Going local: Meet your (Bike Bag) Makers

Several websites devoted to bikepacking do not only show innovative builds but also feature interesting gear on how riders carry cargo…though several prominent brands such as Revelate Designs, Porcelain Rocket, Apidura, Ortlieb to name a few, are prominent brands that consistently show up with these dream builds, Filipino cyclists often are often discouraged because of the steep prices of these brands charge.

 

What complicates matters is that though there are many bikeshops around the metro, very little is offered in terms of quality bike commuting or bike packing systems leaving the Filipino cyclist with very little options.

 

The growing popularity of biking to work or even bike touring has sparked innovative inviduals and local companies to come up with the solution of providing quality cargo hauling gear for those who dream of going places on two wheels with the right price.

 

In this entry, I focus on four Filipino bike bag makers offering different types of bike commuting/backpacking systems…

 

But before you go out and get these bags, there are several considerations that you should think about before investing…Of course what I share comes from  insights I’ve gained through numerous rides trying some of the stuff these bike bag makers have to offer.

 

Functionality

While there are several bags out there, very few will serve a multitude of purposes and functions. For instance, there are saddlebags that can also work as handlebar bags or an “anything” bag (similar to Salsa’s Anything bag) that can hold clothing and even bicycle parts. Also, it’s important to check the capacity of bags. If you’re going on a multiday tour on a rackless setup, it is important that a fewer bags that can hold stuff such as clothing, tools, gadgets (or even small mammals) are used to reduce the hassle of removing these from your rig when you check in for the night

 

Fit and Versatility

While bags may look good on photos or even videos, an important consideration cyclists will have to think about is if these bags work with their x number of bikes they own. For example, a handlebar bag may not work with your mountain bike but works perfectly with your cx/road bike. Or does the bag require a rack? What happens to it if you decide to go rackless? Nothing frustrates a biker after saving up money for a framebag only to find out that your bag doesn’t fit your frame! Fitting bags to your bike is as important as making sure that your frame fits your physical features. More importantly the bags shouldnt affect your overall ride. For example saddlebags when loaded heavily may tend to rub with the back of your thighs or may sway up and down and sideways causing tire rub as well as discomfort while pedaling

 

Durability

For bike bags, waterproofing and sturdiness are some of the features you’d want to look out for whenever buying. There are bags that are water resistant-meaning they will hold your stuff dry when exposed to light rain and water proof-meaning even when exposed to heavy rain, they keep your gear wet free. Though most bike bags are water resistant, it would make more sense if you get those that are water proof to save your gear from damage and time from dismounting from your bike to put rain covers on your bags. Sturdiness is also important for bags so it wont break down on you during a trip. Particular here are bags that use zippers and structural shell of bags. For instance, rack bags when loaded can put a lot of stress of zippers causing damage and exposing your stuff to the elements. Likewise, a weak internally constructed bag may give out along the way.

 

 

Cost

Now here’s the tricky part, most quality bags come at a price. The rule here much like in buying components is “you get what you pay for”. If you have a budget meal mindset, expect your bags to disintergrate after your first trip. My take is that spending something mid level will be economically sensible since you will be using these bags for several trips. Also, if you decide to sell the bags in the future, you’d fetch a decent price for it just in case

 

And now, meet your bike bag makers

 

Larga Bikepacking Bags (https://www.facebook.com/largabikepacker)

One of those pioneers of bike packing gear, Larga bikepacking has a simplified system of saddlebag, handlebar bag and top tube bag (the fuel tank) as well as soon to be launched framebag. Designed by experienced bike packers who have traveled in parts of Southeast Asia and Beyond, these bike bags are made with water resistant materials and can fit in most bikes. One nice feature of these bags is that they are roomy and a lot of stuff can be stored

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Larga Handle Bar Bag (i fit a small tent here)

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22 dryfit shirts fit in their saddlebag!

 

Hidden Gem: Fuel Tank

Ive owned all bags previously and while ive had issues with the saddlebag  and handlebar bag, the fuel tank, appears to be a great item in their lineup. A top tube bag that has three compartments, it can store several items and can easily be accessed during rides.

