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Wotancraft Rider Sling Collection


Wotancraft Rider Sling Collection Review

by , April 27, 2022
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In today’s world, every new bag released comes with increasingly modern curves, high-tech laminates, and sometimes, unfortunately, they can feel a bit sterile. Wotancraft’s designs are unapologetically old-school-cool, with materials and workmanship that give them a real soul. They’re so distinct that any newcomer would be able to pick them out of a lineup with ease. I think I can say that, without a doubt, this is what attracted me to these bags in the first place.

As you can imagine, a lot of bags come through our hands here at Carryology – dozens upon dozens, or more, every year. So when we get the chance to check out something truly unique, something different, we perk up a bit. While the Rider slings aren’t a new release from Wotancraft, this is our first time taking a look at them, and they left us impressed.

Who It Suits

The entire Rider series of slings is hand-curated for the stylish rider – of bikes, motorcycles, scooters, and everything in between. You might live in a hot climate, and prefer to keep as small of a footprint on your back as possible. Your carry may also vary from day to day, so you’d benefit from an expansion and compression system. To top it all off, you love photography, and tend to carry anything from a small point-and-shoot to a DSLR or mirrorless kit on the daily.

Who It Doesn’t

The onslaught of natural materials may be off-putting to those who usually rock technical fabrics, or anyone with a preference for vegan leather. While these work really well on foot, you may also want to explore other options, even from Wotancraft, if you’re never going to carry these while riding, as that is a center point of the design. If you need a fully waterproof bag, there are also better options.


Mini Rider 

23 x 11 x 14 cm (3.5 Litres)

0.55 kg (Canvas / Leather)

0.8 kg (Full Leather)

$209 USD (Canvas / Leather)

$319 USD (Full Leather)


Easy Rider

35 x 15 x 18 cm (9.5 Litres)

0.87 kg (Canvas / Leather)

1.2 kg (Full Leather)

$269 USD (Canvas / Leather)

$469 USD (Full Leather)

Lightning Rider

35 x 25 x 14 cm (12 Litres)

1.2 kg (Canvas / Leather)

1.45 kg (Full Leather)

$299 USD (Canvas / Leather)

$529 USD (Full Leather)


The Materials

Oh, the materials. Like the design, there’s really nothing quite like Wotancraft’s materials out there. That’s mostly due to their custom-developed WAL 500D “Smoke Camo” Cordura – a wonderful hybrid of durable 500D 6,6 Nylon with the look and feel of heritage waxed canvas. WAL stands for the three main properties that the fabric was designed to prioritize; water resistant, abrasion resistant, lightweight. 

Wotancraft achieves this by taking 500D, PU-backed Cordura, and applying a printed “camo” layer, a wax coating, and a water-repellent Teflon top coat. This results in a truly unique look and feel, with the best properties of both Cordura and waxed canvas.

Unlike normal Cordura, but similar to waxed canvas, WAL develops a patina over time. And due to the proprietary application of coatings Wotancraft applies, it remains durable and water-resistant over time without ever needing a re-waxing.

Wotancraft Rider Sling Collection

Wotancraft’s leather is also of the utmost quality, and these bags use a blend of two different variations; “battle-distressed” cowhide, and “hand-crunched” Italian cowhide. Both have a unique look, with a different handfeel, designed for specific applications. 

The battle-distressed leather is used for reinforcement and areas of high traffic, like compression straps and handles. This full-grain leather is tough, untrimmed, and comes in at a hefty 4mm.

The hand-crunched leather sees use in larger panels, providing a luxe look and feel. It’s sourced from Tuscany, and is used to induce a sense of calm waves at sea. Each piece goes through the “crunching” process by hand, leaving no two pieces alike.

Wotancraft Rider Sling Collection

Wotancraft offers two variants, and two (or more) colorways, of each bag in the lineup. You can choose from a charcoal or khaki “Smoke Camo” canvas with leather accents, or a brown or black full leather version. For this feature, we decided to check out the canvas variants of the Mini and Easy Rider, and the full leather Lightning Rider. I honestly don’t think you could go wrong with either combo. The canvas and leather offerings are lightweight and provide some contrast to the look and feel, while the full leather bags are just beautiful and could even be at home in more formal settings.

Wotancraft Rider

Last but not least, the liners are wonderful to look at, and have a very nice handfeel. The canvas variants have an olive green cotton liner with matching micro-fiber on the back wall. The full leather variants have an absolutely striking burgundy red velveteen liner that elevates these bags to a new height. It’s a treat for the eyes every time you open the bag.

