If you’re considering any type of multi-day trip, bikepacking or even a simple overnighter, you will need to be able to transport the right gear plus the essentials to ensure you are bike prepared but also comfortable for unexpected conditions.
My perspective on this is from someone that really likes what you would call credit card touring. or Pack light, travel far > get a cheap motel room, then keep riding. But that’s not to say that this product doesn’t have useful roots in bikepacking or regular road touring.
The area underneath your saddle is a common space to store / carry some gear and Apidura have created a line of packs that maximize the use of this space. I have used a medium sized pack for over 700 miles, I learnt a lot about it, what makes it great and horrible.
The Apidura pack has a nice technical feel, and is made from advanced materials, you instantly notice this in the design, colour scheme and attention to details, such as stitching, material choice and reflective elements.
Shown below, a small packed size. (seat post attachments to the left of image)
Shown below an empty unrolled pack, showing the two blinky holders and roll top design (seat post attachments to left)
The Apidura packs come in three sizes, I have the mid size. The features of the pack are plenty and you can find them all on their website here thanks to their brilliant marketing folks, but these are the ones that really mattered to me.
– Lightweight, waterproof roll top, the material is thin. Dimension Polyant VX21 is the main body fabric (shown in the photos as the grey material). This 4 layer laminated fabric offers a combination of superior waterproofness, lightweight, ultra-high abrasion and tear resistance, and low stretch. Looking inside view below, you can see the materials construction and the criss-cross reinforcement in the material, it feels very rugged yet still light weight.
– Hyperlon material (shown as most of the black areas) is used where it counts. Since any amount of vibration can cause rubbing, high abrasion areas such as under the saddle and the strap harnesses are made from this super durable, wear resistant and strong material called hyperlon. Key attention to detail was paid to where this is used, as it’s not the lightest material and is pretty expensive, thus the guys at Apidura did some smart design.
– Double velcro straps. Well designed double straps for attachment to the seat post, this is more secure than just one strap and they are wide and able to be cinched down tight. This secures the load and stops the bag from swinging as much, especially useful on climbs. The top surface is also Hyperlon and designed with little reflective tabs to help you.
– two, blinky light attachments, these are on the roll top area and they provide two attachments, one for a very full load and one for when you have it rolled down a bit, they allow you to simply attach a blinky. Seems simple right, but check out the competition, they seem to have forgotten this feature.
– Internal plastic structure, the lower part of the bag has a thin plastic stiffener, this was actually really good for packing, retaining the shape of the bag.
– Well designed, angled and attached cinch straps. the straps are located in perfect position, they are cinched down with double and triple stitch, they are easy to adjust. 5 out of 5 stars. Take a look at the competition it’s so easy to get these details long, a few competitors bags have awful strap design. the small details add up, these pull in the right place and the right direction, out and towards the saddle, ensuring a good tight fit. The loops in the tie downs also allow you some extra leverage to quickly tie it down a smidgen tighter.
– Not a huge deal but a nice touch, as you can see from the photos, there’s a bungee cord on the top. I found that this was great for a few things. If you wanted to carry a pair of flip flops, perfect place. If you need to quickly attach an extra sandwich (I mean who doesn’t) or if you’re riding along remove some arm warmers or a vest and just reach back and secure it under the bungee without stopping.
How does it look on the bike?
What can I carry?
For some tests as to understanding the carry size, loaded it up and rode too and from work, introducing a few hills and longer distances. The Apidura pack is very well designed and the materials and construction are well thought out, being of a design mind I was pretty sensitive to that.
Smaller Packing Test:
left to right in rows:
– Spare black gloves
– trousers (patagonia light weight)
– bag shown with blinkey light, route sheet and cash
– allergy tablets
– pocket knife and orange multi tool
– lezyne pump
– sandwich, tube, chequered toolroll
– pink stripe rapha insulated gillet
– green oakley frogskins
– red sugoi lightweight wind breaker
– Black patagonia fleece
Larger Packing Test
A larger load at the max of the capacity of this bag: Here’s my carry:
Left to right in rows
– checkered tool roll, chamois cream, tube, patch kit
– green patagonia nano puff hoody 12oz
– baby blue collared polo shirt (for our dinner event), underneath Nau trousers
– Nike flyknits 18oz
– Pink stripe Rapha insulated Gilet
– Pink Rapha Pro Team Socks, underneath small muscle massager
– White Rapha rain jacket (it’s oregon folks)
– White arm sleeves and underneath underwear
– Spare spokes, Leatherman Skeletool Multitool
– Lezyne Road pump
– Rapha Pro Team Gloves
This came in at about 6.5lbs with bag.
On bike shot.
– peanut butter sandwiches, held in by the nice bungee cords on the bag.
– Some energy chews
– Leatherman Multitool with bike bits
This will be in my kit for a while. Well designed, flexible and holds a lot when packed well. I thought it pretty admirable considering I had a pair of nike flyknits in one of my trips, flip flops or Toms would have been more appropriate. Bear in mind this was the midsize one. Need a ton more stuff then size up.
The one i tested here is the “backcountry” saddle pack. Apidura also has a newer line “Expedition” saddle pack made with more weatherproof materials.
– 11L: Ideal for endurance road racers commuters (small)
– 14L: Ideal for off-road and weekend cycle touring. (medium)
– 17L: Ideal for long haul cycle touring.