Good Thinking

RiutBag helps keep thieving hands away from backpack belongings

RiutBag helps keep thieving ha...
The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin
The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin
View 4 Images
The RiutBag features straps with small pockets for storing travel tickets or boarding passes
The RiutBag features straps with small pockets for storing travel tickets or boarding passes
The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin
The RiutBag from UK designer Sarah Giblin
Concept sketch from earlier this year
Concept sketch from earlier this year
The final design of the RiutBag
The final design of the RiutBag
View gallery - 4 images

Traveling to work in the city on a crowded train or bus has become a necessary part of the daily grind for many urbanites, and the backpack is often the weapon of choice for the transport of commute necessities. But Sarah Giblin spotted a design flaw in this useful storage solution and set out to do something about it. The problem is that unless you take it off or wear it to the front when enjoying the rush hour squeeze, all of those exposed compartment zips are just asking for probing fingers to dip in and remove the contents. Giblin's answer is the RiutBag, which has no zips on the outer shell.

The waterproof RiutBag is made from foam-lined Cordura and Kevlar. All of the backpack's storage access points are placed against the wearer's back, which means that opportunist thieves will have quite a bit of work to do to get at the contents without being noticed. There's no need to worry about protruding zips making life on the road uncomfortable though, as the padding should prevent any contact.

The main compartment of the unisex RiutBag is big enough to hold a 15-inch laptop, and there's a pocket for small items like keys, a smartphone and a wallet. The backpack features an adjustable chest strap for comfort, a bottle holder on each side, with shaped recessing for a snug fit, and straps that have small pockets for storing travel tickets or boarding passes.

The final design of the RiutBag
The final design of the RiutBag

"The days before RiutBag existed, I used every plane, train and bus journey to sketch," said Giblin. "Traveling from London to Berlin by plane most weeks, I got plenty of observation market research done: my own feelings traveling alone with a normal rucksack, the other rucksacks out there and how people react to those around them."

Over a thousand commuters and city folk were also surveyed to help Giblin perfect the design, and two years after the original concept began to take shape, the final design is ready for commercial production.

To get the RiutBag onto the backs of urban commuters, Giblin has launched on Kickstarter. The amount backers will need to pledge for this backpack varies according to when they want to receive it, should all go to plan. The cheapest level is £45 (about US$70) for May 2015 shipping. Impatient travelers can stump up £100 for estimated delivery in February.

Have a look at the pitch video below for a closer look at the RiutBag.

Sources: Riut blog, Kickstarter

View gallery - 4 images
This won't work in China. People wear backpack in the front to avoid someone cutting the backpack to remove its content.
Chris Maresca
Crumpler made (makes?) a camera backpack exactly like this. I bought one to use as my only travel back, removing the camera specific internals...
It doesn't state the purpose, but possibly the kevlar mentioned in the material list is to stop would-be thieves from simply slitting the bag to access contents, or cutting a strap and running off with your bag.
Topload bags also lack zippers, making them harder to access covertly.
I watched the whole video, but still not sure what they were describing. Did they just move the zipper to access the bag to a different location?
OK. Maybe I got this wrong, but there is a small storage space for keys, smartphones and other small items, all of which are desirable and that space has the zipper on the outside. Also, it needs (in my opinion) a place where one can get to their phone immediately, and not have to take the pack off in order to undo the zipper to get to the phone. You cannot part the modern person from the smartphone for any length of time you know.
Great idea, but Chris Maresca is's been done several times already. Crumpler made the Crumpler The Karachi Outpost Gear Carrier-M KO-02-01B and I think may still make the Crumpler C List Celebrity. If you Google them, you'll see a remarkable similarity in shape and features. (Photographers don't want their gear stolen.)
Kind of reminds me when another british company announced they'd spend thousands of hours inventing a breakthrough new camo system...only to show the already existing Crye Precision MultiCam pattern. Perhaps they're just trying to save a great idea from obscurity. It does look a little smaller and lighter than Crumpler.
The Crumpler backpacks are photographer's backpacks, with little "shelves" and "cubby boxes" for the lenses, filters, camera body, etc.. This RiutBag is apparently a general-purpose backpack.
High Spirit Bags Ltd are actually the first to do this!! Their product is already in the market and they already own this market and their bags look really good. They were also featured in the Guardian.
They also make all their bags from slash proof material and their bags are all made in London.
Ogio makes a fantastic bag that is already a huge improvement on what is shown here. All access is on the side that faces the wearer's back; there is no way even the most adept pickpocket could remove anything form this pack without the wearer noticing it. The exterior portion is a hard plastic surface and was primarily designed for aerodynamics as its market is focused for motorcycle usage. But I use mine for the motorcycle and everyday use. The user reviews for this bag are almost all 5 star ratings, and they certainly reflect my experience with this bag after two and a half years of heavy daily use.
Also a great feature of this bag is that it was designed with the use of gloved hands in mind.