As the world slowly begins moving again, airports are starting to fill up, trains are busier, and with people getting back to normal, the need for safe travel returns. RiutBag, the creators of the secure backwards backpack, has just launched its new R15.4 pack, an evolution of the 2017 R15.3 after a feedback campaign collating some 20,000 of its users.

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RiutBag R15.4 Secure Backpack

Despite most of the world not travelling for the last 12-15 months, RiutBag didn’t want to stand still. At the worst point of the global pandemic, they designed, tested and brought to market the RiutBag+, a secure backpack made with medical professionals in mind that’s easy to clean and non-porous, which helps to stop the spread of the virus.

But, as the loyal following of RiutBag users knew, it was the new R15.4 secure backpack that many were waiting for, and I’m one of them, and it’s finally arrived on Kickstarter.

I test and review plenty of good, and some not so good, backpacks for this site, but the backpack behind the scenes, the one I always travel with here in London, or any of the cities around the world I visit, my own default go-to backpack is the R15.3, every time!

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It even made the best backpack for travel in my 2019 Best Travel Gadget guide. So, whats new on the R15.4?

New Features

Firstly, if you’re new to RiutBag or wondering what makes it any more secure than any other backpack, the answer is in how it’s built. Sarah Giblin, the creator, designer and owner of RiutBag, made the original and all subsequent models back to front. There’s no opening or zippers accessible to someone behind you whilst you’re wearing the pack. They’re all concealed against your back.

That’s why its called secure, whilst many other brands choose to say “anti-theft” which just isn’t true.

As I began with, this is an evolution rather than a brand new backpack, and whilst the styling looks similar to its predecessor, the RiutBag R15.4 does have some welcome changes for 2021.

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The internal space has been increased slightly from 20 up to 22L capacity and has the laptop pocket section from the larger X35 backpack. This is good news for two reasons. More room for our belongings without massively increasing the overall size of the pack is a good thing, but the new 15.6″ laptop pocket allows for some of today’s bigger notebooks to be carried.

And, the good news here is that RiutBag claims the current 16″ MacBook Pro fits this pocket too. There’s a smaller pocket for tablets attached to this, both of which are to the rear of the pack and against your back when being worn.

More Storage

Inside, RiutBag uses bright contrasting colour to the black Nylon exterior, so it’s easier to find and see smaller items. The R15.4 has replaced yellow for a rather fetching Aqua/Green, again taken from the X35. However, smaller items now have their own home on the R15.4, thanks to user requests on Apple AirTags.

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There are now five internal pockets of various sizes for all of your tech. To the front of the laptop/tablet section are two mesh zipper pockets for chargers, cables and larger peripherals and are the same as the R15.3. I can attest to the fact these really do work well.

I fill both of mine up to near breaking point and yet both still look as good as new when empty!

The inside front cover is the largest internal pocket, again made from the same mesh material and finished with a zipper. Then there are two new smaller pockets on the sides—a perfect new home for those AirTags.

// Media RiutBag YouTube Channel.

Improved External Pockets

Externally there are a further two concealed pockets on the RuitBag R15.4 that sit against your lower and upper back. At the top is the quick access pocket, which is generously deep on the R15.3, so I expect it to remain so here.

At the bottom of the R15.4 backpack is a D Pocket, which appears in the press images to be slightly bigger than the previous model; theres also a new key holder inside. This pocket is perfect for your passport or travel documents and easy to access and open/close whilst being worn.

A significant change is to the water bottle pockets. On the old model, either side was built into the side of the backpack, which meant that whilst the bottles sat flush on the outside of the pack, they would take up space internally. Now, I fear I’m probably in the minority of users who preferred it that way, but on the RiutBag R15.4 backpack, they are now firmly on the outside.

Using a new stretchy lycra material, each pocket can accommodate up to a 2L water bottle. That’s impressive.

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RiutBag R15.4 Backpack Specifications

RiutBag R15.4
Dimensions50 x 35 x 20cm
Colour OptionsBlack/Aqua
Laptop PouchRecommended up to 15.6″
Can fit 16″ MacBook Pro
Water-ResistantYes, up to 30 mins in heavy rain
Key Features5x Internal Pockets
2x External Pockets
Adjustable Shoulder Straps
Sternum Strap
2x Bottle Holders
Waist Strap (optional)
AirTags Pocket

R15.4 Pricing

As with other RiutBag Backpack models, the R15.4 is starting on Kickstarter, and if you’re quick enough, you could secure the new backpack for 40% off RRP. The secure R15.4 backpack from RiutBag will be £120 when it goes on general sale.

Tom Says…

Although I’m sad to see externally stowed ones replace the semi-internal water bottle side pouches, the new lycra fabric extends the length of the pack so it doesn’t leave any part of the bottle exposed, and therefore, it won’t snag on others in tight spaces during a busy commute.

My R15.3 is one of the most comfortable backpacks I’ve owned due to the well-padded straps and adjustable sternum strap, both of which return on the RiutBag R15.4. Even when fully loaded, the backpack distributes the weight very well across your shoulders and back.

After constant use and many flights over several years, my R15.3 is as good as new, and I’m confident RiutBag will ensure the new R15.4 backpack delivers the same durability. The Kickstarter campaign is only live for a week, so act fast!

Tom Payne
Tom, Editor. An online publication providing news & reviews on apps, gadgets and luggage for the connected traveller.


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