RiutBag started life as a Kickstarter – a Kickstarter that delivered and is now thriving. It’s a simple but brilliant idea. The RiutBag doesn't feature any zips on its front, making it near-impenetrable to would-be thieves. It’s the perfect everyday bag to take with you on packed commuter trains, to concerts, or anywhere else you may feel exposed among crowds.
The R10 is the 10-litre version – a larger 15-litre bag includes a handy bottle holder. However, both accommodate up to 15-inch laptops, and feature a similar internal layout with ample space for full, A4-sized documents and enough pens to start your own travelling stationary shop.
It’s the attention to detail that makes the RiutBag so great. Small details, such as the elastic loops for neatly containing loose straps, show that it's been crafted with plenty of thought. Yet this isn't reflected in the price – while £80 isn’t cheap, it’s certainly reasonable compared to what you could spend on such a bag.
Instead of accessing the bag through an obvious zip at the front, the main compartment of the bag opens at the back. It opens wide like a book too, so it’s easy to get to any items that are sitting right at the bottom of the bag. I hate fumbling around blindly, so this design works for me.
The array of helpful pouches and pockets – an impressive number given the bag’s slim dimensions – make it simple to organise the contents of your bag. There are two zipped net pockets, another zipped neoprene pocket big enough for a Kindle (or book), and a simple slip in and out slot for documents, folders and other A4-shaped items.
The main laptop compartment is well protected on all sides and includes straps to hold your laptop in place. Ample padding at the bottom protects your laptop when you put your bag down, and the bottom of the bag is waterproof too.
This is a comfortable bag to hold. Chunky, breathable padding at the back prevents any annoying chafing or prodding, and it’s sculpted to let air in and prevent sweating. There’s even a chest strap for when you’re carrying a heavy load, although I rarely had cause to use it.
The RiutBag also includes a trio of useful, easy access external pockets, albeit ones that are discreet enough that thieves can’t get at them. Two, one on each strap, are perfect for storing travel cards for example, while a larger one at the back can hold a phone, passport, tissues and a few more bits and bobs.
And RiutBag takes the Pimp My Ride approach to pen holders – the company heard you liked pens, so it provides you with pen holders for your pens, 12 in total. I'm not sure that there will be many folk who will need that number, but if you do then the RiutBag has you covered.
Not much, but here a few things of which you should be aware. First, the R10 lacks any storage for bottles, so your only option is to place a bottle loose inside the bag; the R15 adds a dedicated holder, however.
The RiutBag also isn’t the most stylish bag I've seen – I had the grey version, but in my opinion the black one looks sleeker.
Camera owners should look elsewhere, too. The two mesh pockets were fine for my Panasonic Lumix GX7 and two lenses, but they’re difficult to get to if you want to take a snap on the spur of the moment, and too small for anything larger than the above model.
This isn’t a criticism per se, since the RiutBag isn’t designed for cameras, but it’s worth considering if you carry one often.
Finally, while the laptop slot is fine for laptops 13-inches or larger, there is a danger that smaller laptops and tablets could slip out. While the two straps hold bigger machines in place securely, smaller ones – I carry a Surface 3 around with me sometimes – move around far more. However, a little care when opening the bag will avoid any accidents.
I’m fussy about bags, but the RiutBag R10 has won me over. It’s comfortable, crammed with useful additions, and its clever design when it comes to security is very reassuring. Which version you opt for will depend on your individual needs, but in my opinion you won't go far wrong with either.
An ingenious, thoughtful and secure bag that’s perfect for busy commuters.