Carradice Camper Long Flap  £65.00

9/10

Excellent rack-free luggage that's built to last

Weight 920g   Contact  www.carradice.co.uk

by Robin Dickson   May 9, 2012  

The Camper Long Flap is a saddlebag, part of the Carradice Originals range, and designed (you will not be surprised to hear) for lightweight touring and ultralight cycle camping.

Manufactured from 'cotton duck', a traditional fabric woven from cotton which is incredibly hard wearing and has an inherent water resistance, the Camper Longflap is the largest bag in the Carradice Originals saddlebag line.

Considering its 24 litres capacity, I was very keen to see if the bag would indeed carry everything necessary for a camping tour.

The bag is broad and shallow, with a single main compartment closed by a lid gaiter around the top, which allows for some expansion, and sealed over with the flap described in the bag's name. On the sides there are two additional pouches for smaller items, and the flap lid has 'D' rings affixed as tie-on points for additional luggage. The whole bag exudes old-style quality and ruggedness as all the flaps are held closed by leather straps and buckles, and high wear areas of the bag are protected by a double layer of material.

In testing, I managed to fit a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, stove and light weight pan set into the bag with room for spare clothes (albeit not many!) and a wash kit without even extending the drawstring gaiter. This left plenty of room for a sleeping mat to be strapped down under the flap. The side pouches were left empty for valuables and snacks.

This naturally brings us onto that long flap described in the name. In its usual state, the flap comprises a folded, double layer of duck material and buckles down to constrain the 24 ltr capacity of the bag. For larger loads however it can be unfolded to twice its usual length to enable larger, bulky items to be strapped on top of the bag, either under the extended lid gaiter or on top of it where they can be left protruding out the sides of the bag. This makes the Camper Longflap an incredibly versatile saddlebag that has quickly become one of my most valuable pieces of kit. In everyday use it easily transports clothes, a lock and sundries on my daily commute. In the evenings, it helps me bring home the groceries that I buy en route.

The Camper Longflap is incredibly well made, and with minimal care looks like it is build to last a lifetime.

In its basic form, the bag fixes to the bike via a set of leather straps that attach to saddle bag loops (these tend to only come with traditional leather Brooks-type saddles these days) and the seatpost. I found this somewhat unwieldy however, as if your saddle is in any way pushed behind the seatpost, it holds the bag under the saddle where it interferes with the legs. If you have a very vertical seatpost, or if you have your saddle pushed right forward on its rails I am sure this is not so much a problem, but I did struggle. However, anticipating this, Carradice also produce a range of supported mounting options in the Bagman, Bagman QR and SQR brackets. For the larger saddlebags in the range, the Bagman and Bagman QR systems are recommended. These brackets comprise long loops of metal which affix to the seat rails of the saddle (needing about one centimetre of exposed seat rail behind the seatpost) and loop down to provide a support for the bag that holds it stable, and away from the saddle and seatpost. The Bagman also provides a rail for the leather seatpost straps to attach to at the top, while the Bagman QR replaces the rail with a pair of quick release clips at the top that attach to an additional plastic bracket, which zip-ties onto the bag.

I used the Bagman QR, and found it extremely easy to use, sturdy and stable. It held the bag away from the saddle and my legs, even on my road bike, so that it did not interfere with pedalling, and enabled me to carry large loads easily.

Attaching and removing the bag was quick and easy, which meant when leaving the bike it was possible to carry the bag with me for security, and even moving the bracket from one bike to another (which I need to do a lot) proved simple as it requires only one Allen bolt to be released.

In use, the Camper Longflap / Bagman QR combination is stable, and other than making the bike a little more top heavy than usual, does not have an appreciable adverse affect on handling. However, the wide nature of the bag does make stepping over the saddle a little more tricky than usual.

The Bagman and Bagman QR brackets (as well as the SQR seatpost mounting bracket that I didn't try) are rated to carry 10kg, which is more than enough for an ultralight camp (my camping kit packed down to just over 5kg, which would allow for a day or two on the road as long as you could buy food en-route).

The nicest part is that the Camper Longflap, paired with any of the Carradice brackets, only requires a saddle or seatpost to attach to – meaning that any type of bike, from road race, to tourer to MTB can be used to carry luggage, with or without a rack.

All in all this has proved to be an excellent bag, and one which I would heartily recommend for those with luggage carrying needs who wish to avoid the necessity of a rack and panniers.

At £65 RRP for the bag and £45 RRP for the matching Bagman QR, this is not a cheap combination. However, it works really well and will last a lifetime. Worth every penny.

Verdict

Excellent rack-free luggage that's built to last.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Carradice Camper Long Flap

Size tested: Green

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 Carradice Camper Longflap is a large saddleback designed for ultra-lightweight touring. It is well suited to this application, and is useful also for commuting and general luggage carrying, being easily fitted to almost any bicycle and not requiring a luggage rack.

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

Made out of durable cotton duck, with leather straps and detailing, the basic bag is capable of carrying around 24 litres of luggage. The double-length long flap of the name enables larger or bulkier loads to be strapped on top as well.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

A basic bag by design, intended to strap to saddle loops - for those who have them, it really needs to be paired with the Bagman QR Expedition saddle-back rack to release its true potential.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The bag carried large loads in a very stable manner, and does not unduly affect the bike's handling.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

This bag is designed to last a lifetime - exuding old-school attention to detail in the materials used and the quality of construction.

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

As it allows you to carry luggage without the weight penalty of a full luggage rack, it scores well.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Not cheap, particularly when paired with the Bagman QR Expedition rack, but worth it.

