This new saddle pack from Apidura will fit two road tubes or one MTB sized tube, plus a pair of tyre levers, a compact multi-tool, and a single CO2 cylinder. It continues the same styling theme as Apidura’s larger bikepacking bags, but is aimed at people who just want to carry the essentials under their saddle.
Apidura has built it’s reputation, and loyal following, by developing lightweight bikepacking bags to transport everything you need on your adventures. Collaboration with Rapha has enhanced their profile as one of the brand leaders in bikepacking accessories.
The Expedition Tool Pack provides 0.5 litre of space for your everyday essentials.
Apidura have applied all their material and construction know-how in what seems to be a very simple and lightweight bag (40g).
Using the same waterproof construction as the newer Expedition Series, dark grey nylon fabric, welded seams with black rubberised Hypalon applied to high wear areas – typical of Apidura’s attention to detail. Also included is Apidura’s signature yellow and black attachment point on the back so you can strap on a light. The yellow detailing adds a little colour to an otherwise understated grey and black bag.
Unlike many small saddle packs, there are no zips or buckles, Apidura regard these as potential failure points that can easily clog with grit and dirt when used in real-world conditions. Instead there is a simple fold-down closure and a single reinforced Velcro strap to hold everything securely in place.
In use, it is incredibly simply to use: load it up, close the Velcro flap down, attach the strap through your saddle rails and cinch up again by folding the strap back over it’s Velcro covering.
In the real world…
I found the bag had a tendency to swing about on the saddle. An additional strap for the seat post would prevent this without adding much extra weight.
The single Velcro strap started to slacken off after 30 miles of riding bumpy and potholed back roads. Jumping off the road onto bridleways and farm tracks only made this worse. It wasn’t long before I heard the inevitable thump-clatter-clatter of a tool bag falling from the bike. Having to wander back up the trail to collect your toys is never fun.
Unfortunately the bag found a nice muddy puddle to land in and the Velcro had become dirty. Washing it in the puddle got most of the dirt out of the hooks and loops, but it didn’t reattach anywhere near as well as when it was clean and new. A little further down the trail and the bag once again made a bid for freedom.
Opening the bag to pull out some emergency cable ties highlighted another shortcoming. Although the bag is constructed from waterproof materials, having just a simple flap closure means that water and spray will easily find its way inside. So don’t go putting anything in there that you need to keep dry…
To prevent any further escape attempts by the pricey little toolpack, I cable tied it to my saddle and continued my ride confident that it was finally secure. Apidura may contend that buckles can fail in mud and grime, but I would take a buckle over Velcro any day.
Holding it in your hand, you will probably wonder where your £40 has gone. Unless you are devout Apidura fan, there are a lot of cheaper alternatives that will do exactly the same thing; sit under your saddle and carry a few tools and a tube. For example, you could get yourself three Passport Frequent Flyer saddle bags and still have change.
So, could I recommend it? No. Not unless you are going to be riding on billiard smooth roads. A shame as we’ve had a lot of Apidura kit at ADVNTR and really rate it after giving it some real abuse over and over again.
If you are a big Apidura fan and nothing but the grey and yellow brand will satisfy you, then heed my advice and add a cable tie or two unless you can afford to leave £40 on the road. I contacted Apidura and asked if they have had any other reports of the issues I’ve experienced, but other than one MTB rider who had used it in very muddy conditions, they’ve had no complaints. Maybe ours is a one-off…
Hopefully Apidura will take our feedback on board and address these problems. If so, we’ll welcome trying out the improved version of what could be a great lightweight saddle pack.
Update 06/04/18 – Apidura sent out a replacement Expedition Tool Pack and took our original one back for inspection. There was a concern that maybe the Velcro hooks on our sample had got flattened during the bonding process when manufactured. It was just a theory and would be a one-in-million chance that it could occur.
The theory proved right and the replacement pack we received has a much stronger Velcro bond and feels more secure. Tests have so far have failed to replicate the dropped packs of our original review and as long as the Velcro is kept clean and free of debris, should prove much more reliable.
In light of this, we’ve raised the score from 4 to 5. It’s still an expensive item when compared to the competition and we’d still feel more confident with a buckle attachment.
Last modified: 26th January 2019