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review

Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack

9
£144.00

VERDICT:

9
10
A top class, expedition-worthy bag for keeping lots of kit low, dry and secure in your frame
Welded seams and tough materials
Waterproof zips
Lifetime warranty
No internal divider
Weight: 
313g
Contact: 

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The Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack is an excellent way to carry a lot of gear. It's easy to fit and use, is made from bombproof materials, is fully waterproof and carries a lifetime warranty – the price is high, but it's fair.

Holding the 6 litre version (there are 2.5 and 4L versions too) the first impression is lack of weight – 313g for such a large bag is a surprise. But that's not to say they've skimped on features.

The right side has a dual-zip flap that almost completely opens the pack, allowing easy access to the whole space. The top zip has two pulls, meaning it can be opened from either end on the go to ferret about for a jacket, stuff away gloves or whatnot.

> Buy this online here

The intersection of the waterproof zips is covered by a generous zip garage, and the only way water's getting in there is if you completely immerse the bag.

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack 2.jpg

Inside the pack there's a second smaller pocket for tiny things or valuables, which easily fits a decent-sized phone. The left side has a single full-length zip accessing a flat pocket that's 11.3cm deep – plenty for a wallet, folded map, snacks or a pump.

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack - open 1.jpg

The features continue inside, with two generous webbing strap holders on each of the downtube and toptube faces. These have just enough play to hold a hydration bladder hose, giving a really tidy routing to the hose/cable port at the front.

With a hose routed along either top or downtube, you can also use the provided velcro straps to hold heavy or cylindrical items – fuel bottles, folded tent poles and the like.

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack - internal straps.jpg

At the bottom of the seat tube side there's a fifth loop with a removable hook – that's for a forthcoming Apidura accessory, which we'll review shortly.

In a full frame pack this size you might expect a horizontal divider, but this doesn't have one. I didn't find it an issue, but some might.

Fitting

On the outside of the pack there are a plethora of fixing points – five along the top, three on the downtube and two at the rear. The removable, repositionable Velcro straps at the top are reinforced with Hypalon, and are generous enough to wrap around a pretty huge 50mm tube.

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack - top tube straps.jpg

The three downtube straps are sewn in place and are of a friction-buckle design, with an elastic excess-strap retainer. They have tons of length to accommodate odd frame angles and gaps.

> How to go bikepacking: A beginner's guide to getting started

Finally the two seat tube strap fixings are optional – you can get such good tension using the other two sides I opted to leave these off, and kept a seat tube-mounted waterbottle cage in place. Obviously your fit will depend on your frame size and angles.

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack - seat tube straps 1.jpg

How to choose?

Speaking of fit, Apidura has a community-sourced guide where bikes known to fit each bag size are listed. If your bike isn't listed, or you want to 100% check, you can download full-size templates. I used one to decide on my 6L bag before Apidura sent it for review, ensuring a great fit for my Sonder Camino XL on arrival (that's not it in the pictures – that's a Kona Rove LTD).

2021 Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack - down tube straps.jpg

I think the Backcountry Full Frame Pack looks the business, and its black and grey scheme (with white and yellow reflective logos) goes with pretty much any bike. Loading it with an overnight's worth of water bladder, cooking gear, food and a jacket produces no noticeable bulging, despite the lack of an internal divider.

> 26 of the best bikepacking bags — how to choose lightweight luggage

As it's only 313g, I didn't bother removing the pack from my gravel bike for a few months. It gave me a huge amount of space for tools, clothing and food for day rides - popping to the shops for a litre of oatmilk, some wine and crisps never felt so much like going bush.

Value

There's a fair bit of choice in design and price around the six litre mark. Iwein found the 5.5L Pro Discover Team Frame Bag to be okay for £100, but that it bulged somewhat. Shaun liked the Merida Framebag Travel L more, and at just £48 it's a steal – although Matt found the smaller version bulged and leaked a bit too.

For around £130 Alpkit will custom-make you a Stingray frame bag with similar features, excluding the internal fixing points – but it won't be waterproof as it's stitched, not welded.

Anyone wanting bike luggage really is spoilt for choice these days, compared to even a few years ago. You can pick up an expedition's worth of bags for not much money, though their longevity is questionable. Alternatively, you can invest in lifetime purchase with a strong warranty, and pay a premium.

That's where I see the Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack – it's definitely a premium product. You're paying for premium materials, design and testing, plus the warranty covering the 'reasonable lifetime and intended use' of the product. There's a repair service if needed, too.

Overall

If you want to keep a lot of kit stable, dry and secure no matter how long or arduous the journey, the Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack is a serious contender. The price is high end, but so are the performance and quality.

Verdict

A top class, expedition-worthy bag for keeping lots of kit low, dry and secure in your frame

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack

Size tested: 6L

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's for people wanting to go a long way for a long time - keeping kit dry and stable.

Apidura says: "The quintessential pack for carrying heavy loads while maintaining ride handling. Highly versatile, the Backcountry Full Frame Pack was designed to carry big, heavy loads over long distances and across technical trails.

"With a reinforced structure and internal straps for securing contents, the full frame bag is versatile enough to either fill the main triangle entirely or leave enough space for a bottle cage on the seat tube. The pack features a dual zip opening which allows easy access and full visibility of contents, while retaining the ability to open just the top zip for easy access while riding."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

BACKCOUNTRY FULL FRAME PACK FEATURES

Dual zip opening for easy access

Internal straps for securing contents

Hydration bladder compatible

Internal Pocket for storing valuables

Reflective graphics for enhanced visibility

Ultra-durable, lightweight body fabric

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Quality is top-notch.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

It's easy to fit, doesn't budge, and opens/closes easily allowing wide access. Routing of hoses is perfect too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The materials are top-class.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

At 313g, it's light for its spec.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's definitely a pricey choice, but it seriously earns its money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The build quality. It's perfection.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's a top-end price. There's a fair bit of choice in design and cost around the six litre mark. Iwein found the 5.5L Pro Discover Team Frame Bag to be okay for £100, but that it bulged somewhat. Shaun liked the Merida Framebag Travel L more, and at just £48 it's a steal – although Matt found the smaller size bulged and leaked a bit too.

For around £130 Alpkit will custom-make you a Stingray frame bag with similar features, excluding the internal fixing points – but it won't be waterproof as it's stitched, not welded.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

If you value top class, lifetime performance, this is a great choice. The lack of an internal divider is a design feature as much as an omission – it works brilliantly without it. It's expensive but earns its money.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

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