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Bike packing bag experiences wanted

Old 01-24-16, 07:46 AM
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Bike packing bag experiences wanted

This year I am going to give on-road backpacking a whirl. I have a Salsa Colossal that is a sweet riding bike. I have the Tangle frame bag, but wondering about handlebar and rear bag options. Revelate Design has the remaining bags also (Viscacha, Sweet Roll) but are pretty pricey. Looking for reviews on them and your opinions whether they are worth the $$ or are there less expensive options that work just as well that you use. If this works well for me, I just might sell the LHT and get a fat bike. Thanks!
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Old 01-24-16, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dannwilliams View Post
This year I am going to give on-road backpacking a whirl. I have a Salsa Colossal that is a sweet riding bike. I have the Tangle frame bag, but wondering about handlebar and rear bag options. Revelate Design has the remaining bags also (Viscacha, Sweet Roll) but are pretty pricey. Looking for reviews on them and your opinions whether they are worth the $$ or are there less expensive options that work just as well that you use. If this works well for me, I just might sell the LHT and get a fat bike. Thanks!
Personally, I wouldn't go with the Revelate Design Sweetroll. It's rather limited and expensive for what you get. The Harness is more versatile and a bit cheaper.

But, yes, bikepacking bags are expensive. They are very well made so they are a good value but the initial cost is high. Look around on Fleabay or Craigslist. You can find used ones occasionally but they are still expensive. There are a number of "make your own" videos out there as well. I'm not sure you'll save much money by making your own however. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet.

Finally, why a fat bike? Unless you are planning on doing winter rides, a fat bike is a liability over a mountain bike for off-road riding. A good hardtail mountain bike with a suspension fork will is lighter and easier to ride than a fat bike. Trying to keep knobbed tires rolling is tough enough without making them a whole lot heavier.
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Old 01-24-16, 12:13 PM
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If doing road riding, you could also use a carradice type bag.
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Old 01-24-16, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
If doing road riding, you could also use a carradice type bag.
I'd stay away from bikepacking front harnesses for the Colossal if you have drop bars. Take a look at the many conventional bar bags out there made by firms like Ortlieb. You might also look at a Carradice saddlebag solution, the Colossal looks made for those. Other bikepacking saddle bags will work as well, but don't get lulled into the "more bags is better" approach that I so often see in bikepacking setups as that can get expensive. Think about what gear you need and buy the appropriate bags. I've never understood why anyone would need a "gastank" for a phone and snacks when jersey pockets and a handlebar bag can carry those things easily. You might just buy a large compression sack and carry your gear in that strapped to the saddle.

https://wheelsofchance.wordpress.com...0/16/bikepack/

Last edited by nun; 01-24-16 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-24-16, 02:15 PM
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A Good number of the Go Fast Guys in this past June's ACA Transcontinental, self contained, Race

used Bike Packin' type Gear .

I waved them off at sunrise, Then went home..

on the ultramarathon section there was tracking links posted ..
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Old 01-24-16, 02:31 PM
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I've considered making them. Vinyl's not that expensive and often freely discarded from commercial signs. Some sewing, a drawstring cinch, rolls down and buckles. There aren't even many with zippers and things like that. The back looks fairly complicated but is a hook, stretch cord and solid inner plate.
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Old 01-24-16, 09:23 PM
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I used a bikepacking setup for a trip this winter, and it worked great. Kind of limits the amount if gear you can carry, so you have to be careful packing and bring only what you really need. I also went with bikepacking bags and panniers last summer, which also worked well, with the ability to carry more. The Revelate Harness and dry bag is better then the Sweetroll for drop bars, because your width is limited.



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Old 01-24-16, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I'd stay away from bikepacking front harnesses for the Colossal if you have drop bars.
No problems here with a harness setup with drop bars.





This one is from Oveja Negra.
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Old 01-24-16, 10:31 PM
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P.S. to the OP, if your ambition is to get a taste of bikepacking and see how it goes, know that it is a slippery slope and pretty soon you just abandon the road altogether.

