We'd all agree that it can be pretty morale-sapping to grind your way to work through wind and rain, whether it's a blustering headwind in summer complete with sudden heavy showers, or driving rain and howling winds on a winter's morning. But the sucker punch is delivered when you find your change of clothes and your pork pie wringing wet in the bottom of your bag. The trick is to be prepared, and the Alpkit Gourdon 25 dry bag rucksack is certainly a good first line of defence against the elements.
Alpkit produce all manner of outdoor kit, from torches to tents and everything in between. Their dry bags and rucksacks are some of their best known and sought after pieces of kit. They're particularly popular because they're adaptable, hard wearing, and can be used across a range of different sports and activities, cycling being a key one.
The first thing to point out about the Gourdon 25 is its simplicity. There's one main 25 litre storage compartment with a buckle-fastened roll top, and a narrow pocket that can accommodate a 1L hydration pack. That's it. It weighs less than 450g.
For a bag that's so simple it's surprisingly comfortable to wear. The shoulder straps are padded, and there's a thin waist strap and sternum strap that keep the bag securely in place when you're in full flow on the bike.
The vacant hydration pocket contains a removable padded section that gives the back panel some extra structure and makes it comfortable against your body. This is something other bags of a similar design often lack, and you find yourself being jabbed in the back by the contents of your bag. No such problem with the Gourdon.
The main compartment is big enough that you can easily fit in spare shoes, a change of clothes, packed lunch and a loaf of bread. Easily enough for the average commuter or day tripper. The top of the bag pinches together and rolls shut before being fastened with a durable buckle; this can then be fastened to the bag with two toggles.
The single large compartment makes things easy – just throw everything in – but the lack of pockets can be a drawback if you want somewhere to store smaller valuables. A separate pouch is the simple solution, though that means shelling out extra.
The version we tested contained a clear plastic window down the length of the bag. This is optional and only included on two of the colourways available. It's really handy if you've stuffed your bag full and can't remember if you've included your dry socks for the office. No need to open the bag and fish around, you can find out at a glance. It's not so god if your y-fronts or expensive valuables find themselves pressed up against the window for all to see... You can find yourself spending extra time 'tactically packing'.
The bag is constructed of Taslan Nylon, a water repellent and durable material used across a wide range of outdoor equipment and clothing. It's also lightweight and quick drying, making it ideal for this kind of bag. The seams of the bag are all taped too, giving great peace of mind that you're not going to arrive at the office with a soggy change of clothes. The nylon is pretty hardwearing, but if you do happen to nick or tear it then Alpkit provide you with a few handy iron-on patches for repairs.
There are four colour options available: the Flo Yellow we've reviewed here, Black, Kelp (dark green) and Chilli (red). Only the Flo Yellow and Chilli versions have the transparent window, the other two have solid material outers.
Daytime visibility is great with the Yellow and Chilli options, but the Black and Kelp aren't great choices for standing out on the road. There are no reflectives and nowhere to hang or strap a light, although the Gourdon isn't a cycling-specific bag so maybe they can be forgiven for these omissions.
So far, so good. And, even better, the Gourdon will set you back just £22.50, an absolute steal. If that wasn't enough value for money then Alpkit will throw in free delivery, a 123-day returns policy, and a three-year warranty. That's pretty much the dictionary definition of value for money.
A do-it-all bag that offers excellent protection against the elements, simplicity and outstanding value
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road.cc test report
Make and model: AlpKit Gourdon 25 drybag rucksack
Size tested: Yellow - 25 Litre
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 Gourdon is a simple, single compartment, do-it-all bag that's designed for use in a number of outdoor pursuits and activities.
Alpkit say: "One large 25 litre compartment is all you need for all those bits and pieces for a wild camp away from the masses. Taped seams, durable nylon fabric and the simple design means a rucksack weighing under 600 grams"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Pouch for 1 l - 1.5 l hydration unit (450 mm long by 200 mm wide bladder)
- Roll-top closure
- Removeable padded back
- Taped waterproof seams
- Duraflex buckle and toggle closure
- Transparent window (Chilli and Flo Yellow only)
- Iron-on repair patches
- Taslan TPU nylon
- Volume: 25 litres
- Diameter: 25 cm
- Height: 55 cm
- Max weight: 575 g
- Minimum weight: 405 g
Very light, but not flimsy, it's constructed well enough that it can take a lot of daily use.
Water resistance was great, even in really heavy rain. Comfortable to wear and easy to use.
Seemed to perform well in the review period, with no signs of wear and tear.
Really light weight.
Very comfortable on the bike, the padded straps and back panel are a nice touch.
Fantastic value for a bag of this quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well: light, waterproof, comfortable, easy to use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of visibility and place to attach a light.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 29 Height: 5'10" Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.