Wotancraft Rider

The Construction

There’s nothing to scoff at or pick apart here. The folks building the bags at Wotancraft are master craftsmen. Everything is bound, lined, and every stitch is perfectly in place. Even the materials are carefully chosen specifically for each panel, and for a specific reason. Every contact point is either box-stitched or reinforced; we had no mishaps of any sort over our three months of testing. 

Wotancraft Rider

The X-Factor

This is the love-it-or-hate-it part. As we’ve alluded to, there’s nothing quite like these bags out there. From the form factor to the materials, these bags are Wotancraft through and through. Even then they’re still a bit more outlandish than normal Wotancraft offerings.

For me, the Rider slings are solidly in the love-it camp. It’s nice to be able to rock something that’s so different from every other bag I get my hands on.

Wotancraft Rider


Built-In Expansion

Expansion systems can either make or break a bag. If it’s not implemented well, it can make the rest of the bag feel entirely off at best, and unusable at worst. This isn’t the case here by any means. In fact, this may be the most natural-feeling expansion system I’ve seen. It’s primitive, in a way that I imagine bags from a century ago functioning; leather straps over the top of the bag that you either secure to compress or pop open to expand. It’s simple, works extremely well, and this system certainly won’t be having issues with snaps, buckles, or zippers anytime soon.

Wotancraft Rider

I found myself running these compressed about 75% of the time. I think the silhouette is a bit nicer in this configuration and I just never really stuffed them out too often. The expansion itself just pops out the top outside corner a bit. I would say the expansion adds about 30% more space, if I had to make an educated guess based on dimensions and overall “feel” while using.

Wotancraft Rider

Wotancraft Rider

One thing you will have to pop out the expansion for is…

Camera Carry

Camera gear carry solutions are at the heart and soul of Wotancraft. And honestly, it’s what I believe they’re most well known for. Unlike some other bags, the Rider series was not designed as a wholly dedicated camera bag, but they sure turn into one. Both the Easy (medium) and Lightning (large) Rider slings support Wotancraft’s wonderful Quick-Draw Camera Insert to turn them into one of the better on-bike camera carry bags.

Wotancraft Rider

The Quick-Draw insert is a nicely formed and padded box that fits perfectly into both bags with their respective sizes. I found both to fit about one full-size mirrorless camera body and 2 lenses – but it does depend on what your setup is. For example, I was able to fit a Lumix GX9 with a 15mm lens attached, a 45mm lens, and a 25mm lens in the Easy Rider. In the Lightning Rider I could fit the same setup swapped to a Lumix G9 with no issue and room for more. Your mileage may vary on fit; check Wotancraft’s website for more detailed measurements and fit information.

Wotancraft Rider

Modular Components

Wotancraft has curated a wonderful hook-backed pouch system that works throughout the Rider collection, and even in the camera inserts. These range from open-top sleeves to zippered pouches, and even elastic organizers. Choose from waxed canvas or leather to suit your style and needs.

Wotancraft Rider

Tech Support

If you need to carry something with a screen, these bags have you covered, for the most part. The Mini is just a bit too small to support any device besides a small e-reader like a Kindle, and at the back side there’s a single zippered pocket. 

Wotancraft Rider

The Easy Rider is in the same boat as the Mini as far as fit. But it comes with a few extra pockets for a pen and your phone next to the zippered padded sleeve. In both these bags, I found the zippered pocket fit my Kindle Oasis alright, but wouldn’t quite clear the zipper. I suspect a Kindle Paperwhite would fit better since it’s not quite as wide. In the phone pocket, I was able to fit my Pixel 6 Pro, without a case. If you’re okay with keeping one in its own sleeve, loose, the Easy Rider handles an 11″ or so tablet.

Wotancraft Rider

The Lightning Rider is where you want to jump in if dedicated tablet and laptop carry are high on your list of requirements. Stacking on top of the same organization provided in the Easy Rider, the Lightning has a dedicated laptop sleeve that they state fits up to a MBP 13. I was able to fit a few 14″ laptops with no issue whatsoever. It’s worth noting that the zippered pocket that this bag shares with the two smaller variants does fit my Kindle Oasis a bit better, so it’s ever so slightly taller.

Wotancraft Rider


Not A Messenger

For this, I’d like to start by sharing a quip directly from Wotancraft;

Ever since the ingenious convertible concept of the Spacejumper by designer Albert Yuan back in 2015, we have always been fascinated by the idea of foldable bags.

So when a member of WOTANCRAFT started commuting to work on a fixed gear bicycle, and wished for a bike messenger bag, Albert told him:


‘You ride for over 2 hours everyday and on a hot summer day you don’t want a large bodied bag that stifles your sweat soaked back. What you need is a small, compact bag that can carry a lot more when required. I will design one for you.’