This past weekend:



The bikepacking bags make the bike handle completely differently from your traditional pannier setup. It really is a treat. I had no trouble this weekend. Despite insanely icy conditions, I stayed upright almost the entire time. My fatbike was out of commission, but I made it out alive!

Here's how I'm carrying everything, but YMMV:

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Old 01-24-16, 11:13 PM
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Also, I'd recommend the Revelate Terrapin and Terrapin dry bag over the other saddle bags. So easy to undo a couple buckles and remove the dry bag to bring in the tent. Also, you can add another small bag on top with straps for that bit of extra gear. The red Revelate straps are worth the money, as well.
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Old 01-24-16, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
No problems here with a harness setup with drop bars.
They can obviously work with drop bars, but you have to make sure the harness/bag will fit and allow you to be comfortable on the drops, hoods and flats. I found that a few REI compression straps and a Sea to Summit works quite well without the need for the harness if the OP is really looking to save money. Also I take full advantage of rear jersey pockets and put a bottle of soda in the middle one and fruit and snacks on either side. These keep me going up to lunch when I'll usually restock.

Last edited by nun; 01-24-16 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 01-25-16, 06:52 AM
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Personally I don't use "bike packing bags", but I do go ultralight and follow some of the same conventions.

Rather than use a bar roll I find that a light dry bag and two straps suffices nicely. I do use two short pieces of pvc pipe as standoffs. The straps go through the pvc pipe, around the bar, back through the pipe, and around the bag.

I find that on the rear I can go as light or lighter with a little mini rack and a light dry bag than the bikepacking seat bags. I am am not willing to use frame bags because I prefer to have that space for two bottle cages. and my frame size is too small to use a frame bag with out giving up one or both bottle cages.
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Old 01-25-16, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Personally I don't use "bike packing bags", but I do go ultralight and follow some of the same conventions.

Rather than use a bar roll I find that a light dry bag and two straps suffices nicely. I do use two short pieces of pvc pipe as standoffs. The straps go through the pvc pipe, around the bar, back through the pipe, and around the bag.

I find that on the rear I can go as light or lighter with a little mini rack and a light dry bag than the bikepacking seat bags. I am am not willing to use frame bags because I prefer to have that space for two bottle cages. and my frame size is too small to use a frame bag with out giving up one or both bottle cages.
I agree that compression sacks and a few straps can be used to carry a lightweight load without the need for expensive purpose made bags. However, there is the factor of convenience to consider. This is a very personal thing and so the OP needs to think about how they will be touring and what might be annoying. Personally I like to keep the number of bags to a minimum so I can easily carry them off the bike and pack everything for air/bus travel. I like the Ortlieb type of front bag because I'm traveling on roads mostly and stop in towns often so the "quick on and off" of the Klickfix mount is useful as is the Ortlieb's shoulder strap. I like the wide opening of the Carradice Camper transverse type saddlebag as it lets me get at things quickly and easily and it's large capacity means I don't need frame bags and, like you, I can use that space for water bottles. Mixing and matching often gets you to your best solution so I would consider all the ways to carry stuff and come up with the combinination that works best.
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Old 01-25-16, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Personally I don't use "bike packing bags", but I do go ultralight and follow some of the same conventions.

Rather than use a bar roll I find that a light dry bag and two straps suffices nicely. I do use two short pieces of pvc pipe as standoffs. The straps go through the pvc pipe, around the bar, back through the pipe, and around the bag.
Originally Posted by nun View Post
I agree that compression sacks and a few straps can be used to carry a lightweight load without the need for expensive purpose made bags. However, there is the factor of convenience to consider.
Yep. I have switched from a front rack to just carrying my tent and sleeping gear on the handlebars. Couple of straps and the dry bag/compression sack I was already using does the the trick, along with a little foam padding I wrapped around the compression sack to keep the straps from doing any damage. It did the trick. I was going for a weekend trip: biking one day, camping 3 days, biking home. So I didn't mind fussing with straps, tightening, rearranging, etc. But I did order a harness for the handlebars in the future. The straps worked, but I think that especially on a multi-day tour, I will appreciate being able to put the dry bag on and take it off more easily.

