The Rapha Roll Top Backpack is good looking and spacious but could be improved with the addition of a waist strap to make it suitable for longer commutes.
Lack of waist strap
Only comfortable for short journeys
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Staying on top of recent trends, The Rapha Roll Top Backpack is modelled on the bags favoured by bike couriers. It's tough, being made out of a substantial material that feels resolutely bombproof. This thick touch is reassuring, especially if you carry anything fragile, but it does add weight to the bag.
The chunky rucksack has a waxy finish that did a good job of keeping out the torrential rain we've been subjected to recently. It kept my laptop and clothes snug and dry despite my fears that the deluge would saturate the bag.
Its rectangular shape, and in particular its base, helps the bag stand up on its own when you put it down or need to rummage inside it, which proved very useful at train stations. It's also very spacious, gobbling up 25 litres of cargo – that's four more litres than the Ortlieb Commuter Daypack City. However, it's not as comfortable as the Ortlieb when filled to the brim.
It has a laptop sleeve and one zipped pocket internally meaning it's not as easy to organise as the Ortlieb, which has four or five internal slots for essentials.
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The main difference in comfort comes from a waist strap, or the Rapha bag's lack thereof. This omission means that when the bag is filled to the brim there's no way to tighten it, so when you're in the riding position it can shift up your back or move from side to side.
On short rides or when riding in an upright position the bag was fine. However, my commutes require me to lug clothes, laptop and food on a 22km slog and for this it wasn't comfortable. Cinching the shoulder straps so the bag sat comfortably on the back meant the straps sat above the shoulders – and then closing that gap meant having the bag too far down my back. I unfortunately couldn't find a happy medium.
See more: Rapha Roll Top Backpack at Rapha.cc
There are some nice design details on the outside of the bag. For example, the base of the bag is high-vis and there are hoops running up the front for attaching a D-lock. A side zip is useful for for storing your keys or wallet for quick access.
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