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The fuel tank top tube bag on my cannondale hooligan

 

Khumbmela (https://www.facebook.com/groups/122066318220402/)

If you grew up in the 80s, Khumbmela is part of that generation’s experience with their ever memorable lineup of backpacks and other bags. Designed by Rodel Guinto (he loves coffee outside), the Khumbmela’s bike packing line covers all your rackless bike packing needs (framebag, anything bag, feedbag, handlebar bag)…though earlier versions of the bags use heavier stock materials, the new xpac made bags are not only lighter but feature greater water resistant properties. Recently, they have launched their pannier set l for those deciding to go with a racked rig.

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“Mr Coffee Outside”Rodel Guinto (Right)

Hidden Gems: Frame bag and Anything Bag

I got my frame bag last year and have done several day trips and a multiday tour to Legazpi, Bicol and under extreme conditions (heavy rain and heat), this keeps your stuff intact and dry.

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The Khumbmela Framebag en route to Legazpi

 

 

The anything bag is also a good piece of gear that ive used this during bike to work trips and I can say it can hold a lot of stuff.

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The Anting-Anting bag on the Surly Crosscheck

Conquer (available at Built Cycles https://www.facebook.com/BuiltCycles/?fref=ts)

The established brand for mountaineering gear has also joined the fold in launching in their extensive bike packing system in collaboration with Built Cycles. Comprised of a handlebar bag, saddlebag, panniers, feedbag, and anything bag (and soon framebag), their bikepacking system appears to be reasonably priced and are made of light waterproof and heavy water resistant fabric. While I haven’t toured with these bags, they seem to fit in a wide array of bike builds (I’ll be using them for a future biketrip to Vigan, Ilocos Sur). Moreover, with the same quality in their mountaineering lineup, these bags were developed by experienced bike tourer Vincent “Sok” Palisoc who has subjected these bags in various multiday trips. Best of all, Conquer prides itself of offering a limited lifetime warranty for their gear

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With Scout master Vincent “Sok” Palisoc

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Hidden Gems: Panniers and Handlebar Bag

Ive ridden briefly with the panniers and handlebar bag and both seem to hold well. The panniers are made of thick but light stock water resistant material assuring you that your clothes and important stuff don’t get wet under the rain. Equally impressive is the attachment system for these panniers. Similar to Ortlieb, the Conquer Dispatch Panniers fasten securely to your rack when pushed by the handlestrap and can easily be dismounted when pulled. At the bottom part of the pannier, there is a hook which can be easily adjusted to fit a variety of racks adding more stability to the panniers.

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The conquer pannier bags-yup, they come in pairs 🙂

 

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Excellently designed attachment system

 

The handlebar bag is also a good product as it does not only have a simple yet effective attachment system but has foam lining protecting your handlebar as well as your stem. Though the length may be a bit short, its width can hold several pieces of clothing or a small sleeping bag or other bulky stuff. The nice thing about the scout handlebar bag is that its short length will fit perfectly with your dropbars if youre using a cx or roadbike

Best of all, is that it has an intergrated large pocket fastened by buckle straps and thick Velcro assuring you that you can access your phone or small gadgets but not worry that it might fall off from the main bag

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Comparative length with the revelate designs sweetroll

Pacgear (https://www.facebook.com/PACgear/?fref=ts)

Produced in Cebu, Pacgear produces custom made framebags and saddlebags. Too bad I haven’t had the chance to get a hold of their products, their demonstration videos have shown that their stuff is robustly made as well as waterproof (they even have a video of spraying their framebag with water!)Also a popular brand in mountaineering, their bags are made of thick, waterproof fabric. With the possibilities of customization, they can design your framebags for a perfect fit for your rig.

 

So there, while you might find this post wanting because prices aren’t shown, this is where you come in…I encourage you to visit or get in touch with these makers as they are very receptive to feedback and queries-best of all given that they are close to home, test their offerings and im sure you’ll be able to select the best bike commuting/bike touring bags for your needs

 

 

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