Passport has really impressed with these bags; as a seasoned bike packer I’ve settled on my perfect setup over time - but Passport has upset the status quo with its well thought out designs and affordability. The Handlebar bag has become an every day feature of my setup.
Simple yet effective
By Toby Martin
Bikepacking bags are an odd thing aren’t they? Such a specific piece of kit with such a niche usage - what’s to stop me buying a set of straps and using a carrier bag to attach my kit to my bike and riding in the direction of the horizon? In the spirit of bikepacking it’s this writer’s opinion that that is a perfectly reasonable option and in no way should hold an adventure from taking place, but it is also in this writer’s experience that a good set of bikepacking bags make life on the road a lot easier and more fun.
A quality set doesn’t have to be an overly expensive outlay for those on the cusp of becoming a two wheeled nomad thanks to Passport Cycles.
Let’s start with the handlebar bag. This waterproof 210D nylon dry-bag affixes to your handlebars with ease thanks to the two velcro straps that are fixed into the bag.
These straps tighten down on themselves and hold true even over the most rocky terrain and really that’s all you need, they also feature in built padded grippers to add to the solid retention.
While the handlebar bag is simple in design there are a couple of features that are really quite helpful too: two light mounts up front, a reflective printed logo and a reinforced tarpaulin base made from 500D tarpaulin that ensures even the most aggressive conditions remain on the outside of the bag.
The frame pack follows suit with it’s simplistic yet functional design - the same mix of 210D/500D tarpaulin is used and three sizes are available to fit frames of all dimensions.
The inside of the bag is lined with a hi-viz yellow inner too meaning all the bits and bobs you carry should be easier to find. With access from only the right side of the bag you may find your readily accessible essentials would fit more comfortably in the accompanying top tube pack (not tested)
Finally the seat pack - there’s a little more to it.
Again a nylon outer features with an internal hi-vis liner but from here on you’ll find a few other features that make this part of the line the star of the show. Small details such as the rubberised fabric where the pack meets the seatpost or the two external pockets big enough for a tube or a couple of snacks make the bag so much easier to live with. With a really robust feel the difference in construction is tangible, if only for all the extra seams and additional means with which to carry such as the elastic cord on the exterior of the bag.
Removing my well thought out setup of bags from different brands I was apprehensive to get out there with a new set of unknown carriage for at least half the price. With a singular colour choice of grey the bags don’t look premium, but functionality is key when you’re miles from home and living out in the sticks. On the functionality front - I can’t fault Passport. I found the handlebar bags simplicity welcome, it stays where I put it, and doesn’t fill me with dread every time I remove it as is the case with other over complicated systems I’ve experienced.
It’s a similar story with the frame bag. The medium 3.3 litre bag on test carried everything I usually do with a little space left over, and with the yellow internal beaming out at me and the small inner pocket I found I spent less time fussing about finding the small item lost in the abyss of a frame bag and more time enjoying myself, it’s the little things that add up right?
And the seat pack, with the side pockets. Why doesn’t every seatpack have side pockets I wonder? Especially when many are double the price. Rolltop compartments are fantastic for weather sealing, but sometimes you just want access to something fast and having the option to divide items between the two just makes sense.
The one gripe I had was that the straps didn’t clamp down under the saddle maybe as tight as I’d like, but it’s offset by the two beefy closures that wrap the seatpost that do their fair share to admonish the evil under-saddle sway.
Well now here is where Passport make their case. The seven litre saddle pack on test comes in at £59.99, with the medium frame bag and the handlebar bag at £32.50 and £34.99 respectively. To put that into perspective you could spend £120 and come away with just a saddle pack from other companies.
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