Product Review: Apidura Backcountry Packs
Each pack has a little something different about it that makes it unique
APIDURA BACKCOUNTRY PACKS
Based in London, Apidura is a brand that creates ultralight, rack-less packing systems that enable riders to explore by bike comfortably with all their essentials stored and organized. Apidura’s goal is to improve packs and make them the best they can be. As Apidura states, “Sometimes this takes a few months, sometimes longer, but once we’ve thought of a good idea, we won’t wait to introduce it. We do it straight away.”
With that said, Apidura relaunched its newly designed Backcountry Series, and our wrecking crew was able to get our hands on it the day it came out in December of 2020. The refresh of this series combines years of Apidura team testing, development and real-world experience to identify the best materials, shapes, and features for modern mountain bike geometries.
The new packs are durable and modular. The Backcountry Series can take some weight off a rider’s back for a longer ride, carry enough for an overnighter or hold supplies for a journey into the backcountry.
A lot of material and technology goes into every pack that Apidura produces. For the Backcountry Series, we focused on a set of packs that could run for a two-day bike-packing trip or be reconfigured for a day ride on local trails.
We utilized the Backcountry 2L Frame pack ($101), 4.5L Saddle pack ($151), 1.8L Long Top Tube pack ($89) and the 1.8L Downtube pack ($71). Each employs Dimension-Polyant VX21 material. This is a four-layer, laminated fabric initially developed for the maritime industry. Along with VX21, these packs use proprietary 420D nylon. This is a rugged fabric made for durability. With the demands of off-road riding in mind, these materials are fully waterproof, lightweight, maintain their shape and offer high abrasion/tear resistance. The materials used for every pack in the Backcountry series are welded together at the seams, creating a seal to ensure the packs remain completely waterproof.
Each pack has a little something different about it that makes it unique. The Frame Pack is precisely cut for compact frame geometries with a reversible fit to suit steep and slack geometries. This pack also features Velcro loops inside to help secure content (such as a frame pump). The Long Top Tube pack has a roomy space to stash light valuables and electronic devices. Conveniently, both the Frame and Long Top Tube pack have padded foam bases, protected ports to run charging cables or hydration tubes, and reflective graphics for visibility.
Apidura’s Backcountry Saddle pack features extra abrasion-resistant panels on higher-wear areas. Not only is it compatible with a dropper post when using Apidura’s adapter, but the pack tucks in close enough to the saddle to avoid the rear tire rubbing the bag when sinking into the travel. The Downtube pack has a single-motion Velcro attachment with a stability pad to avoid scratching up the frame. It’s worth noting that the Downtube pack can be mounted anywhere, but Apidura recommends tubes with circumferences of not less than 9.5cm (3.7 inches).
Field test results:
If you are unsure if the bags will fit your modern mountain rig, fear not! Apidura has useful printouts of its packs on its site that are to scale. This helps confirm if your available frame space can fit one of their options. We mostly used the Frame and Long Top Tube packs for their versatility on quick out-and-back adventures. Typically, we would store tools, spares parts, a hand pump, snacks, our phone, a small camera, extra gloves, a wind jacket or even our favorite beverage. Our test riders would have liked to see a few more D-loops on each of these packs for more versatility when routing the mounting straps. Regardless, the two frame packs are remarkably stable when taking on more rugged terrain or singletrack.
The main thing all of our test riders remarked on was the stabilizer on all the zipper closures. When the zippers are fully closed, the zipper end is nestled in a tiny hood that keeps it from flopping over and brushing against a rider’s knees. Genius!
We only used the Saddle and Downtube packs as our set-and-forget storage when we needed additional essentials for long rides or overnight trips.
All clips and straps securing the packs to the bike are quite easy to release and close. This is a great thing, especially when wearing gloves in wet weather when temperatures get chilly.
Whether you are the type of rider who goes out for a quick ride in the mountains or you have plans to spend a few nights under the stars, it’s difficult to find a flaw in these versatile, high-quality and well-designed Backcountry packs from Apidura.
• Easy installation and removal
• Zippers and straps can be adjusted easily, even when wearing gloves in cold, wet weather
• Surprisingly stable when jamming downhill
• Smart hoods to secure zippers
• Could have used a few more D-loops for alternative routing options
• Top-notch quality materials and construction do not come cheap
Price for set tested: $412