The Altura Vortex 2 Waterproof Compact Seatpack is well priced and stands up brilliantly to heavy rain and spray. The weight is good and it's stable too, though some of the fixings are a little fiddly to secure and adjust.
This Compact pack takes 4-6 litres of cargo – enough for a bulky Alpkit PipeDream 600 winter sleeping bag, for instance, or a lighter sleeping bag, a bivi bag and spare clothing. It feels more spacious than it is.
At 280g it's reasonably lightweight, too. There are lighter bags – the 7L Alpkit Koala is 186g, for instance, while the Wildcat Tiger Drover Saddle Harness is 246g with a 10L drybag – but for the price it's good.
One big plus for the Altura is that it's fully waterproof, not just water resistant. The main fabric is polyester and rated to IPX6, which can withstand powerful water jets. Very wet rides saw nothing get through, and even a close-range hosing failed to trouble it.
There is one aspect of a fully waterproof bag that can be frustrating, and that is the need to remove all the air before sealing it. The Vortex 2 is the same. The Ortlieb Seat Pack features an air valve that makes it much easier to pack, although it also costs over £100 (now).
The Vortex 2 secures easily with a generously wide Velcro strap, and a strip of extra material where it makes contact with the saddle protects against wear – although it isn't a non-slip fabric.
The pack attaches to the saddle rails with side-release Kross attachments that, in theory, allow faster removal and attachment. I found them fiddly when the bag was full though, and ended up releasing the strap instead, which defeats the object slightly.
The roll-top buckles shut, which works very well, though one small complaint is the lack of strap tidies – the only way of keeping the excess from flapping about is to shove it under a nearby strap. It's a bit untidy.
There is a loop for a light on the back, which is a nice touch, although if you pack very light it will be rolled out of view.
There is also a curious elastic loop underneath the pack that could be used to hold an item of clothing perhaps, although it is an awkward location and whatever is kept here will get hammered by spray off the rear wheel.
There are no attachment points on the top, though, which is a shame – both the larger sizes of this pack have them.
At £60 the Vortex 2 is competitively priced, especially for the fully waterproof design it offers. The Alpkit Koala was £75 when tested (£55 currently), although that isn't fully waterproof and the seatpost attachment isn't as stable. The Lifeline Adventure, meanwhile, is now just £30 –a real bargain, even if it is an even more minimalist design.
The Altura Vortex 2 Waterproof Compact Seatpack is great – it's very weatherproof, very stable and a very useful size for a good price.
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