The Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack is a strong, weatherproof bag with lots of useful storage features for bikepacking adventures. It is expensive, with other full custom options available for less, but it is hard to fault the performance. The pack is available in three sizes to suit different styles and sized bikes.
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The Backcountry frame pack is available in three sizes, with this 4-litre one sitting in the middle of a 2.5-litre and 6-litre version (reviewed here on road.cc). For this particular bike, a small Canyon Grail, the 4-litre size is the largest of the three options that fitted this frame, taking up most of the main triangle.
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack: Construction
The side panels of the pack are made from Dimension-Polyant VX21 fabric, which is a commonly used fabric within bikepacking bags and for a good reason. It is strong, durable and lightweight, with 4 layers that provide a waterproof finish.
Full frame bags will see heavy use from being packed with as much as possible. At 277g, this is a very lightweight option for a full-frame pack, with the claimed weights of the 2.5-litre at 215g and the larger 6-litre version at 315g. All the edges feature a 420D nylon fabric to make it super durable. This fabric is welded to the VX21 material with waterproof zips to create a seamless, fully weather-resistant fabric.
Assuming the pack is zipped tight, there is one opening to the front to allow a hydration hose or charging cables. This will mean that the bag will not withstand being submerged, so think twice before riding across any full fords! Apidura also offers a custom-sized hydration pack, which should maximise the internal space, should you prefer to carry water within the pack.
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack: Installation
The pack is attached to the down tube with 3 fixed place nylon straps with buckles that give a very secure fit. The straps are also long enough and should mean they will fit around any frame material, even if there is some empty space below, as on the bike tested.
The seat tube is fixed in place with two removable velcro straps. The fact they are removable means that if you use the pack on a larger frame, you can omit using them, perhaps even having space to fit a bottle cage behind on much bigger frames.
The top tube is also secured with three slightly wider velcro straps. There are two possible locations for the front and rear straps to help avoid potential conflicts of space on the frame, such as cable guides or ports. With the bag in place and all fixings secure, it proved to be a very stable pack, with no movement, even when loaded.
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack: Features
The Backcountry pack has the main access location, plus a second on the opposite side. I personally found little use for this due to the very slim size, but it could help store documents, maps, or other small items.
The main compartment has three zips. Two horizontal zips mean it can be opened from the front or back. The third vertical zip allows the whole side panel to be moved. This is sometimes called a “surgeon opening”, which allows easy access and the ability to pack larger items with minimum fuss. For anyone who might have packed a bag, then suddenly realised you need something from the very bottom of the bag, this should help avoid that problem too.
The zips all have storage garages, so they should keep the weather out. While the waterproof zips are a little harder to open than many standard zips, the large toggles ensure you can pull with enough force.
Inside the pack, several fixing locations allow items to be strapped along the downtube section. There are also areas where velcro or similar straps could be fitted up next to the top tube and vertically along the seat tube sections. Within the main compartment is a small zipped area that could be useful for keeping money, keys, or cards in a location that will hopefully keep them safe.
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack: In use
Riding with the bag in place, there was very minimal rubbing or contact. Despite being 6cm in width, which is wider than some other brands and models, the thin and relatively rigid fabrics help maintain a shape that should keep issues to a minimum. It will, of course, depend on exactly what you pack inside and ensure that you don't try to stuff oversized items inside, which can be tempting given the bag's overall size.
The big zip pullers mean access on the go is possible with care, and despite being used on some more rugged rides, it has withstood the use and abrasion on rocks and fencing with no issues at all seen. The velcro straps have also proven to be durable, not showing any wear or loss of stickiness after several uses, but the fact they are fully removable and replaceable if they ever should is good to know.
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame pack: Value & Verdict
Frame packs and especially full-frame packs are not cheap items to purchase with the 4-litre version of the Apidura Backcountry at £138; this is towards the upper end of the market. Some much cheaper frame packs are available, such as the Altura Vortex 2 frame pack I reviewed last year, which had some great features. Still, the size won't suit all bikes or maximise potential space for many frame sizes.
For £100, you can get a full custom frame bag, the Stingray from Alpkit, where you provide a template to exactly match your internal frame triangle. The cost increases as you add on some items, such as the Surgeon Opening, but even if you add on every extra, it is still just less than £140. Another quality custom manufacturer is Straight Cut, which produces the excellent Bagel bar bag, among many others. Straight Cut also has a custom frame bag option, although this will cost upwards of £195, depending on the fabrics chosen.
The Backcountry Frame Pack has proved to be excellent for bikepacking, with a slim, lightweight design, versatile space and zip opening that makes packing much easier than many other similar bags. It isn't cheap, and while there are 3 sizes on offer, they still might not maximise the internal frame space that you have, but overall performance is otherwise excellent and hard to fault.