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A fairly clever messenger bag that draws from a number of technologies, some of which are well established and familiar. ⌘

niteRIDR Messenger Bag
Seagull Bags+Ryan Backhuus

Hi kickstarter, my name is Ryan Backhuus. I'm from Portland, OR. I've collaborated with Seagull Bags in Columbus, OH to make a messenger bag that is anything but standard.

Bag Collector:"..seems like a good size for a daily commuter. But the bag really shines with its 20,000 mAh battery."

Trendhunter: "..not only glows brightly in the distance, but can also charge an iPhone [5] up to eight times while on the road."

Gizmofusion: "..a standard messenger bag that is anything but standard."

"For those that prefer to ride their bikes instead of commuting around the city, the niteRIDR is the perfect (smart) messenger bag for you."

Also check out Christina Blake's Pinterest.

The background:

I would consider myself more than an average cyclist, and I do not have a drivers license. Because of this limitation I'm usually out with a bag to carry my lock, groceries, whatever is on the menu for the day. I have owned several different brands of messenger bags designed for cyclists. Last summer was the inspiration of this entire project. I moved out to a rural area that did not have sidewalks or street lamps. I knew I needed lighting. I wanted something different. Not really being able to find it, I had to make something.

The first thing I am usually asked Why not use LED's?  Well..

I discovered a material called electroluminescent.

You wouldn't know it, but there are many pieces of this material behind many large flatscreen TVs as well as night-lights. It's used for backlighting, with minimal electrical requirement. It is made from layers of phosphor paste, laminated and connected to an electric current, displaying what you see as a soft glow. It uses a battery that utilizes a lot of USB, keeping it relatively universal with people and devices. I know people need to charge their phones a lot, so I put in a battery that would support that.  About those LED's..

LED (light emitting diode)

LED’s are interesting. But, to put two together requires a gap of space. The only way to offset this is something in the gaps, but this is quite the workaround. Next is the architecture. LED projects require a circuit and a panel to support it. The panel is hard and relatively thick. The board in which the LED is attached to will be subject to exposure, even become damaged due to the nature of needing LED's to be out in the open.

EL (electroluminescent) 

Now with EL, essentially you have electricity, wires, and near paper thin ‘material’ that lights up. This is it. Here’s a perspective: Typical LED’s have one bulb atop them to amplify the light with a rounded top bulb. Consider the use of a traditional flashlight and its light output pattern. It’s typically scattered despite being moderately effective. EL, however,  is electronically-activated phosphor paste. As long as there is no gap between material, the entire surface glows. It’s actually millions of pixel-like particles. The quantity of dots create an exceptionally high-resolution brightness. It has presence, but doesn’t have a pinpoint in-your-face light profile.

It’s cool and it knows it.

It needed power..

When I saw the schematics and general electrical requirements, I basically sat and laughed like a mad scientist. I could already tell there is a great need for a paper thin lighting source with no bulb or diode, but to know it could be done -- I got to work right away. Seagull was on-board to make it happen. My first designs, on my own personal bags and clothing were nothing short of frankenbags.

originally the material was intended for clothing, but in testing as well as need for safety, the bag stood out as the real project. (July '12)
originally the material was intended for clothing, but in testing as well as need for safety, the bag stood out as the real project. (July '12)
First test of EL (on a bag) (August '12)
First test of EL (on a bag) (August '12)
Original battery and inverter (left), practical replacements (right) (November '12)
Original battery and inverter (left), practical replacements (right) (November '12)
Arrival of first custom panels (December '12)
Arrival of first custom panels (December '12)
First main flap fitted on custom bag pattern (January '13)
First main flap fitted on custom bag pattern (January '13)
the first bag (left) was quickly improved to the final prototype (right) including a larger bag, but also more lighting material. (April '13)
the first bag (left) was quickly improved to the final prototype (right) including a larger bag, but also more lighting material. (April '13)

I've had some of the more expensive portable power options, and they've fallen short.

Knowing what is out there, I wanted to put something together that was just more than the average bag, yet didn't make you feel like it was much more than a bag. 

The true highlight is the visibility factor. The bag can be seen from over 500 feet away in mid darkness, up to 1000 feet in total darkness. The possibilities of this are different than just 'how bright can it be', even the luminosity is softer yet somehow more effective than a sharp-lit LED. I want to bring this unbreakable material where it belongs, places that break stuff. I want to develop different forms of energy for this material as well. It's all a very exciting process. 

In total, the bag is composed of a messenger bag, electroluminescent panels, complete unnoticed wiring beneath the lining, an inverter for the battery to transfer power to the panels, and a battery to store the power. The battery is in its own side pouch away from the main compartments of the bag. Seagull tests all of their bags outdoors in camping settings.  and I have tested this for the last few months with nothing short of extreme durability.

I am completely confident in Seagull's craftsmanship, durability, and attention to detail. Their gallery speaks for itself.

