Carradice CarraDry Saddlebag  £50.00

8/10

Baffling light mount mars otherwise excellent waterproof bag

Weight 1010g   Contact  www.carradice.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   August 29, 2014  

Carradice are best known for their very traditional bike luggage but the Carradry range sees them move into the modern age, using a heavyweight PVC material to build completely waterproof bags.

The saddlebag is a very simple design, with one 12-litre main compartment and a 3-litre detachable lid. If you're familiar with other Carradice bags, it's between a Barley (9 litres) and a Super C (23 litres). The lid has a clear compartment on the inside (handy for route sheets, brevet cards, money etc) and a zipped pocket on the top.

That's all you get by way of external organisation, unlike the cotton duck bags which have side pockets. I missed having side pockets - I like being able to reach round on the move and grab a cereal bar and they're handy for stuff that you might want to access in a hurry, like tools or money.

With the Carradry Saddlebag all of your kit is there, but you'll have to climb off to get at it. The zipped top pocket doesn't hold very much and it can be fiddly to get out, thanks to the small opening. I just used it for keys and a multi-tool. You can remove the top completely, although I'm not sure why you'd want to.

The main compartment closes with poppers and a clip, so if you do decide to use it without the lid you can still keep everything dry. That's great but it does mean that getting at your stuff can be a bit of a faff. It's not a huge deal, but I found it slightly limiting, compared with the other saddlebags that I'm used to.

The bag isn't huge, you probably wouldn't want to use it for a tour, but there's enough space for the tools, food and spare clothes you'd need on an audax. There's also a removable mesh pocket inside for valuables.

The PVC material is stiff, sturdy and completely impervious to water. I've used the bag extensively in all kinds of weather and nothing inside even gets damp, no matter how bad the weather.

Without a time machine it's impossible to say how well the bag will last, but I'd be amazed if they don't last at least as long as the cotton duck bags (and without the risk of mould). The dark grey looks very smart, accessorised with black straps. Reflective trim round the edge of the lid is a nice touch, as is the reflective material woven into the straps.

The one aspect of the bag that frustrated me was the positioning of the light loop. Lid mounted lights, especially on squashy bags, can sometimes end up at odd angles but with the stiff material of the Carradry bag that shouldn't be a problem. However for some reason it's ended up on the bottom edge of the main compartment. It's a baffling design error.

I used the saddlebag with a Bagman QR support (which slides into a sleeve on the bottom of the bag) but any light I used ended up fouling on the support and pointing straight down at the road. I contacted Carradice. They told me putting it on the lid would potentially compromise the waterproofing but they'd see if it could be moved. I managed to bodge a light onto one of the D rings on the lid, but it was an annoying compromise.

The Carradry is a useful evolution but it could do with a bit more refinement. The light loop placement and fiddly access are enough of a nuisance that I'll probably go back to using a Super C for my audaxing but the Carradry will be coming out if I'm expecting bad weather.

Verdict

Baffling light mount mars otherwise excellent waterproof bag

road.cc test report

Make and model: Carradice CarraDry Saddlebag

Size tested: Grey

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Carradice don't go in for flowery marketing guff. "No nonsense Waterproof bags - tough and dependable, what ever you throw at them" is as good as it gets.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Weight (grams): 1013

Capacity: 12 - 15 litres

Dimensions: 30cm wide x 16cm high x 26 (30)cm deep

Fixing system: Saddle Loops/ Bagman Q/R Expedition/Sqr System

No of Pockets: Removable internal mesh pouch. External zipped pocket on lid Zipped internal clear-view pocket on under-side of lid.

Other features: Made from wipe-clean reinforced PVC with high requency welded seams

Roll top with poppers and quick release buckle fastening.

Removable lid with height adjustment straps and quick release buckles.

(Weight of bag with lid removed = 807g)

Fixed carry handle and removable shoulder strap included.

Reflector and led attachment strip

D Ring strapping points on lid for additional loads

Attaches to bike via saddle loops, SQR System or Bagman Q/R Sport Support.

The bag features a sleeve on the underside to accommodate the Bagman support.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Typically robust.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Would be a 9, but the light mount compromises night use and the lack of side pockets means your kit is less easy to get at.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Hard to say if the Carradry range will have the longevity of traditional cotton duck bags, but unless the PVC degrades over time I can't imagine them not lasting.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Heavier than cotton duck bags - there's a slight penalty for being completely watertight.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Unless I'm hugely mistaken a bag like this should last a lifetime.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Excellent, but that wretched light loop really annoyed me and I'd like easier access to my stuff.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Waterproof, tough, looks smart.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Rubbish light mount and ideally I'd like some external storage.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Top notch bag but compromised by the light loop.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Happens on the Originals bags too, ime - at least on those, one can use the metal "Carradice" name plate to mount the light a bit higher.

The removable mesh pocket is an excellent idea - the only thing I dislike about my Super C Barley is that its (non removable) pocket makes getting to the bag mounting straps a pain.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [423 posts]
29th August 2014 - 9:07

3 Likes

Looks good, will be looking for something like this for weekend trips (to the champs in July...) on the road bike.

A photo of the bag on the bike would be nice...

posted by robthehungrymonkey [47 posts]
29th August 2014 - 10:19

3 Likes

Can these bags be locked onto the bike to avoid them getting stolen.

I would like to have a break from carrying a backpack.

posted by Binky [115 posts]
29th August 2014 - 11:12

0 Likes

If it does get damp PVC is actually bad for growing surface mould so it'll still need airing.

posted by IHphoto [112 posts]
29th August 2014 - 12:25

1 Like

I picked up the SQR variant of this bag from Carradice in Nelson a couple of weeks ago as a suitable weatherproof bag for my new Brompton.

Used it in anger this week in the August deluge and it works fantastically well.

Material feels thicker than that of my Ortlieb Roller Classics that I use on my commuter/tourer, and welds and seams aren't as neat. However, its main function is to keep stuff dry and it has done that admirably. Having the wtp zipped side pods for things like easy wtp jacket and key access is a boon as well.

Highly recommended and nice to support British manufacturing, its cheaper than the Brompton/Ortlieb options and a better position on the seat tube.

posted by jak001 [55 posts]
30th August 2014 - 12:27

2 Likes

Also a quick note on the removable lid design, its a 'floating lid' style as used on climbing packs, so it allows for items to be put under the lid and then compressed down onto the pack.

Now its doubtful you'll be putting climbing rope on it, but it certainly allowed me to compress my work shoes down under the lid wrapped in a plastic bag as they would not have fitted in the bag itself due to it being full of my other tat.

A handy detail for this type of wtp bag.

posted by jak001 [55 posts]
30th August 2014 - 12:28

1 Like

I have been using this bag for 14 months and it has sprung its first leak! I use it for 30 miles a day, in all weathers. The PVC coating has split along one of the "welded seams".
I contacted the excellent customer service (who have previously replaced a broken buckle and bolt free of charge) and they sent out a patch. Will report if the patch is anything but satisfactory!

posted by chw0112 [2 posts]
14th October 2014 - 11:35

0 Likes

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