Gear Review: Rail Riders Journey Pack

Railriders1As editor of One Bag, One World, I get to see my fair share of bags. Usually, they are so similar to each other I have to search for something unique to write about.

Not so with the Rail Riders Journey Pack. As soon as you get it out of the box you’ll know this is something different. And for the first time, a company sent me two to review–one in each color.

Measuring 22 x 14 x 7 and weighing in at just under 2.5 lbs,  the Journey Pack is made of 400d pack cloth (a type of nylon) and has non-locking,  rain-resistant YKK zippers throughout,

At first glance, I thought this bag had more molly straps and tie downs than an entire Mt. Everest climbing party.

On the front of the bag are two vertical pockets with zippers on the sides and sit front to back. (They are two separate pockets.)  On the top is a smaller, zippered pocket.  There is a grab handle on top but none on the sides.

So far, so good……and then I opened the bag. At first I thought it was a manufacturing mistake. And then I thought some of the pharmaceuticals I took in college over 30 years ago were coming back to haunt me.

Railriders3The bag opens wardrobe style. In the lid of the bag, which has a mesh, zippered cover, sits three tie down straps. (That’s right, three.)  This is where you are to put your clothes. It is not very thick.




Railriders4The right side, which is normally the main compartment, contains, from bottom to top, a horizontal zippered pocket, a horizontal elastic pocket and more molly straps.




Railriders5Behind that is another compartment meant to hold a laptop–a really big laptop. This seems to be the biggest compartment of them all and could definitely be used for clothes if you don’t have a godzilla sized computer. (This compartment has an L-shaped zipper so packing will not be as easy but is definitely doable especially if you use a packing cube or a folder.)



Railriders6On the rear are hideaway, padded, backpack straps with a sternum strap, padded hip belt and a waist belt. The padded hip belt is connected to the backpack straps and not the waist belt. The backpack straps can also be used to make this a sling pack. There are no connections for a separate shoulder strap.




Railriders7All of these straps hideaway into their own separate sleeves.  The rear of the bag also has an additional zippered pocket. It’s back is mesh lined with extra raised support for your shoulder blades and lumbar area.




Railriders8On the side of the bag is a zippered water bottle pocket.





So what’s the verdict? The more I played with the bag, the more I liked it.  It’s the attention to detail that impressed me. If you’re an adventure type traveler looking for a lightweight, well made, quirky bag that won’t break the bank, this is one bag to consider. If you’re Brooks Brothers meeting on Wall Street, keep searching.

The Rail Riders Journey Pack retails for $125 but is on sale until the end of this month for $81.25.  Available in black and black/red. Made in China.

If you want to see better photos of this bag, go to its website.





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10 Responses to Gear Review: Rail Riders Journey Pack

  1. mkt42 says:

    Thanks for the review; it is timely because I’ve been looking at the RailRider Journey. I can’t find any place which lists its volume; from the dimensions it would seem to be about 2100 cubic inches? Making it smaller though also lighter than the Osprey Farpoint 40, which is the other pack that I am seriously considering. I also wonder how good the Journey’s hipbelt is; would it be comfortable to wear all day while trekking through both cities and backcountry?

    Finally there’s the question of durability, which is impossible to evaluate for sure except by using it for months, but I wonder if it appears to have good durability. RailRiders clothes have a reputation for excellent durability, but this is a pack not clothing. Also a RailRiders shirt that I bought had a button fall off the second day that I wore it, which I would call an example of, if not poor durability then poor quality control (to their credit, RailRiders sent me a replacement shirt; yeah I could sew the button back on but the whole point in paying for quality is to get stuff that doesn’t fail in dumb ways much less complex ways). OTOH at $125 this is not a very pricey pack so maybe I should not expect high quality?

  2. Frank@OBOW says:

    I can’t answer the comfort question of wearing the bag all day. However, from what I can see, the quality of the bag is pretty good. I believe it will be durable in the long run.

    If you buy that bag this week, it’s only $81.25

  3. mkt42 says:

    Thanks. I’m leaning toward the Osprey — partly because I might be able to inspect one in person before purchasing it, but the low weight and price of the Journey and your review gave something to think about.

  4. Chris says:

    Looks like a very useful carry on pack, thanks for the review. Does the horizontal elasticated pocket on the right side look big enough for an iPad?

  5. Frank@OBOW says:

    Are you talking about the laptop compartment (fourth photo down and the one above the photo of the backpack straps?

    If yes, that will hold a 15 or 17″ laptop. An Ipad would fit with room to spare.

  6. Frank@OBOW says:

    Yes, that pocket extends all the way to the bottom of the bag. (It goes behind the zippered pocket). It measures approximately 12″ x 13″.

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