So I’ve been bitten by the bike packing bug recently. I like hiking. It’s fun. But I absolutely love riding my bike… Being in the woods WITH my bike? Forget about it. I’m in my element. I recall as a Boy Scout, out on a troop hike for a long weekend on the Appalachian Trail, hiking along with 40lbs of gear on my back IMAGINING I’m on my bike. Hopping rocks, railing turns, climbing hills, burning down singletrack. If I found myself alone I’d even mimic holding a pair of handlebars. It somehow made the task at hand less work and more fun. And that is how I feel on a bike: it’s not work, it’s just plain fun. Combining these two elements make me down right giddy. Making a custom frame for a client AND THEN building a matching set of custom bags that are built around that riders gear load out and solving problems for how these will seamlessly integrate themselves with the frame puts all of my design sensibilities to the test. I love it. I’m once again in my element.
So this past weekend, I took both saturday and sunday morning to crank out my two bags for myself. No patterns, no sketching other than some thumbnails. Just pure design on the move. I love working like this sometimes because it puts you to the test, pushes your limits and challenges you to problem solve as you create problems. I decided to pull all the straps from a dry sack I had made earlier and opt for a sling type setup out front that integrates with a Jones Loop Bar. Here’s the start:
And here is the final product below. The sling is constructed with an Xpac exterior and a Hypalon interior liner. The two fabrics mate up nicely and the new stuff sack hooks up well once synched down. The sling is an “over-under” type setup where the two straps pass through some gear loops hidden from view. I’ll be adding a 2nd bag up front (the two clips that lead to no-where at the moment) and will stitch on a large patch of velcro for a foldout map case that’s front and center. I’ll also add a strap that enables some mounting options. For your reference, the bag currently has myNemo Gogo LE, it’s pump, stakes and air beam AND my 35 deg EMS sleeping bag (actually a proto due out this summer – My wife Lynn works in the design dept. designing the tents, backpacks and sleeping bags – she helped to design this one). Front and back:
Next up was the seatbag. I’m already planning on making a larger version and redesigning some details. First up was figuring out the patterning on the fly and carefully planning what steps needed to be taken in what order:
This was a play between taking measurements, holding fabric up in front of the bike, making cuts, etc. Basically a large origami project! Here’s a shot assembled on the bike from the back. You can see the roll type stuff sack, seat rail adjustments and bungee system on the back:
And a shot of the entire kit on the bike mocked up on a rolling chassis of my personal Snakedriver which shares some parts with my Fat Bike, The Big Boy:
I love how the weight feels centralized and the bike does not feel like it’s tipping to either side. I think with some adjustments things will be closer to being dialed. Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you are interested in a custom frame: 603-654-2005, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org