We've had a few pieces on test lately from young British brand Rivelo and been consistently impressed at the quality, comfort and unflashy styling. In addition to clothing, Rivelo has launched a small range of accessories, starting with this Coombe backpack. It's a fully waterproof rucksack with enough space for commuting or even an overnighter, and is comfortable on and off the bike.
The Coombe rucksack has a claimed capacity of 18 litres, making it a fairly compact option. Fitting a laptop in is no problem, although there is no padded compartment to keep it separate from the other contents. I used it for commuting and there was plenty of space for a change of clothes and some sandwiches. Unlike other larger rucksacks, one thing I liked about the Coombe is that it would generally sit above my jersey pocket, meaning I could use these while carrying the rucksack.
Rivelo has used a roll-top opening and sealed seams to give a fully waterproof bag. I've used it in the rain and also subjected it to five minutes under a shower at home and not a drop made it through to the inside.
Given the light overall weight (620g for the rucksack, not including the accessories), it's proved reasonably rugged, surviving some rough treatment on a touring trip without issue. There is no reinforced bottom panel or corner scuff guards, so I would expect the seams at the bottom to feel the strain first, but they've held up comfortably through testing. There is ample reinforcement where the main straps attach at the top of the bag.
The combination of anatomically curved straps, and some lightweight but effective padding on the back panel makes this a really comfortable bag to carry on and off the bike. There's a stabiliser strap across the sternum, which is height adjustable, but no lower strap. I found this worked just fine – the bag isn't really big enough to need a lower stabiliser as it sits well above the hips.
The Rivelo is priced at £100, which is a fair chunk of cash for a small backpack. There are a couple of accessories included that might help to justify this – a roll-top dry sack and a small pouch – but it's still unlikely to appeal to bargain-hunters. The dry sack I found very useful – if you've got wet clothes after a swim or a gym session then you can chuck them inside without the rest of the rucksack's contents getting soaked.
The pouch is designed to fix to the shoulder straps to allow you easy access to a phone or wallet without taking the bag off. It has Velcro tabs to hold it in place, a water-resistant zip and is divided into two sections internally and lined with soft fleecy material. It's of a size that will also fit in a jersey pocket so could serve as a means of carrying bits and bobs on a ride if you don't need the rucksack.
There is also a small external pocket on the bag, with a water resistant zip. It'll hold a phone and does a decent job of keeping its contents dry, but I found it a little fiddly to get things out. Other features include reflective patches front and rear, as well as a loop at the bottom to which you can clip a rear light.
I reckon Rivelo has done a cracking job with the Coombe rucksack – it's probably the most comfortable I've used on a bike. Being fully waterproof is a blessing if you ride in all weathers, and the included accessories go a little way to justify the price. If it's still a bit steep for you, it's worth looking at Wiggle's own-brand waterproof 25 litre rucksack, which is larger and half the price.
The Coombe keeps its contents completely dry and allows you to carry them in comfort – excellent on and off the bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rivelo Coombe Dry Rucksack
Size tested: One Size
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?
Rivelo says: "Whether it's commuting to work or travelling to a weekend race or sportive, this seam welded dry rucksack will keep your kit dry no matter what the weather throws at you! Fully adjustable straps, reflective details for visibility and a zip pocket for essentials. Also, an additional phone/card case, that can be attached to the rucksack straps for easy access, and a separate 10L dry sack included so you can keep your wet & dry clothes separate – this bag has got it all!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
–Welded seams for a fully waterproof rucksack
–Adjustable straps for comfort and secure fit on the bike
–Padded back system & straps, with mesh for breathability
–Reflective bike light tab
–Reflective trims on straps, for forward traffic visibility
–Roll top closure for maximum capacity & secure waterproofing
–Large Rivelo logo & stripe for added contrast and visibility
–External waterproof zip pocket for easy access to small essentials
–10L dry sack included – keep your wet & dry kit separate
–Water resistant zip wallet/phone/card case included, which can be attached to rucksack straps for easy access, or stored in your jersey pocket when you're not using the rucksack
Very nicely made and well reinforced where the straps join. It would be nice to see some extra reinforcement around the bottom to guard against scuffing and damage to the seams. Impressively waterproof.
This is a comfortable way to carry things while keeping them dry, so hard to fault. It's a single volume pack with no internal dividers and only one small (external) pocket, so if you like to keep stuff organised in a bag then you may wish for more.
It's certainly bike-friendly, compact enough to avoid interfering with your helmet and if you're reasonably tall then it sits above most jersey pockets too.
No issues at all in testing. I'd like to see some reinforcement at the bottom.
Well designed straps, stabilisation and back padding make for a really comfortable bag.
You can certainly find cheaper rucksacks of a similar size, even waterproof ones (Wiggle has a larger own-brand bag for half this price). Rivelo has tried hard to make it feel like reasonable value, however, by including a dry-sack and the phone pouch.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It keeps its contents dry and it's really comfortable to carry. Throw in low weight and good build quality and there's a lot to like.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable to carry, a good size for on-bike use, inclusion of dry sack.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some may want more internal subdivisions.
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
Assuming your carrying requirements fit within it, I reckon there's not much to fault here. It is expensive compared to some alternatives, but it gets high marks for comfort and performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.