Author Topic: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag  (Read 19517 times)

Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« on: September 10, 2014, 04:30:11 pm »
Another step in the quest to find "the" saddlebag.

Diligent readers may have read of my quick release modification to the Barley - lighter than the Bagman & SQR supports, but still bag + support combined was heading towards 1kg before anything was loaded in !    Although it looks the part, it's a little too big for summer 200s & 300s, and a little too small in winter and on longer events.

Various folks have mentioned Revelate (rather expensive from USA) and Alpkit's new offering (cheaper - but not down in the Chinese made budget-class of many of their offerings - this one is UK made)
 
It's billed as being adaptable from 8 to 13 litres of volume, so in Carradice terms: from slightly less than a Barley, to a bit bigger than a Pendle. 
It's certainly lightweight (around 230g claimed), but I wasn't convinced that it would work for me, when packing a minimum of summer kit.
In practice - here is what it looks like compared to the Barley:

With a maximum number of folds of the roll-top and the straps clinched up I'd guess we're probably closer to 5 litres.
This is enough for a very comprehensive repair kit including a spare folding tyre (which fits the top curve of the bag rather nicely), first aid kit, spare gloves/dry socks, waterproof jacket, bonk rations, spare rear blinky & so on.

But when all of that is crammed in to a small bag (I have an R&K Contour which is about 4 litres for example), what to do with the gilet and the arm-warmers when they come off after the morning chill has gone?
No problem with a bag of this style.

I'm not sure I quite believe you get the recommended three folds to the closure when it's maxed out at 13 litres - but this is what it look like as full as I can get it - again compared with the Barley:


In use:
To be fair I've only used at close to minimum capacity so far and there was no detectable sway from the system of straps over saddler rail and (double) straps around seat post.    The only down-side is that there is lot of spare strappage to tuck away when it's like this.
I was little concened that the "depth" of a dark coloured bag would make it difficult to find things - but careful packing in internal bags of different shapes/sizes & colours helps to keep it all organised.

First impressions are a  :thumbsup:







Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 04:45:29 pm »
Price and source?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 06:28:45 pm »

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 10:55:38 pm »
Good stuff!

I think we may start to see more riders using this kind of solution and a slight move away from Carradice. I have been using a Revelate Viscacha (what this bag is based on) and it has been a positive experience so far.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2014, 12:59:30 pm »
I'm really tempted with one of these, but there's a few out there that are similar and I can't make my mind up!

The Viscacha looks to be the market leader to me, but is very spendy. There's also the Wildcat that looks neat, but is effectively a retention system for a drybag.

Quite like the look of the Koala, but have also been looking at the Apidura version - it's not as pretty, but does have an elasticated bit on the top which would be handy for wet clothes / flip-flops whilst en route.

Decisions, decisions...
One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it)

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2014, 02:41:14 pm »
I'm liking the look of these and they seem a very good rackless luggage solution. I have a Barley and was toying with getting another larger Carradice for long rides plus bagman. These possibly would work out better as the only extra luggage space needed is really for clothing.

Has anyone got any photos of these in action on a road bike?

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2014, 02:59:16 pm »
I picked up one of these second hand:

http://bikepack.pl/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=42

Tis a bit cheaper than the Alpkit one, and so far so good. I'll sort out a review once I've had a bit more use out of it.

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2014, 03:01:28 pm »
Has anyone got any photos of these in action on a road bike?



Few on here:

http://reportage.transcontinentalrace.com/?p=369



Do some googling on bike-packing and there's some great examples out there.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2014, 03:27:23 pm »
Thanks Marcus. Is the orange Condor your steed? What's your bar bag on there? I'll have to have a proper browse tonight. Bike packing looks like a great lightweight alternative to conventional lugage.

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 03:36:32 pm »
Thanks Marcus. Is the orange Condor your steed? What's your bar bag on there? I'll have to have a proper browse tonight. Bike packing looks like a great lightweight alternative to conventional lugage.

Indeed it is.

Revelate Sweet Roll - that's less successful than the Viscacha (though I knew it was going to be a big of a bodge on drop bars).

It had a sleeping bag and a few other bits and pieces in it.  I think if I do something like Transcontinental, I would have aero bars and strap a stuff sack under them with my sleeping bag.  Then use something like the top tube bar as on the picture of the De Rosa. 

But the Viscacha was a great success and a really solid way of carrying gear without relying on the scaffolding of a Bagman. 
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 03:41:37 pm »
Thanks for that. Only problem I can see is that my new audax medals would look way cooler on a Carradie ::-)

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2014, 07:13:27 pm »
I like the look of the alpkit one and is probably how I'll go for longer rides next year. The only thing that puts me off is the warning about not being totally waterproof because of the lack of taped seems - I think they suggest using a dry bag inside. Be interesting to see how this works out in reality.

Marcus, how's the revelate one get on with water.....although probably more appropriate to ask how it copes with the sun after your Scottish trip this year?

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2014, 07:28:47 pm »
The Revelate dealt with water just fine on a ride up to the Peak District.  Heavy rain for 3-4 hours.  The sweet roll was also fine.  The Pocket wasn't so good.

