It seems British cycling fashionistas LUMO have been throwing strip-LEDs around again. This time they’ve landed in a backpack, specifically the Bermondsey. This British military-inspired rucksack packs a lot of cleverness into an already excellent bag. Could this possibly be as good as their Herne Hill Harrington jacket we recently reviewed?
Words - James Raison Images - Lana Adams
We covered the LUMO story in the Herne Harrington Jacket review so there’s no need to re-tread that path. What you need to know is LUMO are British maestros of making excellent casual cycling apparel/accessories and adding strip-LEDs to make them safe as well. The burgeoning apparel makers turn over some kit for a company that only began shipping gear in January 2015.
Their design philosophy is: ‘If it doesn’t look good off a bike as well as looking great on one, we won’t make it. The LUMO test is “Would we feel good walking into a bar to meet our friends wearing this?”’ As I found with the Herne Hill Harrington jacket, the Bermondsey looks good everywhere.
What you have with the Bermondsey is a top-loading British Military inspired rucksack. The outer is a Scottish waxed canvas, and the bag is lined with 100% waterproof truck tarp. There’s a luxurious Italian Misouri leather handle, rugged stainless steel buckles to keep everything in, and a handy pocket on the front with magnetic fastener for any gear you need in a hurry. Inside there’s a sleeve for your laptop and a leather loop for your D-lock. Carrying capacity is generous with 30cm of width, 45cm of height when closed and 63cm with the rolltop open, and 14cm of width. In short, it’s a great bag. But wait! I haven’t even got to the best part.
A small pouch inside the bag houses an 1100mAh 3.7v lithium polymer battery unit with charge indicator. That connects to some invisibly routed cables to power three strips of four lumen LEDs. White LEDs are housed in each shoulder strap, and a strip of reds are in the back. There’s two flash modes and battery life is 4-9 hours depending on which you choose. The best part is the LEDs are almost invisible when switched off so this just looks like an awesome bag.
LUMO’s greatest trick is making a great product and then filling it cycling friendly accoutrements. Its core is an excellent bag. The test sample was an understated grey-blue outer with olive green straps and a chocolaty leather handle pressed with LUMO’s moniker. That palette contrasts beautifully with the stainless steel buckles.
It’s nice to wear too, feeling plush and comfortable against your shoulders. The cavernous interior is unencumbered with any of the daftness of modern backpacks that opt for several dozen unnecessary pockets that reduce its overall size. All that’s in the Bermondsey is the laptop sleep and small leather strap for your D-lock. Nothing gets in the way of fitting your work clothes, lunch, and the bike parts that got delivered to your office during the day.
The outer canvas laughs off water and filthy road spatter that comes with winter urban commuting. Water beads off, everything gritty brushes off.
So, what about the lights? They’re typically well sorted. I often got asked about whether the shoulder strap lights were distracting while riding. I never found them to be. Leaning forward on the bike I wouldn’t have know they were there except for their splashing off the glossy bike frame. The rear lights are at the perfect height for visibility from behind, and spanning the width of the bag means you get some side visibility.
The only fault was the straps loosening every couple of days. They are fiddly to tighten but quick to loosen. Other than that, it meets the lofty standards of the Herne Hill Harrington jacket I tested at the same time as the bag.
Once again, LUMO have nailed it with the Bermondsey backpack. It hits all the right marks for function, fashion, refinement, and utility. At $285 AUD, it’s well-priced compared with other canvas bags. Then you add the cycling friendly finish and strip LEDs and It’s an impressive package.
The Bermondsey backpack is available from the Cycle Closet website.