With summer on the horizon, we thought we'd get kitted out ready for a couple of overnighters. We turned to Alpkit for the full complement of bike packing gear contained in their Bike Packing Bundle. Check out what you get for under £200....
Designed and made in the UK, Alpkit has been in the business of making great quality kit for some time now, even branching into the world of bicycle manufacturing with the Sonder range of bikes. We could spend hours on the company's site such is the huge range of gear and advice on offer! Whether you are a seasoned adventurer of you are just getting started out on your first trip, the site is a treasure trove of information.
We've got the Bike Packing Frame Bag Bundle in for test alongside a couple of other extra's that signs the deal on a lightweight bikepacking trip.
Possum Frame Bag
This Possum 42 frame bag (£70) is made for modern mountain bikes, but as you can see here still fits on a regular gravel bike too with enough room to fit a water bottle in as well. The bike we used as a model is a 52m Specialized Diverge, at 2.6L the Possum 42 is the smallest frame bag in the range and is designed to carry heavier gear with bottle cage access in mind. There are two separate compartments, one large on the non-drive side and one small and flat on the other. Alpkit recommends using this bag to store your bivvy bag and a tarp.
All straps on the Possum are velcro and can be attached anywhere along the length of the bag meaning they can be arranged so not to interfere with other bags in use.
Koala Seat Bag
The Koala comes in 7 or 13L sizes and in an array of colours (as with all this gear, so you can go matchy matchy). The bag is weather resistant but Alpkit reckons you should store your gear in a dry bag if the weather is going to be pretty bad or you have valuables inside. It attaches to the seat post via two tough straps and then loops through the saddle rails with two additional adjustable straps. It's the priciest bit of kit in the package at £85 for both sizes, the 13L or the 7L.
The Stem Cell (£23) is a little extra bag to put whatever you fancy in on your bars. It's a good option for easy access food or a camera.
Also known as a top tube bag, the Fuel Pod is a 1L bag that is within easy reach when riding and best for food an valuables. It's weather resistant again rather than fully waterproof due to the stitched construction but it does use waterproof fabric and a waterproof YKK zip, which has a glow in the dark toggle which is pretty cool and handy, all for £31.
Kanga Harness and Air Lock Dual Handlebar Bag
The Kanga Harness (£65) is quite a piece of kit, constructed from tough waterproof fabric with fibreglass rods its designed to keep your handlebar bag stable and secure whilst increasing tyre clearance to prevent abrasions and wear. We fitted it to a drop bar bike but the thick straps around the fork leg don't allow for much clearance with the 40c tyres we are running. This won't be an issue around the crown of a suspension fork leg, or a rigid bike with more clearance up front. Once the harness is fitted the dry bag (or Air Lock Dual (£16) as seen here) straps to the front with fibreglass rods supporting it from the crown of the fork upwards, its pretty sturdy!
Hunka Bivvy Bag
The Hunka Bivvy bag is a simple and light piece of kit weighing in at 400g and costing just £48. It uses a 2.5 layer Ripstop nylon fabric and has a waterproofing rating of 10,000 mm and a breathability rating of 10,000 g/m²/24 hour, so similar to most mid-priced waterproof jackets. It rolls up into its own stuff sack, packing down to 13 x 15 cm.
Cloud Base Sleeping Mat
The Cloud Base is a full length sleeping mat which is 6cm thick and still manages to roll down to 8 x 28 cm, it's pretty small for a £45 sleeping mat. Claimed weight is 395g, we weighed ours at 416g including the carry case. First impressions of a quick lie down on the office floor and the Cloud Base looks like it will be a good companion for a restful nights sleep in the wild!
The Alpkit bundle for £200 we mentioned includes the Possum frame bag, the Kanga harness, the Stem Cell, the Fuel Pod and the Koala seat pack, everything else here is extra. Alpkit say buying the bundle saves £40 on buying each item separately. Of course, not all items will suit every bike, or indeed every rider, for other luggage or even custom made bags, Alpkit will have you covered too.
We've got our eyes on some tasty trails with seaside views in Wales for the summer, look out for a full review of this kit soon!
You might also like: