With the elimination of events, races and marathons, other things may come to the fore in 2020. There is certainly no lack of alternatives when it comes to spending time meaningfully on the bike, trying things out, challenging oneself and above all getting to know new areas.
That it does not necessarily have to go somewhere by plane but - on the contrary! - the good things are often quite close to your own front door. Bikepacking has been extremely present for some years now - it would be trivializing to speak of a "trend" here.
Bikepacking as an optional vacation
As different as the ambitions (far, farther and preferably transcontinental), intentions (from performance improvement to self-discovery) or ideas (of a "good time in the saddle") may be, the approaches are also very different with regard to material and equipment. From the minimum set-up on a road bike to the light camping version on the big bike to MTB variations and full equipment on a touring bike - the only limit is your imagination. There is no "right" or "wrong", here other things count!
If you want to get a taste of bikepacking, you don't need a completely new and complete equipment - the whole thing can be relaxed and slowly increased once you get a taste for it. For the beginning, a two or three day tour with overnight stay in a hotel or with friends is recommended. If you feel like more, you can devote yourself to the world behind the scenes, which will involve tents, sleeping bags and an Aeropress coffee maker.
For a weekend trip or the much-cited "Overnighter" (i.e. a two-day trip with an overnight stay) you should still take a few essentials with you - from a change of clothes and spare parts to lights, power banks and - for documentation purposes - even a small camera. Lightweight, waterproof and versatile bags like those from EVOC are ideal for storing these items..
Three EVOC panniers in the bikepacking test
The German manufacturer of bags of all kinds is by no means an unknown quantity when the terrain is rough, the challenges are tougher and the stories that go with it are exciting. With extensive experience in sports from snowboarding to mountain biking, ski touring and hiking, EVOC knows what is important when it comes to bags and backpacks ankommt.
Durability, ease of use, flexibility and good design are the basic characteristics of bags and backpacks and do not need to be emphasized. After all, these disciplines are essential for a successful adventure - after all, you want to focus on your project and not on the equipment and its operation.
In our test, a light setup was used: The EVOC Seat Pack Boa 3l bag, the EVOC Top Tube Pack 0.5l top tube bag and the EVOC Handlebar Pack Boa 5l handlebar roll. Different sizes of bags and their composition are suitable for different applications. The EVOC bike bags are therefore available in a variety of styles, colors and sizes - it is definitely worth taking a look at our shop.
For our test selection it was important that the handlebars fit between a road bike or Grave handlebar, the saddle bag should not be too big, because we didn't want to have too much luggage for our overnighter. Of course, it must be clear at all times that additional luggage also means extra weight that you feel on the bike.
For the attachment of the bags, EVOC brought on board a partner who has proven to understand their craft - BOA! Their twist and turn fasteners are known from the cycling shoes of the World Tour pros and perhaps from one or two models in your own wardrobe.
The simple and trouble-free operation of the rotary controls is one of the simplest and most reliable procedures, so the connection of the saddle and handlebar bags is no mystery. Put the straps around the seat post or handlebars, lock them in place and turn them until everything is tight. It really couldn't be easier and also the positioning of the bags is much easier, because you don't have to hold or fix anything (laboriously). Of course it would also work with conventional straps and velcro, but if you have BOAs in your hand...
Both saddle bag and handlebar bag are partly preformed, which makes it easier to put in and take out, and both bags keep their shape well when stuffed and loaded. Lumpy and bulky bags are not only impractical but also a potential risk - you don't want to get in the way of the moving parts of the bike!
The EVOC Handlebar Pack Boa 5l castor
The EVOC Handlebar bag can be filled from both sides, and the roll-up closures allow you to adjust the width of the bag at the end. Waterproofness is important when the splash water from the front tire hits the bags directly, and the material is also good and easy to wash off if the bag is a bit rough. With bike computers, lights and aero brackets you may have to move up a bit, there is more or less space on the handlebars depending on the bike and handlebar model.
The EVOC Seat Pack Boa 3l saddle bag
The EVOC saddle bag can also be filled variably - depending on the volume, you tighten the closure a little tighter and the bag becomes shorter. With the help of the attached straps and a little force, you can carry a compact bag on the seat post that is almost unnoticeable when riding, and certainly does not affect the riding characteristics of the bike. The recess on the injection-moulded part of the bag is also suitable for mounting on aero supports, thus preventing the bag from swinging.
The EVOC Top Tube Pack 0.5l frame bag
The compact frame bag is the trio's secret versatility star and has earned a fixed place in any cycling gear, even without bikepacking ambitions. Out of the box, it comes with a full ten loops for the Velcro fasteners supplied. These can be threaded into each of the individual loops - this way the bag fits into every corner of the frame triangle (and also onto the top tube). A spare parts bag in the lower frame triangle? No problem. A bag for bars and gels under the saddle? No problem. A pocket for the battery of the lamp behind the head tube? Easy!
The possibilities are many and varied and the bag really is incredibly flexible. EVOC also deserves praise for the included transparent stickers that protect the frame where the Velcro strips are placed. And there is another cooperation plus for the hole in the bag, through which cables or the like can be routed to the handlebars while the zipper can remain closed.
Conclusion on the EVOC Bikepacking Bags
In action, EVOC Bikepacking Bags are reliable and, above all, flexible partners that do not raise any questions, especially regarding assembly and positioning. The design is classic and with opaque colours rather discreet. Water and other dangers of bikepacking are reliably excluded.
The relatively small packing dimensions at first seem like a limitation, but after a short test they reveal that you don't need to carry that much luggage. The space is absolutely sufficient for short bikepacking tours - and the space that you don't fill with luggage can be filled with impressions and memories on the way!
* The actual price may differ from the price indicated here. It depends on current offers and the model.
Credits: Martin Granadia