We spotlighted two new fork bags from our amigos at Revelate Designs and Apidura this Spring and I’ve been testing them ‘side by side’ on both the Trek 1120 that we have in for review and my Fatback Aluminum bike (named Otis) mounted to King Many Things cages.
It’s been a great cycling year for me with a nice string of rides preparing for events, the events themselves and the spring/summer has been punctuated by beautiful overnight and multi-day trips. (I started writing this article of the Lake Express Ferry on the tail end of the Bikes, a Boat and maybe a Goat trip over to Michigan.
Revelate Designs Polecat
- Jet Boil Stove/Fuel/Bowl
- Collapsible Cup
- Pour Over Coffee Filter
Apidura Expedition Fork Pack
- SS Wool T-Shirt
- Two Pair Socks
- I see London – I see France – I see Gomez’s underpants
Revelate Designs Polecat
The Polecat integrated into my bikepacking scheme, replacing a Salsa Anything Bag. My Jetboil Stove is a perfect fit along with an extra fuel cell or some food items. It’s very similar in size/volume to the Salsa bag that it has replaced.
We have some interesting trail data about the Polecat compared to the Salsa Anything Bag from our old amigo, Ken Blakey-Shell. KBS recently put both bags through the wringer on the AZ Trail Race and this is what he related to me about his experience.
Howdy. Thought I would share a bit of info post AZT on the revelate bag (Polecat). I used one of those and a salsa bag. Both brand new at start. Both mounted to king many things cages on the fork legs with voile straps. Both packed the same way. At the end the salsa bag has holes worn through it in several spots. That same thing has happened on my last two big trips. Revelate is totally fine and is still air tight. Very impressive! The revelate is lighter and has more volume too. Just thought you may want to know. That was 18 days and about 800 miles of hard use.KBS
This kind of real-world use and abuse is great for comparing the Polecat to the Salsa Anything Bag and is definitely a feather in the Polecats hat. The abrasion-resistant panel on the polecat did its job and kept its contents watertight.
One of the big differences between the Polecat and The Apidura Fork bag is the way that they attach. Like Ken, I’ve been using ski straps to hold the Polecat to a king Many Things Cage. I like the fact that I can wrap the strap all the way around the fork leg and the cage for a more secure anchor for the cargo’s weight. (photo above) The downside of the Revelate attachment straps is that they’re slightly more fiddley to get attached, they make the polecat slightly heavier than the Apidura bag with its integrated straps and the total price (straps + bag = $60) is more expensive than the Apidura ($56). The Polecat’s attachment system allows the cargo to be strapped to the fork and the cage, while the Apidura’s integrated straps attach the cargo to the cage only. However, the integrated straps of the Apidura are removable and any type of ski-strap could be utilized to secure the bag in a similar fashion as the Polecat.
Apidura Expedition Fork Pack (4.5L)
The Apidura Expedition Fork Pack (4.5L) is a great looking and function-forward bag that distinguishes itself with double back Velcro straps, a larger volume and lighter weight than the Polecat. It’s even four dollars less expensive if you include the cost of the straps.
I was skeptical of how strong the Apidura straps would be before I took them out on the trail. Those strength doubts have been silenced for the most part. The velcro straps are easy to use and have held fast even in bumpy singletrack. So the integrated straps are strong, but will they be as durable as ski straps? (probably not)
Ken’s comments above make me worry about the abrasion resistance of the area where the Apidura comes in contact with the cage. The RD Polecat has an armored panel where the body of the bag rests against the cage. There’s a similar panel on the Apidura, but it’s located on the outboard section of the bag. I’ve got a few hundred miles in on these bags and both are holding up very well, but I can’t completely silence the little voice in my head that keeps on telling me that if a bag is larger and lighter, it probably isn’t going to be as durable. Till we put another few hundred miles to answer the durability question we have to score points to the Apidura fork bag because it mounts easier and has more volume than the RD Polecat.
If there ever was a shootout where each of the gunfighters drew like lightning and emptied their pistolas with each of their bullets meeting near the halfway point, so when the smoke cleared, both hombres were still standing and everyone cheered and then they all went to the cantina for an ice-cold Fresca, then that shootout would have had a similar result as this very fork bag shootout. I’m calling this one a draw. If your fork has cargo zits, you might think about rocking a mixed pair of these fine bike bags like Otis in the photo above. We’ll keep racking up the miles and let you know how all of that goes…..somewhere down the trail amigos!
For more information visit –
Revelate Designs – https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm/store.catalog/rack/polecat