Gear: Ogio Renegade RSS 17 Backpack

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OGIO is one of the best brands at creating sport-specific bags and luggage and, with the new Renegade RSS 17 laptop backpack, they have their sights set on students and young professionals. So how does it hold up?

The Bag
The OGIO Renegade RSS backpack is technically just a laptop backpack, which means it’s meant for students and young professionals looking to carry a computer, other various electronics, and notebooks or a binder. OGIO also makes a line specifically for motorcycles, with the Mach 1, 3, and 5, and we plan on getting our hands on one of those soon.

One of the things I love about this backpack is the dedicated and armor-protected laptop compartment. It fits “most 15 inch and a select thin 17 inch laptops” and OGIO uses a genius system which keeps the laptop about 1 inch from the bottom of your bag, padding and protecting it when you put the backpack on the ground. While lots of backpacks have a laptop compartment, it’s usually just an open sleeve in the main compartment and I really like how the OGIO system keeps your computer safe and away from anything else in the bag.

From back to front, the next area on the Renegade RSS 17 is the main compartment. My favorite thing about the main compartment is that the walls, while not rigid, do have some padding and are given additional support by the structure of the outside pockets. This creates an almost camera bag-like interior, with a soft but sturdy structure. That, with the addition of zippers that run almost all the way to the bottom, makes this a perfect backpack for packing a few days worth of clothes in and then being able to get to what you want once you reach your destination, without unpacking the whole thing. No more shoving things to the bottom or reaching around for things you can’t see; you’re able to pack it like a suitcase.

They call the top pocket a “crush proof tech vault” and it’s another brilliant addition to this bag. It has rigid walls/floor and a soft liner so it won’t scratch your gear, and is my favorite place to store my iPod and sunglasses. The use of different materials throughout the Renegade RSS 17 is quite thoughtful as they thought about what you would actually be storing in those areas. Hard walls for things you don’t want crushed, soft textures for things you don’t want scratched, and soft walls for things you want to stretch.

On the top/front there is a fairly standard small and soft pouch like the one on many backpacks typically used to hold pens. Nothing special here, but I’d have probably taken off points if it wasn’t included. Nothing to see here.

The next pocket, again moving from back to front, is a medium sized pocket attached facing the front of the bag. Inside, there is only one pouch and it has a picture of a tablet on it. The interior of the compartment is nylon, and the back of the padded pocket has a soft coat. Any guesses what goes here? This compartment also runs the full height of the bag, despite it looking like it only runs up to the aformentioned pen pouch. A nice little touch should you need to put carry something tall but keep it away from stuff in the main compartment.

The front pouch mirrors the shape of the tablet pouch, but is slightly smaller. Inside, their are 4 main sections. A mesh one with a picture of a computer mouse on it and a nylon one with a zipper on top, and a mesh one with a picture of a passport and a few pen sleeves on bottom. All straight forward and all useful for carrying pretty much anything, extra useful if you’re a journalist who often works from lots of strange places and carries these kinds of things around often.

The sides of the Renegade RSS 17 each have two compartments. The top two open to the front, the bottom two open to the rear (this doesn’t really effect the use at all). The walls of each, both inside and out, are padded to keep things safe from general use. Looking at the face of the bag, the top right one is empty and has a picture of an iPod in it. The top left is also empty and has a picture of a camera in it. The bottom right has an elastic strap in it and a picture of a power cable, and the bottom left has a mesh webbing and bungee cable in it with a picture of two water droplets, and is designed so you can stick a bottle of water in there with the bungee around the top to keep it secure.

The back of the Renegade RSS 17 has a rigid center with padding at the shoulder and hips. The shoulder straps also have padding, include a sternum strap, and the left side has a zippered mesh pocket for your phone.

Overall, the bag is 19.5″ tall, 14″ wide, and 10″ deep. It weighs 3.5 pounds, and has a volume of 1800 cubic inches. The exterior is made from 600D Polyester Pindot. If you are looking at the Revzilla listing for it, the bag has now been updated to a black interior. The Renegade RSS 17 retails for $150.

