We already spoke about the materials, features, and how it functions in our first look video, so be sure to check that out before you read the long term review below.
The overall installation of the bag was very streamlined. As shown in the video, it attaches at the three typical spots most saddle bags attach – one heavy duty double-back strap around the seat post, and two around the saddle rails. Where Restrap sets their bag apart from others is their patented magnetic buckles. I was certainly skeptical with these at first, but after messing around with them, I found that there was nearly no way they would come undone. The magnetic clips proved to be a quality alternative to regular buckles.
Another feature of the holster is the military grade paracord which holes the panels in place. I never had to touch the cord all that much, only a few times to tighten it as it loosened over time. The cord does play a big roe in holding the upper and lower part of the harness together. The cord is reflective which is nice when traveling on roads.
Once the bag is installed the two side webbing straps essential pull the holster snug to the saddle rails using a simple pulley system. During our testing the webbing straps stayed snug for the duration of our rides with no signs of significant loosening. The dry bag is held in with another magnetic buckle, this time a flick lock buckle that is sewn into a webbing strap. The magnetic buckle attaches and then you can tug down on the webbing strap with plenty of force to push the bag forward to the seatpost and saddle. The installation and removal of the bag is extremely simple, just like a holster saddle bag should be.
Rigid holster system
Uses all magnetic buckles
Capacity of 8-14 liters
Works with an assortment of dry bags
The Holster is sold with a dry bag for your convenience, but if you already have one that you think will work, there is no reason to purchase one with a dry bag. That being said, I think using a tapered dry bag with this system works best. We purchased a light weight 10 liter Outdoor Research dry bag to fit with the holster, but I found that I was wasting a lot of space towards the seatpost. So I used it with one of my tapered dry bags from Porcelain Rocket instead, and it worked wonders.
This holster is wider than some bags towards the seat post, but we did not have any consistent leg rub. The saddle bag stands up more rather than expanding back which resulted in some clearance issues. When I needed to lean back beyond the saddle, my butt would hit the bag on some occasions. This occurred more so on singletrack descents as opposed to road.
Aside from the magnetic buckles, the standout feature of the holster is how rigid it is. Like we mentioned above, the hard case holster allowed for an easy installation of the bag. It keeps the contents very snug, even without tugging down on the saddle rail straps. On most trail conditions you will, however, notice the bag sway from side to side. I think this is in part due to the connection points – specifically the one around the seatpost which doesn’t tighten as much as we would like.
Over the course of many rides, we noticed that the larger the load was, the more the harness would sway. It’s not out of the ordinary by any measure, but we did notice some movement. This could prove to be an issue for someone on technical singletrack or tight and twisty roads. The weight at times could certainly be felt in the handling of the bike when swaying, but the swaying was more noticeable when I was installing or uninstalling the dry bag.
Restrap’s tag line is “Over Kill,” and it shows in the holster design. Military-grade Cordura, nylon webbing straps, and bar tacked high-stress points make for an overall heavy-duty feel. It may be heavy duty, but we did run into one issue. The Cordura is sewn around some sort of HDPE plastic stiffener which essentially shapes the body of the holster. It appears that the plastic stiffeners have started to bubble up underneath the Cordura. Somehow the Cordura shrunk and the hardcase sewn in remained the same shape. Over time it has gotten worse, and I think it’s mostly due to exposure from the sun and elements.
The Restrap Saddle Bag Holster is an elegant looking yet technical bag ready for you to take on your next two-wheeled endeavor. It would be nice to have tested their dry bag, but I think there are other bags on the market that will do just fine with this system. The rigid nature of the bag allows for easy instillation and removal of the dry bag, just be sure to pack your dry bag and tug down the webbing straps to keep it snug enough to avoid noticeable handling differences. This is a sleek looking bag that will add to the look of your rig, if you’re into that. While other brands are going ultralight, Restrap designed a durable and functional bag with some really likable features.
The Holster comes in at 464 grams (excluding dry bag) and will run you £84.99 (104.00USD).
For more information on the bag and to purchase head over to Restrap.com to put your name down for a bag.