Last Saturday we took a trip up to the Alpkit store in Hathersage, Peak District. After many hours of scrolling through their website we thought it was time to check out the products for ourselves. As lovers of the British brand, we were confident of the quality of the kit but it always pays to try it out before parting with your money!
Tom and Alec came up from Devon so we strapped Alec’s Cotic to the roof, threw some kit in the boot and set off.
Three hours later we arrived in the rainy Peaks but we were too excited to notice, nor care. We were welcomed in to the shop and our eyes lit up with the magic that had befallen us. With a long look around the endless kit that was on offer we finally went to see what we had driven so far for: the bike packing bags! With help from Mark (manager of the very helpful staff at their Hathersage store) we set up camp in the corner of the shop and proceeded to gear up Alecs bike.
We started off with the Big Papa: the largest seat bag of the range at 17 litres. After trying many different arrangements we found that camping and sleeping equipment was best here as to stop the bag from moving it needs to be stuffed full. It also meant that the whole rear bag could be untouched during the day, only to be used in the evening.
The next bag to be donned was the Dual Airlok Xtra bag which attaches to your handlebars. Despite a very large capacity of 20 litres, we found that due to the drop down bars of our road bikes you could only get 18 litres or so out of it, otherwise you cannot shift gears. Although due to the simple design and large capacity it will be joining us on our trip.
Our original thoughts were that their Fuel Pod, a little top tube bag, with its easy access and convenient position would also be in our kit list. Although upon trying it we found that it would not give sufficient storage.
Instead, we tried the much larger Possum frame bag which sits under the top tube. We immediately loved the neat fitting design and its ability to consume many different things, so despite the added expense we added it to our armoury.
Pleased with our choices we then set about positions for each of the bags on the bike. Many test rides and frequent debates later we decided on an arrangement that works best for us. Although everyone has different setup preferences – so try out how and what works best for you.
Big thanks to Alpkit for all the help, the brilliant kit and the few extras on top! Check out their website http://www.alpkit.com