Friday, 19 June 2015

fwe bar bag

Front view.

The FWE bar bag is a fully featured piece of bike luggage.

It mounts on the handle bars using a Rixen Kaul type bracket making it simple to remove when needed. The bag size is small compared to others, only 4 litres in capacity, but manages to hold all the bits and pieces that I want without wasted space. Importantly the smaller size means I’m less likely to overload the bag and have issues with weighed steering. The bag has a front zippered pocket with internal mesh pockets, reflective trim and a tab to mount an LED light. The bag sports two side mesh pockets, a transparent lid pocket for a mobile phone/map*, and an internal zipped pocket in the main compartment.

There is also a lower rear zippered pocket for a bright yellow rain cover that is also included, along with the obligatory shoulder strap, and the strap clipping points. I use the rain cover pocket for the strap and carry the cover in a seat stem bag instead. The one thing missing from the bag is a clip for keys, so in the front pocket I’ve added a loop of 1.5mm dyneema and a small karabiner. Clipped to this and tucked into one of the mesh pockets the keys are safe and secure.

Inside, rear view.

In use the main compartment held my camera, phone, first aid kit, jelly babies, map and my medics. The transparent lid pocket held my Garmin Geko 201, a basic GPS that’s handy for keeping track of mileage, speed and location but little else. I cannot say for certain as I don’t own a more up to date model with mapping data but the pocket might not be big enough for some devices. My mobile phone doesn’t fit (Nokia 635) so if you happen to use one of the phone based navigation apps then you might want to look at other options. I’m still a paper map navigator, predominately, so the issue of what device fits is not an issue as such other than if my phone won’t fit neither will a map (despite the manufacturer's claims)!

This aside the bag is spot on for my needs, and as with the key clip I’ll have a tinker and see if I can rig something to hold a map.

* from the manufacturer's website description.

gsi cascadian cup

Most of my canteen set ups are based around the principle that you eat and drink out of the same receptacle – a pot like the Snow Peak 600 or the Alpkit Mytimug. Whilst this is a great way of saving weight and the double usage that all lightweight backpackers like to incorporate into their kit lists it does have it’s limitations. After all you have to eat your food first and then have your drink or vice versa, unless of course that drink comes in a hip flask or wine bottle in which case it’s just a quick neck in between mouthfuls.

On occasions I like the idea of having something handy for having a brew with the food, and swinging out of wine bottle, whilst effective, is a bit uncouth. And on other occasions, like when I use a cook system that doesn’t lend itself to the pot being used as a mug, such as with my Bush Buddy set up, a dedicated mug or cup is needed. 

The classic was the plastic one pint plastic mug which is what the Snow Peak/Alpkit set ups base themselves around but that volume isn’t always needed as I’m not cooking with it just having a drink. And the GSI Cascadian cup at 450ml is ideal – big enough for a brew but small enough to be packable. The mug has graduations on the inside and the handle has a hole punched into it presumably for those that want to hang it off their backpack. I may take a saw to the handle as I’m not convinced I need it, and that would save some grams despite the weigh saving hole already drilled in it!  The cup is tapered but isn’t that tall so I’ve not noticed any stability issues with it. They come in a range of colours, and for the gram counters out there my one weighs in at 53g.