Altura is a UK manufacturer with an impressively broad portfolio of cycle clothing and accessories. Their Night Vision range includes rain jackets, thermal tops, legwear and this, a combined bag and rack that fits to your seat post. It's neat and well-made, and ideal for commuters, all-day tourists or any cyclists wanting to avoid backpacks or over-stuffed jersey pockets. However, and it has a tendency to sway when you're standing on the pedals.
The bag itself is more-or-less the size and shape of a shoe box, with a slight narrowing towards the front and a curved rear. It's made from tough nylon, with two zips that run around three sides at the top, to create a large lid which you can pull forward to access any part of the bag. There's also a separate zipped pocket on each side of the bag. All together, the total capacity is about 10 litres.
The bag and rack are skilfully designed as an integrated unit. A separate clamp (called a KlickFix, made by German manufacturer Rixen Kaul) is bolted to the seat post. The rack attaches to the clamp via two slots and a quick release button. More skilful design ensures the bag is securely connected in the clamp, even on rough roads. I tested this by riding through numerous potholes on a unsurfaced bridleway with the bag filled to recommended weight capacity. Despite the major vibrations, the Post Pack stayed firmly in place.
The Altura website says the Post Pack weighs 830g, but on the road.cc scales the unladen bag and rack weighed in at a total of 730g and another 70g for the clamp. This is less than the combined weight of a similarly sized rack bag and standard pannier rack, which will be a plus point if you want to keep weight to a minimum. It's also an advantage if your frame hasn't got mudguard eyes or any other way to fit a standard rack.
On the Post Pack set-up, the bag is fixed very firmly to the rack with Velcro and press studs. There's no chance of the Velcro or studs coming accidentally undone mid-ride, but it does give you the option to take off the bag and leave the rack attached. This is a more fiddly manoeuvre, but still the work of only 20 seconds or so.
Rixen Kaul advise that the KlickFix clamp should not be used on carbon seat posts. Most cyclists would not go to the expense of fitting a carbon seat post to save weight, to then bolt on a rack and bag weighing the best part of a kilogram, but the warning is there for those that might.
Other features of the Post Pack include handles, so you can carry it when it's off the bike, plus a horizontal pocket on the top of the bag which can't be closed up, so anything you put in there would be in danger of falling out again while riding. There's also a separate padded pouch that's fixed by Velcro inside the main bag, which can be complexly removed if you want to fee up some space.
As the Night Vision name implies, the bag has a lot of silver piping to reflect back car headlights if you're riding after dark, plus reflective logos on each side pocket and a banner sized logo on the back of the bag.
There's also a loop to fit a back light into, although this is made of thin plastic rather than thick webbing. This means most back lights bounce around, in danger of falling off, rather than being held firmly in place.
Despite the sturdy handles and generous proportions, the bag cannot carry giant loads. The swing-ticket that comes with the bag says the weight limit is 3kg, but the instruction manual says it's just 1.5kg. Somewhere between the two is more likely, as the KlickFix clamp has a weight limit of 3kg, so by the time you've taken into account the 730g weight of the bag and rack, you can carry just over 2kg of stuff.
With that in mind, this bag will be fine to carry the requirements for the daily commute or an all-day leisure ride – tool kit, phone, spare tubes, rain jacket, maybe a spare layer and some gloves, plus your sandwiches of course – but the Endura Post Pack isn't something you'll be using to bring home the weekly family shop.
Which brings us to actually riding a bike with the Post Pack attached. On test rides, I found everything was absolutely fine as long as I stayed sitting down, but as soon as I stood up on a hill and moved the bike from side to side, the bag swayed from side to side on the clamp (effectively a single pivot point), but not in time with the bike. This wasn't actually a problem, but it was a tad disconcerting – especially with the bag at full weight limit.
If you use this bag for gentle touring, commuting, leisure riding, or just pottering around, then this swaying won't happen. Even for longer or faster rides, such as audax events, this bag will be fine if you tend to stay in the saddle and not dance on the pedals at every incline. A lot comes down to the type of cyclist you are, and the type of rides you do.
On price, the Altura Night Vision Post Pack's recommended retail is a penny under £60, but you can find it discounted down to nearer 50 quid at bike shops and the usual on-line stores. There aren't many other seat-post-fitting-bag-and-rack combos out there to compare against, but Altura's smaller Arran Expanding Post Pack and Aero Post Pack go for around £45 and £55 respectively; a similar Topeak rig goes for around £65; and Vaude's peculiarly-named Off Road Bag M lists for £75.
Alternatively, a standard rack-fitting bag (such as Altura's own Arran Rack Bag, or similar offerings from Topeak and Deuter) usually goes for £30-40, and a rack can be another £10 or £20, so on that basis the price is fair, although it's not really comparing like for like.
Overall, if you don't want to (or can't) fit a proper rack to your bike, but occasionally need to carry more than you can comfortably fit in an under-the-saddle pack and jersey pockets, and if you tend to ride mostly in the saddle, then this Altura Night Vision Post Pack is well worth considering.
All-in-one bag and rack that fits to your seat post; very handy and well-made, but sways when you stand on the pedals
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Make and model: Altura Night Vision Post Rack
Size tested: n/a
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?
This product is a bag that fits to your bike. It enables you to carry more than you can fit in jersey pockets or saddlepack, but less than in a full-on saddlebag or panniers (which need a full-on rack). It might also be useful if you have a few items to carry, but prefer cycling tops that don't have pockets.
The Altura website is terse in its description and says just this: 'The Night Vision Post Packs offer a fantastically versatile way to carry all your essentials without the need for a rack with the added advantage of loads of reflective trim.'
As a bag for carrying the essentials for the daily commute or an all-day ride, the performance of this Post Pack is excellent, especially if you ride mainly in the saddle. If you tend to stand on every hill, then the bag's tendency to sway from side to side will be a major disadvantage for some cyclists.
Compared to a roughly comparable-sized bag and standard pannier rack, the Post Pack is lighter. But a heavier rack that fits to your frame at three points will be a lot more stable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For its primary purpose - carrying the essentials for the daily commute or an all-day ride - this Post Pack is excellent. But when its tendency to sway from side to side is taken into account, the overall performance is not so good. However, this swaying will not be a problem if you ride mainly in the saddle; you'll notice it only if you tend to stand on the pedals and move the bike from side to side when climbing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Sturdy construction. Very quick fitting/removal. Secure fitting.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Skinny back light loop. The whole thing sways when climbing out of the saddle.
Did you enjoy using the product? Personally, no.
Would you consider buying the product? Personally, no.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they generally climbed hills sitting down.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The Post Pack deserves a score of 9 for its practicality, skilful design and high quality construction. The skinny back light loop is irritating, the unclosable top pocket is mysterious, and the price (although fair) isn't a bargain, which together knock off a point bringing it to 8. For cyclists who climb hills out of the saddle, the swaying will also be a disadvantage, which docks another point, giving an overall score of 7.
Age: 53 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)