Ryan Backhuus is an out of the box thinker who sees kickstarter as an opportunity. A motivated, creative type with a great passion.

Seagull Bags is a Columbus, Ohio based bag company, specializing in meticulous detail above all else.

I, Ryan Backhuus and Seagull Bags present to you, the niteRIDR Messenger Bag.

The niteRIDR features:

2 outer pouches that fit an iPad mini.

1 inner velcro-secured pocket that could fit an iPad mini, sideways. Large, open layout.

D-ring for keys, slack clips, shoulder stabilization strap, and metal clasp with padded main strap.

20,000 mAh battery -- 2 USB ports, 1x 1.0a 1x 2.1a

It doesn't just glow, it's bright from great distance.

The battery doesn't just last long, it charges an iPhone 5 over 8 times.

You can run the lighting and charge your phone at the same time.

You can charge almost anything that uses USB.

The battery charges on USB, too.

It's lined with 100% waterproof vinyl.

The battery can sit in a side pocket, unnoticed.

At this time, we are focusing on the blue/aqua color for glow, and black for the bag. We would like to visit the effective safety of other colors. Ultimately, this is a bag. However, its' purpose is to be the right bag. I want to change what a bag can be and add the seemingly futuristic conveniences 2013 ought to have. For now, the idea of charging a laptop is something to reach for. I feel that certain laptops already have amazing batteries, so for now I want to focus on handhelds, etc. 

The Kickstarter backers will be able to choose their bag color from the following:  Black, Navy, Jean, Turquoise, Olive, Mint, Light Gray, Rust, Red, and Wine.

Where you come in:

We need the kickstarter members pledges help to get materials and (electrical) supplies ordered for an idea of production, based on the pledges support as a form of demand. 

The complete bag with battery and lighting will be available to kickstarter supporters for $225, shipped priority mail in the US for no charge. The cost includes all materials and assembly 'man hours'. We are all committed to the project at this price and always looking for ways to make it less expensive.

The funding from your pledges will go towards ordering materials such as EL panels, inverters, batteries, and lots and lots of material for bags. Everything will start within 5 days of pledge funding being complete. 

The glow itself will remain blue if your pledge includes it.The battery will remain white. 

The final prototype: (approximate)

Width 15.5 in, 39.4 cm
Height 11.5 in, 29.2 cm
Depth 7.5 in, 19 cm
Length Across Top 24 in, 61 cm
Volume 1337 ci, 22 Litres
Weight 2.5 lbs, 1.1 kg


Buckle  2" Painted Steel Float Bar System Webbing  2" Nylon Seatbelt WebbingFoam 
1/2" Thick Closed Cell Foam

Bag Hardware:

1.5" Duraflex bucklesWebbing  1.5" PolypropyleneVelcro1 & 2" Industrial Strength


Funding Phase: 10/9 - 11/23
Pledge Processing (approximately 10 days)
During pledge fund processing (approximately 10 days), a survey will be sent out to understand the proper materials and colors to order.

Bag Production: 12/04 - 12/21
Bag Shipment 12/07 - 12/23+

To explain the timeline, we are now working on the funding phase. When this is complete, should we hit our goal (I know we can!) then we'll get things moving with a survey and find out what colors everyone would like. We will start making bags ASAP, processing the surveys and shipping bags as they become ready from as soon as 3 DAYS LATER for the first dozen pledges and about two weeks later for the rest. This is to meet our 12/25 delivery goal as best we can. And it is definitely not Seagull's first rodeo, either. 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Fortunately we are working with a known concept. We spent nearly 9 months with several alternating stages of design and testing before ending up with a bag that does so many things--adequately. We hope to get feedback during the pledge phase to incorporate into the final release.

The only complication that stood out was receiving the lighting materials, but we sorted out shipping, making a deal with UPS in the originating country to ensure we receive everything quickly. The rest is up to us, and those odds we can handle.

Seagull had been making and shipping quality gear for over 10 years. This project has given us the chance to partner and ultimately make a cool, useful product through our know how and production capability.


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    Add 2x AA batteries and have your very own glow! This reward features a single custom EL panel and a single inverter. Ships free in the US.

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    Bag ala carte (First Wave). This is the bag only. This reward does not include any lighting or the battery. Comes in Black, Navy, Jean, Turquoise, Olive, Mint, Light Grey, Rust, Red, or Wine. Ships free in the US.

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    Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $125 or more
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    0 backers Limited (100 left of 100)

    Battery ala carte (First Wave). This reward does not come with the bag or the lighting. Ships free in the US.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $225 or more
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    1 backer Limited (99 left of 100)

    This is the complete bag with battery and lighting! (First Wave). It is fully functional right out of the box. Comes in Black, Navy, Jean, Turquoise, Olive, Mint, Light Grey, Rust, Red, or Wine. Ships Free in the US.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
Funding period

- (45 days)