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Review: Restrap Adventure Race Range Bikepacking Bags

Bikepacking bike

 

An exceptionally well designed and super stable range of bikepacking bags for lightweight biking adventures

New to the Restrap line in 2022, the Adventure Race Range is a lightweight bikepacking bag collection that is designed for long distance cyclists to carry everything needed for ultra-endurance races and audaxes. The range is incredibly functional and designed with impeccable attention to detail to cover the needs of riders pushing the limits.

Now I love cycling. I’ve recently bikepacked much of the new West Kernow Way in Cornwall, I get out riding a couple of times a week to tackle the relentless frequency of hills in Cornwall, and I’m touring across Europe this summer. I’m a back lane bimbler, riding for the pleasure of it, rather than the pain. I also love a good challenge, but only if there’s plenty of time for plenty of cakes along the way, and not too many hills!

So, to be clear, I’ve not tested the bags in either an ultra-endurance race or an audax, yet! BUT, the bags do leave me very well equipped to take on some long distance races, should the mood take me!

I have, however, been putting the bags through their paces on single and multi-day rides. I’ve used them alongside bike touring gear, with larger bags for bikepacking and also as a set for two-day overnight summer ride. And so far, I’m loving almost every feature of the four bags that I’ve been using. More on that later.

About Restrap

Before I go into my thoughts on the details and performance of the Adventure Race Bags, here are a few things that I really love about Restrap and the bags in general:

  • Warranty
    The bags all come with a lifetime guarantee. Read more information about this here.
  • Vegan friendly
    All the bags are cruelty-free, using PU “leather” and heat pressed labels instead of animal-based glues.
  • Waterproof
    The bags combine coated nylon linings and 1000D textured nylon / technical synthetic materials to ensure they are fully waterproof.
  • Handmade
    Restrap is based in Yorkshire, UK where all their bags are made by hand. Each item even has a tag that is hand signed by the person who made it.

Restrap saddle bag

Restrap Race Saddle Bag Review

Weight:250g
Capacity:7 litres
Includes:Holster and dry bag
Dimensions:33 x 15cm
Buy at:restrap.com

This is one secure and non-bouncy saddle bag! I forget that it’s there when I’m riding, which is ideal. The design of the holster is easy to fit onto the saddle and even easier to secure the 7 litre roll top dry bag in place. There’s also daisy chain loops along the end of the holster to adjust the position of the saddle post strap to fit your bike. 

On super lightweight overnighters, I can fit in my sleeping bag and roll mat, plus a spare pair of undies and socks. 

Features of the Restrap Race Saddle Bag

Fidlock magnetic buckle

Saddle bag paddingThe dry bag slides into the holster easily. Once the side straps are tightened, the back strap is secured into place with a very snazzy magnetic buckle. It snaps into place really easily and is just as easy to unclip allowing for easy access to the bag, should you need. This is a really excellent feature that makes the bag super useable on the road.

Straps

Saddle bag strapsHypalon straps feed through the rails on the underside of saddle and then are secured in place through the side buckles. The ends of the straps, like all the straps on all of the bags, can be tucked into a little clip to stop them from flapping around.

Foam padding

Saddle bag padding
The top of the holster features a foam pad that adds a layer of buffering between the underside of the seat and the bag. It also helps to minimise movement and allows the straps to be cinched in tightly. There are also two foam pads that sit between the seat post and the bag to keep it securely in place.

 

Top tube bag

Restrap Race Top Tube Bag (long) Review

Weight:243g
Capacity:2 litres
Pockets:2
Dimensions:49 x 45 x 11 x 4cm
Buy at:restrap.com

Of the four Restrap bags I’ve used, the Race Top Tube Bag has to be the most versatile. I use it almost every time I go out riding, whether that’s a short hour-long jaunt before work or a multi-day ride. On day rides it holds everything I need for riding in pleasant conditions: a spare layer, phone, tool, small sunscreen, spare tube, tyre levers, money, snack bar.

I especially like how the shape of the bag tapers down at the saddle end so that there’s still enough space to stand over the crossbar. And the two-way zip is a very nice touch for easily accessing things.

Features of the Restrap Race Top Tube Bag

Two-way zipper

Two-way zipperThe waterproof zipper is double ended – a really thoughtful feature which prevents you from having to open up the whole bag to access things at the ends. I tend to use the zipper at the front end of the bag the most.

External mesh pockets

Top tube bag pocketOn both sides of the largest part of the bag are mesh pockets with elasticated tops. These are super useful for small items that you think you’ll need regularly. I store lip sunscreen, sweets and paracetamol in mine which are held in securely, even when I lay my bike on its side.

Internal organiser

Top tube bag internal organiserThere’s an elasticated tape inside the bag on the side of the widest end. This is ideal for storing a phone to keep it from rattling around in the bag and to protect it from other stuff in the bag. And because it’s at the front end, it’s really easy to access whilst on the bike. I also use it to clip my keys to.

