- Buyer's Guide
RYU Refresh Their Performance Apparel and Gear with new Leaf Colorway
In the modern carry space, there are a lot of buzzwords thrown around in marketing materials. From billboards around cities to targeted social advertising, there seems to be a plethora of items promising X, Y, and Z. This isn’t a judgment, quite the opposite in fact, as it’s understandable that brands are doing their best trying to stand out in a crowded scene. I bring this up because to us at Carry HQ, the current marketplace makes it even more impressive when a brand stands out and lets the product speak for itself. RYU are one such brand.
In traditional Canadian style, they are modest about their considerable pedigree in the high performance apparel industry, with senior designers previously creating products for their compatriots – the behemoth Arc’Teryx. After a few weeks with their products in hand, it’s easy to see that they share the same attention to detail, in both design and manufacturing. Yet, RYU are much more than an offshoot of an established brand, they have their own style, their own functionality, and their own identity. This is perfectly exemplified by the two products we’re looking at today, the Quick Pack 18L and the Waist Bag 1.5L.
The Quick Pack is a bag that I was dubious about. There is no doubt that the design looks great, however at 6ft tall, 220lbs/100kgs, smaller bags and I usually don’t become firm friends. Thankfully, this concern was quickly dispelled within moments of putting the bag on. At 2.6lbs/1.2kgs this bag is very lightweight and comfortable, particularly considering how robust it is.
Made from Bluesign® nylon with a silicone + PU coating and a Polygiene® antibacterial finish, the Quick Pack is designed to go with you on all the adventures that you can imagine. I’ve been impressed at how comfortable it is, and it’s easy to see why it’s a fan favourite. I’m not traditionally someone who would choose camouflage or patterned products, but the new Leaf colourway is quite captivating, and chameleon-esque in its performance. It blends into many situations comfortably and looks great doing it. I actually find it soothing to look at, it reminds me of ink droplets in water and the way they disperse and dissipate. The Leaf pattern certainly caught my attention!
Looking good is one thing, but as we all know in the carry world, performance is the foundation of all excellent bags. The Quick Pack achieves a high level of performance for a few reasons. 1, it isn’t trying to be another bag. 2, it houses a curated selection of excellent features rather than a plethora of bells and whistles that don’t work together. 3, its design matches RYU’s philosophy – movement.
That’s where the Quick Pack stands out for me, when I’m on the move. I have worn this hiking, walking, and it has become my go to pack for my OneWheel adventures. I’ve carried this in downpours and 80ºF days and it’s performed admirably during both. The contoured shoulder straps have a mesh padding that aids ventilation, and they are padded enough to keep you comfortable without being too heavy on a lighter 18L volume. The chest strap is adjustable or removable, which is a nice design choice. I have kept the chest strap in the quick access pocket for daily use, and I can add more stability if I’m becoming active. The internal foam structure of this bag is unique, and I like how it almost guides your packing and loadouts, while simultaneously providing a good level of protection and maintaining a nice profile when on body.
Internally, the design language stays the same, and I appreciate that. There are times where bags feel like two different products between the inside and outside, I haven’t found that to be the case here. The half clamshell open is reminiscent of the famed Bellroy Apex, and is complemented by the water resistant zippers. When this front panel is open, you are given access to the first of four internal pockets. I found this spot to be great for my kindle, headphones, or a light jacket, as they’re easy to access quickly.
On the back wall you have a padded laptop sleeve that houses my 14” MacBook and can accommodate up to a 15” device. That is fronted by a zippered stretch pocket that runs the full width of the back panel and is a great spot for chargers and cable etc. if you’re carrying a laptop, or notebooks and pens if you aren’t.
The main volume is well structured with two stretch mesh water bottle pockets, these were able to stomach a 26oz water bottle okay, but not much bigger. The main cavity also has a buckle at the top which maintains the shape of the bag for when you’re on the move, and is cinchable based on your loadout. It’s not a full volume extender per se, but it keeps things in their spot or helps you fit in that extra jacket and keep it secure. This was invaluable when OneWheeling or hiking as it seemed to help keep contents exactly in their spot. If the bag is full, it’s also worth noting that a water bottle can protrude against the outer wall and changes the silhouette ever so slightly. I really like that this is minimalist when it comes to pocketing, while I love organisation, I’ve become so fond of my own pouches and organisers, I love being able to use them and switch from one bag to another with ease. Thankfully you can do that here with the Quick Pack.
The closure is elegant, with the lid being secured by two buckles that are angled asymmetrically on the sides of the bag. This looks brilliant and keeps the aesthetic clean, but it also provides extra weather protection by drawing moisture away from the main body of the bag. The lid also includes a quick access pocket, and I found it to be big enough to hold my wallet, keys, EDC knife and AirPods. Quick to reach, but with a recessed zipper that also complements the streamlined aesthetic.
I’ve been ever so impressed with the Quick Pack, it really does fit the design language that it’s “made to fit your whole day”. It is adept at changing roles quickly, and the execution of the opening, the intentional choice of pockets, and elegant aesthetic means that it can be a chameleon in your collection. Office, Gym, Trail, OneWheel–it can do it all, and it does it very well. For $148, it is a worthwhile addition to any collection.
The 1.5L waist bag is a great companion to the Quick Pack, and fits very well either at the top of your loadout, or deep within! Similarly to it’s bigger sibling, this is refined design and a pleasure to use. Slings are becoming more and more ubiquitous as people recognise the value in them and the Waist Pack offers you sling carry, waist carry, or over the shoulder. Big enough to house your EDC essentials, there is a zip pocket on the rear wall (wallet/keys), two stretch mesh pockets for a small jacket and headphones, and an open pocket behind the rear padding which I found to be a natural spot for my phone.
The design is sleek and comfortable, with water resistant zippers, a breathable back panel, and a wide opening (a must have feature) which allows quick access. Even the hardware is impressive with a svelte half inch thick buckle that you would barely notice unless you’re actively engaging the mechanism. While designed for EDC, I even found that it comfortably housed some of my smaller camera bodies, another reason that it paired so well with the Quick Pack, it became an impromptu camera carry! The subtle branding is also a win, with a matte RYU adorning the Leaf colourway, which is equally elegant in a smaller form.
I like it when a bag does the basics well. I really do. There is a time and a place for a multitude of specific pockets, and this type of hardware, and that type of material. Those products are great, and obviously we love them at Carry HQ. However, there is something charming about a bag that is ready to saddle up wherever you go, whatever you’re doing and says “Let’s go!”. That’s how I feel about the RYU Quick Pack and Waist Bag, they are dependable adventure buddies that I trust to do the job well. They are excellently designed, well thought out, and affordable. That is a trifecta worth taking note of.
This is a curated sponsor article from our friends at RYU Apparel! Thanks for the support.