I hope to get a frame bag, too, because that feels like a great use of space, but I don't see ditching my rear rack. It's in daily use when I'm commuting, so unless I find myself flying/shipping the bike somewhere where packing the rear rack became a hassle. In that case I may have to try out some seat bag options.
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Old 01-25-16, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
P.S. to the OP, if your ambition is to get a taste of bikepacking and see how it goes, know that it is a slippery slope and pretty soon you just abandon the road altogether.

This past weekend:

The bikepacking bags make the bike handle completely differently from your traditional pannier setup. It really is a treat. I had no trouble this weekend. Despite insanely icy conditions, I stayed upright almost the entire time. My fatbike was out of commission, but I made it out alive!
What is that small bag on the underside of the downtime? Never saw one used like that before. I was thinking a hard case in the bottle holder for the tools and spare tube, but that looks like a better idea.
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Old 01-25-16, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The Revelate Harness and dry bag is better then the Sweetroll for drop bars, because your width is limited.
That is the kind of info I am looking for, Thanks!
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Old 01-25-16, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
No problems here with a harness setup with drop bars.
Just the kind of info I'm looking for, Thanks!
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Old 01-25-16, 03:48 PM
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Great info so far. I would like to not use racks since this is a "on road Adventure Bike." I think that is how it was listed on the Salsa site. That way I can ride unencumbered if I choose not to break camp for a day or two and just cruise the area. Again thanks for the info!
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Old 01-25-16, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dannwilliams View Post
What is that small bag on the underside of the downtime? Never saw one used like that before. I was thinking a hard case in the bottle holder for the tools and spare tube, but that looks like a better idea.
That's a Rogue Panda Designs Oracle Downtube bag!
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Old 01-25-16, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
This one is from Oveja Negra.
Max,
I have seen photos of similar setups posted by you, and always wondered - have you done anything to add or simulate spacers between this harness and the handlebar?
I am not aware of the Oveja Negra harness being offered with such spacers, and am unsure if it has a sufficient length of the h/bar straps to accommodate for spacers...
Please, share.
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Old 01-25-16, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
Max,
I have seen photos of similar setups posted by you, and always wondered - have you done anything to add or simulate spacers between this harness and the handlebar?
I am not aware of the Oveja Negra harness being offered with such spacers, and am unsure if it has a sufficient length of the h/bar straps to accommodate for spacers...
Please, share.
The Oveja Negra harness is clever. It is suspended from the handlebar. A webbing and buckle cinches down tight, and is attached to another length of webbing approximately 3/4 of an inch long before it finally attaches to the harness itself. This keeps the harness and drybag separated from the handlebars by 3/4 inch, without the need for spacers.
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Old 01-25-16, 05:17 PM
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Re. Oveja Negra harness:

Ha! The mystery finally revealed!
It seems one would be able to use "the tops" hands position with this harness - something that I doubted until now.

Thanks, Max, and apologies to dannwilliams for sidetracking the thread.
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Old 01-25-16, 07:28 PM
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Here is a close up of the Revelate Harness with the small bag that clips on the front. If you like riding in the drops, a narrower dry bag would be nice, which just requires a few more folds and more compression. The tops and hoods are completely available. The harness is attached with straps and rubber blocks.

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Old 01-25-16, 08:02 PM
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Plus 1 on the Revelate Terrapin Saddle Bag. More convenient to load and unload than the original Viscacha design. Just pull out or insert the dry bag to unload or load.
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Old 01-25-16, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
Plus 1 on the Revelate Terrapin Saddle Bag. More convenient to load and unload than the original Viscacha design. Just pull out or insert the dry bag to unload or load.
Two straps linked together and buckled behind the dry bag hold it in the Terrapin harness. The side straps on the harness also tighten around the front, making for a secure load. Nice design.

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