Here we explore the pros and cons of Rains' signature waterproof backpack, which is rapidly climbing the ranks and is on track to becoming a commuter essential.
Rains classic made from a water-resistant fabric with a matte finish. An essential backpack for 2020
As commuters, we have quickly moved away from outdoor backpacks that we fit our laptop in if we really try, in favour of bags that are especially designed for people like us. This means that we no longer need to battle with a dozen pockets and compartments that we simply don’t need. Phew.
The Fjällräven Kanken is one of the most popular backpacks for commuters on the market right now, however, if you’re like us and not sure you can carry off the so-colourful-its-cool aesthetic, you’ve come to the right place.
That’s where the Rains Backpack comes in. We’ve put together a Rains Backpack review which will give you a few pointers if you are considering making your first ever Rains purchase.
At a glance
In the first few seconds of looking at this backpack, what do you notice? For us, it was the minimal design, which looks and feels sumptuous.
After design, we turn to the £75 price tag, which is in-line with the sort of money we’re happy to spend on an attractive and functional backpack for my commute. Pretty affordable, right?
We can’t help but focus in on the design-price middle ground with this backpack. Its simple design looks high-end enough that it could be from an independent label, but those bags would set you back a few hundred pounds, which is well beyond the majority of most peoples means.
Here we’re talking £75 (at the time of writing) for a backpack that could easily double its price and still be a best-seller. Fantastic!
Design and functionality
The Rains Backpack boasts a simple rectangular design and is crafted from water-resistant fabric, which has been treated to create a matte finish to appear almost silky. The great thing about the matte-finish fabric is that it won’t tear easily like a fabric bag, so it’s almost certain that you’ll get a few years of general wear and tear out of it.
Inside, the backpack’s fully lined – which again helps to ensure the bag is durable – and features an inside laptop pocket and a spacious main compartment.
The inside laptop pocket fits a 13″ device, which is suitable for most work laptops and tablets.
There’s also a nifty back zip pocket, which is perfect for both your phone and a small purse, wallet or, better still, a cardholder. Providing you’re wearing the bag on both shoulders – which you should be to prevent back injury – your phone and wallet will be completely secure, which takes some of the stress out of battling large crowds during a commute.
To complete the design, there’s magnetic closings and a carabiner fastener, which keeps the bag’s front flap secure. Meanwhile, the straps are fully adjustable with a slender finish, which helps to prevent the feeling of bulkiness that you get with other commuter bags.
How comfortable the Rains Backpack is, in most cases, comes down to the wearer.
The bag sits nicely, and its slender straps don’t dig into your shoulders. However, for this to be the case, you need to make sure you don’t overpack the bag, as any bag will dig in a little if it’s overloaded.
This is a 13-litre backpack, which is plenty for your laptop, folio or folder, lunch and a water bottle, so you shouldn’t have any problems there.
Generally, we find the size easy to manage, as it sits in the train’s overhead compartment easy enough, or between my legs we are working on the train and need easy access to my laptop and paperwork.
The rubber seams tell you everything you need to know about the durability of this bag. This type of seam is much tougher to break than a fabric seam, for instance, which means it’s very unlikely that the backpack’s just going to fall apart one day. Instead, it’s more likely that, over time, you’ll mark the material, which will leave the bag looking a little tatty – but that will take years and, even then, you might like the ‘worn’ look.
This bag fastens with a magnetic metal closure, which means you don’t need to worry about the zip breaking, which has been the problem with the majority of other backpacks.
Finally, the straps fasten and adjust using a buckle, which means you needn’t worry about plastic pullies being caught or snapping – another problem I’ve faced with other bags.
If you’re one for the latest trends, the Rains Backpack hits all the notes. It’s minimal Scandi design leans into the current demand for the unfussy, while still offering plenty of option for tasteful wardrobe coordination.
When purchasing my backpack, I wanted ultimate flexibility, as I also wanted a bag that I could use as a day pack at the weekends, so I chose the black colourway. However, this backpack comes in ten different colourways, from blue and green to yellow and coral, or blush pink.
Whether you’re wearing a smart suit or a casual summer dress, Rains works.
Like anything you buy, there are always one or two things you don’t love, and with this backpack, for me personally, they are the:
‘Water-resistant’ finish – If you’re not the outdoors type, you might not fully understand what the difference is between the terms water-resistant and waterproof; many brands incorrectly use the two terms interchangeably.
It’s worth noting that water-resistant simply means that if you get caught in light rain, or if you spill something on the bag, it’s not going to soak through. But if you get caught in heavy rain or drop your bag in a big ol’ puddle, it’s likely that the inside of the bag will become damp.
With its rubber edges and matted fabric, the Rains Backpack is suitable for most commutes, but it might leave a bad taste in your mouth if you want to use it on a rainy winter hike.
13″ laptop pocket – We like a larger laptop, usually 15″, which means swapping up the usual routine and using a tablet on the commute instead. While this is a very small issue, it may require a change of habit. It’s worth adding that 13″ laptops are becoming more and more popular – maybe this is why Rains opted for this size in their design.
What we'd do differently
An extra inside pocket – We love the simplicity of the Rains Backpack, but we wouldn’t mind an extra pocket inside – perhaps on the front of the laptop pocket, for either a laptop charger or a book.
Like every commuter carrying a backpack, on a warm day it’s easy to fall victim to back perspiration, which can be embarrassing. Some backpacks have cushioning on the back, which helps to pull the body of the bag away from your body, allowing for some air flow, which means less perspiration. If Rains could introduce a design with this feature, I’d be a happier commuter.
The Rains Backpack is a fantastic backpack for day-to-day use. Despite a very few minor downfalls, it lands as a high-quality commuter backpack for a fraction of the price of similar designs. It boasts an elegant, minimal structure with most of the functionality, in terms of pockets and zippers, that you’d need. It’s also completely secure – the zip pocket at the back is particularly useful. The water-resistant finish, including the rubber seams, will also keep your valuables safe in most conditions.
If you’re looking for a reliable, stylish backpack for your commute, the Rains Backpack is a sure bet.