Crater Packs makes it’s home in Telluride, Colorado. A historic mining town turned tourist oriented mountain town. Not only is the mountain biking pretty good, but fat bikes have also taken off in the small picturesque town in a San Juans. It is a perfect location for Rich Shoup to sew and test his custom frame bags. Rich is a family man that works as a gondola engineer for the town of Mountain Village, the resort community of Telluride. Rich has an extensive background in cycling, going all the way back to his days of mountain biking in high school in 1985, to touring with his 1986 Ritchey Aspen. He moved to Telluride in 1999 and has been there ever since. Rich started young, sewing in his dads shop, a Levi Jeans clothing store. Rich continued his sewing with A5 adventures in Flagstaff, making haul bags, gear slings, and other climbing bags and packs. He then started a company making hydration packs called, Evil Kim. He soon realized that market was covered. One day Paragon Sports in Telluride wanted him to make frame bags, the name was changed to Crater Packs, and the rest was history. Rich was kind enough to make a frame bag for my Arizona Trail Race bout.  After two years of rocking saddle and handlebar bags, it was time to go light. Rich understood where I was coming from and made a cuben fiber frame bag to fit my Specialized Stumpjumper HT.
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Before the bag saw a beating.
After measuring up my frame with a cardboard template containing notes on where the bottle cage screws were, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the bag with only three velcro straps. One on the top tube, and one on the upper part of the down tube, and the smallest one on the upper part of the seat tube. The rest is connected by the 4 bottle screws. I was hesitant at first but was surprised with the sturdiness and lack of shifting while riding. It is a perfect way to save a few grams. The majority of the bag is made out of a fabric called cuben fiber. Cuben fiber is mainly used in the sailing industry. It is a non-woven, extremely light and durable, rip resistant fabric. Because of its unique features, it is also very expensive. More and more bikepack manufactures are using this fabric, but don’t expect to pay bottom dollar for any cuben fiber bag.
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Foam Liner.
Because of the thin nature of the fabric, the bag is structured with a thin foam pad on the inside where the bag hits the inner frame tubes. The foam liner gives the bag a very nice structure, it also protects your frame and the cuben from any moving parts inside the bag. Inside are two separate compartments accompanied with two separate waterproof zippers, a larger main zipper on the top for the main compartment, and a zipper on the bottom for the lower compartment. The zippers handles are made of a standard string. The compartments are separated with two large pieces of velcro, which lets you cinch down the bag a bit more, or expanded it for larger loads.
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Inside with compartment open.
The unique bolt attachment system is well thought out. Rich added a reinforced layer around the area where the cage bolts are. He then poked two holes 2.5 inches apart that matched my measurements on the template. The holes are slightly smaller than the screws which made it perfect to screw into the reinforcement. It also prevents them from creeping through. He mentioned using washers to make sure this would not happen, but I decide against it with the size of my screws, I had no issues.
Attachment holes for seat tube.
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Attachment to the seat tube.
          The bag was a perfect fit. It could have been a bit more narrow, but with the inner velcro compartment, I was able to cinch it down to prevent my legs from rubbing. The edge seams are reinforced with a nylon strip all the way around the bag on both sides, adding a little weight but it is a necessary evil. I did have a few issues with the zippers gliding properly in the desert, mainly due to dry dusty conditions. I cleaned the zippers up after the race and they worked as good as new.
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Freestanding – shows the structure of the bag.
I was very please with the overall integrity of the bag. It held up great, and I do not see any signs of significant wear. After I attempted to clean out all the grit, and spilled Tailwind Nutritionmix it came in at 282 grams. Rich was fantastic at communication, getting back to me in a very timely manner. If you’re in the market for a new custom frame bag for you fat bike or mountain bike, be sure to check out Crater Packs, you won’t be disappointed!

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