And in less than a week, Albert came up with an original prototype, a WOTANCRAFT design made for riders, a unicorn of sling bags.

So, did they deliver? Without a doubt. The smaller footprint is noticeable when rocking the Riders on your back. Even without any sort of vented back panel, air flows much easier since the verticality of the three bags is minimal at best.

Wotancraft Rider

It is a messenger, just not quite in the traditional sense. You still wear it high on your back, and the included stabilizer straps help keep it there en route. All three bags are designed to be worn this way, and they all use the same included strap. For the larger bags, I’d recommend adding the padded shoulder strap wrap that Wotancraft offers as an add-on.


Wotancraft Rider


For the smaller bag, the padded shoulder strap is less than unnecessary. In fact, I kind of wish that it didn’t share the same strap at all. It’s just a bit overkill on a bag this small. It’s certainly not bad, but a smaller strap would feel more “at home” here. That said, the strap is removable (and reversible); so you could always replace it down the line if this is an issue for you.

Wotancraft Rider

The Ins And Outs

Each bag has two external compartments; the front slip pocket and the main compartment. The front slip pocket is behind the leather panel, and sits recessed so it’s a bit hidden. At first glance, you don’t even notice these pockets exist, so it’s a halfway decent security pocket; especially since the leather straps run across the zipper, and can act as a guard to keep the slider from opening all the way. 


This is actually a bit of a problem on the Mini. Since the compression strap runs across the center of the pocket, you can’t access it at all without both unzipping and undoing the strap. On the larger variants, the compression straps are on the sides, so you can work the zipper behind the straps without much issue and still have relatively complete access to the contents.

Wotancraft Rider


The zipper to the main compartment is smooth and accessible on all sizes, and sits on the side closest to your body. It’s flanked on either side by a strip of stiff leather, to aid in one-handed opening and giving the bag a bit more structure along the top. It’s worth noting that neither compartment on any of the Rider slings is waterproof – they’re metal. I’d have no problem taking these bags out in damp weather, but if the rain started coming down, I’d want to make sure my items inside were a bit more protected at these points of ingress. Keep in mind that metal on metal might be an issue for your gear, which is why the camera inserts have a piece of fabric across the back side to protect from any contact with the zipper; a good move on Wotancraft’s part given the situation.


Wotancraft Rider

The Good

  • These are, in my opinion, some of the most unique-looking bags in existence.
  • The custom Smoke Camo 500D Cordura brings performance to a heritage look, and let’s not forget the high-quality leather used throughout.
  • Impeccable construction and attention to detail
  • Unique alternative to typical messengers and they work just as great for everyday use as they do for dedicated camera carry
  • Wide array of hook-backed pouches and camera inserts

The Not So Good

  • The large leather strap doesn’t translate quite as well to the smaller Mini Rider.
  • Access to the front pocket on the Mini Rider is less than ideal due to the center strap.
  • The metal zippers look nice, but won’t help in the rain, and metal always has a chance of scratching your gear if you’re not careful.
  • These aren’t cheap bags to begin with, and the leather variants are anywhere between 50% to 75% more expensive.
  • It’s not bad, but I would prefer more than a three-year warranty, especially on the full leather variants.


Like almost any bag out there, the Wotancraft Rider collection of slings is not going to be for everybody. However, I’m quite smitten with them. Their weird, successful combination of briefcase, messenger, and sling works exactly as the team at Wotancraft designed it to. I found all three sizes great for riding and everyday use, especially if I was taking camera gear with me that day. 

If I had to recommend only one, it would probably be the Easy Rider – the Goldilocks size. I found myself reaching for that one more often than not. The smaller and larger sizes are wonderful as well, even if some of the features don’t translate quite as well to the smaller Mini. The larger Lightning Rider, oddly enough, works well as a small weekender, and that would be my recommendation if you needed dedicated laptop carry.

I honestly have some difficulty in making a recommendation between the canvas and full leather variants. On one hand, there’s nothing quite like Wotancraft’s waxed Cordura out there. It’s a truly unique material with an even more unique look and feel. They’re also much cheaper than their full leather counterparts. On the other hand, the full leather Riders are simply beautiful, and their burgundy red liners are one of my favorite interiors to date.

If you find yourself on two wheels, carrying camera gear, any combination of the two, or really just want a break from the monotony of current softgoods trends, give these bags a try. I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love, and keep it in your rotation for years to come.

Wotancraft Rider

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

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