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.
Baffling light mount mars otherwise excellent waterproof bag
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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.
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.
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.
Heavier than cotton duck bags - there's a slight penalty for being completely watertight.
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.
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