ZEFAL Z ADVENTURE F10 BAR BAG
381g (including webbing cradle) red and black (as tested) €49.95 (£43 at time of writing)
Zefal’s Z Adventure F10 Bar Bag has its natural habitat in backwood’s bike-packing, being part of a range of gear. I have also used it as part of a touring set-up where 100% waterproof reliability has been desirable. It has played its part, too, when heading to town with important documents safely stowed, as well as for odds and ends on a gravel jaunt or two.
Pros: genuinely waterproof, adaptable.
Cons: straps easy to lose without care.
Made from ripstop polyester (PU210) with welded seams, the F10 is 100% waterproof. At 39x180x180cms, when fully extended, it should fit between most drop handlebars without causing problems for cabling or bar-mounted accessories. 10 litre capacity is pretty good for a bar bag, but there’s a weight limit of 4kg. Straps allow it to be compressed.
Seal and closure come courtesy of a roll and the familiar click fix buckle.
Road bar-bags generally have a solid bottom, bike-packing bags do not. The cradle has handy canvas webbing, allowing for straps to be located in a number of positions. Three straps – two for the bars and one for the steering tube or headset – have a buckle and Velcro closure. There’s also a nice touch in the reinforced patches to prevent wear.
Strategically located Velcro pads allow the bag to be kept central in the cradle, however much it may contain.
Fitting isn’t done in the blink of an eye, but a little time taken is worth the result. The straps are plenty long enough to cope with any bar size or set up.
I’ve also use it as a saddle-bag on saddles with suitable rails or loops. No real reason why it should not sit on a rack, too, if that is your preference. Mind, it is most use on the bars.
On the topic of removal, after a retracing of steps to find an escapee strap, I found it worthwhile to make sure the straps were done up when off the bike. Replacements are available, or easy to fashion.
Ten litres and four kg will not swallow a lot. For backwoods camping enthusiasts with lots of lovely light-weight gear, there’s clearly more space than for those without it. Suffice it to say, that Gore-tex bivvy-bag and old style Thermarest sleeping mat went in ok, but a newer Vango Trek Standard sleeping mat did not. Likewise, a one season sleeping bag was too big, but liner and Thermarest slid in with ease. Experienced cycle campers will know their gear. May be this is where the F10’s bigger siblings come in handy.
Having said that, on a recent early autumn trip abroad with plenty of rain forecast, it seemed to me that the F10 was ideal for keeping precious documents, maps, money, and general paperwork dry and convenient for removal at café stops. Worth noting, in those circumstances, just loosen the cradle and take the bag out. Fix it back in with a little care and tighten the straps.
Although the weather wss better than the forecast, there was plenty of rain. In the case of the F10, waterproof means waterproof. The watering-can made no in-roads, either. I suspect it would do as a dry bag for swimming, but I’ll not test that until the weather warms up!
I’ve come to rather like the F10. On the face of it, it’s a simple bit of gear with some nice features. However, genuine proof against water is always handy, and its adaptability is attractive. Certainly, for the bike-packer and camping tourer, it has a lot to offer as part of a wider system.
If not using a GPS, happy to make regular stops, or fit a map-holder to the bars, some will miss having a map under their noses. In fairness, transparent sleeves for maps are the province of less adaptable box-type bar bags. This is a different kettle of fish
I’ve done a good few gravel miles and a bit of rough stuff. Ruts and bumps have failed to induce escape; nor have the chunkier speed humps. Even when badly packed and drooping badly to one side, things have stayed in place. Trying it out minus one of the bar straps lead to only aesthetic issues. Mind you, things got shaky on rougher gravel sections, so best put sensitive electrics or cameras somewhere else.
Over some three hundred and fifty miles, I’ve noticed no interference with hand position on drop bars or flats. Likewise, no cable snagging. Operation of levers – aero and non – saw no interference
Rapha produce a waterproof bar pack with twenty litre capacity at max extension. It has several additional features. However, you might ask just how much you want to carry on the bars. There are other high-end models, too, with some up to £125 with similar capacity.
BBB Front Fellow officially retails at £52.95. It is described as “weather-proof” and has ten litre capacity
Overall, if you want a solid functional, waterproof bar bag at a decent price, it seems to me that the Zefal is likely to meet your criteria: take a look.
Well worth a look for the tourer who want to go off-road, the graveleer, or the bike-packer. Bear in mind that you’ll almost certainly be using it in conjunction with other luggage. Has potential for pure road touring, but I’d stick to something more trad and accessible, if that is my preference, especially if I like maps for navigation.