keeps everything from moving around, and doesn’t impede rolling.
Not satisfied with any of these recommendations? Here is what you need to pay attention to when evaluating backpacks for parkour.
Important Features to Look At
Ergonomic Fit – There are tons of backpacks, bags, slings, and more out there but most are completely unsuitable for athletic movements. Everyone knows how annoying and limiting it is to run with a bag on that moves around. You need to find something that you can secure tightly to your body.
Lightweight – Any extra weight will obviously hamper your parkour abilities. Carry only what you need and make sure that it is as balanced as possible.
Compact – Weight isn’t the only issue, as carrying something bulky can be a safety hazard. You don’t want any loose straps or parts of a bag to get caught on anything.
Durable – Parkour is pretty brutal on any gear. Find something durable so you don’t waste any money having to buy the same thing over and over again.
Why Do People Use Parkour Backpacks?
Wondering just what everyone else is putting in their bags? Here’s a small list of common items traceurs might carry.
- A bottle of water
- Car/house keys
- Cell phone
- Camera gear
- Extra clothes
- Basic first aid items