Vulpine have just launched a new website along with new accessories. Among them, is their first ever bag offering. If their clothing range is anything to go by, the bag was something I was eager to get my hands on.
Here at London Cyclist, we are big fans of Vulpine kit and we have reviewed their clothing before. Up until this point they have stuck to clothing and have been remarkably successful on this front. Therefore, I had high hopes for this rucksack. Vulpine generally have great attention to detail and their products are as functional on the bike as off.
The bag costs £149, putting it up there with other higher end commuting products, but not quite into Brooks territory. This kind of price is generally in line with other Vulpine offerings and nicer fabric briefcases, which it could replace in the right office environment. It is a little steep though for what is a relatively small, simple bag. There is no stated capacity, but I would guess somewhere around 20 liters.
The rucksack is quite rectangular and slim. However, as it is a panel loader it has a zip and opens up around the edges, allowing for very easy access to inside. There is also a flap over the top which anchors with a metal buckle at the front. The flap contains a small zip pocket with key clip. the main compartment has a padded, suspended laptop sleeve and two good sized organizer pockets. There are webbing loops on the outside front of the bag for a blinkey light or d-lock.
The main body of the bag is constructed from Cordura, with mesh-covered foam back pads and straps. On the front of the bag there is a black strip which is reflective, and a small strip of this material is also on the shoulder straps (shining slightly in the image above).
The bag is very sleek and fits well against the back, which makes looking over your shoulder easy. It also doesn’t feel bulky and the bag does not move around on the back, so it is very stable when cycling quickly. Because it is so sleek it looks good on and off the bike.
It is deceptively spacious. The laptop pocket is a great size for my 13″ machine which just disappears and doesn’t seem to take up any internal space. I even managed to squeeze a very large 15″ PC in there, the large zip opening really helps. Documents, folders and notebooks fit well. I don’t actually go to an office, unless you count my living room, so I also used it to carry various things around London all day, including clothing and it did this well too.
The back panel is padded and that does help get some air through, but it did still make me a bit hot. However, it was not as bad as some bags I have tried. There is no way that anything could poke you in the back, even with the worst packing job. The bag was comfortable on several cross-town trips on both the up right Brompton and the road bike.
The fabrics are robust and seem durable. The zip is coated and the fabrics seem pretty water repellent, with the bonus of being able to put them under the flap in bad weather (also good for security off the bike). I did not get soaked while using it but it did get exposed to some fairly heavy precipitation and it did well. The fabric seems tough and became nicely malleable with use without feeling like it was wearing at all. I also liked that the inside of the bag is bright green, which makes visualizing the contents very easy.
I really like having a pocket on a rucksack that I can get to without taking the bag off. I am fine if it takes some arm contortion to get to, but I want it there. I like being able to get my keys out without taking the bag off. The pocket in the lid is too small for my phone, but not very easy to get to for my keys. I did end up stashing my keys in there so they didnt get lost in the main bag, but it was not easy to get to at all.
The metal buckle looks really nice but it is a little fiddly to use. It is not really possible to just push the buckle together, you have to hold the sides in.
I really like the Laptop Commuter, it is comfortable and spacious enough for most of my daily uses. It is nicely slimline and suitably urban without trying too hard. After some initial teething issues I found it easy to use and get my stuff into and out of. The bag carries the usual Vulpine attention to detail and is finished well, which goes a long way to justifying the price. Its never too early to think about Christmas lists after all.
It is very stable on the back, and does not have excessive chest and waist straps that I have to tuck out of the way. A meshy side pocket or something easy access would make it an absolute winner. Maybe something for version 2?
Head over and check out Vulpine’s new website and nab yourself a Laptop Commuter rucksack for £149