The Verdict
Overall, this Renegade RSS 17 is a fantastic backpack. The laptop sleeve is absolutely perfect (unless you have some monstrosity that won’t fit) and I love that the main compartment is just as capable of holding a binder as it is a few days of clothes. I took this backpack to the Hayabusa launch in San Diego and it was absolutely perfect for a computer, a power cable, a tablet, a phone, a water bottle, some sunglasses, and a few day’s clothes. The side pockets are a little excessive for me, but they don’t actually get in the way and so I don’t mind them.

Aesthetically, the bag is not very nice looking, though it manages to be subtle enough to not really matter. The hardware feels adequate and the zippers pull nicely, but the sternum strap connector seems a little flimsy and is a little difficult to operate. It doesn’t quite get tight enough, but I’m also the size of a 10 year old, so it shouldn’t be a problem for most of you.

I’ve really enjoyed using the bag, and it has become my go-to (which surprised me). My only real issue has been that the shoulder straps connect a little too closely together and the shoulder straps are difficult to get over a bulky jacket with armor in it. Now that it’s summer and I’m wearing a lighter jacket, it is a little bit easier, but I would really like to see OGIO put more thought into that to bring it up to par with the rest of the bag.

The Renegade RSS 17 carries the weight of your stuff adequately, though it won’t make the weight disappear like a Kriega will. The rigid structure and supple padding in the back and shoulders do a very nice job though, and it’s about as much as you could ask for from a bag that hasn’t utilized any strategies to help improve how the bag feels while on your back on a motorcycle.

Since this is not a dedicated motorcycle backpack, it obviously was not designed to be able to slide down the road at speeds faster than you can throw. If you’re carrying anything that is REALLY important, we suggest looking into a backpack that is made to withstand a great deal more punishment. If you just need a bag for weekend trips or light commuting or your computer is insured and none of the files are matters of national security, I highly recommend this bag.

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    So, probably better than the backpack one probably used in high school, but not as technically excellent as a Kriega unit?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      totally different bags. The kriega is by far the best if you’re going to fill it for a weekend trip and ride long distances. This bag is better if you’re going to fill it sometimes, and other times just take a laptop or a few things. I absolutely love Kriega, but they don’t have any compartments to keep your stuff secure and I don’t like to use it for day to day stuff.

      • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

        Someday, I’ll find a commuter bag that holds a 15″ laptop and all the fiddly accoutrements, a few pens and pencils, a small hardcover notebook, a coffee thermos, and my work shoes. And doesn’t interfere with the upgraded back armor in my riding jacket. And doesn’t drag funny at highway speeds on a ratty old sportsbike.

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          And perhaps comes with a pony.

          • KriegaUSA

            We’re on it, Jesse! The pony might only be a Shetland, but the bag will be a pure blood thoroughbred.

            • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

              … Magnificent. Thank you!

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          i would say this backpack meets all those requirements

  • Clint Keener

    Do the main straps just flap around in the wind, or is there something that holds them down?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      there is an elastic band on the sternum strap, but nothing on the shoulder straps

  • msay

    I had a Ogio Mach 5 bag that I really liked, it’s just too goofy looking off the bike. Other than that the elastic shoe holders in the Mach 5 barely fit my size 11 shoes. I was given a Kreiga and haven’t really looked back.

  • Martin Salas

    I love this bag. Been riding with the 15in version for a long time now (pretty much the same other than the drink holder, and capacity), and it is the best commenting bag I have in my arsenal of gear. Kriega is good for long trips. But for my 1hour a day of commuting to work and school, it’s far superior. Holds everything I need snugly. Padded well. Love all the different pockets. Now if they added some type of helmet latch, that would be nice!

  • Tuscan Foodie

    I think you have been too kind in this statement” Aesthetically, the bag is not very nice looking, though it manages to be subtle enough to not really matter”. Personally, I think this bag is pretty plain and ugly. And for 150$ I can buy better looking, and functional bags. But again, just my opinion on looks alone.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I actually like that statement. When I googled the product before they sent it to me, I thought it was overstyled and ugly. Now that I have it, I find it less visually assaulting than the ICON I previously reviewed or my Kriega. The Ogio logo on the front is fairly bold, but everything on the back looks just grey without any huge contrasts and I actually really do believe it looks subtle enough to not matter.

