An Easy choice
As bikepacking gains popularity, more and more bike-bag companies are creating rackless frame bags that shave weight and allow for more nimble bike maneuverability than traditional panniers.
After doing some research about a year ago, I decided to purchase rackless frame bags from Revelate Designs, and have slowly acquired what I would consider a relatively complete bikepacking kit: the Pika seatbag, a custom Krampus framebag, a handlebar harness, and then their two ‘cockpit’ bags, the Gas Tank and the Jerry Can.
These bags have proven their worth over the last year, so I figured I’d immortalize their value in a quick ‘review’ of the product, in which I basically just unrelentingly praise Revelate Designs for the innovative approach to lightweight bikepacking. Here it goes.
Simply put, the design is excellent. If decking out your rig with full-on Revelate regalia, you’ll notice the velcro straps criss-cross perfectly so that none of the straps from the different bags rub against each other.
And despite being majorly jostled back and forth on my fully rigid frame when riding technical single track, the jerry can and gas tank have VERY little side-to-side movement.
The durability of these bags is also noteworthy. I have had zero product malfunctions despite my every attempt: I’ve exposed the bags to sub 20’ F weather, taken minor falls, overstuffed the bags and then absolutely railed on the zippers, and of course other general wear and tear associated with mountain biking (which is significant; it’s not exactly a dainty hobby).
My bags are Revelate Designs’ 1st-gen models, which were made with polyant 200 denier and laminate coated materials. These materials are definitely water-resistant but not fully water-proof. However, some of their newer products are claiming to be water-proof, such as the Ripio framebag.
Having ordered the wrong bag at one point, a customer service representative was very apologetic about the mistake (even though it was mine) and quickly worked out how they could justify sending me a new bag. Instead of feeling stupid, I felt empowered; The representative shared with me that he just wanted to see me back on the trails with the gear I need. How many companies have customer service people who believe in the philosophy behind the product they sell? I only know of one.
The only tiny complaint I have after hundreds of miles with these bags is that when exposed to continuous wet conditions, the framebag, which receives constant spray from the wheels, lets in just a bit of water. Some of my soup cans got a little wet on one particularly miserable bikepacking ride. However, as stated above, many of Revelate Designs’ newer bags claim to use materials that are waterproof, so they seem to have alleviated this slight inconvenience.
Isn’t it obvious? Go with Revelate Designs. Cool company, good service, right mindset.