Review: Review: Rapha Backpack. 6 months later
Expensive, comfortable and practical. The best backpack I’ve ever owned!
I wear many hats in my life, I’m a husband and father, a student and a cyclist to boot. I juggle, metaphorically, and my life is one of busyness with to-ings and fro-ings aplenty. Why do I say this (rhetorical), not to elicit sympathy but to give you a sense of the controlled chaos that seems to fill my life – and this chaos demands that things don’t get missed, dropped or waylaid, because if they do, there’s a strong chance that they whatever got affected may stay unmowed, unpainted, lost or simply not done for a long time!
So how’s a backpack relevant to this? and more importantly, why specifically the Rapha Backpack?
I’ve been using the Rapha backpack for about 6 months now, and it has become a stalwart of my daily wardrobe, to the extent that it’s highly unlikely I’ll be leaving the home without it unless I’m going out proper riding. Whether it’s university, trips into town, or even just taking number 2 son to football, the backpack comes with me, invariably holding books and computers in. This high-intensity usage broke 3 bags in just 2 months last year, and it’s really testament to the build quality of this bag that in the 6 months I’ve been using it there have been no rips, tears or even just threads coming loose. It’s been absolutely solid this whole time!
On a daily basis it will have around 5 – 8 kilos of things in it, yet despite this it remains comfortable, the laptop stays in its inner sleeve, handily kept snug by an internal velcro strap. Books, shoes, clothing, pretty much everything that’s needed for daily life at university is contained within, with zips, pockets, pouches and slots for almost every conceivable eventuality. STOP PRESS!!! so ingenious is the use of space that I’ve just noticed another slot for keeping papers etc straight – and the reason I’ve noticed it? Just looking at the photo’s on the Rapha website and it was there!
So we know it works as a bag, and it’s tough, but what about on the bike?
Well, it’s comfy, with the padding on the back providing comfort and respite from jagged edges and the raised pads providing space for air-flow to keep you cool – I actually recall the first time i wore this and noticed how much cooler my back was than the previous bag i used. Straps, and the rear of the bag all feature very subtle reflectives as part of the webbing, so as to go unnoticed in normal life but adding great visibility at night times, with a light-loop on the rear should you wish to attach a light as well.
At £150 it’s an expensive item for your commute, however if you are using every day then it’s really money well spent and even better when you look to the bottom of the bag.
At the base of the backpack is another hidden slot, and behind this zip is a bright pink (well it is Rapha after all) rucksack cover! The website lists this separately as well at a pretty standard £20, so i think it certainly helps the price of the bag itself. The pink is bright, as in very, as in I saw another rider with this bag and he was visible – and more importantly I think noticeable – from the best part of half a mile away. The pink really stands out from the plethora of yellow covers out there and in that respect it does a sterling job. It’s also waterproof (pretty much) and withstood 30 mins of vile commuting, much more and it starts to struggle, especially without a rear mudguard!
I use the cover every day (it washes nicely on friday night) as I feel it really aids visibility with traffic, and at night it has a reflective Rapha logo on the rear to help see me- admittedly this is getting a bit scuffed now, but that can be rectified easily enough.
So, to sum up; it’s comfy, well designed, long-lasting, and comes with safety features built in. It’s undoubtedly expensive, but absolutely worth the price if you are going to be using it frequently and especially if lugging around a day’s worth of stuff!