With the boom of bike touring in the Philippines, many makers of gear have emerged to respond to the growing needs of the local market. Earlier I have featured the bike bag makers in the Philippines (https://pedalpowerphilippines.com/2016/10/14/going-local-meet-your-bike-bag-makers/) and one of them is PACgear. The Cebu based company led by Hillboy Honoridez has sent me this wonderful half frame bag for testing.
Also Myles Jamito of Mount Anywhere has come up with the solution to mount bottle cages on your fork. For this entry I test these two items and their potential for extended touring.
Some limitations though, after a multiday tour last month, I have spent a several days riding short distances (about 30-50km) around the metro with varying road conditions (mostly asphalt but potholes are common) under heat and occasional rain. Ive tested the two items in three rides in the metro and therefore the insights I draw here may change after I do a multi-day tour again up north at the end of the month.
PACgear Outdoord Half Framebag (available at https://www.facebook.com/PACgear/?fref=ts)
PACgear reminds me of a company called Nashbar in the states, that provides different bags for the budget minded tourer. While low cost may be equated to unsatisfactory quality, this isn’t the case with PACgear.
There are several strengths of the half framebag:
First, it is waterproof and after testing it under the rain and even hosing it for a couple of minutes, my gear remained dry. The zippers are topnotch and has good sealed seams assuring you that water is kept out.
Second, the material used is similar to light rain jacket fabric-making it light and tear resistant. Examining the stitches, you’d get to see the keen attention given to the production of the bag. While the bag may lack padding (I believe this can be requested if you wish to have it done), my stuff remained stable (phones, a large powerbank, two small towels, plastic ziplock bags, wallet and even small chocolate bars for snacks) didn’t move while I was riding throughout.
Third, the key to this product is customization. PACGear takes pride in assuring you that the bag that you get is fit for your bikespecs. While the straps are statitionary in the bag, it is open for slight adjustments making the whole bag secure. I didn’t experience slips nor leg rub while pedalling.
Fourth, I like bright colors and while this color combination is the last on my list, I feel that with the variety of colors for the PACGear bags, this will help in making the riders visible but at the same time making your ride visually appealing.
The key strength of PACGear is customization. I have had several conversations with Hillboy and he has been very receptive on what I wanted. In this case, I preferred something simple and easy to use and I got what I wanted.
The Mount Anywhere bottle cage mounts (available here https://www.facebook.com/MountAnywhere/) is a very good solution to forks or frames lacking the necessary bottle cage mounts. In this case, since my Surly troll had too much of them, I decided to put them on my racks (hack-a-rack!) to see if they will hold. They are similar with Free Parable Design’s Gorilla clips (check it out https://www.facebook.com/theGreenBasikal/?fref=ts) which can be sourced in Singapore.
The Mount Anywhere bottle cage is comprised of a hardplastic mount with several ziptie strips to secure the mount and cage.
Upon installation, I had a bit of difficulty with the attachment as the adhesive may need your close attention to assure that the cage is secure. It took me about 20 minutes to attach my mounts and cages. Another issue I found is that some cages with thick attachment points may prove a bit difficult to install. To address this you may need longer screws. The good point however, is that Myles of Mount Anywhere can help you out on this if you encounter difficulty.
In use, the mounts and cages remained intact, no shaking, bottles thrown out or annoying problems. Given that I rode in rough road in the metro, this seemed a very good alternative if your bike lacks bottle mounts. Also, the mounts are small enough to allow you to mount it in strategic positions in your bike. Ive mounted it at the rear and front rack giving ample space for me to pick it up while riding and putting it back securely without any interference on other parts of the bike while moving.
Overall, while these two items were used in a couple of rides, they carry a lot of potential for tours. In fact, I intend to use them for a multiday ride this month and perhaps I’d get to see their strengths and possible shortcomings more. But so far, these products are welcome additions to your bikepacking arsenal