- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: RAWROW R Bag 302
Designer, surfer, and pretty neat musician, Davin Hanna, took to the street and tested this new offering for a stretch of daily use…
A month or so back, I had my first hands-on intro to the South Korean-based brand, RAWROW and it arrived in the sleek form of the R Bag 302 Wax Kodra in Charcoal. Granted, they don’t use the most imaginative model names, but after a month of daily commutes to work, this pack really won me over.
RAWROW are undoubtedly driven by simplicity with a less is more approach to their designs, and they nail it. And even better: they do it without compromising on material quality or finish.
Who it Suits
This is a pack for the fashion-conscience crew. It’s laced with that slick urban styling that needs to be rocked with a whole ‘urban look’. If you’re matching your limited edition sneakers with your throwback bomber, then this might just be your cup of Kool-Aid.
Who it Doesn’t Suit
Reserved-types. As I said, you need a big look and personality to pull this off. If you’re the kind of person that likes things understated and under the radar, then the strong pops of rich colours and trimmings dished up by RAWROW’s 302 line won’t suit.
The obvious first: aesthetics. RAWROW are doing something bold and a little different here and once you’ve been introduced, you can spot their stuff from a mile off – that’s hard to do, and they own it!
For me, the real highlight was the materials, they’re beautiful. Really, when you look at the RRP of $US140, it’s great value. The waxed 302 Kodra creased, crunched and marked, giving patina the front stage. It’s denier held up, and balanced with structural foam, allowed it to stay rigid, keeping its simple form.
Then consider the veg-tanned leather top handle and quality finishings, right down to the TPE reversed lining, and you’ve got a bag that exudes quality.
The low-fi tubed webbing shoulders straps, initially had me worried, but they were surprisingly comfortable, and spot on with the look and the targeted use of an urban day pack.
When organising, it’s multi-tiered internal configuration gave me ample options for tech (swallowing up to a 17” Macbook), notebooks and cables – a rad mix of pocketing that other crews could learn from. Admittedly, it did fall short to fit much else – I wouldn’t recommend this for users wanting to carry an amount that exceeds much more than the essentials for their daily work grind.
The Not So Good
The external pockets are great for small things like pens and keys, and give quick access but I found the pocket options quite pokey with my – somewhat averaged sized – hands needing to squeeze and fumble around a little. These could be resized. And the main entry zip being located on the back wall did make it challenging to place items past the tiered organisation to the main base of storage, but by no means was this a deal breaker.
Like a lot of backpacks, the laptop sits right up against the back. For me, I wasn’t bothered, it had enough foam padding, and I mainly wore this from the car to the office. I did go on a few missions through the city with it with no problems, although it has the potential to become uncomfortable for long walks.
There’s a sling pocket, too, that sits at its base. Subject to the circulating images of the 302, it looks like this is for carrying longer items like camera tripods (or fighting sticks, maybe?). It’s a nice extra but a little out of place – this isn’t the type of bag I’d be using for my camera gear.
My one main gripe with the bag is the undersized #5 main zip (it should be an #8), which would make use and product longevity that much better, but I looked past it – although ask me again in 12 months, once that tiny zip has been put through its paces.
This was a nice surprise: yet the form is simplistic, the materials, finish and internal layout are where the bag shines. I really dig this offering from RAWROW, although it has its flaws, there’s a charm and charisma that make up for it, and eventually win you over.
With the R Bag 302, RAWROW have produced a rad aesthetic and nailed it with a top-notch materials to back it up. If you’re looking for a daypack that nails an upmarket street wear vibe, whilst still serving up quality functionality, then definitely put RAWROW on your radar.