RevPack Super Deluxe (aka Expedition) Saddle Packs: Initial Impressions

I placed the order for my RevPack Super Deluxe Saddle Packs on Sunday, June 6, and they arrived last Wednesday, June 9 – wicked fast. I was thrilled with how quickly they arrived. I opened the box to discover that these bad boys are just as awesome as they look on the site, and immediately had to try them on my bike.

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They’re wicked big. I was worried that they’d be too big and end up too close to the mufflers, but I think they’ll be ok. I’m doing a few things to make sure they don’t sag:

  1. These bags come with two sets of D-rings where you can attach the packs to the straps across the seat. I’m using the bottom set of D-rings that are 8 inches from the base of the bags. There’s another set of D-rings approximately 2 inches above the bottom set. I went to REI and got some climbing straps to string across the D-rings, to hopefully help prevent the bags from sagging outward. This worked pretty well just playing with it on the bike – don’t know how it’ll stand up on a long trip, but I’m optimistic.
  2. Masukomi’s Fieldsheer saddle bags started sagging in the bottom while she was on the road for a couple of weeks last year. I fear the same thing could happen with these bags, although they’re slightly reinforced, so I’m going to go get some sort of hard, inflexible material to make a hard “floor” on the bottom of the bags. Hopefully this will keep the bottom of the bag from sagging, which should keep the clearance above the muffler ok.

I really love the details on these saddle bags. They have a fold-down closure inside the bag, and a built-in “weather flap” to help keep stuff out of the bags:

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The weather flap has clips that attach to some clips sewn on to the bag, so you just pull the flap down outside the bag and secure it. This is a fabulous detail. The rear weather flap has a reflective strip sewn on, which we tested in low-light conditions and it’s quite visible.

You unsnap the clip that holds the fold-down part of the bag closed, and the bag unfolds to a nice big rectangular opening:

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This should be super-easy to get stuff in and out of the saddle bags when I’m on the road – unlike the Fieldsheer expander saddlebags that Masukomi had. Her bags had a single zipper across the top of the bag, so you could essentially only access whatever was directly below the zipper – which means you have to take a bunch of stuff out if what you want isn’t right on top. This huge opening should make it very easy for me to get whatever I need out of the bags.

I did a test run with the RevPack Super Deluxe (aka Expedition) Saddle Packs on Sunday evening, and I think they’ll work out great. With the additional straps to keep them from sagging outward, I was able to cinch them quite high on the bike. My Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad that I got from REI folds into little flat sections, and I’m basically able to unfold it into two halves that lay flat on my bike across the saddle bags. I can put the tent, my sleeping bag and the spare gas can across the sleeping pad, and it all fits quite nicely on top of the RevPack Expedition saddle bags. I’ve used the D-rings on the saddle packs to attach my net and carabiners to hold things in place – it worked really well. Masukomi has some pictures on her camera, which I’ll try to get and update so you can see everything packed.

Even better? I can totally get into the RevPack Expedition saddle packs and get stuff out without taking all the stuff off the top. So if I have to stop at a gas station and get something out of the bags, I don’t have to undo the tent and sleeping bag and spare gas can. I call this fully awesome.

I have no idea how these packs will do in weather. RevPack makes no claims about how these bags hold up in weather. One point in the description points out that no seams go all the way into the inside of the pack, which makes them “more weatherproof.” Another part of the description discusses the built-in “rain flaps… to keep water, dust and road grime out.” But nowhere do they actually claim that these packs are waterproof or weatherproof. I think these will do a fair job of keeping stuff mostly dry – better than the Fieldsheer packs that Masukomi used to have – but I’m still planning on keeping the important stuff in dry sacks. I’ve got dry sacks for clothes, electronics, the service manuals, and a few extras that I can also use as ditty bags if it turns out I don’t particularly need to keep anything else dry. So I don’t need these to be weatherproof, but I think they’ll do fairly well in a little rain.

Masukomi and I are hoping to go camping soon, so I’ll report on how these do after an actual trip. But so far I’m thrilled with the RevPack Super Deluxe (aka Expedition) Saddle Packs, and I’m looking forward to using them!

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