Although folk have been going camping or travelling with their bikes for years, it’s only fairly recently that a hip name has been attached. So, let’s all go bikepacking!! To go with the shiny new name a raft of equipment has also been developed to answer all the needs specific to a mountain biker or adventurous cyclist wanting to travel where the mood takes them without having to haul a trailer or the unwieldy weight of panniers that also require a rack.
Restrap is one of a small number of companies specialising in bits and bobs to attach to a bike to make it more mule than MTB, capable of carrying just about everything bar the kitchen sink (unless it’s one of those cool collapsible camping basins, in which case crack on!) I tested the #Carryeverything Small Frame Bag (small bag for a small frame, oddly enough), the #Carryeverything Saddle Bag Holster and the #Carryeverything Bar Bag Holster with the addition of the optional Unit 1A pouch, so all the basics you’d need for a jaunt away, apart from drybags – I used my own rather than the ones for sale from Restrap, just because I already had them.
Straight away it was noticeable how tough-looking and well-constructed the kit was, all made from super robust 1000D military grade Cordura. The bags all fastened easily using sturdy straps and magnetic buckles, with no real issues, and some nifty design took care of dangly bits and pieces, tucking ends of straps out of the way. The strapping on the Frame Bag was rubberised to give extra grip to the frame. Essentially, all the bags can carry whatever you want to put in them, but the Bar Bag Holster inclines towards tents, mats or the like, while the Saddle Bag Holster can take pretty much everything else, but is particularly fond of sleeping bags and clothing.
The Frame Bag was quite small on my small frame to carry much in way of volume but the bigger the bike you have the more you can carry here too, with several different sizes available. The Frame bag has the brilliant addition of a cable hole, meaning it can be used for either a dynamo set-up or bike light batteries for winter riding or after dark excursions. The dry bags were easily secured within the holsters, and when strapped in were good and stable, without adversely affecting the handling of the bike, beyond just the additional weight.
The Unit 1A pouch fitted snugly onto the Bar Bag Holster using magnetic clips, making it easy to pull off at stops, ideal for all those valuables like phone, wallet, snacks etc. Fixing it back on was slightly trickier, and care needed to be paid to the magnets being properly seated, but it was just a case of checking each time.
The first impression of bomb-proof construction was borne out in use. Even after abusing it a good few times, it still looked virtually new and remarkably unscathed, despite plenty of tangles with brambles and the like. With this range, Restrap have gone for a subtly different approach to many of the bikepacking gear manufacturers, favouring rugged and reliable long-term use over light weight. There’s definitely not much risk of this kit failing out in the middle of nowhere! It’s also far from cheap, but within the same ballpark as the majority of bikepacking kit available out there from brands like Apidura and Alpkit. Again, though, the durability and sheer quality of the construction and ease of use means that it looks to be a safe investment for years of adventures to come.
Overall: I found the Restrap bikepacking kit to be user friendly, incredibly tough and very versatile, with the Frame Bag in particular justifying its existence even on much shorter rides, while the full set-up definitely did its job admirably as an excellent way of carrying loads off-road.
|Product:||#Carryeverything Bar Bag Holster and Pouch, #Carryeverything Frame Bag Small, #Carryeverything Saddle Bag Holster|
|Tested:||by Lara Dunn for|