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

The bag carried loads on a variety of bikes without needing a luggage rack, or to wear a rucksack. It does not adversely affect the handling of the bike either. What more need be said?

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Its durability, solid construction and traditional looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Quite wide, the bag does make mounting and dismounting the bike somewhat more tricky than usual.

Did you enjoy using the product? Absolutely.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Without hesitation.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 6'1  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I've been using one of these for a while, and it's superb. Avoids the sweaty-back issues of a rucksack or courier bag, and seems to have a minimal affect on the handling of the bike, unlike panniers. I think it's because of where the weight is positioned.

Being tucked behind your legs there's no extra drag, and they are surprisingly waterproof - two days in the pissing rain in Scotland failed to soak the contents.

One of the things the article doesn't mention is that these are made up in Lancashire, and the maker of the bag writes their name inside.

So thank you, Sue - you've made fantastic bags for me, my other half, and my mate at work.

posted by thereandbackagain [155 posts]
9th May 2012 - 8:53

40 Likes

I've had one of these the last few weeks. They do same very well made, though not really put mine to the test.

The only annoying thing, especially for a London rider where you can't leave anything detachable on your bike unsupervised, is that it takes about 2 minutes to take off and put on. That means if you are going round the shops it's a little annoying. This is the case without the extra cost bagman system.

D

posted by dmaca [1 posts]
9th May 2012 - 10:26

32 Likes

dmaca wrote:
I've had one of these the last few weeks. They do same very well made, though not really put mine to the test.

The only annoying thing, especially for a London rider where you can't leave anything detachable on your bike unsupervised, is that it takes about 2 minutes to take off and put on. That means if you are going round the shops it's a little annoying. This is the case without the extra cost bagman system.

D

I went for the quick release system, with a cam-style buckle, for that reason. If you use that it's a matter of seconds to get it on and off. It's a bit of a price hike from the other support, not sure that two sliding bolts and a spring is really £20-worth of engineering costs, but I paid the premium for the convenience.

posted by thereandbackagain [155 posts]
9th May 2012 - 11:09

34 Likes

Have one as these as well and think they're great. I only wish they came with a shoulder strap for carrying it off the bike. Very easy to fit one but nice to get one included.

posted by thebongolian [43 posts]
9th May 2012 - 13:39

40 Likes

Carradice are great - superb commuting luggage, ime, and I've been using a lowsaddle longflap on my Long Haul Trucker for a few years now.

If the standoff angle of the bag from the seatpost annoys you, you can always try a bodge;

http://monkeyphotomcr.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/carradice-bodge.html (required materials: 1x pvc pipe, 1x 26 x 2.0 inner tube).

If you google "Carradice Hacks" you'll find a bunch of suggestions for low cost quick release solutions too, of, shall we say, varying degrees of elegance. My only gripe with mine has been the lack of organisation in the main compartment - but there's any number of ways to deal with that - I've put a lanyard with a clip for my keys on the dowel inside the lid, for example.

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

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [422 posts]
9th May 2012 - 14:19

34 Likes

thereandbackagain wrote:

Being tucked behind your legs there's no extra drag, and they are surprisingly waterproof - two days in the pissing rain in Scotland failed to soak the contents.

Yup. I've known stuff that's packed right up against the bits of the bag exposed to the elements get a bit damp in real downpours, but I tend to pack anything I'm concerned about in a plastic bag, just in case.

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

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [422 posts]
9th May 2012 - 16:33

40 Likes

I've been using the smaller Barley version of this bag with the Bagman holder for some years.

I can honestly say that I've found both to be superb and the bag itself is the only one I've ever used which stays 100% waterproof in a full downpour.

It's a fantastic piece of kit for carrying waterproofs and other light bulky spares when the weather's not looking too good.

The leather straps at the back of the bag can be held to your saddle rails with a pair of zip-ties Wink

michophull's picture

posted by michophull [103 posts]
9th May 2012 - 17:54

36 Likes

Feel the love. Cool

The QR Bagman is bloomin' expensive for what it is, but it's a great solution. The other alternative is the seatpost mounted SQR system.

When I tested the Super C a few years back I ended up building the Hod of Horror, which was various bits of metal shelf bracket bolted onto some bits of plywood wrapped in gaffer tape. It was a terrifying abomination but lasted the few hundred miles it took me to bite the bullet and buy a Bagman. Big Grin

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
9th May 2012 - 19:02

38 Likes

Zip ties'll work for holding the bag straps, but they're not kind to them (and also, TOO SLIDEY).

I bought a pair of ViVa bag loops for my non Brooks equipped bike, and they work a treat. Mine were from Velo Orange, but I think Practical Cycles do them now.

Personal preference, of course, but I've never felt the need for a support for my bag (an 18l Lowsaddle Longflap) on either of my bikes.

Also, 7/10 for value? I've seen Carradices[1] that have been in use since the '70s & are still going...

[1] That particular one attached to a lovely Harry Hall bike with a striking blue pearlescent finish...

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

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [422 posts]
9th May 2012 - 19:48

38 Likes

The bag, with its pedigree, seems excellent value for the money; the mounting not so much.

posted by Dr_Lex [151 posts]
10th May 2012 - 12:21

37 Likes

Nice looking bag that would work well on an Audax rigged machine (see the latest article). Just wondering what the saddle is please as it doesn't appear to be a Brooks.

posted by sam_smith [49 posts]
11th May 2012 - 11:24

36 Likes

The saddle looks very much like a Velo Orange part, possibly a model one or model three

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/components/saddles.html

posted by thereandbackagain [155 posts]
11th May 2012 - 21:13

35 Likes

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