With the days still winter-short, there isn't much choice but to commute in the dark for most. Even with lights, anything to aid the visibility to other road users is a plus. A fluorescent bag is a wise addition, as it increases one's visible area. The Polaris RBS Radar Pack is a simple but effective offering.
The bag is a relatively basic backpack. A full length zip around three-quarters of the bag allows it to open like a clam shell, for easy access and packing of its 25l capacity. Inside the main void there is nothing more complicated than a netted laptop pouch. The place to stash and separate small items is the secondary clamshell on front of the main one. This area features three divisions and a zipped, phone sized pouch.
Twenty-five litres is enough for most short commutes, to fit your lunch and other bits and bobs. You'd struggle to get a full change of clothes in it but I imagine most looking for a bag like this have already considered the sizing for their needs.
A cushioned back with removable foam that gives the bag form makes the backpack comfortable to wear (you can put a hydration pack in place of the foam). There isn't much to the straps but for the capacity of the bag it shouldn't cause much problem. It isn't a terribly technical design but I found it suitable and inoffensive on my back for my short ride to work. Braces clip around the waist, with pocket and fluorescent material for a small amount of extra front visibility.
The primary selling point for the bag - high visibility - is well ticked. The majority of the bag is fluorescent lime-yellow colour, with reflective printed chevrons and text - creating a almost glowing bulge on the wearer's back. If you don't think this is enough, or your bike doesn't have a rear light, there is a clear pouch at the base of the bag to place a light; it's accessed from the main pocket.
While the light weight if the bag is great in terms of loading, the thin material makes it feel cheap. I also had issues with the durability of the single lined skin, with a small gash appearing after only a few uses with nothing of odd shape. It could have been a unfortunate clip somewhere but the material didn't inspire confidence in its longevity.
The suggested retail price of £49.99 is perhaps a little expensive for what is quite a simple bag. It can be found for around £40 however and when you consider that the popular bag covers by Respro cost £20 and upwards (the closest comparison I could find), the price is a bit more competitive.
It comes down to whether you want to add eflectivity to a bag that you already know and works for you or want a simple backpack too. If the latter than the RBS Radar is a good bag, with the option of adding more visibility through lighting (the lit Respro covers cost about £40).
Great visibility, but light fabric makes it vulnerable to everyday nicks and scrapes.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris RBS Radar Pack
Size tested: Fluo Green
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A high visibility back pack for commuters.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- This fully featured pack is ideal for commuting, with multiple reflect graphics on all sides.
- Designed for comfort with spacer mesh for airflow and foam for cushioning in all body contact areas.
- Zipped main compartment and zipped front pocket with multiple organiser pockets inside for tools, inner tubes, pump etc.
- Secure LED pocket on lower front with clear window.
- Zipped hip pockets for quick access on the move
- Hydration system compatible.
- 25L capacity.
Very basic and whilst lightweight is a good thing in terms of loading, it has a cheap feeling to it.
My test bag started de-threading at a badly finished seem on the inside and I noticed a small gash in the material (it's extremely thin).
I wouldn't use it for touring but for short rides and commutes it is fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a bag it held things that were easily accessed and it aided visibility from behind; it hit the mark.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The light pocket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Thin, poor quality material.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A good, lightweight, high visibility bag, if you take it as that and nothing else.
About the tester
Age: 25 Height: 184cm Weight: 68kg
I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 1 My best bike is: Giant TCR Advanced 1
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,