The Apidura Mountain Frame Pack is designed to sit inside your bike's main triangle, maximising storage space by running the full length of the top tube while still allowing two water bottles to be used. It works well, although you might need to change to side-entry bottle cages.
Compared with the Road Frame Pack, which is tailored more towards slim-tubed frames, the Mountain has a more pointed and less square forward section which better matches the bulkier head tube junction of larger-tubed frames. Apidura helpfully includes the dimensions for each of the frame pack models and sizes on its website, and can provide advice in case you aren't sure what will fit.
The large size pack tested sat perfectly in a 58cm Trek Crockett (with a 57cm effective top tube), barely requiring any of the straps as it fitted so snuggly. It also spent some time on a large Giant TCX, which had a 58cm (effective) top tube that was a little longer than the pack itself. For this bike, I found it best to tighten the front of the pack right up against the top and down tubes and leave a little space at the rear between it and the seat tube.
It attaches to the bike with three Velcro straps (backed by Hypalon, a synthetic rubber to prevent paint wear) that wrap around the top tube, and four ladderlock buckles, one for the head tube, one for the down tube and two for the seat tube. Each of these comes with a little elastic sleeve so you can tuck in excess webbing, keeping the whole thing neat and tidy. There's a lot of adjustability in each of these, so a wide range of tube shapes can be accommodated.
With all the straps tightened, the pack is rock solid, and even when heavily loaded doesn't negatively affect the bike's handling. At 227g it's not a huge weight penalty, which makes it something you can just leave attached to the bike all the time.
The large pack has a nominal capacity of 5.3 litres which is split into two compartments, both of which are lined with yellow material to make it easier to see in. The lower volume compartment includes three mesh pouches of differing sizes along the inside face to provide some means of organisation. I found this useful for things like tools and valuables which you don't really want rattling about every time you hit a bump in the road.
The larger compartment is useful for bulkier items such as food or clothes that are handy to have easily accessible. It includes a small zipped pocket on the inside face that can take a standard size smartphone, cards and cash. This compartment also has a port located on the top tube face, so you can run a hydration hose or battery lead up to the handlebar.
Both compartments are accessed via full-length water-resistant zips with generously sized one-finger zipper pulls.
In practice, 5.3 litres of capacity translated into being able to comfortably stash, with a little wiggle room: a waterproof jacket, extra baselayer and lunch in the larger compartment, and a pump, two spare tubes, a tyre lever and a multi-tool in the smaller compartment.
Trying to fill the bag to the max resulted in it ballooning outwards and catching on my knees when riding – the 6cm width strikes just about the perfect balance between volume and not interfering with your knees, provided you don't overpack it.
One thing careful packing won't affect is the depth of the bag, which sometimes made it a challenge to use the bottle cages on both bikes I tested it with. In each case, the seat tube bottle was the easiest to access, while the down tube bottle (both 600ml) was almost impossible to remove and replace without veering all over the road. The immediate solution was to use the seat tube bottle as the go-to and swap the bottles around when finished. For long-term use, side-entry cages would be the way to go, as this would make access a cinch and mean you could use larger bottles.
Despite technically not being waterproof because of the unsealed seams, the Frame Pack is still decently weather resistant on account of the waterproof VX-21 material used and the water resistant zips. Throughout winter, the Frame Pack saw daily use on my commute as well as weekend rides, and in that time I didn't experience any issues with water getting in. As always, though, if you plan to carry anything valuable and particularly allergic to water, a dedicated dry bag is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
At £75, the Mountain Frame Pack is certainly not cheap, but this price is in line with what you can expect to pay for partial frame bags from the likes of Alpkit (slightly cheaper) and Wildcat Gear (the same), among others. The lightweight touring and bikepacking market isn't the biggest, so economies of scale don't really come into it.
Overall, I think the Frame Pack would make a good investment given that it can double up for commuting duties as well as those more exciting adventures, and that the quality of construction means it's made to last.
Well-made bag with useful storage capacity that won't negatively affect bike handling
road.cc test report
Make and model: Apidura Mountain Frame Pack (Large)
Size tested: Large
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?
The Apidura Mountain Frame Pack is designed to make the most of the unused space inside the front triangle, providing extra storage space for multi-day tours. This storage space isn't just useful when going long either, with Apidura describing it as perfect for "commuting and every day riding" too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
5.3 litre nominal capacity split into 2 compartments
Hypalon reinforced velcro straps for strength and to minimize frame abrasion.
Yellow interior liner for enhanced visibility.
Inner mesh pocket for organization on the go.
Battery lead / hydration hose port underneath the top tube
One-finger zipper pullers for easy access on the go
Two full length #8 nylon water resistant zip with protected closures.
Reflective graphics to enhance rider safety.
As with other Apidura products tested during the same period, the quality of construction is top notch and without fault.
The Mountain Frame Pack's seven attachment points result in a structure that carries heavy loads remarkably well, remaining stable and rock solid over rough ground. The 5.3 litre nominal capacity is usefully large but you have to be careful about not overfilling it as this causes the sides to balloon out, potentially brushing up against your knees when pedalling. Another thing to bear in mind is that the depth of the bag does make it hard to access water bottles easily – side-entry cages are recommended if planning on using any bottles larger than 600ml. Despite these small issues, overall, the Mountain Frame Pack performs very well and provides useful storage in an area of the bike that won't negatively affect bike handling.
Despite being light weight, the VX-21 material is surprisingly tough and areas of high stress such as the top tube Velcro straps (from which the whole bag's weight hangs) are further reinforced by Hypalon. Despite a full winter of daily use in addition to a few off-road rides, the pack has yet to show any signs of wear. There's no reason not to expect the bag to last.
At 227g, the Frame Pack is unnoticeable when empty and riding around. Some lightweight bags might compromise on stability or durability but this isn't the case here.
At £75 it's not cheap, but it's about what you can expect to pay for a partial frame bag that isn't custom made. Given the amount of use it's likely to see and the expectation that it will last a long time, and it's pretty good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - the Frame Pack fitted well to both frames used during testing and makes use of unused space to provide extra storage capacity. The quality of construction and durability make this an item that's just as useful for touring as it is for a daily commute.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
That it provides extra storage capacity in a fit and forget package that doesn't negatively affect the bike's handling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can make accessing water bottles a little tricky. Side-entry cages recommended.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's very good – in design, quality and the way it makes use of unused space without getting in the way of anything, except maybe larger water bottles. It's not cheap, but not outrageous, and should last well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.