Kriega R15

24 months in the life of a Kriega rucksack.

The whole image thing first drew me towards purchasing a Kriega rucksack. It’s not always the best way of making an informed decision on an item of motorcycle kit, but there we have it, the truth is out and I’m shallow. The fine blend of black rugged webbing and rubber construction, and the powerful glossy adverts featuring cool bikes with impossibly cool riders all wearing THE black rucksack, had me hooked.

After feeling particularly flush one weekend, I found myself the proud owner of an R15 (15 lires). I went for the smallest in the range for one reason; I figured I wouldn’t be tempted to carry any more kit than was absolutely necessary, if I didn’t have lots of spare capacity. I have to say this theory has worked a treat. If it doesn’t fit in the rucksack it goes on the bike, which brings me on to comfort in use.

This backpack is just sooo comfortable. Honestly, you can just tell how many hours were spent honing the design. Many miles must have been consumed to develop this range of rucksacks. I find myself always reaching for the bag when heading out on the bike, even if I have nothing to carry. It is now an integral part of my riding kit – the combination of excellent fit (multi-adjustable) means you feel more ‘secure’ when wearing it. The harness insures that whatever jacket you are wearing is kept from moving around in the wind. I also feel the backbone of the rucksack may offer some spinal protection in the event of an accident (as long as the waist strap is used), but perhaps that’s just my perception. It also gives another layer of warmth, especially around the kidneys.

Going back to that harness, it is a triumph of both function and form – quick and easy to use it also ensures any weight carried is spread out over the shoulders, meaning unparalleled comfort. Just of note, the one drawback (if you can call it that) with the harness, is it does bare more than a passing resemblance to a parachute harness (especially in the larger capacity sizes). When I’m out and about on a short errand from work (in bright blue overalls, open face lid and goggles) it does look as though I’ve just base jumped into the building merchants…

After 18 months of everyday use the main zip failed. I was disappointed but figured it had seen plenty of mileage. My wife then reminded me of the 10 year guarantee so I tentatively phoned Les at TravelDri (where I had bought it) to explain the problem.

“No problem Clive, just drop it back to me and I’ll give you a new one”.

Kriega do state that ‘normal wear and tear is not covered by the warranty’ so you will have to bear this in mind. It may be TravelDri service that is quibble-free!

So, my lovely (new) backpack is still providing sterling service. Neither have been 100% waterproof, but pretty darn close.

All of the features included in the construction have a definite use, nothing is superfluous. The separate pockets for earplugs/sunglasses, straps for compressing the material when being worn empty, a strong loop to hang the bag, reflective strips built in and of course the facility to take the hydration pack, which makes it perfect for touring. There is even a loop on the back for attaching a bicycle-type LED rear light, ideal for those particularly shitty days…

I’m sure you would find a capacity option to suit yourself – for me (and the R15) I have enough room for a drink, my camera, waterproof over-trousers and perhaps even that small pile of 45 vinyl records I spied at the carboot sale…

Would I recommend a Kriega? In a word yes – they certainly are not the cheapest on the market at £75, but they do ooze quality.

If in 10 years time the British Isles turn into a Mad Max style fuel starved wasteland – this is the rucksack you want on your back to deal with it. You’ll certainly look cool…

Clive Cook