      Again, I’m just wearing this to commute around or go to friends houses or little trips. If I were taking it to places I really wanted to look cool showing up at, this would not be the bag. But for overall use, I’m fine with the looks.

      • Tuscan Foodie

        I understand what you are saying and I see your point. Sometimes, the value of certain items is that they blend in with the rest, drawing no attention. I still wouldn’t buy it, but I haven’t seen it live: and bags – like motorcycles – must be seen live!

    • Scottie Ray Smith

      Do you really want your backpack to attract tons of attention…especially if you ride in a large city?

      • Tuscan Foodie

        I didn’t say I want my backpack to attract attention: I said I’d rather it not be ugly/as plain as this one. There is a difference between not being as plain as this one and “attract tons of attention”. Plus, if I ride with my backpack at night, I’d like it to have some color, to increase visibility. But that’s just me.

  • SKE

    Sean, what type of jacket are you wearing in this picture?

  • Guest

    I love Ogio, been using the Ogio throttle for a year and got it cheap for $50. carries all my books and bag and has a sleek shape so it doesn’t get caught in the wind. I wear it off the bike a lot too.

    http://www.powersportsuperstore.com/OGIO-Throttle-Backpack-Stealth-Primary-Color-Bl-p/4489408.htm

  • Matt Mason

    I love Ogio, been using the Ogio throttle for a year and got it cheap
    for $50. carries all my books and laptop and has a sleek shape so it
    doesn’t get caught in the wind. I wear it off the bike a lot too. The black version looks pretty good too imo.
    http://www.powersportsuperstore.com/OGIO-Throttle-Backpack-Stealth-Primary-Color-Bl-p/4489408.htm

  • alex

    heavy, complicated, expensive and not as durable as an off the shelf jansport pack

  • Jeffrey Degracia

    If you’re a serious motorcyclist, and ride in all conditions, then the only real choice is a Boblbee Aero. CE Level 2 back protector and multiple configurations and accessories, waterproof: http://www.boblbee.com/eu/artiklar/Artikelfullpost.asp?id=481&flik=1
    Revzilla doesn’t sell it so I guess you won’t review it.

    • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_SgRlM0sDWJI/R4Zrki-3osI/AAAAAAAAAW8/WOaLxbOOLws/s400/zoolander.jpg Sean MacDonald

      your comment reminds me of something my gf would say when she’s mad at me.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      you comment like my gf texts when she’s pissed off at me.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Yeah, no. Kriega already offers CE2 protectors for backpacks that fit far more volume into far less space. And are all-day comfy to boot.

      • Jeffrey Degracia

        And let me guess, sold on Revzilla?

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          I love conspiracy theories

          • Jeffrey Degracia

            Commercial reality, rather. The affiliate links to the product reviews posted generate income, which I assume is necessary now that you are part of a larger business entity. I’m lamenting the old days before you sold hfl when it was just witty journalism and personal perspective. Guess I should be glad you guys stayed at all.

            • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

              If anyone does it better, we’ll start recommending them. We use revzilla personally, recommend it to our real friends, and recommend it to our readers.

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              HFL was also a money making endeavor.

              The bolbee has a terrible size to volume ratio, has no ability to protect you from the bags contents in a crash, I’d strongly question it’s weather proofness, and it’s uncomfortable.
              What we’ve always done is focus on covering the products that bring value to our readers, and simply don’t cover products like this that don’t.

              • Jeffrey Degracia

                I’m not a reviewer, where I ride with a different bag for a week and move on. Own two ergonomic-award-winning Boblbee Megalopolis, an earlier one and the new, dated Aero, designed for motorbikes. Used them for 5 years in every weather condition, including torrential rain. Never lost any laptop or SLR to water intrusion. Not as expandable as the huge Kriegas, but anything much bigger wouldn’t be best worn on your back. We’ll agree to disagree on the features, especially the cargo hardshell that does protect wearer from contents in impacts, and especially the waterproofness as someone who actually lives and rides where it rains (not SoCal).

      • Jeffrey Degracia

        And as inherently waterproof without a rain cover? Uh, nope. Try one, think you’ll like it and clearly makes a better fashion statement, which you’re usually concerned with.