Rux collapsible gear boxes carry essentials to distant base camps
From auctioned military-surplus weapons cases, to shipping-grade aluminum boxes, to basic hardware-store plastic totes, there are already many different options for carrying gear and general provisions around vehicle and campsite. Canadian startup Rux finds a careful balance between the hard box and the soft-sided packing cube to create a smarter, more purposeful all-carry option. Its Rux 70 all-in-one adventure bag is designed to pack like a box, carry like a bag or backpack, and strap down and ride like a ruggedized case.
Instead of just launching another hard-sided case made out of plastic or aluminum, or another luggage-ready soft-sided packable cube, Rux pulls some of the best elements from both to create 70-L boxes from pliable TPU-coated 840D nylon. The box base and lid are made from TPU-coated molded EVA foam. The construction is meant to offer tough, weatherproof storage capable of riding on a vehicle roof rack, while having the ability to compress down to the size of its contents for the absolute most efficient use of space.
Rux's collapsibility also means that the 40 x 50 x 35-cm (16 x 20 x 14-in, W x L x D) boxes can pack all the way down to a height of 8 cm (3.1 in) when totally empty, saving space when they're not needed. In this way, you can get a Rux box out of the way once it's no longer holding anything, as might be the case on the drive home from a camping trip.
Each Rux 70 can carry up to 50 lb (22.6 kg) and includes a handy transparent window so users can quickly identify what's in it without having to flip lids. The modular straps offer multiple carry options, including the basic grab-and-haul and a backpack configuration.
Rux backs its products with a lifetime warranty, so we imagine its nylon is plenty tough enough to hold up to typical outdoor and travel use. It also reinforces the nylon with bistable steel corners, a rigid rim and mount-ready side rails. Still, we wouldn't trust it the same way we would a hard-sided case like an Alu-Box or Pelican, especially for fragile provisions like dishes or electronics.
Like our favorite hard boxes, the Rux 70 has straight walls for the best space efficiency, eliminating the lost space you get with highly tapered boxes. With the lid secured on top, the Rux boxes are also stackable, so long as you pack them tightly and place lighter boxes atop heavier ones. The side rails and straps work for lashing the boxes down, and available mounts allow them to hang up on the slat wall one might find in a camper van or a garage workshop.
Rux's design seems like a well-thought-out replacement for a duffel bag or other light crate, but not so much for situations that demand the most rugged box. And at US$265, the Rux 70 is priced more like a rugged hard-sided box than a soft-sided pack. In fact, while the Rux 70 might be less expensive than comparably sized options from the likes of Zarges, it's more expensive than tough, overland-specific hard cases like the $245 23Zero 70-L Overland Gear Box or $159 Ironman 4x4 Maxi Case 60 L. Front Runner Wolf Packs (South African ammo boxes), which are so ubiquitous in overlanding that some camper slides and compartments are sized specifically to hold them, run just $41.
The Rux 70 does have some advantages over hard cases, including a weight of just 4.4 lb (2 kg), but its price is also multiple times more expensive than other collapsible carry options, ranging from hard-sided folding crates with lids, to soft, collapsible car organizers. We just can't see choosing a Rux at that price point.
But maybe we just have too much summer dust and smog in our eyes. Last December, Rux managed to surpass its Indiegogo goal ... 22 times over. Those first boxes did come with early bird pricing, but they were still over $200 apiece. So, despite the high price, the Rux 70 has found itself some fans who don't mind paying to get a purpose-built carry box that meets their exacting needs. If you happen to be one of those fans, you'll be happy to know that Rux is delivering Indiegogo units now and officially launched the Rux 70 this week via major online retailers including Backcountry, Evo, Huckberry and Moosejaw. It plans to add direct website sales in the coming weeks.