Link: Magma | Price: $249/€159/£109 (Backpack XL), €189/£149 (Trolley)
A QUICK WORD FROM THE EDITOR
It may seem strange to have a pair of complete reviews for something as simple as a bag, but that’s just the way things work out sometimes. We got sent a Riot Pack XL a while ago (check Dan’s review) , as did arkaei just before he became part of the DJWORX family. But two opinions are better than one right? Enjoy.
While bags may be less exciting a topic that shiny new gear, they’re crucial if you want to keep that shiny gear intact when travelling. Besides protecting your valuable equipment from impact, well-designed bags will also help you organize better and are generally a sensible investment once you’re ready to start playing out.
Magma has been around since the late 90s and became a true household name by the time my record collection grew large enough to warrant using something with more capacity than a courier bag. As DJ technology progressed, they always kept up and created solutions for transporting all kinds of gear. My first record bag was a Magma model still available today in an updated version – the LP-Bag 100. Over the years, I went through a lot more of their products, in fact too many to list. Today, I primarily use the Magma Riot DJ-Backpack XL and the Riot DJ-Trolley. Let’s take a closer look at them.
MAGMA BAG BASICS
Small things can affect a bag’s usefulness in a big way – and Magma is all about detail. First of all, almost all of their bags are designed to conform to airline regulations for hand luggage, so all you’re ever going to have to worry about is staying within the weight limit – speaking from rather unpleasant experience with Ryanair.
When it comes to picking the right materials, it may seem like there’s little science to making a durable DJ bag or flight case – but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong. DJ bags are subject to all kinds of stress and simply have to take way more abuse than your ordinary travel accessories. Magma takes user feedback seriously and constantly updates their products with new components – outer material, interior padding, zippers and so forth – making every new model a little better than its predecessor.
I still own some of the older ones, and while they’ve stood the test of time, I appreciate all the little modifications that happened along the way. The outer material of the Magma Riot Pack series is heavy-duty tarp, making the bags resistible to abrasion and basically waterproof – especially due to their PVC-coated zippers.
Nowadays, DJ setups change constantly. There’s a plethora of new toys every year, so modular design is the way to go. While Magma also makes rigid cases designed for specific types of equipment, the interior of their general purpose bags and trolleys can be fitted to suit your needs using the included foam separators which are held in place with Velcro. Besides that, they take care not to waste any space – there’s plenty of mesh compartments for storing small things like USB drives and cables.
Both the Riot Backpack and the trolley also have small pockets on the outside which are ideal for storing things you need to access quickly without opening the whole bag – like flight tickets and IDs.
RIOT PACK SERIES IN USE
My current live setup includes two 15.4″ XMG/Schenker laptops, a Rane Sixty-Four mixer, an Ableton Push, a Livid Instruments Base and CNTRL:R, an Access Virus TI synth and a Korg KP3+. Then there’s the Nocs NS900, an Olympus LS-5 audio recorder, a GoPro camera, an iPad, power adapters and a jungle of cables. All these things can be transported in the Riot Backpack + Trolley combo because the backpack has a separate zipper which, when opened, reveals an additional layer of tarp that unfolds to give you even more volume.
Three straps on the outside of the backpack provide additional stability when needed. The reason it’s been done this way is to stay within the exact hand luggage dimensions by default – however, I haven’t had any problems at airports so far taking advantage of the bag’s maximum capacity.
What I like about this pair of products the most is the fact that they’ve been designed to be stackable – you can easily place the backpack on top of the trolley and attach it to its extended handle using the backpack’s chest strap. This will keep it perfectly stable and give your back some rest – the wheels on the trolley can take the added weight without flinching. When using either bag on its own, you can carry it by one of the extremely durable handles. Both the backpack and the trolley also come with a detachable, padded shoulder strap.
Admittedly, I didn’t go as far as Dan did in his review by putting the Riot Backpack XL in the shower (kudos) – but I did drag various Magma bags through hell and back. They’ve withstood rain, snow and desert sand with impressive results. Of course they show some wear on the outside, but that’s to be expected. The important thing is, the inside still looks good as new, even despite me re-arranging the separators all the time. I would’ve expected some damage on the padding from detaching and re-attaching the Velcro, but that’s where the material quality really shows. All the other important parts – especially the zippers and wheels – also still function perfectly.
This one is remarkably easy to conclude: Magma bags are DJ life-savers, and the Riot Pack series is no exception. I can’t find anything bad to say about them, so there’s no need for a PRO/CON section here.