As much as I'd love to spend all of my time running muddy trails, scaling natural obstacles and throwing heavy weights about, the real world of mortgages and the 9-5 inevitably rears it's ugly head. For me, being a product manager at a software development company, business travel comes hand-in-hand with this. Whether plane, train or automobile there's always been a gap in my luggage collection for a practical bag for a couple of days away from the family that will cater for both work and downtime. Travel bags of all sizes are easy to come by, but I've found it incredibly hard to find something that can carry suitable business attire but also accommodate training kit, especially if that training might involve getting muddy.
When Kitbrix announced the CityBrix, I was excited to say the least. I've kept a close eye on KitBrix since before they launched and as a family of four we've had great use of the three Original Kitbrix that we own- The bags are of great quality, easy to clean and most importantly, easy to keep everything organised. They've proved invaluable as individual units for work travel and beach trips as well as connected together for OCR and trail events. The prospect of the CityBrix rucksack designed for work and play got the juices flowing.
So, what are we looking at? CityBrix is a cabin-size ruck of exceptional quality that it split into an upper and lower section, which opens from a horizontal zip and with a material hinge allowing you to access both sections with ease. The lower section will be familiar to anyone with an Original Kitbrix, with 10L of "play"storage space lined with waterproof tarpaulin. The upper section has 9.2L of "work" storage space, with cushioned sections for your mobile, tablet, up to 12" laptop and any other business kit you might need along with room for a wash kit and fresh clothes. Externally, there's space for a water bottled each side of the ruck and a pocket suitable for easy access to travel documents.
Technical specs aside, what's it like to use? Well as always, I like to be thorough i took it on a 6-month test, using it for a business trip with training kit, exactly what it was designed for, as well as a pleasure only trip with my 5-year old son to The Big Smoke to see a show at The O2 Arena.
I have to say, it's a superb bit of kit for business travel. The dual-sections allow you to truly separate your sweaty/muddy/dirty gym kit from all of the niceties that national and international business travel demands, providing your laptop or tablet are on the small side. If you're using a larger device, simply unzip the bottom of the "top" compartment and I could easily fit a full, 15" laptop in as one. Most of my day-to-day work is completed on an iPad, so it was perfect for my needs. The shoulder straps are well padded and incredibly comfortable to the point where, even with heavy items in the CityBrix, you sometimes struggle to remember that it's on your back.
For the overnight leisure stay to London with my son, it was incredibly practical. The upper section was useful for our travel documents, tickets, phones, keys. wallet, solar charger and other accessories, while the lower section contained our changes of clothes and wash kits- everything we needed for a shot break away. The side-mounted bottle holders made it easy to haul enough fluids around the hot and cramped London Underground, and they also managed to double as an "Avengers Sword sheath" when Oscar's arms got tired!
Over the last six months it's proved itself to be a very capable and versatile ruck. I recently supported Ali at the Longleat 10km and needed to get Emma's changing gear alongside my emergency work kit; As someone who is on 24 hour callout, I need to be able to access my laptop and phone, with sufficient charge. Again, the Kitbrix Citybrix was perfect for this, with the added bonus of ensuring that the dirty nappy bag could be stored in a wipe-free section, just in case :-)
It's now been closer to 8 months of bag ownership and frankly, it still looks like new. The build quality is better than any other "casual" ruck I've owned. With an RRP of around £89, you'd want it last and if my experience is anything to go by, you will not be disappointed. Will the dual-compartments suit everyone? Probably not, but if you are looking for a well-made, robust, practical and handsome ruck, you won't go far wrong with this bad-boy.