 

Restrap bar bag in use

Restrap Race Bar Bag Review

Weight:325g
Capacity:7 litres
Includes:Holster and dry bag
Dimensions:28 x 18cm
Buy at:restrap.com

Despite its relatively simple looking design, the Race Bar Bag actually has some really thoughtful features that make it highly functional and easy to use. This is especially true for the holster. Bar bag holsters that I’ve used in the past by other brands have needed a full-on instruction manual / degree in product design to figure out how to assemble them! The Restrap Race Bar Bag holster, however, is incredibly simple to fit. It stays in place when the dry bag is removed and it provides impressive stability for holding the dry bag exactly where it should be.

It’s important that two straps that hold the dry bag in place are positioned evenly over the bag. If not, the bag can start to shift one way or the other, especially when riding on rough terrain. Get the straps evenly spaced, and you should have no problems.

This is my preferred bag to use, alongside the top tube bag, when riding in less clement conditions. It provides more than enough space for extra layers and gloves etc, and it’s dead easy to unclip and carry with me when taking refuge in frequently visited cake stations!

For super lightweight overnighters, this bag holds a Jetboil Flash stove and mini gas canister, food for 24 hours, a puffy jacket and a couple of layers. It’s tight but it fits!

Features of the Restrap Race Bar Bag

Foam pads

Bar bag padsThere are two foam pads connected to the elastic cord that connects the holster to the head tube. There’s also a foam pad on each handlebar strap. They all create a secure and snug fit that’s also forgiving on the holster.

Roll top closure

Bar dry bagBecause the straps to the roll top are non-adjustable and clip together over the rolled top, it’s impossible to overpack the bag. This is both useful to prevent bouncing and over-packing and frustrating as it seems like it could hold a bit more stuff!

Side mesh pockets

Handlebar bag pocketThe dry bag features a mesh pocket on either side. This is my favourite part of the bar bag and insanely useful for stuffing in extra layers, gloves, snacks, sun cream and a sunglasses case; all things you need easy access to but are too big to fit into the top tube bag.

 

Frame bag

Restrap Race Frame Bag (large) Review

Weight:240g
Capacity:4.2 litres
Pockets:3
Dimensions:50 x 36 x 18 x 8 x 5.5cm
Buy at:restrap.com

The Race Frame Bag is a must if you’re aiming to keep things as compact and lightweight as possible. It makes the most of the dead space in the frame of your bike and, depending on your bike, it still allows access to bottle cages. Yes, there are bigger frame bags around, like the Restrap Full Frame Bag, that fill the space more, but then you’ll have to find somewhere else to store your bottles. Remember that the Race Range is designed to keep things streamlined and lightweight.

I use the bag for storing slightly larger items in that I may want easy access to. These include: sunglasses, extra layer, large sunscreen etc. Another thoughtful feature is a small port hole from the main compartment through which you can feed charging cables for devices.

I’ve recently bought a new bike. And, unfortunately, the bag doesn’t fit inside the frame! It’s great on my mountain bike, though a little on the snug side. So, be sure to measure your frame before you buy.

Features of the Restrap Race Frame Bag

Side pocket

Frame bag pocketOn one side of the bag is a zippered pocket that spans the whole length and width of the bag. This is ideal for storing snack bars, repair kit, keys, paracetamol and other small and slim items which one might need easy access to when riding.

Mesh pockets

Inside frame bagInside the main compartment of the bag are two mesh side pockets for storing small items like snacks, keys, or a battery pack. There’s also a velcro divider which is great for organising items as well as adding a bit of structure to the bag.

Storm zips

Bag storm flapBoth the zips on the frame bag have decent sized flaps that sit over the full length of the zips for extra protection from the elements. The zips themselves are YKK aquaguard zips for extra rain protection.

 

What I love the most about the Restrap Adventure Range

Gosh, a toughie. There is very little not to love about the bags. They’re exceptionally well made, thoughfully designed and very easy to use. But to pick one thing? It would have to be how well they secure to my bike resulting in minimal bounce and movement. This element is super impressive and an essential for bikepackers and gravel riders.

What I don’t love so much about the Restrap Adventure Range

If I’m really nit picking then I’d prefer the saddle and bar bags to be slightly bigger. An extra litre of capacity in each would be very welcome!


Man packing up a bike

Verdict

 
Though designed for ultra-endurance races and audaxes, this range of superbly well made and designed Restrap bags also offer versatility and functionality to a whole host of cycling set-ups. From extra storage on long distance cycle tours, to minimalist packing on ultra-lightweight bikepacking missions, the bags have a place that riders will find invaluable. They’re also ideal for day rides when extra layers are needed in winter or swimming stuff is needed in summer.

Two VERY big thumbs up from me!

Find the latest price at:
Restrap

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received these products free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

 

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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