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review

Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L

7
£105.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Not a cycling-specific bag, but thanks to a good fit and secure storage the Ruckas works very well on and off the bike
Loads of segregation
Good water resistance
Smart looks
Limited breathability on your back
Weight: 
87g

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The Chrome Industries Ruckas 23L Backpack is a daypack that works on the bike as well as off. With loads of storage options, it'll keep your stuff secure and dry too. That's not always the same for you, though, as limited ventilation at the rear can cause sweat patches.

> Buy now: Chrome Industries Ruckas 23L Backpack for £77.80 from Santa Fixie

Looking for a backpack? Check out our best cycling backpacks buyer's guide.

The Ruckas is available in three colours (black, oil green and natural) and all three give the look of a smart bag that works in the office, on public transport or on holiday just as well as it does on the bike.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - worn 4.jpg

It's made from recycled materials – an increasingly familiar theme these days – and I've found it tough, standing up well to general abuse such as being scuffed or chucked carelessly on the floor, showing no visible marks from general wear and tear. Water resistance is impressive, in fact I'd say the material is pretty much waterproof with heavy rain beading off the fabric, although none of the zips are sealed so water could eventually make its way in.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - worn 3.jpg

The front pocket has a storm flap that helps keep the stuff in there dry.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - top.jpg

And the bag itself has plenty of pockets – a front pocket that covers probably around two-thirds of the height of the Ruckas, with a gusseted water bottle pocket on the side.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - front pocket.jpg
2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - side pocket.jpg

There is a laptop padded pouch that sits closest to your back, though the bottom isn't padded, so you do have to be careful when placing the Ruckas on the floor.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - base.jpg

Chrome says that it will take a 15in laptop but I found that with a bit of wiggling through the zip opening my 15.6in model fitted just fine.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - side detail.jpg

You'll find internal pockets of various sizes for notebooks, tablets, pens and the like, while the bag's 23-litre volume means you can carry spare clothes and your lunch too.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - inside.jpg

All this storage also means your kit remains secure and doesn't bounce about when walking or riding.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - back padding.jpg

The Ruckas has two minimally padded straps, and while the bag is comfortable enough, I have come across more luxuriously padded straps. The straps offer lots of adjustability and there's a chest strap for extra security.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - worn 2.jpg

Most rucksacks designed primarily for cycling have quite thick mesh padded sections on the rear of the bag to provide an air channel over your back. This means that airflow is improved, and you don't get overly sweaty.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - side 2.jpg

The Ruckas isn't a pure cycling bag, though, so these sections aren't quite as pronounced. That means if you do ride hard, or it is very hot, you will end up with sweat patches on your clothes.

2023 Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L - side 1.jpg

When it's not on your back you can use the small handhold on the top, and there's a neat section on the rear made of 'seatbelt material', which you can attach to a wheeled suitcase's drag-along handle.

The bag's overall dimensions are 19.5in high, 11.25in wide and 8in deep.

Value

The overall quality is very high indeed, which I reckon goes a long way to justify the price tag. At £115 it's clearly far from cheap, but it's the same price as the Specialized/Fjallraven Cave that Hollis reviewed, though at 20 litres the Cave is a little smaller.

The Proviz Reflect360 doesn't have quite the high-end quality as the Ruckas, but I liked it for its volume, organisation and waterproofing, and it's well worth looking at for night-time commutes and it only costs £69.99.

The roll-top Craft Cadence backpack scored very well when Nick reviewed it. It's waterproof and is yours for £94.99.

I also reviewed the Altura Grid Travel bag, which like the Ruckas looks just as good off the bike and has various carrying options. It features a discrete reflective finish  and comes in much cheaper than the Ruckas at £70.

Conclusion

From a purely cycling point of view the Ruckas does a decent job, although it is well suited to upright, steady urban rides where you aren't likely to get too hot. And for that type of riding and everyday use I'd recommend the Ruckas very highly. It's a great-looking rucksack with loads of storage options.

Verdict

Not a cycling-specific bag, but thanks to a good fit and secure storage the Ruckas works very well on the bike

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Chrome Industries Ruckas Backpack 23L

Size tested: 23L

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Chrome says: "This new 23L backpack is all about access. Easily get to your gear through the side or top with it's 3/4 length main zipper. Made from recycled materials. Stow the essentials, and be ready for the day."

It's a good all-round day bag that works well on the bike.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Lightweight daypack with easy access 3/4 main zipper

Ergonomic shoulder strap design

Expandable, gusseted water bottle pocket

Exterior zip pocket for organization

Made from recycled materials, 300D Poly dobby with 900D Poly and a 15D Poly liner

Padded laptop sleeve, fits up to 15", actual size 14.5" x 11.5"

23L

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a comfortable bag for urban style riding, or as a general day-to-day backpack.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The bag has plenty of internal compartments for separating all your things and keeping them organised.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Minimal airflow next to your back.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Specialized/Fjallraven Cave is the same price, but slightly smaller. Others like the Proviz, Craft or Altura mentioned in the review are all a chunk of cash cheaper.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's on the pricier side compared to some of the opposition, but it is well made, roomy and comes with plenty of storage compartments.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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