A useful addition for bikepacking tours or on its own for commuting and single day adventure rides, the new waterproof Expedition Top Tube Bag is easy to use and works a charm, with more than enough space for all the essentials.
Naturally, the pack is designed to be tough and rugged, so it’s made from a tear-proof material with an extra durable Hypalon material adding reinforcement in key areas. The material is waterproof with welded seams and the weight is low, just 90g in this larger of the two available sizes.
The Expedition range is intended to be waterproof. This pack achieves that by both the use of the waterproof material but also the plastic slider zip. In use it’s smooth with a light action and the large pull tab makes it easy to open and close on the move. There’s a covered port at the front for running a cable from a battery pack to a light or GPS computer.
Testing the waterproofness with real-world conditions have been impossible given the current heatwave, so my hosepipe stepped in for the lack of rain. Thankfully, the contents remained completely dry with no sign of water ingress, so I have no reason to suspect it won’t survive typical winter weather just fine.
Two velcro straps adhere the pack to the frame, one around the top tube, the position of which can be adjusted, and the other around the steerer tube - it helps if you have a few spacers between the frame and stem but Apidura has placed the strap as low as possible. The top tube strap has a soft material to prevent damage to the frame.
This larger pack provides 1L of capacity. That’s ample space for a big smartphone, compact camera, snacks, money, spare parts and other essentials you want close to hand. The interior is lined with a soft material to ensure expensive things like smartphones won’t get scratched, and the bright yellow liner can be removed and washed, ideal for emptying out food crumbs and any dirt that might get in there during use.
I’ve found it more than capacious enough for a single day ride, in fact, it’s probably a bit too generous - the smaller 0.5L bag would probably be a better pick for one-day rides and commutes. If you’re planning any longer multi-day epics the extra cargo capacity could certainly come into use. Even when it’s fully laden, the bag is stable on the top tube and doesn’t move about.
My only niggle is that due to a rather knee in pedalling style, my legs occasionally make contact with the back portion of the pack. It’s easily adapted to but it’s worth consideration and personally, I’d probably be better off with the smaller and shorter of the two available pack sizes.
Apidura is one of the leading names in the burgeoning bikepacking scene and its products are well designed and very durable. A top tube bag is often the first entry point into a bikepacking range for most cyclists because they’re extremely versatile, and while it’s a tad pricey compared to some rivals, it does a lot to justify that price.
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