There are two vital aspects of riding in the rain – keeping yourself dry and keeping your belongings safe. While there are many options available to keep the rider dry, affordable options for the latter are quite restricted in our market. To address this, the Indian brand Quipco has launched the new AquaShield waterproof backpack and it’s been part of our Mumbai monsoon rides for over a month now.
It has a 32-litre capacity and is crafted from high-density PVC material. All the seams on the bag are welded so that water doesn’t seep in and it has a roll-down closing system. The opening of the bag is fastened using Velcro strips on either end and you have to roll it down thrice and clip in the buckles on both ends to secure the bag; there’s a third buckle in the centre, for reinforcement. The padded shoulder straps add to the bag’s comfort quotient, while the sternum and waist straps ensure that the bag sits snug around you.
The Quipco AquaShield’s first outing was during light showers and I am happy to report that none of my belongings got wet. This was my first experience with a waterproof backpack and the initial impressions were positive. However, the real test for the backpack was on a ride to Pune. Since I was staying back for a night, the generous storage space meant that my spare clothes and other stuff were easily accommodated. I rode through a heavy downpour for almost an hour and was worried the AquaShield would not live up to its name. But, to my relief, all my belongings were bone dry and the bag passed the arduous test. The bag was covered in lot of muck, and unlike most conventional backpacks, the use of rubberised material meant that it just took few wipes with wet cloth to remove the dirt.
Apart from the main storage compartment, there’s also a front pocket, one hidden pocket on the back at the waist, and two mesh pockets on the side for water bottles. None of these pockets are waterproof, so they are best suited for items that you can afford to get wet. Quipco has also cleverly added reflective strips on the straps, and the logo at the back is also reflective.
Overall, I am impressed by the Quipco AquaShield waterproof backpack, but there is scope for improvement. By design, dry bags are usually one large compartment, but it would be nice if a laptop sleeve could be incorporated; I would prefer a separate compartment with a soft padded lining for storing fragile electronic devices.
Coming to price, the AquaShield waterproof backpack retails for Rs 3,990. This may seem expensive for a backpack, but is actually quite good value when you compare it to the other options available.