Known for their pannier bags and frame racks, Ortlieb broke away from that this year to make frame mounted bike bags. All of their bags are waterproof and they’ve avoided using zippers and instead use straps to mount and secure the bags.
I like the straps they use with the metal buckles to keep everything tight. The buckles seem to have enough of a hook that they won’t bounce loose which would be my only real concern.
I like the reflective material found on the corners of Ortlieb’s bags on the front and rear bags. They’re clearly looking to make some durable products with hard walls on the saddle bag, but I’m curious how some of those edges on the seat post will work with garments.
Ortlieb offers a few smaller saddlebags as well that clamp directly to the seat post and don’t wag. I would love to try them out and they look like a pretty solid waterproof option when traveling light.
I must admit some bias here saying that I’ve used a full Revelate Designs kit for all of my bikepacking. I’ve used it all over California, on the CTR, and down the Tour Divide. Pretty solid gear, and they’ve made it better.
You can now operate their snack bag with one hand, which I find very appealing, and they moved the fork mount to the other side of the bag.
Their bags now come with a wider array of mounting loops for different size bikes and builds.
Revelate Designs is based in Alaska and it shows in their designs. Their extra large, glove friendly fasteners and their easy to use straps definitely caught my attention. On ultra endurance events when you begin to lose grip strength, being able to get into your bags without too much effort is pretty nice.
They’ve got a waterproof, padded camera bag in the works that mounts to the handlebar bag. I am very excited about this for my next trip down the Divide.
The frame bags now come more waterproof than ever and include a hole for your Camelbak hose so you don’t have to awkwardly leave your bag open a bit for the hose. Their angled fuel tank bags are a big plus for those of us with larger frames that don’t fit bags right against the seat post.
Green Guru has a pretty great business model by using recycled materials to create bike bags at a great price point. True, their bags aren’t waterproof, but fairly water resistant at a good entry-level cost. They aren’t for the serious bikepacker, but their unique color schemes and great business model interested me.
Just about none of their bags are the same pattern or colors due to the recycled nature of their products so you’re guaranteed to to have something unique to feel good about. They’ve got plenty of smaller bags for those smaller trips or just to use instead of filling your pockets.
Topeak entered the bike bag market this year with a handlebar bag, saddle bag, and a generic size frame bag. All of their bags are waterproof and fit snugly in the middle range price point and weight as far as bike bags go.
All of the waterproof bags come with a valve to let the air escape as you stuff it, a very nice feature that those of us without the valve know all too well. They do give you a few extra loops to strap things down with and they’ve made sure there’s room for their bike tent. The bike tent has been out for a while now, and I’m sure not what I think of it, but I’d be willing to try it out.
Carradice uses waxed canvas for a waterproof fabric. Certainly not the lightest material but very stylish.
There are a few things that make Arkel really stick out. One of my favorites is the rack for the saddle bag that lets you use a dropper post. This has been one of the best solutions I have seen that allows you to run a dropper while bikepacking. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked on it.
The adjustable rack is even held in place with an easy-to-use quick release for easy adjustment or removal.Still in the prototype phase, this is the bag that could be used for both the handlebars and saddlebag.
I really like how many options Arkel gives you with their bags. They’ve got an adjustable saddle bag frame that helps to eliminate sway and they’ve got bags that can be mounted to the saddle or handlebars.Apidura
The Apidura snack bags have also tackled the “I want to eat but also ride this singletrack, and I don’t want my food to fall out” problem that I’ve had more than a time or two. The single hand operation is pretty easy both in opening and closing. The bottom of the snack bags have straps that hold onto the fork to ensure your snack bag doesn’t flop around.
I really like the extra front bags offered that strap onto the waterproof roll.
They use a high grade waterproof zipper and sufficient straps to secure your load. I’d definitely be willing to try out a full Apidura kit.
John Watson of The Radavist stopped by while I was there and with we witness some excellent happenstance marketing.