Riut blog

Maximum carry-on backpack. RiutBag R25: Secure. Smart. Simple. 2017

from Sarah Giblin, RiutBag designer

"No loss, no opportunistic crime, no accidentally undone zips. Just calm, confident travel." 

Secure RiutBag concept

Commuting with a backpack, laptop and belongings for years, I realised one day that the person behind you can get into your backpack more easily than you. Isn't that strange? When I left my office job to design the first ever RiutBag - backwards backpack - in 2014, I had one focus: to turn the world's backpacks round the right way. RiutBags have no zips on the outer side. Instead, they are all protected by your back. In busy urban spaces, this means we can travel worry-free, focussing on the things important to us. No loss, no opportunistic crime, no accidentally undone zips. Just calm, confident travel.

I'm Sarah Giblin. Backpack user and commuter turned designer. Riut stands for Revolution in user thinking because I design from our point of view - i.e. from the user's stand point - and I build new RiutBags based on the feedback of my RiutBag users.

Maximum carry-on backpack, RiutBag R25

Getting from the first sketches to the prototype and through two Kickstarter campaigns means I can now expand the RiutBag design to help different types urban travellers. The RiutBag R25 is for those people who want to use the maximum space allowed on flights allowing cabin baggage up to 55 x 40 x 20 cm.

Who uses a RiutBag R25?

Like me, R25 users get on national and international flights for work, to visit friends and family, or to head on holiday. Often we take advantage of low fare airlines so we really travel at the price of the ticket and no more. We want to use one backpack to cover most eventualities: it's smart enough for work yet designed to be casual enough that you can use it on holiday without looking like your still stuck at the office. That's why it's helpful that the RiutBag R25 - and the whole R range - has a 15 inch laptop compartment, space for straight documents and a trolley backpack holder but looks the part for smart or casual use.

Important design features for travellers

RiutBag R25, R15 and R10 materials are waterproof Cordura - very hardwearing material - and has an anti-abrasive and waterproof base. I am a frequent traveller, so I know the importance of having a hardwearing backpack that protects your belongings - especially your laptop! - and is comfortable and quick to get through airport security. 

Here's a 1 minute video of how to quickly and easily remove and replace your laptop at airport security using an R15 - the back design is exactly the same on the R25, R15 and R10.

I'm always prototyping and thinking about solutions to the travel problems we face. My goal is to ensure we can travel securely so we are able to move more confidently and, dare I say it, stress-free in our busy urban spaces. Travel does not have to involve stress and concern. We can choose designs that help us reduce our stress levels.

That's all for now! If you think the RiutBag is a good idea and you know someone who would benefit from the worry-free travel, please share the design with them. Many thanks! Wishing you safe, calm travels. 

Which backpack should I get? Riut's comparison chart 2017


Riut's backpack 2017 comparison chart let's your see easily which backwards backpack is the correct size, capacity, has the right features and fits your budget.

Most of us want a backpack that helps us with the things we have to do every day and for other occasions: commuting through wind and rain, carrying a laptop and documents or just helping us keep all our belongings safe on holiday. RiutBag R10, R15 and R25 are designed to be smart enough for work with a suit, but casual enough to use at the weekend or on holiday.

All RiutBags are backwards - that means they have only zips against your back, so when you wear it you naturally protect the openings. No more zip checking or concern on busy trains and buses. RiutBag let's you actually relax and enjoy your new experiences on holiday, or have time to yourself on your commute without any concern for your belongings.

Now that we've turned the backpack round the Riut way, which one gives you what you need? 

which best backpack buy for work holiday laptop 2017

New 2017 RiutBag R25, maximum carry-on luggage backpack. Does it work in practice?

Safe backwards backpack RiutBag starts 2017 with its largest capacity design yet: RiutBag R25 £129 ships 1 Feb 2017, 25 litre safe backpack for airlines accepting up to 55cm x 40cm x 20cm on board.

When I designed the first RiutBag in 2013, I built it for the commuter and digital nomad. I want travellers and commuters to move around with peace of mind, thinking about the things they want to focus on. That's why I removed all the zips from the outside of the RiutBag and planned them against your back. So, when you wear it, your zips are perfectly protected by your back.



New 2017 RiutBag R25, 25 litre

All RiutBags are carry-on safe. Until now, the R10 and R15 have been well within the carry-on restrictions for national and international flights. I'm able, for the first time, to reveal the RiutBag R25 which moves up to the maximum size limit for travellers who use a range of airlines. 

What size is the RiutBag R25?

I've built the RiutBag R25 to the size 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.5 in x 15.5in x 7.5 inches). This is the current (25 Jan 2017) size restriction on carry-on luggage by airline Ryanair in the UK. Notoriously strict on luggage limits, this airline is a good measure for what will be allowed on other airlines too.

Like the rest of the R range (RiutBag R10 and R15) RiutBag R25 carries a 15 inch laptop, A4 documents straight, has two water bottle holders, a trolley suitcase strap, D-pocket and top pocket. It comes with four coloured - red, green, blue, pink - and reflective RiutBands.

Does it work in practice?

I have tested the RiutBag R25 on two key points: 1) Is it allowed on a range of airlines, nationally in the UK and internationally? 2) Can it carry a large amount?

