REVIEWED: RiutBag R10 ‘backward backpack’

With anti-theft design at its core, this new kind of backpack is ideal for using as a carry-on, for conferences, and as an urban day-sack

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Before you ask, it’s not a German company. ‘Riut’ stands for ‘Revolution in user thinking’, which is a little odd. After all, who wants to be called a ‘user’? Anyway, here’s a bag that turns regular design on its head by … opening backwards.

Back to basics

This, the smaller version of the Riut (TravGear always goes for the smallest), is designed for commuting, international travel and, yes, the ‘urban native’. Its core philosophy is that not much can be tampered with while it’s strapped to your back. So aside from a handy small pocket near a grab handle at the top, only when you take it off can any of the main compartments be accessed. The first is the D-pocket at the base of the back panel, which is perfect for storing a passport, keys and a phone. It also acts as lumber padding.

Inside story

The interior of the R10 is a little cramped. Yes, we like small, but there’s not much room for anything except the bare basics. Perhaps a shirt and some underwear could sit in the free space between the pockets, but not much else. But those pockets …

Pocket rocket

Inside on the back-facing panel are four neoprene pockets, one for a laptop and three others (the lower of which can take an iPad Mini and also has a support for a phone). There’s also a netting pocket on the inside-front to act as a wash-kit or cable-storer. Perhaps most useful of all for this size of bag is a strap on the back which means the R10 can be looped over the pole of a trolley suitcase. That’s awesome on your way to and from an airport.

Band on the run

The R10 also comes with reflective red, blue, green and pink bands that make the bag easily identifiable at the airport, though you’re probably not going to be checking-in the R10; that particular feature is of more use to cyclists.

Material world

It’s all very functional, and all very well designed, but the Riut bag does suffer slightly from the materials it uses. Neoprene makes for unnecessarily thick pockets, while the simple foam back and straps have a rudimentary and rather stiff feel to them. It would also have been nice to have a soft-lined pocket on the top for storing sunglasses.

Cabin fever

It does need a little wearing-in, but the R10 – which sits close to the back so is great in crowds – makes for an excellent option as carry-on luggage, more conferences and exhibitions, and for (very) short trips away.

Price as reviewed: £89

Buy the RiutBag R10