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The UPSO Rivington Rucksack may not be the most high-tech rucksack on the market, but I loved using it and it has usurped my old commuting bag. With unique styling, comfortable fit and impressive ruggedness, it is everything you need for a commuting bag that will last for years.
UPSO are a relatively new company based in Lancashire who have taken a green approach to making bags. They use lorry tarpaulins, wash them and make them into bags. This means two things: each bag is recycled, and each is unique.
The unique bag that I received was the Rivington Rucksack, handmade by Sue. I know this because she has written her name on the label inside the bag, showing that it is genuinely hand made. My bag is dark blue and from a company with a website and a T in their name (the only writing on it is WWW and a T on the inside of the bag).
Despite being made of recycled industrial material, the bag looks great. The front has no seams with only a clip to hold everything in place and some loops at the bottom for strapping a helmet, which is a simple and slick design. At the bottom there are two sections of seatbelt material that reinforce the seams and a firm piece of rubber to secure the bottom of the bag from excessive sagging. It all holds together well, the stitching is good and despite my best efforts to put the heaviest things I had in there (including dumbbells) the bag stayed strong throughout.
The straps on the bag are cushioned and comfortable on the shoulder, although I would have liked to have had a cross strap, just for security when riding. They are also strong thanks to the main weight bearing elements being made from seatbelt material, both in the straps themselves and the brace that attaches them to the bag. One of the few sticking points (literally) was that given the malleability of the bag, there is little airflow across the back, so on hot days it can get a bit sweaty.
Given that the bag is made from tarpaulin it is no surprise that it is generally waterproof throughout. It isn't totally waterproof because water can get underneath the flap, especially the bag's expanded,. However, this was never more than a few drips and I still preferred to use this over my roll-top commuter bag.
The bag has a 20-litre capacity, expandable to 25 litres. I found that this doesn't really give a true indication of its size though. Unlike most 20-litre bags, this is significantly more malleable, so I could easily fit in a week's worth of clothes and shoes. The storage is made of up one cavernous inside area with a laptop and documents sleeve on the back.
The RRP is £65, which is a price I would happily pay. The bag is totally unique and handmade, plus you get that lovely feeling of knowing that it has been made sustainably. This features in most bags would cost well into the hundreds of pounds.
Overall, the UPSO Rivington ticks all the boxes for me. It may not have all the technological bling that other cycling bags have, but just the idea makes it a superb product. I know that when I ride, nobody will have the same bag and I know that I am also doing something good for the environment. Sure, you can pick up a similar bag for cheaper, but you know that it is mass produced and probably going to fall apart in a couple of years. This bag is well made, likely to last for years and sustainably made. Good job, Sue.
Great, well-designed bag that makes you feel good, even if it lacks modern bling factor
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Upso Rivington Rucksack
Size tested: Size l x b x h : 33cm x 15cm x 40-50cm,Capacity: 20 litre - 25 litre expanded , Colour Various
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 rucksack for commuting or just travelling around with things on your back. It is designed particularly for those who like going green or simply want to have something that is totally unique to them.
It does both things well, being totally unique and being made from recycled materials.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Large expandable capacity
Inner pouch to take a 17 inch laptop
Internal document pouch
Padded adjustable shoulder straps
Carry handle - Reinforced corners
External loops for attaching lights/helmet/lock etc.
Very well made, strong stitching used throughout and the use of nice touches like seatbelt material means it is likely to last without breaking.
Performed well, held everything in it nicely and was comfortable on the back.
It's made from a lorry tarpaulin and seatbelts; you aren't likely to be able to break it easily.
It doesn't have the modern elements of biking rucksacks like breathability channels on the back, but at the same time this isn't exactly uncomfortable and the padding on the straps works well.
A custom rucksack for £65? That's a good price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well. It is never going to be the kind of thing you would use for a cross country trip, but for short journeys and commutes it does exactly what it needs to.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design, totally unique and, in my opinion, good looking.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Maybe some breathability elements on the back would be nice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A very cool looking bag that also allays that guilt about low paid workers and un-environmentally friendly materials. So maybe I like the sense of moral superiority?
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.