On the Right Track - Independent Bikepacking Brands at Always Riding
At Always Riding, we love finding and becoming cheerleaders for young, innovative and independent brands that do the familiar tasks well whilst bringing something new to the table. Bikepacking is one of those endeavours that slots neatly in with this philosophy of independent makery, first summoning personal experience and then translating that into finished products ready for pitching the rider against the road less travelled by.
No surprise then that the burgeoning bikepacking category is being neatly filled not only with bikepacking brands from the commercial big boys - the likes of Blackburn and Restrap, but also with proper rider types, with real names like Scott, John and Jordan.
Scott, founder of Americo/Candian brand Porcelain Rocket, rode his way into the world of XPAC and bikepacking having conquered most of Northern America on two wheels. Relying upon sturdy kit, he saw the need for durable lightweight ways of transporting the things you need to make that unsupported trip. Settling in Calgary, Porcelain Rocket takes it's name from pretty simple reasons - Porcelain has been a traditionally valuable commodity in all cultures, whilst the rocket is a symbol of exploration and adventure. Tying the two together, Scott set himself to making the bags for explorers like himself, and soon found himself receiving custom requests left right and centre. Building up a reputation as strong as its bags, Porcelain Rocket has gone from strength to strength.
With this Porcelain Rocket's first foray into standardised bikepacking bags, we were understandably pretty eager to get them in store and up on the Always Riding site, where you can now salivate over them endlessly.
Closer to home, in the scaled down, but equally wily wilds of Somerset, Jon Mackinnon started playing with XPAC in his free time, and, as is often the way with bag brands, people started asking him where those mean looking packs hanging off his top tube came from - Mack Workshop was born.
Making custom backpacks, handlebar bags, tool rolls and frame packs, Mack Workshop boasts a fine pedigree - handmade in the South West from premium materials and with the utmost in attention to detail, these bags are ideal for slinging on your road or commuting bike when you just want to take that little bit extra with you, but don't necessarily need to pack for bear attacks. With a jacket stuffed away, some snacks and, of course, the all essential multitool, Mack Workshop bags will keep your essentials safely stowed and, thanks to their water resistant construction, dry.
Big X Top
We're all familiar with the gravel bike boom by now, and the lustre of speeding off onto the rutted tracks to kick up dust trails on your drop handlebars shows no signs of relenting. Based in the UK, Based and handmade in the UK, Jordan's one product focus speaks for the demand he's had for The (namely the BIG x TOP Mini Seatpack) is a devilishly simple halfway house between a conventional bikepacking saddle pack and a rather more run of the mill saddlebag, with enough space to stow your pump, mini-tool, levers, tubes, plus a packable jacket and snack. Ultra practical and super convenient, it sits neatly and snugly hugging your seat post, making sure that you've got all you need to tackle the more jagged rocks on the road less travelled.
So, with these cool, small, independent brands hitting our online store, we leave it to you to do the right thing and support the little guy - not because he's little, but because his sewing machine is making some pretty unique and top notch stuff. Keep an eye out, and admire our range of bikepacking bags here!