Culture & Entertainment

Riutbag, the commuter's dream backpack

By: Day Helesic
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Riutbag, the commuter's dream backpack

By: Day Helesic

Riutbag Guest post by William Dixon Navigating the city can be stressful for daily commuters and tourists alike. It can be nerve wracking to wait on a crowded GO train platform while wearing an easily accessible backpack. What if someone is trying to sneak through your bag? With all the zippers and pouches behind you, anyone nearby could steal your things. The Bag The simply designed but genius Riutbag (pronounced riot bag) promises to erase those worries. Dreamed up by Sarah Giblin, previously a communications manager at a retail conduct risk company in the U.K., the bag’s design keeps all zippers safely pressed up against the user’s back and away from sticky fingers. Constructed from waterproof material, it’s compact, hugs your body and is slim enough that you won’t be bumping into fellow commuters, but also large enough to store most 15-inch laptops, plus notebooks. The design is one that has truly resonated with consumers. Giblin often gets comments like, How has no one ever thought of this? “For any creator, this is great to hear,” she says. One neat design choice is the ticket holder in the straps; it’s a perfect spot to stash your metropass, Presto card or train ticket. Another is the water-bottle holder; one is built-in along each side. Incorporated into the main pack, the holders don’t jut out and add extra width to your bag. “I changed the water-bottle holders’ height to allow for 750ml bottles,” says Giblin. “The holders, the base and the straps caused the most [design] work.” The Inspiration This revolutionary rucksack was inspired by Giblin’s time growing up and commuting in London, U.K. and Berlin, Germany. At one point, she was mugged and had her belongings stolen while wearing her backpack. “For my own peace of mind, I wished my rucksack were the other way round,” she says. When she couldn’t find one like that on the market, she decided to make it herself. With that, she launched her own company, Riut (which stands for Revolution in User Thinking). Though Giblin knew what functionality she wanted the Riutbag to have, she didn’t have a background in design or the knowledge to make it appealing. To begin prototyping the bag, Giblin went to D2M, a UK-based design consultancy. There she worked with Annah Legg (who now has her own business, Girl and Bird). Working from Giblin’s sketches, they developed several prototypes, tweaking along the way, and eventually arrived at the final design. “Every feature was debated, prototyped, re-prototyped, rethought and then finalized, ” she says. The project was a challenge, but that didn’t stop Giblin. “The biggest hurdle was my lack of previous design understanding,” she says. “As a one-person startup you, and what you’ve scraped together, is all you’ve got. So you’ve got to go with it!” Where to find it The Riutbag is available online at riut.co.uk and costs around C$130, plus international shipping and handling. She hopes to get the bags onto retail shelves very soon. “There was a time when I believed I could sell enough through my website,” she says. “In reality, however, it’s my job to let the world know about the Riutbag, and that means getting the bags to places where people can find them. For that reason I’m working hard to partner with global retailers who recognize the benefit and value of bringing the Riutbag to their customers.” The first run of Riutbags are available until the end of May, the next batch will be up for grabs in September according to Giblin. Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page. Learn more about having a greener commute, visit How clean is your commute? Image courtesy of Sarah Giblin  
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Riutbag, the commuter's dream backpack

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