Howies Little Haven backpack review

Is the Little Haven pack the perfect cyclists' day/commuter pack? We tested it to find out.

Cycling Weekly Verdict

A great pack for commutes and day rides

  • +

    Really well thought out design

  • +

    Comfortable to wear

  • +


  • +

    In-built Keep Right rain cover

  • -

    Capacity a bit small for larger loads

Howies’ Little Haven pack has a capacity of 10 litres and a host of well thought out cycling friendly features. The pack has a single main pocket with a double zip, a long narrow front pocket which is good for tools or a pump and a small zipped valuables pocket. There are also two elasticated side pockets which will each fit a bottle, two helmet fixing loops and a carrying handle.

>>> Best backpacks: a buyer's guide

Inside the main pocket, there’s a sleeve and hanging loop for a bladder and there’s an exit hole for the drinking tube near the right shoulder.

There are plenty of subtle reflective elements built in: the side pockets and base of the pack have reflective ribbing, there’s a reflective light loop on the lower back and the Howies logo is also reflective, so there’s good low light visibility.

The pack’s shoulder straps are made of a wide mesh so that they don’t get sweaty and they have a chest strap to keep the pack stable which is part elasticated so that it has a bit of give and sits more comfortably. The bottom of the straps is lightly padded and there are reflective strips which sit on the front of the shoulders.

The nylon webbing lower part of the straps comes with a clever winder which fits to the bottom of the length adjuster, so that the ends of the straps form a coil and are not left flapping around.

Rain cover sits in a pocket at the base of the pack

Rain cover sits in a pocket at the base of the pack

I found the pack to be a great size for commuting and day ride duties. It stays comfortable to wear and does not give you a sweaty back due to the four padded areas which ensure good air circulation. There’s a slight tendency to bump around when riding out of the saddle, although the wide straps and the elasticated chest strap do a good job keeping this under control.

The Little Haven shrugs off damp and mud from the back wheel, but if things start to get really wet, there’s a raincover attached to the pack and hidden in a pocket in the base. This is blue with a large reflective “Keep Right” sign (or Keep Left on the Continent).

If you need more load space, the Broad Haven pack has similar features, more pockets and increases the volume to 18 litres.