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review

Alpkit Possum Bikepacking frame bag

7
£72.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Light, easy to access and a versatile fit – but not without niggles
Mounts are very adjustable
Stable
Slim and light
Small pocket is little use
Cable port is fiddly
Weight: 
172g
Contact: 

The Alpkit Possum is a half-frame bag designed to work alongside water bottles and in as many frames as possible. It creates a stable, light and easy to access storage area, and the highly adjustable straps mean it's very versatile, but the very long cable access port is awkward.

> Buy this online here

The Possum is built from a 4-layer fabric designed to be tough and weatherproof. Alpkit doesn't claim it's fully waterproof as the seams are stitched so could, potentially, leak. It's very resistant, though – the bag took some pretty bad weather and at no point did any significant water get inside.

2020 Alpkit Possum Bikepacking frame bag - strap 1.jpg

Available in three lengths – 42, 47 and 52cm – and it's the middling 47cm version we have here. Key to the Possum design are the multiple attachment points – the webbing ladder of strap loops continues all around the bag, so it should work with virtually any bike. It dealt with all the frames we could muster, including those with cable stops and external cabling that could interfere.

There are downsides, though. The straps are quite narrow, meaning you'll need quite a few (and possibly some longer ones too – it is at least cheap and easy to get more Velcro).

The bag also tends to sag on the top if you leave a large gap between straps. I ended up using five – three on the top tube, one on the seat tube and one on the down tube.

2020 Alpkit Possum Bikepacking frame bag - strap 2.jpg

The full-length waterproof YKK zips are good quality and easy to use even when riding, largely thanks to the big puller (it even glows in the dark), while zip garages stop them rattling. Sensibly, they open from front to back, which makes it easier to access things on the go.

> Cycling luggage for beginners: find out the best ways to carry stuff on your bike

The Possum opens into the main 3.5L compartment from the left. It's a good size and very usefully swallows the likes of tent poles and pegs, plus food and even some smaller clothes.

On the right there's a second pocket – Alpkit describes it as a 'document' pocket – that's handy for all those documents you're transporting, plus cash, cards, keys, gels or anything else slim you want quick access too.

2020 Alpkit Possum Bikepacking frame bag - pocket.jpg

There's a cable port on the top of the bag, but it's large and the fabric overlap is quite long, so it takes a long cable to snake through. It also means that thin, flexy cables are awkward to insert. It's another potential spot for leaks as well, of course, though it's at least well sheltered by the top tube and the sheer length of the port/fabric overlap.

Our 'medium' bag came in under the claimed weight of 210g at just 172g, making it very competitive against its rivals. The tapered front section fits nicely into the head tube area, and the 47cm length is perfect for medium road and gravel frames. All sizes are the same 5cm width and, so long as the back is not overstuffed, it doesn't interfere with pedalling.

> 17 of the best bikepacking bags — how to choose lightweight luggage

Competition is fairly fierce. The Apidura Mountain Frame Pack uses a similar construction, for instance, though is less flexible and a little heavier for £2 more. Altura's Vortex Waterproof Frame Pack is even lighter than the Alpkit – if again, not as flexible if your frame is awkward – but far cheaper at £49.99.

Premium offerings such as the Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack are only a little more at £85, and this offers a single large pocket and total waterproofing.

The Alpkit Possum is an exceptionally well made bag and, with three sizes, should fit the majority of bikes. It is light with easy-access compartments and has neat touches like zip pullers that glow in the dark. While not fully waterproof, it stands up to heavy rain well, and the quality and stability impress.

Verdict

Light, easy to access and a versatile fit – but not the cheapest

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Alpkit Possum Bikepacking frame bag

Size tested: 3.5 litres

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?

Alpkit says: "The Possum half-frame bag sits in your front triangle to provide stable, secure, and swing-free storage for carrying your heavier items without affecting handling too much. It's shaped to fit modern mountain bike geometries with lower standover heights, and the half-bag design gives you space to run bottles and cages."

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

Alpkit lists:

Made to last in the UK

Fully customisable (contact support [at] alpkit.com)

Made with waterproof and highly abrasion-resistant fabrics

Half bag leaves room for bottles and cages

Main storage pocket, small accessory pocket, and key hook for organising your stuff

Off-centre zip prevents contents from spilling when attached up-side-down; large zip puller for use with gloves

Front facing cable port for running wires to your dynamo or light

Bar-tacked webbing ladder for endless attachment points

125 cm Velcro strap provided for you to cut to size

25 Year Alpine Bond

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well constructed with extra support and fabric in areas likely to be pulled tight. No issues with stitching or general construction.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Fits and performs well.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Stood up to long rides and multiple fittings without issue.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

Lighter than many similar bags, although not fully waterproof.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Doesn't interfere with pedalling or riding at all.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

There are cheaper bags that work just as well.

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

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The large pullers and long zip garage mean the zip's easy to use yet doesn't rattle.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The small document pocket seems superfluous.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's towards to premium end. The Apidura Mountain Frame Pack uses a similar construction, though it's less flexible and a little heavier for £2 more. Altura's Vortex Waterproof Frame Pack is even lighter than the Alpkit, yet far cheaper at £49.99.
Rapha's Waterproof Frame Pack is only a little more at £85, and is totally waterproof.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Potentially

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's slim and light, and the shape should fit most bikes well – it's very competent and easy to use. If it were cheaper it'd get an eight, but as you can get equally good bags for less money, it's a seven.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 168  Weight: 62

I usually ride:   My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb,

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