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KitBrix CityBrix backpack review

29 Mar 2020
Verdict:

The KitBrix CityBrix backpack offers structured storage for sporty types

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
• Partitioned storage that’s easily organised and accessed
Against 
• Less comfy on the bike than more high-tech bags • Not cheap

Claimed by its makers as the ‘world’s first backpack with a built-in gym locker’ the KitBrix CityBrix backpack aims to keep separate your potentially rank sports gear from whatever else you might be carrying.

As its name suggests, it’s also somewhat brick-like. Not that it’s heavy, rather just rigidly structured. In fact, once removed from your shoulders, its square profile is happy sitting either on its back or standing upright on its semi-rigid base.

Divided between two main compartments, the lower of these is water-resistant, allowing you to keep your smelly sports gear separate from everything else.

Buy now for £99.50 from KitBrix 

Constructed of waterproof, shiny, and easy to clean material, this lines the inside of the compartment. This clever separation means no more soggy paperbacks courtesy of your swim gear. And no more sandwiches that taste suspiciously like chamois pad.

 

Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing

With access to the lower compartment coming via a door-like opening, it’s extremely easy to access your equipment, without the usual rigmarole of digging through the entire bag. Ideal for both neat freaks and riders looking to keep their particulars easily at hand, it instantly made me fell about 25% more organised.

Being a self-facilitating media node, I also appreciated how easy it was to accommodate my camera gear within the waterproof compartment. Leaving the upper level free to house whatever else you fancy, getting at one set of equipment doesn’t mean disturbing the other.

Made with one eye on commuting, along the back of the pack is a padded sleeve for laptops up to 17-inches in size. The front of the upper compartment also has a flip-down door that reveals a huge range of additional stash pockets and holsters, ideal for small electronics, chargers or stationery.

Further boosting its capacity, at the bottom of either side is an external stretchy pocket with an equally stretchy retaining strap. These will just about accommodate your shoes or provide a secure home to a tripod, thermos, or similarly shaped item.

 

What’s it made of?

With a tough ballistic nylon exterior, this is backed by internal padding across most of the bag. The result is that the CityBrix holds its shape in all situations. Furthering this, its base is also semi-rigid. Made of a neoprene-like material, this allows it to stand upright, while also providing additional bump-protection to your laptop and the items in the lower compartment.

In terms of protection from the weather, while only the former compartment is rated as water-resistant, the whole bag will shrug off light showers.

Down the reverse of the pack and sitting against the wearer’s back is a moulded and padded panel. Designed to let air flow across your back it just about manages this, while also ensuring nothing pokes you between your vertebrae.

Its shoulder straps are also intended to be breathable, and in the side of the left-hand one, there’s a pocket for keeping cash or a card that you want easily to hand. Securing the bag when riding or running, is a small supplementary elasticated chest strap for extra stability.

 

Verdict: Hip to be square

Despite working fantastically for cycling, there aren’t many features that are cycling-specific. For instance, while there might be a likely spot for attaching a light, but there's no reflective detailing. However, I reckon its monotone looks and simple design keep the bag smart and neat enough for work.

I found the CityBrix soon became my go-to for most situations where I wasn’t needing to haul large items. It’s not one to do the weekly shop with but in most other situations it's excellent. A very self-contained package, for longer journeys the CityBrix has also been specifically designed to comply with most airlines' carry-on allowance.

Turning up at a race, a photoshoot, or just checking in to a hotel room, the ability to get at your gear quickly has a massive effect on how calm and prepared you feel. The CityBrix can't help but make you more organised, and it’s one of the few products I’ve used that’s reduced my cortisone levels.

Buy now for £99.50 from KitBrix 

Its separation of mucky items from the rest of your kit is clever. As is the ability to reverse the roles and use the ‘gym locker’ compartment to keep important items dry and insulated.

Perfect for cycling, it’s also great for life in general. This means it should see plenty of use any time you travel, be it commuting to the office or heading away with flip-flops and a beach towel.

But what about value? £175 isn’t cheap. But then it's not outrageous compared to similarly featured camera bags. When bikepacking I normally achieve a cheaper approximation of its ‘gym locker’ effect with designated drybags for wet or dirty kit. Still, it’s the CityBrix’s easy to access design that really sets it apart.

Also, I like how square it is. The whole bag sits neatly and uses space effectively. This is true whether stashed in a cupboard at home, placed in the overhead lockers of an aeroplane, or set-up like a mobile office at your destination.

Judging by the state of my desk as I’m writing this, anything aiming to make me more organised is facing an uphill battle. The CityBrix managed it, and it looks cool. So it’s getting a good score on both fronts.

Price: 
£175