A family member of mine has moved from England to New Zealand. I decided to travel to visit them taking only a RiutBag R25 for 30 days with no check-in luggage. I packed everything I needed into the R25 and set off.

Contents: I travelled from deepest winter in Berlin, through Beijing in winter and landed at the start of summer in New Zealand. The practical way to deal with this in terms of packing was to wear winter clothing and pack summer clothing. This meant travelling for 30 days was easier because the contents of the RiutBag R25 was thinner, lighter weight clothing and shoes. Using laundry service 3 times over 4 weeks meant I could pack more economically too.

What I packed in my R25 for 30 days to NZ with no check in luggage. I carried all my clothes and my portable office - laptop, hard drive, chargers, phone, documents - in my R25 with me.

What I packed in my R25 for 30 days to NZ with no check in luggage. I carried all my clothes and my portable office - laptop, hard drive, chargers, phone, documents - in my R25 with me.

When you're living out of one large backpack for a month - including laptop, chargers, external hard disk and important documents - you must be selective. But I was able to do it, and I even managed to fit a few (slim) presents in on the way back.

Which airlines accept the RiutBag R25?

My test journey started, on this occasion, in Berlin, Germany. I always fly via the cheapest options which means I tend to have to think hard about luggage restrictions:

Berlin, Germany > London Gatwick - EasyJet

London Heathrow > Beijing - Air China

Beijing, China > Auckland , NZ - Air China

Auckland, NZ > Wellington, NZ -  Air New Zealand

Wellington, NZ > Auckland, NZ - JetStar

Auckland, NZ > Beijing - Air China

Beijing, China > London Heathrow - Air China

London Stansted > Berlin, Germany - Ryanair


The RiutBag R25, completely packed full, was accepted on all flights and is within the accepted luggage size for all these airlines. I took the RiutBag R25 onboard with no questions asked every time. It is too big to fit under the seat in front when packed fully, however, it fits perfectly into the overhead lockers on all flights.

Size is not a problem. The only thing to watch out for is weight. If you fill your RiutBag with heavy items, it could well tip over the weight limit on your flight. On one of my flights, I was asked to check the weight of my RiutBag. I'd managed to cram my coat and an extra jumper into it. So I removed those, carried them on one arm and came back within the weight limit for my flight. 


RiutBag story so far

I built the RiutBag for people who want to carry plenty - valuables, tech and the other important contents of a daily backpack - but don't want to give a second thought to their valuables once their bag is packed. The person who travels through busy towns and cities most days: they walk, jump on buses, run to catch trains, trams and tubes. The RiutBag commuter wants to be able to carry a laptop in their backpack, documents straight and fill their backpack with gym clothes, or extras for a weekend trip away. 

Thanks to over 2,500 backers on Kickstarter, we took this idea and turned it into the first ever RiutBag. I then asked for their user feedback and rebuilt the RiutBag to take their feedback into account and the RiutBag R10 and R15 resulted. The R10 and R15 are in their third iteration. Now the RiutBag R25 joins the R range of safe backwards backpacks.

Read the full story and infographic here: www.riut.co.uk/riutbag-story



Best laptop backpack for travel 2016? [Video] Commute and travel with RiutBag, safe backpack

Backpacks are fantastic. They are useful, they carry huge amounts, evenly distributed over our shoulders, whilst keeping our hands totally free :) But now it's time for us to ask for more from our backpacks because we are carrying expensive technology which access masses of personal and business data, important items such as our passport, smartphone, wallet, camera and all the things we want to keep on us and just never lose. And, we travel a lot in ever busier cities.

I don't just want you to hope your belongings are safe, I want you to know they are safe. That's why I created the award winning RiutBag: a backwards backpack which cannot be opened by anyone but you. And now, thanks to all the RiutBag users' thinking, I am shaping RiutBags to keep meeting the challenges of the commute, air travel and travel through busy towns and cities.

RiutBag is A'Design 2016 platinum award winner for travel design. Check out this video to see if you've got everything you need for comfortable, safe city travel:


What's the best backpack for travellers and commuters? One that provides on the go access to phone/passport/keys, has an anti-abrasive and waterproof base material, waterproof Cordura outer shell, cushioned 15" laptop holder, trolley suitcase strap, comfortable handle, reflective bands, chest strap - adjustable and removable, like the RiutBag.

Riut's Christmas message 2016

We can travel together
We are fellow travellers
We can travel safely
With peace of mind.


As long as I make RiutBags, this will be my message: "there are a lot of good people around". I'll say it every year. When you're on a full train of tired, agitated commuters; when you're busily racing down the high street trying to find a gift at the last moment; when you're squeezing on to a busy underground train. All those people are your fellow travellers. They are just like you. They are trying to get somewhere too. They aren't your aggressors, they aren't out to get you. You and your belongings are safe. And we can adapt to our busy cities. Sometimes we just need a little help. RiutBags are there to help you feel as safe as you are, to help you feel calm and to reduce your stress levels. Imagine what cities, commuting and holidays would be like we we all felt secure and calm.

Thank you for all the energetic support you give this design. The RiutBag is now nearly two years old :) Thanks to you it has grown from an idea ("I think the conventional backpack design is making people stressed out!") to a reality. Read the RiutBag story here: www.riut.co.uk/riutbag-story


Written and performed by Sarah Giblin. RiutBag user, Riut founder and RiutBag designer