CARRADICE CARRADURA MAXI SADDLEPACK
495g (as tested) 6litre (7inc. pockets) £25.00
Carradice’s CarraDura range is designed for tough use at a decent price. The Maxi Saddlepack is certainly amongst the larger of its type and has served well on the commute and moderate day rides. Unlike Carradice’s Super C and CarraDry ranges, it is not waterproof, but then again, it is sixteen pounds cheaper than its Super C equivalent.
Pros: Very robust, decent price
Cons: Only waterproof with raincover – and even then a bit of care is needed.
Materials, features, finish 4/5
Polyester is what I’d expect at this price point. A mix of grey and black fits in with other CarraDura and CarraDry styling. There are three little siblings, too; the Mini, Midi, and Super Midi.
Externally there’s a wealth of functional features that one associates with Carradice products. Attach it to the seat post with the “touch + close” Velcro-style strap, and the saddle rails via webbing straps with quick release buckles. These also act as compression straps.
Solidly stitched webbing offers four different alignments for the strap, so there’s plenty of flexibility, depending on how much seat-post you display. My old Supergalaxy shows very little seat-post and the Maxi still fits. On that basis, it should sit even more securely on longer seat posts.
A mesh pocket stores the rain-cover, secured by drawstring and toggle. Opposite is a zipped “valuables” pocket. Keys, credit card, and so on, all fit in easily, although my bulging wallet proved too chunky. It would pair well with a bar or top-tube bag for a bit more capacity.
The main compartment has a two-way zip; you’ll not be using it on the fly, but easy to use, even when gloved up. There’s no baffle, so keep an eye on the weather.
Around the back, there’s the traditional light loop – just remember that light will be largely obscured if the rain cover is on – and a reflective red strip around the back and partially along the sides.
Internally, the robust theme continues with the solid one-piece reinforcement that sweeps around the top and bottom to prevent sagging and offer protection from nasty bumps. The inside is lined, with a mesh compartment on one side, suitable for small items that you don’t want sliding round the main compartment.
How waterproof? 3/5
The Maxi is not waterproof: not surprising for a bag of this size at this price point. The zip is described as “showerproof.” Additional protection is offered by the rain-cover which is pulled on around the base of the bag and secured by drawstring and toggle. Thus, a small section remains open to the elements beneath the saddle. In drizzle there’s been no noticeable ingress, but I’d pack relevant contents in something waterproof.
Very heavy downpours have caused some pooling within the rain-cover, as well outside, although it is only fair to say that this was with a narrow saddle. A broader Brookes B12 afforded more protection. Equally, the rain-cover prevented ingress into the pack. Moreover, bright yellow brings a touch of presence on grey-days.
Sans rain-cover, in heavy rain, the fabric soon wets up. Checking inside there was a distinct dampness, though no pools of water. However, it was dry outside in an hour, although the inside benefitted from a wipe with a cloth. Overall, don’t leave the rain-cover at home or ignore those dark clouds.
Carradice suggest that you’ll fit in everything you need for a day ride. I wouldn’t disagree, unless you are taking a picnic and have other people fobbing their gear off on you. I’ve managed the easily packable Showers Pass Elite 2.1waterproof jacket, multi-tool, tube, repair kit, the medium length Revolution Air Mini Pump, and still had space for jam sandwiches and cable lock. Fastidious packers could manage more, though I’d not suggest it for a weekend tour.
I’d some concerns about stability if the strap was at the closest setting to the seat-post. OK, there was a bit of movement at higher speeds on twists and turns, but no threat of ejection or even annoyance. In any case, the middle settings have been the norm and, at anything between 15 and 25 mph on road I’ve not been aware of any significant movement. When at the maximum snugness to the seat-post, I’ve not noticed it was there any more than much smaller models.
Going gravel and off-road a bit of bounce is inevitable, but I’ve not been disconcerted. The slim profile – of the bag, that is - avoids contact with thigh or buttock when adjusting position or honking.
The base of the pack, most likely to get the brunt of muck sans mudguards, is relatively easy to clean with a wipe of a damp cloth. Webbing straps and the side fabric is a bit more of a pest, but a scrub with a damp cloth and a little soapy water has done the trick. The rain cover can, of course, be plonked in the wash.
Day rides and moderate Audax ventures leap to mind for the CarraDry Maxi Saddlepack. Light-weight commutes, sans laptop, too, are very much in its territory. Although not totally waterproof even with the rain cover, it has served well in light British precipitation. The CarraDry SQR Bag offers more capacity and full waterproofing. It also adds £50.