Evoc’s classy commuter rucksack is rather like that other classic piece of modern, German design, the VW Golf; understated but tremendously practical. It also neatly solves one of those classic commuter problems – how to arrive by bike but still look professional.
Commuter rucksacks have flooded the market as cycling to work has made that jump from a quirky activity for eccentrics to almost-mainstream.
Bags come in an almost unlimited colour, style and material. German manufacturer Evoc already has an impressive range of high-end bags from the semi-pro to the commuter, tailored for cyclists, mountain climbers and others including special bags to transport bikes. Their range is serious and considered.
The Commuter is, naturally, for the commuter market. The version I’m trying is an 18L capacity, but there is a smaller 10L type.
First impressions are mixed. It’s in a striking, beautiful electric blue and made from a ripstop, tarpaulin finished in Cordura, beloved of the military and often used in motorcycle clothing – it’s extremely durable. The finish is not a million miles away from the recycled lorry covering used by Freitag or the Ortlieb dry bags.
On the down side, the finish does at first seem rather boxy – more of that later.
Going inside, it has a single large central section which includes a dedicated pocket for a laptop and a second pocket for an iPad. Unlike other bags on the market, the iPad pocket is just that – a pocket. The Osprey Cyber Port made this a feature of the whole bag, with limited success.
There is a second outer pocket that fills the front of the bag, is surprisingly large, and could perhaps fit an entire change of clothes.
Looking further inside there are the useful flaps and pouches perfect for a commuter. Stocking it up with my backpack list (see below), it gobbles the lot, including the often tricky LP, with enough room left over to cram a few bars of chocolate.
The ripstop PVC outer at first appears to be rather stiff and inflexible, but once you open it and start poking around, this initial impression is wrong. The bag is both stiff and flexible, the best of both worlds.
Design is understated, boxy, it doesn’t leap out at you other than in the striking colours, but it is really elegantly appropriate; as mentioned in some ways the approach reminds of that other modern German design classic, the VW Golf. While it doesn’t look bad, it doesn’t look fantastic either, but once inside it’s so well thought-out and considered that it’s impossible not to admire.
On the road the back padding is clumped into three pairs of pads that you can feel pressing onto your back. This is noticeable but it’s by no means uncomfortable. The three-point contact also means you don’t sweat quite as much you would with other bags; another bonus.
One final feature is the way the straps can be tucked neatly away to turn the backpack into a funky briefcase. This rather elegantly fixes one of the great dilemmas of the cycle commuter – how to appear professional when coming off a bike and arriving somewhere when you arrive with a bulky rucksack. This very simple solution gives a neat work-around. Suddenly the rucksack isn’t a rucksack.
Build quality and finish are very high throughout, from the outer fabric to the handles and straps. It can’t be faulted here. While the price tag is high compared to some other bags, the quality means it will certainly outlast many of them. My version is in a beautiful electric blue but there is a lemon yellow, a gun grey and a newer, lighter blue. None look anything less that great.
While the bag at first seems perhaps expensive, in nice colours but maybe a little dull, even with limited use the bag offers more and more. I’ve become so attached to mine that I have ditched most of my other bags in favour of it, and in a house with small children it has another great feature – it can be easily cleaned…
Price: 4 out of 5
Finish: 5 out of 5
Capacity: 5 out of 5
‘Sweat’ factor: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4.5 out of 5
1x 12” record
1x pair shoes
1x hardback book
1x pair jeans
1x large pad paper
Assorted pens, other detritus
RRP is around £119.95
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