The adventure cycling, bikepacking, and gravel grinding genres are continuing to take off according to Interbike 2016. It’s pretty exciting and the competition is only making for better, more creative and well-tested products. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the new bags out for this coming year. Some older bag companies did some fine tweaks to their products and companies new to the game dove in with some solid innovative bags. I never thought I’d find myself essentially shopping for bags and having fun. I guess it helps that it was at Interbike.

Ortlieb
bikepacking-bags-interbike-35Known 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. bikepacking-bags-interbike-38

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. bikepacking-bags-interbike-36

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.bikepacking-bags-interbike-32


Revelate Designs
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.
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Their bags now come with a wider array of mounting loops for different size bikes and builds. 
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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. 

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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. 
bikepacking-bags-interbike-21The 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
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. 
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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. bikepacking-bags-interbike-58 bikepacking-bags-interbike-60 bikepacking-bags-interbike-66They’ve got plenty of smaller bags for those smaller trips or just to use instead of filling your pockets. 

Topeak
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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. 
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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. 

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Carradice

dsc_0828 dsc_0829 bikepacking-bags-interbike-68 Carradice uses waxed canvas for a waterproof fabric. Certainly not the lightest material but very stylish. bikepacking-bags-interbike-69  bikepacking-bags-interbike-71I wanted to include Carradice in this list for those that think bikepacking can be a fancy occasion. Their price point is definitely on the high side but if your idea of bikepacking includes tweed, you should definitely check them out. 

Arkel
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. bikepacking-bags-interbike-48 bikepacking-bags-interbike-49This 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.bikepacking-bags-interbike-52

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. bikepacking-bags-interbike-25The 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.
bikepacking-bags-interbike-27I 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.
bikepacking-bags-interbike-28 bikepacking-bags-interbike-29John Watson of The Radavist stopped by while I was there and with we witness some excellent happenstance marketing.

One Comment

  1. Brian Kennelly

    I use a large PhantomPack seatbag on my dropper post mainly because my Sherpa is my trail bike but also my main bikepacker and it is too hard to switch out the dropper with internal routing. You don’t have to activate the dropper and usually a small drop is sufficient. The only issue of rubbing came when I had too much activation on the shock combined with too much drop. Most often the rear shock is locked out or I’m only using 1.5″ of drop. I also have to stand and help the dropper return when my large seatbag is stuffed to max. PhantomPack has robust material on the underside, but all seatbag could use some more abrasion resistant material there as there is often some contact during a long trek.

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