I do use dry bags as well - mainly for organisation.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

microphonie

  • Tyke 2
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2014, 02:47:39 pm »
Happened upon this by chance recently: a guy on Etsy who makes bags to order: McFarlin Designs .

Can't comment on quality as I haven't bought anything, but prices seem good (before postage/duty etc get added) compared to the above.
Bingo! That's what I am, a saviour.
A sort of cocky version of Jesus.

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2014, 03:14:13 pm »
Yeah, a lot cheaper but not really quite the same thing.

His bar bag looks very interesting.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2014, 09:15:13 am »
Been doing a bit of browsing at the weekend and cam across this thread.

http://www.lfgss.com/conversations/194843/

Quite a lot of good information regarding different bag makers and tips on attachment.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2014, 02:37:02 pm »
I picked up one of these second hand:

http://bikepack.pl/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=42

Tis a bit cheaper than the Alpkit one, and so far so good. I'll sort out a review once I've had a bit more use out of it.
Have you got a photo of it loaded on the bike? I'm interested whether it sticks up above the saddle or not - from this thread, it seems the Alpkit ones do but the Viscacha design does not - cos atm that would obscure my rear light!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2014, 11:00:22 pm »
Not to hand - it kinda covers the whole seatpost and saddle. If you have a long seatpost you might get away with a light underneath it, but not above it, I don't think.

T42

  • Gaulois r√©fractaire
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2014, 07:45:32 am »
At the roadside it takes longer to stow kit in the Alpkit than in or on my Vaude Silk Road.  If I'm riding with a bunch and we stop to doff rain gear, they're ready to go quite a bit before me - mainly because their bags are faster of access and have external bungee cords built in.

Alpkit state on their order form that they'll be happy to include any individual adaptations when they're making the bags, but ironically you have to have ordered and received your bag before you can see what such adaptations might be.

If I order another, though, it'll include extra tabs let into the seams, with rings for passing Velcro straps etc.  The Revelate already comes with these.

You *can* thread extra straps through unused slots under the central top strap (the one the saddle-post straps go through), but anything fastened there is liable to wobble from side to side. You can also pass them through the fastening straps, but then when you undo same everything flops.

In short, the bag would be much improved by four or six strap rings in the right places, and maybe an external net.

WRT rearlights: better off with a light on the seat-stay.
Tout à gauche sur le plat

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2014, 10:24:57 am »
Thanks, Deano and T42.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2014, 06:15:54 pm »
Like T42 I'd go for extra tabs to thread bungies or velcro through, were I ever to get another.

As it is I don't find it any slower to open the bag, get a rain jacket out and reclose the bag than it would be to accomplish the same sequence on a Barley or other Carradice with classic buckles.

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2014, 06:28:43 pm »
I absolutely adore my Koala, a stunning bit of kit for the money.  In terms of waterproofness, it's so far held up in torrential rain for several hours.  It's light, much much lighter than a Carradice.  It looks good (IMHO!) and so far it's held up to the rigours of being constantly tightened/loosened to accommodate kit.  Plus, it holds so much stuff.   :thumbsup:

Does not play well with others

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2014, 01:12:37 pm »
I'm really tempted with one of these, but there's a few out there that are similar and I can't make my mind up!

The Viscacha looks to be the market leader to me, but is very spendy. There's also the Wildcat that looks neat, but is effectively a retention system for a drybag.


Decisions, decisions...

I bought the smaller Wildcat system earlier this year---yes it just holds a dry bag ---I`m using a 5l one , but it does hold a fair deal useful kit eg toolkit + legwarmers + light baselyaer + gloves+ waterproof + gilet will all fit in. Alternatively it will take  a winter weight waterproof + gloves + hat + legwarmers+ tools etc 

However with all these systems where to put the Audax badges ???   ::-) ::-) Barley is good for that use  :thumbsup:

One small downside though v a traditional saddlebag is that I`m having to unpack all drybag to access items whereas with a Barley it`s `laid out` inside, easier get to
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2014, 11:48:18 am »
Damn you PpPete et al ....

There I was safe in my decision to purchase a Bagman 2 QR Expedition for my (due in December) Rourke Audax/Winter steed and now I've seen this!  A much lighter and sexy solution
Problem is I already own 2 Carradice (Barley and Camper longflap (I think)) and one large Karrimor which I'd then have much less use for (well, the Barley anyway)
Decisions, decisions ....

I guess the Bagman will be better for credit card touring/staying over at friends family and long w/ends etc.  Also useful for carrying odds and sods too.

Re: Alpkit Koala Saddlebag
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2014, 03:03:35 pm »
Well sorry FF !

Anyway T42's comments worked away at the nether recesses of the old grey matter so I got on to Alpkit and blagged some iron-on 'repair' patches (usually shipped with their Gourdon rucsacs)   I backed half of each circle with a bit of cordura left over from another project and applied them in appropriate locations before cutting down and hole-punching the protruding 'tabs'.   A bit of shock-cord et voila:


and here it is with a small dry-bag of suitable size to contain my waterproof:


Sorry about the poor quality images from the phone camera but I'm sure you get the idea.
Talking to Alpkit next about getting suitable tabs (probably 3 on each side) sewn into the seams.... or at least having that as a "standard" option for any YACFer that wants.