If, like me, you have a bit of a bag fetish when it comes to carrying your riding kit, whether for trips to your nearest trail centre or for long foreign trips, there are an awful lot of bags to choose from.
Having bought and experimented with many options over the years, it’s safe to say that I became a fully paid up, dyed in the wool North Face Expedition Duffle Bag user more years ago than I care to remember. Anyone trying to prize it from my possession would be in for, at the very least, a bloodied nose. However, my priorities changed when I decided that I was going to go on a multi-day paddling trip down the River Spey. What I needed was a dry bag that I could strap to my boat but which could easily be carried on my back for the inevitable periods of portage that such trips involve. As a complete newbie in the paddling world, I happened across the Lomo brand almost by accident.
Based in Glasgow with both a bricks and mortar and online retail presence, Lomo has adopted a retail approach that is not a million miles from that employed so successfully by the likes of Alpkit. Working directly with manufacturers to its own designs, Lomo is able to pass on reduced costs to the consumer by effectively cutting the distributor out of the supply chain. With some great short videos on its site which have a soundtrack that wouldn’t be out of place in an early Bill Forsyth Film (Gregory’s Girl? Comfort and Joy? Local Hero? Oh never mind, youth, just go back to watching bloody Michael Bay films!), the 60L Dry Bag stood out as the obvious choice for paddling, which could then also be used for mountain biking trips.
Manufactured from a tough and flexible PVC material, the 60L Dry Bag is both a dry bag (no shit, Sherlock) and a usefully sized rucksack. All of the seams are RF welded, which for technophobes like myself means that the material is basically melted together to form a completely waterproof seal. Entry to the bag is gained via a roll top-style closure system which, when closed by folding the closure over three times and clicking together the attached clips, gives a waterproof seal. Having fully submerged the bag in the River Spey on several occasions, I can vouch that the bag is indeed 100% waterproof.
When it comes to carrying the bag, Lomo has incorporated a simple but effective Velcro-based shoulder strap and waist belt system which can be removed in its entirety, leaving only the fuzzy side of the Velcro in situ. Even when carrying a heavy load, the straps have remained securely in place while the padded hip belt means that the weight can be spread evenly on the hips thus relieving strain on the back and shoulders. To aid with keeping the bag centred, there is an adjustable sternum strap incorporated into the shoulder straps.
Now at this point you are probably wondering why Singletrack has strayed into the territory of The Great Outdoors magazine. If this keeps up, it will be like a red sock infiltration not dissimilar to the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, hidden in plain sight. Fear not, dear reader, we haven’t sold out just yet. What makes the Dry Bag stand out is that when it comes to lugging around mud-caked, sopping wet clothes and sodden cycling shoes after a character building ride of despair, no other bag comes close to matching it. The inside of your car will remain dry, with none of the inevitable little pools of water in your boot, while the inside of the bag can be rinsed or hosed out to return it to being as good as new when you return to base.
In use as a normal bag for carrying ride kit, the 60-litre capacity is pretty much perfect for overseas trips, such as going to spend a week in the Alps, as well as your obligatory ‘drive to the trailhead’-type ride. Weighing in at only 1.25kg, the bag itself doesn’t put a large dent in your baggage allowance, while the fully waterproof construction ensures that your kit remains dry at all times no matter how inclement the weather may be on the tarmac. Being a dry bag with straps, it folds down small, which makes for easy storage. Having used it for a couple of long riding weekends away where I’ve employed public transport with a short ride to and from the train station with the bag on my back, it’s proven more comfortable and practical than my old North Face Expedition Duffle Bag has ever done.
For the princely sum of £21 (yes, you did read that correctly), Lomo has something of a winner on its hands. There is nothing I would change about it, other than make it from an even brighter orange – but that is more a reflection on my liking of all things orange than anything else. If you are in the market for a functional, effective and cheap kit bag, you would have to go a long way to beat the Lomo Bag. The brand is also planning to branch out in to the mountain bike market this winter with a specific trail pack, so look out for it becoming more widely known.
A terrific piece of kit at a ridiculously low price.
|Product:||60L Dry Bag backpack|
|Tested:||by CJ for two years|