Groundtruth RIKR 24L Backpack review

The Groundtruth RIKR 24L is eco but expensive. Although, it does claim to provide serious versatility.

Groundtruth RIKR 24L on a log

by Chris Williams |

The blurb for the RIKR 24L Backpack is ‘designed for contemporary travel and tailored as an everyday backpack for both city life and the great outdoors.’ That’s ambitious. A travel pack is about security and being a TARDIS. An everyday pack is about durability and usability. A pack for the outdoors is about performance and ergonomics. Aiming to achieve all of this is quite a challenge.

You might think we’re taking the ‘it’s a backpack for all scenarios’ thing too seriously and that many backpacks make similar claims. True, but not many 24-litre backpacks cost nearly £300. Therefore, you will understand if we take the claims of the RIKR 24L seriously.

How we tested it

To reach a decisive conclusion about whether the RIKR 24L is worth its eye-watering price, we’ve used it thoroughly in the three scenarios it’s supposed to be for: travel, everyday, and outdoors.

Groundtruth and sustainability

Before we delve into the field testing, we wanted to explain a very important aspect of the Groundtruth brand.

Visual showing a plastic bottle being turned into yarn
©Groundtruth

Groundtruth is a relatively new brand, begun in 2017 by three sisters with a combined work experience of documentary filmmaking and textile product development.  The manufacturers Groundtruth is partnered with are in Jakarta. Groundtruth says they share the brand’s ethos of sustainability and serious care for worker wellbeing.

Some apparel brands make a big fuss when they use some recycled fabrics in one or two products. It’s called greenwashing, but Groundtruth is sustainable in the proper sense. Its entire product line-up is made entirely from recycled materials. It uses plastic recovered from landfills, waterways, and oceans and its products are bluesign approved.

RIKR 24L: Travelling

Wearing RIKR 24L in an airport
©Live For The Outdoors

Upon taking a trip to Poland, things were off to a flying start for the RIKR 24L. Its clamshell opening makes packing and accessing a doddle. There are also a copious array of pockets. In addition to the traditional laptop/tablet sleeve and divider, there are zipped pockets inside the clamshell, another in the flap, another on the side, plus a secret pocket for valuables.

As if that wasn’t enough, Groundtruth have added removable pouches. One that fixes to the top of the backpack, beneath the lid, and a cylindrical insert too. How you load this pack really depends on your imagination. What is worth mentioning is that it’s a hard pack to stuff full due to the stiff fabric. But people spending this much on a backpack probably don’t fly Ryanair and are concerned about paying for extra luggage.

There is a trolley sleeve too, should you want to slide the RIKR 24L over your suitcase handle. You also get side and top handles.

One quibble that does stand out is the lack of security. The main compartment is secured by a magnetic buckle, which works very well and is unquestionably stylish. But there’s no way to add a travel padlock if you wanted to.

Groundtruth RIKR 24L front buckle
©Live For The Outdoors

RIKR 24L: Everday use

Everyday use is arguably where the RIKR 24L excels the most. For commutes, wandering around town, days at university, it is superbly comfortable. The shoulder straps support the load very well and you don’t suffer from sore shoulders like you do with many under-engineered backpacks.

The quality of the RIKR 24L is also phenomenal and we’re not using hyperbole, it really is. Groundtruth guarantees it for 10 years but you should easily expect double or triple that. Its clamshell design also makes it easy to clean, which also aids longevity.

RIKR 24L in everyday use scenarios
©Live For The Outdoors

RIKR 24L is made from 120 plastic bottles and the textile for the main body of the backpack, Groundtruth calls GT-RK-001. It’s a 600-denier fabric with a ripstop weave and water-repellent coating. What comes of this is serious durability. There are other fabrics used in the RIKR 24L. For example, there is a lining in the laptop sleeve made from recycled PET fleece.

Likewise with travel scenarios, the availability of useful pockets is extremely handy day-to-day. We also appreciated how this pack looks too.

RIKR 24L: Outdoors

Front and rear shots of the RIKR 24L
©Live For The Outdoors

Naturally for us, how the RIKR 24L performs outdoors is of crucial importance to us at Live For The Outdoors.

Straight off the bat, there are some issues. Chief among these is the weight of this pack. With all its heavy-duty fabrics and features, it weighs 2.2kg. Even 50-60 litre hiking packs don’t weigh that much.

Groundtruth has taken steps to make the RIKR 24L suitable for the outdoors by giving it removable hip and sternum belts. The backpanel is made from Airmesh. This is Groundtruth’s fabric (again, fully recycled) that is supposed to aid breathability and airflow. It works in an everyday scenario but does have limitations when you’re applying more exertion walking up and over scree, for example.

For leisurely weekend wanders, the RIKR 24L is perfectly fine. But for proper day hikes there are much better options, which we’ve outlined in our guide to 20-30 litre packs.

Verdict

Hiker wearing RIKR 24L
©Live For The Outdoors

Overall, the RIKR 24L is a stellar backpack. The quality, the thought of design, the sustainability, the style, it’s all covered. The RIKR 24L isn’t terribly suited to more serious outdoor excursions but that’s not terribly surprising. It takes a more focused backpack to be at home in that environment.

However, the RIKR 24L does nail the sustainability, style, travel, everyday, and leisurely walking aspects and that’s a very good effort.

It’s still an expensive backpack. So while it’s very good, it ultimately comes down to you and whether you can personally justify the cost.

Features 5/5 | Fit 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | In use 4/5 | Value 3/5

Overall score: 80%

Pros: Superb build quality, fully recycled, easy access, loads of useful pockets, ideal for everyday and travel

Cons: Expensive, heavy, suitable for casual outdoor walks only

Groundtruth RIKR 24L Backpack

Groundtruth RIKR 24L Backpack

View offer

Weight 2200g | Volume 24 litres | Sizes One size | Main fabric GT-RK-001 TRISTOP Ballistic 600D 100% recycled PET; ballistic 1200D recycled PET side panels

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