A bit of bikepacking
Price: £79.99 (seatpack), £69.99 (bar roll)
With a four-day lightweight tour of the Cairngorms as their first test, it was something of a baptism of fire for these Blackburn bike-packing bags. This long distance adventure took in a mixture of rocky tracks, mountain singletrack and thigh-deep river crossings. All of which tested the toughness and water resistance to the max.
At first I was dubious about the plastic clamp arrangement of the Handlebar Roll, but it survived the test. An extension from the handlebar meant the bag didn’t crush the control cable and once clamped in place, a releasable zip-tie arrangement pops underneath the stem to prevent the whole lot rotating downward.
The Handlebar Roll could still bounce around a fair bit over rough terrain, and while the application of the extra strap helped, it did make me think it would be more suitable for smoother terrain.
Other than that, the Handlebar Roll performed well, with the tough 10-litre double-ended dry bag making access to gear easy, without having to drag the whole contents out.
If you want to shave a few grams you can use a lighter dry-bag — not a bad idea when the unloaded carrier and supplied dry-bag tips the scales at a hefty 908g. It is rated to carry up to 3.5kg of gear, and, not surprisingly, Blackburn doesn’t recommend using it with carbon bars.
The Outpost Seatpack was equally tough, but you’d struggle to use your own bag here as the supplied unit is shaped to taper with the carrier. It attaches to the seatpost (again carbon is not recommended) with two Velcro straps, and looping under the saddle rails with a pair of locking buckles it remained in position once tightened.
I struggled with the straps however — with the dry-bag packed to bursting, there was only just enough adjustment. This meant the bag swayed around on twisty or technical trails, which was irritating rather than a problem.
Once packed, the Outpost Seatpack swallowed an impressive 11 litres of kit without interfering with pedalling. I like the facility to be able to leave the holster on the seatpost, when decanting at night.
Both Outpost packs are hefty, which will bother lightweight fans, but on the upside the construction is extremely tough and they should give years of service. If they don’t, you are covered by the lifetime warranty.